Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Thursday that he would not pull troops out of Gaza until Hamas’ tunnel network was completely destroyed, despite growing international calls for a cease-fire, and announced the call-up of 16,000 more army reservists.
But amid a growing Palestinian civilian death toll – which includes at least 245 children – and the Israelis’ obvious disregard for the need for a truce, the assistance and support given to Israel from the United States must be scrutinized.
On a day when 16 Palestinians were killed in a rocket attack, while sheltering in a U.N. refugee school Wednesday, in an attack attributed by the United Nations to Israel, the U.S. signed off on a renewed ammunition deal with Israel, to help boost its depleted stocks. Operation Protective Edge – in which over 1,300 Palestinians have now been killed – has clearly exhausted Israel’s stockpile of weapons. And while the White House condemned Wednesday’s attack on the school, it was very careful not to implicate Israel, and in later comments a spokesperson said it was unclear who had carried out the attack.
Such willful attempts to ignore the facts on the ground may allow the U.S. to feel it is justified in continuing its massive military assistance to Israel, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for it to convince the rest of the world of the legitimacy of such actions.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that he remained “hopeful” that a cease-fire would be implemented soon. But as long as the United States continues to play such a partisan role in the conflict, it must stop pretending to be some neutral arbiter or honest peace broker.