Why Obama’s Hands Are Tied Over Gaza

On the day as the White House said the Israeli military should do more to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza, the US confirmed it had agreed to supply the same military with more ammunition.

The Obama administration has hardened its criticism of the shelling of a UN school in Gaza calling it “indefensible” and saying there is little doubt the Israelis were responsible.

“We need our allies in Israel,” said administration press secretary Josh Earnest “to live up to the high standards they have set themselves”. Meanwhile those same allies were being invited to help themselves to more of the US arms stockpiles in Israel.

Duplicitous double standards or another sign of the complexity of US-Israeli relations? Depends on your point of view.

There is no doubt the Obama administration is concerned and frustrated by Israel’s conduct. There is also no doubt the administration will continue to support it to the hilt for as long as required.

Frustrated not least because of the trashing of the US Secretary of State John Kerry by Israeli cabinet ministers and media after his efforts to broker a ceasefire.

The Obama administration has not hidden its fury at the personal attacks on America’s chief diplomat by senior members of the Netanyahu government.

The mounting civilian suffering is a concern to the US, for humanitarian and diplomatic reasons.

What’s left of America’s standing in the Arab world is further undermined by gruesome pictures of slaughter caused by US-supplied weaponry being fired into Gaza.

A lot has been made of the dysfunctional relationship of the two countries’ leaders.

Bibi and Barack have had more than their share of differences, and none of the political intimacy of George W Bush and Ariel Sharon.

But these days Israel can take US support for granted far more than it could back then.

When Ariel Sharon wanted to send his military into Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank in 2002 he personally asked Bush to let him do so and give him enough time to finish the job.

The destruction in Jenin is nothing compared to what Israel has wrought in Gaza and it has done so without needing to ask for American permission.

There are many reasons for US support for Israel, some historic, others more current.

The US-Israeli relationship is one of the fundamental constants of American foreign policy in the Middle East. With a region in ferment and in a state of flux, that is more important to Washington than ever.

The Israeli lobby is also hugely powerful in the US.

Capitol Hill has been called Israeli-occupied territory; such is the sway the Jewish state holds over US politicians.

Multifarious pro-Israel organisations, millions given to Israel supporters at election time and masterful use of the media all mean that is unlikely to change.

Israel has the same hold on everyday Americans as it has on politicians.

US public opinion has been overwhelmingly sympathetic to Israel since the second intifada when the Palestinians began blowing up women and children on buses and since 9/11, which hardened US attitudes to violent Muslims of any description.

More often than not the US media is inclined to accept the Israeli narrative.

Coverage of tunnels out of Gaza is a case in point.

When Israeli military PR shifted the focus from rockets to tunnels, US coverage followed.

Too much talk of rockets is a threat to Israel economically now the country’s main airport is within range.

Israel now claims Hamas tunnels are their main casus belli.

There has been little questioning of Israeli claims they are a terrorist threat to women and children, when thus far they have only been used by Hamas militants for military purposes to target Israeli soldiers.

US support of Israel is mirrored by the attitude of some Arab nations in the region.

Egypt’s recent ceasefire plan angered Hamas by including many of Israel’s demands and few of the Palestinians’.

The Saudis and Jordanians are also quietly cheering the Jewish state from the sidelines.

Since the last major Israeli operation in Gaza the faultlines have shifted in the Middle East because of the deepening chasm among Muslims, between Sunnis and Shia.

On one side, Iran and its allies, the Assad regime in Damascus, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

On the other Tehran’s enemies in the Gulf and Egypt who are in no mood to help out Iran’s Sunni allies, Hamas in Gaza.

While much of the Middle East remains silent as the carnage continues in Gaza, Israel will assume it is carrying out the wishes of at least some of its neighbours.

Washington will continue dishing out carefully worded criticism if Israel keeps facing claims it has shelled children sleeping in UN buildings.

But it is not going to be reducing its support for its closest ally in an increasingly troubled region.

If the article suppose to have a video or a photo gallery and it does not appear on your screen, please Click Here

31 July 2014 | 11:42 pm – Source: orange.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.