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Recruiting to Kill -- It Is Not Just an Israeli War on Gaza

By       Message Ramzy Baroud       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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Cross-posted from Palestine Chronicle


US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) meets with Israel's President Shimon Peres in Tel Aviv on July 23, 2014
(Image by (AA via MEE))
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To some, US secretary of state John Kerry may have appeared to be a genuine peacemaker as he floated around ideas during a Cairo visit on 25 July about a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian fighters in Gaza. But behind his measured diplomatic language, lies a truth not even America's top diplomat can easily hide. His country is very much involved in fighting this dirty war on Gaza, which has killed over 1,050, injured thousands more, and destroyed much of an already poor, dilapidated space that was barely inhabitable to begin with.

US War on Gaza

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US economic and military aid to Israel is measured annually in the billions, and the US government continues to be Israel's strongest and most ardent ally and political benefactor. In fact, the US-Israel "special relationship" is getting more "special" by the day even though Israel is sinking further into the abyss of a well-deserved isolation.

True, there are some, even in the justice for Palestinians camp, who speak of how exceptional and fair the Barack Obama Administration has been in comparison to its predecessors. However, they neglect the fact that aside from a few particularly strong-worded statements, Obama has been a dedicated stalwart of Israel and copper bottoming its vision of its security by going as far as defending Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" war -- the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza.

On 5 March, 2014, a Congressional bill -- The United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act (H.R. 938, S. 462) -- declared that Israel is a "major strategic partner of the United States." The sweeping bill covered many programs from energy, to "research pilot programs" between Israel and the US Department of Homeland Security. What is most important to note is that Congress now requires additional reports that would update the government on the US' commitment to Israel's Qualitative Military Edge (QME).

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This is merely one of many bills and government initiatives that continue to give Israel a special undeserved status. But this military edge is used mostly to maintain Israel's illegal military occupation. Most of Israel's victims in its latest war on Gaza are civilians who are killed by US weapons. There is no escaping the fact that the US is a partner in the Israeli crimes in Gaza and the rest of Palestine. Without a complete reversal of US attitude towards Israel, the US will continue to lack any credibility as a peacemaker or a mere ceasefire mediator.

But America's support for Israel is crossing new red lines. There are reportedly over 1,000 US citizens fighting in the Israeli army according to reports that are now resurfacing due to the recent killing of two US-Israeli soldiers -- Max Steinberg, 24, of California, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, 21, of Texas. Like the rest of the IDF soldiers killed in recent fighting, they were killed while invading parts of the besieged Gaza Strip. But the number must be an understatement since some of Israel's most ardent Jewish settlers are also American, and happen to be armed and dangerous. Although this is causing a bit of a media buzz, there is no political crisis. Instead, only condolences are offered to the families of the Americans fighting the genocidal war on Gaza.

EU Duplicity

The US is not alone in this. European governments display an incredible amount of hypocrisy as they continue to utilise doublespeak in their approach to Middle East conflicts in general, and the situation in Palestine in particular. The pressure mounting from European civil society makes it a bit more challenging for EU governments to endow Israel with the same unconditional love and support as that bestowed upon it by the US. EU hypocrisy is too palpable even for clever politicians to hide. The British government is shamelessly on the Israeli side, even while entire families in Gaza are being pulverized by western weapons and military technology. Meanwhile, the French government imposed a ban to prevent French society from showing its solidarity with the besieged and massacred Palestinians in Gaza.

But why ban mere demonstrations of solidarity while France, the US and other Western governments are allowing their Jewish citizens to be enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) which is actively killing Palestinian civilians? Shouldn't that be a much greater concern to the duplicitous French government than some protesters chanting some slogans during a solidarity rally that may or may not be deemed anti-Semitic?

Indeed, not only are western governments providing Israel with arms, funds and political cover to sustain its occupation and war, but they are also contributing thousands of military experts and boots on the ground in order to fight a war in Gaza where war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed on an hourly basis.

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Consider this: While British citizens fighting against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad are being detained and persecuted, British citizens who are fighting for Israel are not. The British government is turning a blind eye to what should be considered a criminal act.

Belgium Double-standards

Western hypocrisy on this is as profound as the phenomenon of westerners killing Palestinians, which some are now calling "Israeli Jihadists."

Belgium also stands accused of allowing such criminality. Although Belgian civil society is one of Palestine's strongest supporters, their government is cloaked with unmistakable dishonesty. Many Belgian citizens are also taking part in Israel's lethal wars in Gaza and military occupation of the occupied territory, with little or no protest from their government. The recruitment of Belgians is mostly done through the same organisations that recruited thousands of foreign fighters for the IDF. Think of them as terrorist headhunting organizations that operate in a perfectly legal environment.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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