FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

In the Business of Killing Civilians

While reports slowly spread that President Obama is secretly behind the scenes attempting to end the latest escalation of Israel’s war on Palestine, his public position is clear: the United States is in lock step with Israel’s bloody aggression.

“There’s not a country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Obama said while touring Thailand. “We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on peoples’ homes.”

The mounting Palestinian death toll alone counters Obama’s assertion that Israel is simply playing Good Samaritan defense. As of late Monday, 105 Palestinian civilians were already dead (compared to three Israelis) and countless more injured following five days of intense bombings, with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowing he was ready at any moment to “significantly expand” the war. While most news outlets talk of the “hundreds” of bombs launched by Hamas militants, what’s often left out is that Israel has fired over 1000 murderous strikes of its own into the heart of the populated Occupied Territories, causing far more death and destruction than Hamas could ever inflict.

And murderous these strikes are – so murderous in fact that a few in the mainstream press are finally paying attention. CBS News even ran a feature with the headline, “Frantic diplomacy as Gaza Death toll soars.” The powerful lead photo in the piece depicted Palestinian mourners cradling the bodies of dead kids, victims of an Israeli missile that struck a building in Gaza City last week and killed five children belonging to a single family.

It’s this sort of disproportionate violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people that severely discredits Israeli’s hollow rationale for bombing homes, sports facilities and other public infastructure in the name of self-preservation. Other than President Obama’s open embrace of Israel’s targeting of civilians, the country has very little international support for its actions. Even British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that an escalation of Palestinian deaths would diminish its already languishing sympathy among allies.

Let’s be clear: civilian deaths don’t come by accident, they are a central tenet of Israel military policy.

No question that “strategic” strikes have collateral damage. But these deaths are not only avoidable, they are anticipated. No bombings means no maimed and mutilated bodies. Knowing full well that their missile attacks will kill civilians, Israel is directly targeting all Palestinians with its bombing campaign.

Why is there no outrage echoing throughout the White House or the halls of Congress? Perhaps it has a little something to do with the fact that like Israel’s right-to-strike – especially when these strikes murder innocents – is the exact same policy Obama employs with the U.S.’s extensive drone program.

In “Living Under Drones”, a study released last September by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law, the authors found “significant evidence that U.S. drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.” They also accused the Obama administration of misrepresenting drone strikes as “a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the U.S. safer,” which the report of course stated couldn’t be further from the truth.

Surely the same can be said for Israel’s duplicitous air assault that has killed an average of 20 Palestinians a day for nearly a week. Tragically, these civilian deaths will continue to be dehumanized and labeled as “accidental” as long as collateral damage is viewed as an error rather than the true intention of U.S. and Israeli defense policy.

Joshua Frank, Managing Editor of CounterPunch, is the author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, and of Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is now available in Kindle format. He can be reached at brickburner@gmail.com.

More articles by:

JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
Jeff Mackler
Capitalism is the Virus!
Andrew Moss
Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19
Farzana Versey
Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic
Will Solomon
In the New Dystopia
Dean Baker
The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting
Dr. Leo Lopez, III
We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider
Rashid Nuri
Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?
Mark Luskus
Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP
Volker Franke
The Virus That May Bring us Together
Mitchell Zimmerman
A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice
Olfat al-Kurd
COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza
Eileen Appelbaum - Roesmary Batt
Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms
Nabri Ginwa
Carcinogens
Jill Richardson
Efficiency vs. Resilience
Lee Ballinger
Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
David Yearsley
Beset by Bach
Robert Koehler
Developing a Vaccine Against War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail