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In an escalation of the stakes against US policy on Gaza, an anti-war protestor draped in a Palestinian flag, poured gasoline on himself and lit a match. He self-immolated outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta. News reports offer little more that that. Except for the astonishing statement by the Israeli consul general:
“We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building,” the consul general of Israel to the southeastern U.S., Anat Sultan-Dadon, told ABC News. “It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way. The sanctity of life is our highest value.”
That last sentence has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The “sanctity of life.” She means all lives except Palestinians. There’s no sanctity as far as they are concerned. There’s only hate and genocide.
This is a perfect reflection of the toxicity of Israel’s permanent war mentality. The whole world is against us. Hates us. All of us. All Jews. But especially us. Given that we face nothing but enemies, we are justified in doing whatever it takes, whatever we want, whatever we deem necessary to defend ourselves (ie. advance our national interests). Israel never takes any consideration of what the rest of the world might think of what it does, or why it might think that.
A man is willing to sacrifice his life on behalf of his murdered brethren & sisters in Gaza. And all this cruel, heartless so-called diplomat can say is he was driven by hate. Suicide is not an act of hate. It is an act of desperation. It is a demand for change. A demand for relief. The victim takes on suffering in order to stop greater suffering.
Upping the ante in the anti-war campaign
Rather than offering a statement of regret, Sultan-Dadon has further enraged the American public. Even more importantly, faced with this attempted suicide (the victim is in critical condition with third degree burns), members of Congress must face the cold, hard truth that the situation in Gaza is never going to change or end without more decisive action, more decisive opposition–to Israeli genocide.
If Democrats in Congress don’t up the pressure on the White House for an about-face on policy, there will be more self-immolations. If we doubt for a second that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands more Palestinian-Americans willing to die for their country, and do so publicly and dramatically-we are delusional. How many more Atlantas will it take?
Change is coming incrementally: a majority of Americans now oppose Israel’s war in Gaza; 40 House members now call for a ceasefire; Democratic senators are calling, for the first time, for placing conditions on US military aid to Israel–even as as we’re supplying Israel with some of our most lethal weapons:
The U.S. has provided Israel with large bunker buster bombs, among tens of thousands of other weapons and artillery shells…U.S. officials said.
The surge of arms, including roughly 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells, began shortly after the Oct. 7 attack and has continued in recent days, the officials said. The U.S. hasn’t previously disclosed the total number of weapons it sent to Israel, nor the transfer of 100 BLU-109, 2,000-pound bunker buster bombs.
The airlift of hundreds of millions of dollars in munitions, primarily on C-17 military cargo planes flying from the U.S. to Tel Aviv, shows the diplomatic challenge facing the Biden administration. The U.S. is urging its top ally in the region to consider preventing large-scale civilian casualties while supplying many of the munitions deployed.
…Among the [other] munitions the U.S. has transferred to Israel are more than 5,000 Mk82 unguided or “dumb” bombs, more than 5,400 Mk84 2,000 pound warhead bombs, around 1,000 GBU-39 small diameter bombs, and approximately 3,000 JDAMs, which turn unguided bombs into guided “smart” bombs…Some security analysts say the weapons transfers could undercut the administration’s pressure on Israel to protect civilians.
Gee, d’ya think? How’s that for hypocrisy? As we call on Israel to stop killing so many Gazans, we provide it with the capacity to kill tens of thousands more.
The movement in US policy has happened at a glacial pace. At first, Biden was all-in for Israel. $16-billion in military aid including bunker busters, missiles, etc. Then, 13 members of Congress called for a ceasefire. So Biden was forced to go to Israel and lecture the security cabinet about US failures in Vietnam and Iraq. That had no effect. So US officials started calling for humanitarian aid and observance of international law. They did all of this half-heartedly of course, and it had absolutely no impact on Israel’s generals or political leaders.
But after the ceasefire ended and Israel resumed the slaughter in Gaza, a light bulb went off in Biden’s head: hey, Israel isn’t going to do the right thing. It isn’t going to listen to me. All my ballyhoo about the positive results we’re getting from private diplomacy–none of it worked. So what’s Plan B?
There’s another reason why US policy has now turned on a dime: finally Biden realizes his poll numbers are in the toilet. He’s losing to Trump in every major opinion survey. His support dipped 11% in a single month. He faces losing the election because he stood by while Israel slaughtered Palestinians. He finally understands he better do something, and do it quick.
Go to Plan B
“Under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza,” Harris said in a meeting on Saturday with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt, according to a readout of the remarks.
“The United States is unequivocal: International humanitarian law must be respected. Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed,” the vice president said in a press conference, adding that “the scale of civilian suffering and the images and videos coming from Gaza are devastating.”