Israel’s Genocide in Gaza Has Biden’s Green Light

ANGLO AMERICA, 18 Dec 2023

Aaron Maté – TRANSCEND Media Service

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves Israel on 1 Dec 2023. @vmsalama on Twitter

Ignoring US laws and its own token promises, the Biden administration protects Israel’s extermination campaign in Gaza.

11 Dec 2023 – As Israeli warplanes resumed bombing Gaza on December 1st, putting an end to a seven-day pause, Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s motorcade “sped out of his hotel in Israel on its way to the Tel Aviv airport,” the Washington Post reported.

Before exiting Israel, Blinken claimed that he had pressed its government to prioritize “minimizing harm to innocent civilians.” But according to Axios, “Blinken didn’t ask Israel to stop the operation but… said the longer the high-intensity military campaign goes on, the more international pressure will build on both the U.S. and Israel to stop it.”

Additionally, Blinken asked Israel to “make sure that a military operation in southern Gaza doesn’t lead to an even higher amount of civilian casualties.” To Blinken, “minimizing harm” to the people of Gaza apparently means murdering slightly fewer of them.

After more than one week of relentless Israeli attacks on civilian targets, Blinken has been forced to acknowledge that even his token requests were ignored. When it comes to Israel’s assault, Blinken said Thursday, “there does remain a gap between exactly what I said when I was there — the intent to protect civilians — and the actual results that we’re seeing on the ground.”

There is not merely a gap between what Blinken and his colleagues say out loud and the reality on the ground, but an endless chasm.

One month ago, the Biden administration claimed that it was pressuring Israel to use smaller bombs against the densely populated Gaza Strip. “If the United States can get those smaller munitions to Israel, American officials hope Israel will use them to mitigate the risk to civilians,” the New York Times reported on Nov. 4th. That talking point is long forgotten. “In the first month and a half, Israel dropped more than 22,000 guided and unguided bombs on Gaza that were supplied by Washington,” according to US intelligence figures obtained by the Washington Post. During this same period, the US has given Israel at least 15,000 bombs, including 2,000-pound bunker busters. So much for “smaller bombs.”

The Wall Street Journal characterizes the current US approach as “urging its top ally in the region to consider preventing large-scale civilian casualties while supplying many of the munitions deployed.” The US position is therefore akin to an accomplice continuing to re-arm a school shooter’s assault rifle while asking him to consider slaughtering fewer students. The Biden administration is so committed to fueling the carnage in Gaza that it has even invoked rare emergency powers for transferring tank ammunition without Congressional review. “The arms shipment has been put on an expedited track, and Congress has no power to stop it,” the New York Times reports.

The White House’s circumvention of Congressional review is consistent with its refusal to follow US law, which bars weapons transfers to countries that commit serious human rights abuses. The Biden administration has evaded this requirement by simply pretending that it is a helpless bystander, rather than willing accomplice.

As the first phase of Israel’s military campaign expanded to multiple hospitals in mid-November, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted to CNN that his military “is doing an exemplary job trying to minimize civilian casualties,” and “fighting according to international law.”

In an appearance on the same network moments later, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declined to endorse Netanyahu’s self-assessment. Asked if Israel is operating according to the rules of war, Sullivan replied: “I’m not going to sit here and play judge or jury on that question.” Sullivan’s non-response was a tacit admission that he does in fact know the answer: if he believed that was Israel was adhering to international (and US) law, he surely would have said so.

The US decision to not play “judge and jury” continues to this day. According to the Washington Post, administration officials now “acknowledge the United States is not conducting real-time assessments of Israel’s adherence to the laws of war.” The reason is obvious: if the White House were to conduct such assessments, it would be forced to stop supplying Israel with weapons.

The White House commitment to Israel is so devout that it cannot even ensure the paltry levels of humanitarian aid that it has promised. Since the Israeli assault resumed on Dec. 1st, aid “levels have slowed to a less than half of what Israel permitted to enter Gaza from Egypt” during the seven-day truce, the Washington Post reports. Accordingly, the United Nations’ top aid official in Gaza now protests that “we do not have a humanitarian operation in southern Gaza that can be called by that name anymore.” According to the World Food Program’s Carl Skau, “half of the population are starving,” with “nine out of 10 are not eating every day.” With Israel blocking aid and attacking supplies, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor says its policy “can only be described as a war of starvation against civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

To continue the war, the US is also fulfilling its decades-old role of vetoing UN Security Council measures that would constrain Israeli aggression. The latest such vote came Friday, when the US stood alone to block a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire. A ceasefire, US deputy ambassador Robert Wood explained, “would only plant the seeds for the next war.” Given that the current “war” is an outright slaughter of a defenseless Gazan civilian population, the US is therefore arguing that Israel needs to continue exterminating the people of Gaza until there is no one left to resist.

Israel recognizes the US effort on its behalf. “All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S.,” retired IDF Maj. General Yitzhak Brick recently explained. “The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.” The US “tap” is being put to unprecedented use. According to US military historian Robert Pape, “Gaza will also go down as a place name denoting one of history’s heaviest conventional bombing campaigns,” comparable to the carpet bombing of German cities in World War II.

“We need three things from the US: munitions, munitions, and munitions,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of officials, according to Israel Hayom. “There are huge demonstrations in western capitals,” he noted, and “we need to apply counter-pressure” to ensure that US support continues.

Netanyahu is perhaps mistaken on the latter point. As its refusal to put a single limit on US military assistance exemplifies, the Biden administration is under no pressure to stop the mass murder.

The fact that Blinken’s visit to Israel coincided with the death of a predecessor, Henry Kissinger, carries historic resonance.

At a meeting in Jakarta on December 6, 1976 – forty-seven years ago this month – Kissinger and President Gerald Ford gave President Suharto of Indonesia a green light to launch his genocidal invasion of East Timor, which killed an estimated 200,000 people.

According to records of the meeting, Kissinger strategized on how to justify the use of US weaponry, which depended “on how we construe it; whether it is in self-defense or is a foreign operation.” He added: “It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly. We would be able to influence the reaction in America if whatever happens happens after we return.”

Indonesia invaded East Timor the following day, just as Kissinger and Ford returned home. Today, Blinken and the Biden administration are providing Israel with similar military support and rhetorical-diplomatic cover, with one difference. This time, the US is so committed to a client state’s genocidal campaign that it even allowed the carnage to proceed while its green-lighting top diplomat was still on the ground.


Aaron Maté is a journalist with The Grayzone, where he hosts “Pushback.” He is also a contributor to Real Clear Investigations and the temporary co-host of “Useful Idiots.” In 2019, Maté won the Izzy Award for outstanding achievement in independent media for Russiagate coverage in The Nation.

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