The Czech writer Franz Kafka said famously, “Everything you love is very likely to be lost, but in the end, love will return in a different way.” The same principle, I believe, applies to other powerful feelings, including resentment, hate, anger, even rage.
American officials should know this well as they continue to support Israel with billions of dollars of military and economic aid, and anything and everything that would allow the apartheid state to continue with its genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza. The Arabs, the Muslims — in fact, the whole world — are watching, listening, reading and getting angrier by the day at the direct US role in facilitating Israel’s Gaza bloodbath.
The occupation state’s military offensive in Gaza “has wreaked more destruction than the razing of Syria’s Aleppo between 2012 and 2016, Ukraine’s Mariupol or, proportionally, the Allied bombing of Germany in World War II,” the Associated Press reported, based on recent satellite data analysis. “[It] now sits among the deadliest and most destructive in recent history.”
Aside from the tens of thousands of dead and missing in the rubble, a much higher number of people have been injured and maimed, including thousands of children. Countless children are left “grappling with the loss of an arm or a leg,” according to UNICEF.
The agony of Gaza is being watched on television and every other medium of communication. It is as if the world is suffering along with the Palestinian children in Gaza, but is unable to stop or at least slow down the genocide. And, yet, even when all European countries, save a few, have reversed their position on the war, joining the rest of the world in demanding an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, Washington has continued to reject these calls.
This is how US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, justified her country’s use of the veto, striking down the first serious attempt by the Security Council to achieve a permanent truce on 18 October: “Israel has the inherent right of self-defence as reflected in Article 51 of the UN Charter.”
That same logic has been repeated many times by US officials since then, even when the extent of the Gaza tragedy became known to everyone, including the Americans themselves. This self-serving logic goes against the very spirit of international and humanitarian law, which vehemently rejects the targeting of civilians during times of war and conflict, and the prevention of humanitarian aid from reaching civilian victims of war.
It is a fact that the vast majority of Gaza’s victims are civilians. Moreover, according to UNICEF, over 70 per cent of all of those killed and wounded are women and children. On top of that, due to the inhumane Israeli actions, the survivors of Israeli bombs and bullets are now facing a famine, which is unprecedented in the modern history of Palestine.
Nevertheless, Israel continues to block access to food, medicine, fuel and other basic necessities in Gaza, thus violating Washington’s own laws on the matter. “No assistance shall be furnished to any country when it is made known to the President that the government of such country prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of US humanitarian assistance,” says the US Foreign Assistance Act (Section 620I) very clearly.
The Biden administration has done nothing to pressure — let alone force — Israel to adhere to the most basic humanitarian laws in its ongoing genocide in Gaza. Worse, President Joe Biden is furnishing Israel with the weapons and ammunition it needs to prolong this destructive war.
According to a 25 December report by Israel’s Channel 12, more than 20 ships and 244 US aircraft have delivered over 10,000 tons of armaments and military equipment to Israel since the start of the war. These military supplies include, according to the Wall Street Journal, at least 100 BLU-109, 2,000-pound bunker-buster bombs, which have been used repeatedly throughout the Israeli bombardment, killing and wounding hundreds of Palestinians on every occasion.
The only tangible action that the US has taken since the start of the war has been to create a coalition — “Operation Prosperity Guardian” — with the sole purpose of ensuring the safety of ships crossing the Red Sea, going to or leaving Israel.
The US, however, seems to have learned nothing from the past, including its devastating wars on Iraq and the so-called “war on terror”.
It has failed to strike a balance between its support for Israel and its at least nominal respect for Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims. On the contrary, too many US officials seem to be entirely detached from this reality.
At a press conference at the White House on 7 December, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, John Kirby, proclaimed: “Tell me, name me, one more nation, any other nation, that is doing as much as the United States to alleviate the pain and suffering of the people of Gaza. You can’t. You just can’t.”
But how are “dumb bombs”, “smart bombs”, bunker busters and tens of thousands of tons of high explosives “alleviating the pain and suffering” of Gaza and its people? If Kirby is unaware of his country’s role in the genocide in Gaza, then the crisis in American foreign policy is worse than we could have imagined. If he is aware, and he should be, then his country’s moral crisis is arguably unprecedented in modern history.
The problem for US politics is that American administrations have a segmented view of reality, as they are focused intently on how any action, or inaction, is going to affect their political parties in future elections. However, Americans who care about their country and its position in a vastly changing Middle East and rapidly shifting global geopolitics should remember that history neither starts nor finishes on a November day once every four years.
“In the end, love will return in a different way,” wrote Kafka. He is right. But hate, too, tends to return as well, manifesting itself in myriad ways. More than any other country, the US should know that it will one day pay the price for its unquestioned support for Israel.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.