The UN Security Council, and specifically the US and UK, have sunk to new lows in blocking a resolution condemning Israeli mass murder in Gaza. Israeli UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, boasted of this “achievement,” though the story hasn’t been reported outside the Jerusalem Post.
Days of Israeli bombing have killed 30 people, six of whom were children and three were mothers. An entire family who were neighbors of one of the Islamic Jihad (IJ) commanders who was assassinated, were murdered as well. The Palestinian resistance has fired over 700 missiles which entered Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been forced into air raid shelters as missiles have reached central Israeli towns, including Ramle, outside Tel Aviv.
Israel suffered its first death, with a rocket striking an apartment building in Rehovot. It is just south of Tel Aviv and the farthest north a Palestinian rocket has killed an Israeli. It indicates a continuing improvement in Palestinian rocket production. One of the targets of the Israeli attack was IJ’s lead rocket engineer who was murdered yesterday.
An IDF senior officer made this ghoulish statement:
Head of the IDF’s southern command Eliezer Toledano, said that he believes more Islamic Jihad members should be killed “in order to realize the potential of this operation,” he said.
“I press on the gas and the commander above will tell me when to stop,
Murdering Palestinians is like pressing your foot down on the accelerator. This is reminiscent of then-IAF chief (and later IDF chief of staff), Dan Halutz, who ordered a targeted assassination of Saleh Shehadeh which killed 18 civilians. When asked whether the murder of children caused him any pangs of conscience, his infamous reply was: “What do I feel when I drop a bomb? – a slight bump to the wing of [the] plane as [it drops]”.
How hostilities began and unfolded
Israel commenced the violence by refusing to free Islamic Jihad leader Khader Adnan from administrative detention, thereby leading to his prison death by starvation. In 2018, during a similar hunger strike, Israel agreed to free him if he agreed to a plea deal. He ended the protest and was freed. But this time, Netanyahu could not do a deal because he knew Itamar Ben Gvir would scream bloody murder and accuse him of coddling terrorists. So he let Adnan die.
IJ was furious and began lobbing rockets into southern Israel, which caused no damage. Then Israel launched a major Gaza attack which assassinated three IJ senior military leaders. In response, over the past two days it has launched 1,000 rockets at Israeli targets, several of which were over the skies of Tel Aviv.
Israel initiated this cycle of violence, as it has most similar ones in the past. In many cases, both sides agreed to a ceasefire, which Israel broke whenever it found an opportunity to strike blows against Palestinian militants.
As I reported here, an Israeli security source confirmed that his agency knew there were women and children in the homes of resistance leaders it assassinated. It did nothing to mitigate the damage or avoid killing civilians. On the contrary, it deliberately murdered them. This is a flagrant war crime, which we can add to decades of similar horrendous assaults against Palestinians, with the brunt of the suffering falling on civilians.
Impotence of UN and western nations
How do the UN and Western states respond? Do they demand accountability? Do they lobby the International Criminal Court to move forward with its investigation into Israeli war crimes? Do they demand an immediate ceasefire with sanctions threatened unless both sides immediately cease hostilities? Do they do anything with any real consequences for either side?
Concerned about the continuing rocket launches today. We stand by Israel’s right to defend itself. Working towards a quick deescalation.
— Ambassador Tom Nides (@USAmbIsrael) May 11, 2023
No, instead they satisfy themselves by expressing concern. US Ambassador Tom Nides hit the nadir when he tweeted this. Not a word about Palestinian suffering. In effect, they don’t exist. Israel is being attacked for no reason by rockets launched by no one, apparently.
Instead of demanding a ceasefire he calls for “deescalation?” Facing war crimes, he calls on the victims to kindly stop defending themselves.
A State Department spokesperson released this bit of meaningless drivel:
Of course the reporting that we’re seeing overnight is tragic and heartbreaking, but that’s exactly why we continue to pursue our efforts for a negotiated two-state solution and why we continue to pursue a goal of equal measures of prosperity and security and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians.”
Amidst mass slaughter, the US keeps mumbling its incoherent “two-state” mantra, a plan roundly rejected by Israel. “Prosperity?” Amidst the ruins of buildings pulverized by US-built F-35s? “Freedom?” Don’t make me laugh!
This is rich. This is disgusting. This is the bankruptcy of US Middle East policy. None of these presidents and policy mavens has acknowledged that the only way to attain any solution is via pressure. Both Biden and Obama demanded ceasefires during previous bloodbaths. That is the only method which will work now. Otherwise, the Israelis will continue on their merry way, wreaking havoc throughout the region as they pursue their interests without cost or consequence.
For a corrective, read Shibley Telhami’s powerful call for abandonment, once and for all, of two-states in favor of a single democratic state.
Here is yet more maundering, this time from European and Arab states:
The Munich Group will work with all parties to create realistic horizons for the resumption of a credible political process, leading to a just and lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution. 2/2
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) May 11, 2023
Uri Misgav writing in Haaretz puts those world powers electing to sit on their hands to shame. He calls horrible things for what they are:
A black flag waves over the offensive in Gaza. The order to launch precision bombs into families’ apartments, resulting in the certain death of women and children…is a patently illegal order. The pilots who launched the bombs were supposed to refuse it. If they would refuse to serve under [an Israeli] dictatorship, their values and morals are also supposed to inform how they carry out their duties.
The commanders and legal counsel at the Defense Ministry, and the political decision-makers who approved the attack, are responsible for a war crime…This is an offensive of choice, intended…exact vengeance, and not to foil an imminent attack on Israelis.
The US must cease blocking Security Council resolutions condemning Israeli apartheid and war crimes. It must stop using its veto to enable such violence. It must stop being an accessory to murder. It also must cease being a creature of the Israel Lobby, which looms over every decision regarding Israel. The Lobby is holding America hostage. We must liberate ourselves from it.
It is instructive that Erdan crowed about the US and UK preventing a Security Council resolution. The Israeli far-right boasts of Israel’s independence. Its ability to go it alone in the world, needing no one, and defending itself without outside help. It is part of the Zionist ethos of tough self-reliance. We know this is a lie because during every previous war, Israel has relied on the US to re-supply weapons stocks as they run low. These same Israelis profess to hate the US, hate the idea of accepting aid from us, and especially hate Democratic presidents. But it was a Democratic president who saved their ass this time.
So chalk it up to yet another bit of Israeli theater. It reminds me of the beta male gorilla who puffs out his chest and makes threatening noises at the alpha male, who promptly charges him. Upon which the beta male beats a hasty retreat.