Cross-posted from Consortium News
By sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the U.S. Congress, President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.
An individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity in the ICC if he or she "aids, abets or otherwise assists" in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, "including providing the means for its commission."
During Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces again used the Dahiye Doctrine, which, according to the UN Human Rights Council [Goldstone] Report, involves "the application of disproportionate force and causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations."
According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2007, the Bush Administration agreed to provide Israel with $30 billion in military assistance from 2009 to 2018, provided in annual increments of $3.1 billion. During his March 2013 visit to Israel, Obama pledged that the U.S. would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress.
Since 2012, the U.S. has sent $276 million worth of weapons and munitions to Israel, not including exports of military transport equipment and high technologies. From January to May 2014, the U.S. transferred to Israel almost $27 million for rocket launchers, $9.3 million worth of parts of guided missiles and nearly $762,000 for bombs, grenades and munitions of war.
On July 20, 2014, Israel requested additional ammunition, including 140mm tank rounds and 40mm illumination grenades, and the Defense Department approved the sale three days later. It came from a $1 billion stockpile of ammunition the U.S. military stores in Israel for that country's use; it is called War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel.
In early August 2014, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed, and Obama signed, an appropriation of $225 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system, which has also been used in Gaza. The Senate vote was unanimous. With no debate, the House of Representatives voted 395 to 8 to approve the deal.
Here is a summary of the crimes, as defined in the Rome Statute, that Israeli leaders have committed and U.S. leaders have aided and abetted:
(1) Willful killing: Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians (more than 400 children and over 80 percent civilians). Israel used 155-millimeter artillery, which, according to Human Rights Watch, is "utterly inappropriate in a densely populated area, because this kind of artillery is considered accurate if it lands anyplace within a 50-meter radius."
(2) Willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health: Nearly 10,000 people, 2,500 of them children, have been wounded. Naban Abu Shaar told the Daily Beast that the dead bodies from what appeared to be a "mass execution" in Khuza'a looked like they were "melted" and were piled on top of each other; assault rifle bullet casings found in the house were marked "IMI" (Israel Military Industries).
UNICEF said the Israeli offensive has had a "catastrophic and tragic impact" on children in Gaza; about 373,000 children have had traumatic experiences and need psychological help. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said: "There's a public health catastrophe going on. You know, most of the medical facilities in Gaza are non-operational."
(3) Unlawful and wanton, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity: Tens of thousands of Palestinians have lost their homes. More than 1,300 buildings were destroyed and 752 were severely damaged. Damage to sewer and water infrastructure has affected two-thirds of Gazans. On July 20, Israeli forces virtually flattened the small town of Khuza'a; one man counted 360 shell attacks in one hour.
Reconstruction of Gaza is estimated to cost $6 billion. Israel shrunk Gaza's habitable land mass by 44 percent, establishing a 3 km "no-go" zone for Palestinians; 147 square miles of land will be compressed into 82 square miles. Oxfam described the level of destruction as "outrageous ... much worse than anything we have seen in previous [Israeli] military operations."
(4) Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or a civilian the rights of fair and regular trial: Nearly 2,000 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces during July 2014, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies. Prisoners include 15 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, about 240 children, dozens of women, journalists, activists, academics and 62 former prisoners previously released in a prisoner exchange.