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Former senior US Defence official, ex-diplomat condemns US’s stance on Gaza as 'indefensible'

January 8, 2024 at 9:27 pm

Palestinians carry out search and rescue operations among the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli attacks in Rafah, Gaza on January 07, 2024 [Abed Rahim Khatib – Anadolu Agency]

The US position on the last three months of relentless Israeli attacks on Gaza is “essentially indefensible”, according to a former senior US Defence official and retired diplomat, Anadolu Agency reports.

We supply the ammunition; we supply the political protection from the international community’s growing outrage. We could end the war if we wanted to, but apparently we don’t. From a moral point of view, our position is essentially indefensible

said Chas Freeman, a former US assistant Secretary of Defence for international security affairs and also former ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

In an interview, Freeman told the Salt Cube Analytics website that Israel’s actions in Gaza could essentially be characterised as genocidal, as they seek to forcibly displace or harm Palestinians through methods such as bombings or withholding resources, leading to mass starvation.

He added that Israel would be unable to carry out its war in Gaza without help from the US.

READ: Haaretz demands investigation into killing of Israeli hostages by tank fire

Stating that Joe Biden has “steadily given ground” on the issue, Freeman said the US President shifted from opposition to a ceasefire to agreeing “to a humanitarian ceasefire, which I think is frankly a farce. It was a little bit like offering someone at Auschwitz of cold water while they wait to go to the gas chamber.”

Saying that the conflict aims for a “Palestinian-free Gaza”, Freeman added:

The Nazis at least had a sense enough of shame and guilt (that) they had tried to conceal what they were doing. The Israelis are completely open about it

He also said that the conflict has left the reputation and effectiveness of the UN in international relations significantly “degraded”.

Israeli civilians killed by Israeli forces on 7 October 

Freeman confirmed claims that some Israeli civilians were killed by Israeli forces on 7 October during the initial surprise raid by Palestinian group, Hamas.

“There are two reasons for Israel can be held accountable for killing Israelis. One is the Israelis lacked discipline and the training necessary to respond effectively to the hostage taking that Hamas carried out, which, by the way, was aimed primarily by Hamas at taking Israeli soldiers,” he explained.

“Undisciplined fire by helicopters hellfire missiles or by tanks with incendiary rounds directed at buildings is what happened. This is a disgrace in military terms and it adds to the diminution of the reputation the Israeli Defence Forces (Israeli army) have had for military discipline and expertise,” he said.

“Second one is something called a Hannibal directive,” he continued, citing a controversial Israeli policy that has been shrouded in secrecy, but was reportedly ended in 2016.

“That’s given the fact that Israel has an enormous number of Palestinian hostages, often with no charges, sometimes with fake charges, sometimes with a genuine judicial process conducted by military courts. So the Hannibal directive basically says that, rather than get into bargaining over a hostage exchange, you should just kill the Israeli hostages along with their captors.”

Freeman also commented on the 7 October Hamas raid reaching the nearby Nova Music Festival in Israel, decrying the holding of a music festival on the border of a “concentration camp,” referring to the years-long Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, which even before the current conflict kept Gazans in what many international observers have called sub-human conditions.

He described it as an extremely strange situation where people inside Gaza can witness and hear the events. The many casualties at the festival, according to Freeman, appear to have resulted primarily from chaotic and indiscriminate gunfire by Israeli forces.

READ: Moroccan group: Israel kills journalists to cover up its crimes in Gaza