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