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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 15th, 2009 - 01:46:38

US deserves blame for Gaza slaughter
By Linda S. Heard
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jan 15, 2009, 00:26

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What�s happening in Gaza isn�t war. It is sheer unadulterated horror and because Israel has outlawed foreign journalists and is targeting Palestinian TV reporters, we don�t know the half of it. We do know that Israel has bombed UN schools, hospitals, mosques, and ambulances besides numerous private residences.

We know, too, that 257 children have been killed and 1,080 wounded. And we know from the Red Cross that Israel is preventing rescue workers from reaching bombed sites, which has led to young children being left for days clutching the corpses of their mothers. One cannot even imagine what images those orphaned youngsters will carry throughout their lives or the nightmares they must forever endure.

Yet, members of the US Senate and House of Representatives have overwhelmingly seen fit to proclaim their �vigorous support and unwavering commitment to the welfare, security, and survival of the State of Israel and recognises its right to act in self-defence to protect its citizens against Hamas�s unceasing aggression, as enshrined in the United Nations Charter.�

Just 13 Israelis dead since the start of hostilities (10 of them soldiers) against more than 900 Palestinians (40 percent women and children) and Congress calls this �self-defence.� This nauseating stance on the part of America�s �fine� lawmakers is as disgusting as it is ironic. There is nothing in the UN Charter that supports a bully occupier waging war on a caged population.

Secondly, Israel, which was itself born on the back of a UN General Assembly Resolution passed in November 1947, has ignored 35 UN resolutions, including the most recent which calls for an immediate cessation to the violence.

With this one-sided resolution, Congress has shown itself to be as biased, ruthless and terminally devoid of compassion as the country�s commander-in-chief. There is no doubt that US President George W. Bush gave Israel the green light to do its worst in Gaza; his last gift to the Palestinians to replace the state he had promised them by the end of last year.

The White House and Congress are out of sync with the rest of the world when it comes to Israel�s crimes, and, so, the US must share responsibility for the carnage, which was perpetrated using �Made in the USA� weapons.

Due to Washington�s unconditional support, both monetary, militarily and moral, Israel can do exactly what it likes without repercussions. As long as the US is on its side, it cares not a jot about the millions of placard-carrying ordinary people protesting its hateful actions, in just about every world capital or the mountain of condemnation from human rights organisations and non-governmental organisations.

According to Norwegian doctors working in Gaza�s hospitals and Human Rights Watch, Israel is incinerating its victims with white phosphorous that can burn human skin down to the bone. When used as a smokescreen white phosphorus doesn�t contravene international law, but when unleashed on a civilian population it is considered a banned chemical weapon.

Norwegian medics have also discovered people in their care contaminated with depleted uranium. Other reports suggest Israel�s use of cluster bombs in Gaza and an experimental unconventional weapon called Dime (Dense Inert Metal Explosives) developed by the Pentagon.

Controversial weapons

When Israeli spokespersons are asked whether or not Israel is using such controversial weapons, the diplomats pass questioners to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), while the IDF says it isn�t prepared to discuss details of the operation. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert�s spokesman and master of evasion, Mark Regev, always does this dance before pointing out that Israel doesn�t utilise any weapon banned by the US or NATO.

Regev is exactly right. The US used white phosphorus, depleted uranium and cluster bombs in Iraq. This is the example the so-called �home of the brave� has set and is one that Israel gleefully follows. Likewise, Israel�s repeated violations of the Geneva Conventions merely reflect the Bush administration�s flagrant disrespect of international conventions.

Most Americans have no idea of the true picture primarily because their media faithfully sticks to the Israeli narrative. There is no video of dead Palestinian children on US networks. Moreover, American newspapers that carry gruesome pictures of Palestinian suffering (gruesome by their standards) ensure they are kept off the front pages.

Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who courageously joined international peace activists on the SS Dignity, bound for Gaza with medical aid until it was rammed three times by the Israeli navy, sums up this dereliction of journalistic standards. She says a CNN reporter that was also on board had to argue with producers who preferred to run with Israel�s distorted story rather than a firsthand account from their own employee on the crippled vessel.

In conclusion, whilst railing at Israel we should include the US in the same putrid pot. President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office within days, says he will make the Middle East a priority. But whatever personal views he might hold, the stranglehold in which the pro-Israel lobby holds Congress and US public opinion will equate, in all probability, to more of the same.

The US and Israel represent the head and the tail of the same snake that is destroying this region. Until the serpent is sliced into two, Israel will remain a terrorist entity prettily cloaked in Stars and Stripes.

Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at

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