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Analysis: It is not just an Israeli war on Gaza
Published Thursday 31/07/2014 (updated) 04/08/2014 20:52
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Israeli soldiers sit on a Merkava tank near the Israeli-Gaza border
on July 19 (AFP Jack Guez)

Ramzy Baroud is an internationally-syndicated columnist, author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold Story.

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 July 25 about a ceasefire between Israel and resisting Palestinian fighters in Gaza.

But behind his measured diplomatic language, there is a truth not even America's top diplomat can easily hide. His country is very much involved in fighting this dirty war on Gaza that has killed over 1,350, injured thousands more, and destroyed much of an already poor, dilapidated space that is barely inhabitable to begin with.

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 oddly 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 on behalf of Israel and its security by going as far as defending Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" war -- the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza.

But America's support for Israel is crossing new redlines. 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 most of the Israeli 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.

The US is not alone in this. European governments display an incredible amount of hypocrisy as they continue to utilize 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 military 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.

An Israeli artillery gun fires a shell toward Gaza on July 30 (AFP Jack Guez)

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.

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 organizations that recruited thousands of foreign fighters for the Israeli military. Think of them as terrorist headhunting organizations that operate in a perfectly legal environment.

Recently, Mayor of Antwerp, Bart De Wever, called on the Belgian government to cancel dual citizenship of "Syria jihadis." His call was made during a recent visit to a synagogue in Brussels after four people were shot by an alleged French-born citizen suspected of having spent time fighting in Syria. The country's Minister of Justice Annemie Turtelboom took the initiative further by calling on EU countries to block jihadists from going to Syria, suggesting the creation of a list of all known "Syria jihadists."

But what about the known Belgians that are fighting, killing and committing war crimes on behalf of Israel? Why is the Belgian government keeping silent regarding those accused war criminals in the Israeli army, with no statement yet issued, even after the killing of Belgian citizen Eytan Barak?

The same questions apply to other western governments. The hyper-sensitive French government turned a blind eye when a French citizen was killed during the Gaza onslaught. While the Israeli daily Haaretz reported on the killing of staff Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, most of the French media and government have looked the other way.

The very government that continues to make life difficult for African immigrants in France, sees no problem of its own immigrants taking part in foreign wars that are in violation of its own citizenship laws.

Western involvement in the war on the Palestinian people is indeed going beyond the usual and known support of funds, military technology and economic aid, to actual participation in the slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. This is not a matter than can be addressed within the larger argument of Western double standards in Israel and Palestine, but an urgent issue that demands immediate attention.

It is one thing to fail to stop war crimes from being committed, it is a whole other level of failure to defend, finance and take active part in carrying out these war crimes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not the only leader culpable of Gaza’s bloodbath; others in western capitals should also be held to account.

The views expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily reflect Ma'an News Agency's editorial policy.
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1 ) Nakba_D / Canada
31/07/2014 12:20
Good article. Canada too allows its citizens to go to Israel to fight with the IOF. The right-wing Zionist paper The National Post even brags about it! http://tinyurl.com/ow4ovvo But when teenager Omar Khadr did the same by going to Afghanistan he was detained in Gitmo for over a decade then finally sent back to Canada where he remains behind bars to this day. The double standard is startling. The islamophobia is glaring.

2 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
31/07/2014 13:04
Amazing how Baroud can write an entire op-ed about Gaza and not use the word "Hamas" even once. It shows how deep his head is buried in the sand that he ignores the fact that Iran and Qatar (and now Turkey) are all clamoring to fight their war in Gaza. Who funds and arms Hamas and PIJ? Who trains the Hamas fighters for suicide missions and soldiers who fire imported rockets at Israeli civilians? Baroud is being dishonest with us.

3 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
31/07/2014 14:09
General Jim Jones of the United States Army appeared on CNN and explained that war is messy and once the shooting starts there will be collateral damage to civilians. Hamas wanted this war, initiated the war, refuse an unconditional cease fire, broke temporary cease fires, and refuses to stop firing missiles into Israel and attacking Israelis. Hamas can surrender at any time and stop the self inflicted damage to Gaza.

4 ) Yehuda / France
31/07/2014 14:43
the fact is that the citizens from western countries are first and foremost JEWISH before they are french, british or whatever... and so they're love for Israel is stronger than anything, u must understand that above any other people, muslims are the same way with their religion, so don't be hypocrit, gaza situation is very sad and a lot of civilians are dying, but you must remember who ACCEPTED the partition in 1947 and who REFUSED and has ever since tried to destroy us by attacking us

5 ) Yehuda / France
31/07/2014 14:44
Israel is acting in an agressive way today, because they know who they have in front of them and history has proven it (yom kippur war etcc) Im sorry to say the arab world is the biggest responsible for the current situation !

6 ) Yehuda / France
31/07/2014 14:47
Today because of repercussions this conflict has on our "western countries" , our synaguogues are attacked, our sisters are scared to go out, we live in jewish -muslim mixed neighborhoods, this is not a situation, u cant act like that towards people because of what their countrie is doing to your "cousins", or if you do, then dont blame us to leave the country and go to Israel to feel safer, YOU ARE THE BIGGEST SIONIST !

7 ) gadi / Argentina
31/07/2014 16:25
The american and other nationals fighting in the IDF are israeli jews with dual nationality.Not religeous jews but part of the jewish nation,the jewish people.Those europeans fighting in Siria or Afghanistan have only the sunni way of islam in common,they are not sirians or afghans. If you don?t understand this you don?t understand anything.

8 ) Levi / USA
31/07/2014 17:39
Arabs need to sit on their asses and start to learn how to live in peace with each other and with their neighbors. The so-called Arab Spring shows the true nature of Arab culture and religion: oppression, aggression. chaos, and death. Look at all the Arab countries at war with each other today: Libya, Algeria, Egypt. Syria, Iraq, Gaza, etc. When will their stupidity end and give place to quiet, peace, and order around?

9 ) Mel / USA
31/07/2014 18:11
Excellant article. Brave enough to equate Zionist "Jewish-only"Absolutist terrorism in PLURALISTIC Palestine with our'war on terror'Muslim-extremists & terrorist Christian-extremists.Any extremism always 'struggles'to CONTROL ALL.Usually fringe groups albeit patroned by BIG MONEY serving OTHER interests:Caliphate-ists,Erez Zion Yisrael-ists &Armageddonists etc.They're essentially the same.Funded FRINGE extremists.Israeli Zionist terroism differs not from Taliban,AQ,ISIS,ISIL.Opportunist terror!

10 ) IBS / UK
31/07/2014 18:21
You miss other supporters of the Israelis- namely the Arab governments. Both Egypt and Saudi support Israel in this war. But if the whole world supports Israel, maybe you're wrong. You remind me the joke of the person who hears on the radio that on the highway he is driving there is someone who drives in the wrong direction. Then he says: "just one? I see dozens of such drivers". No one in the western world accepts what Hamas is doing. This is why this round they support Israel.

11 ) Arnold / Canada
31/07/2014 18:26
Omar Khadr Is a Canadian citizen that went to Afghanistan with his family and while there got involved in the war. He fought on the Taliban side and was accused of killing an American soldier. Whether you like it or not the USA and Canada are allies and were on the same side during the Afhan campaign. Canada and israel are allies. Therefore Canadians going to Israel to join the IDF are still fighting on the same side. NOT A DOUBLE STANDARD !

12 ) Cannot hide truth forever / Usa
31/07/2014 18:55
Then it is fair for Muslims everywhere to do what they need to do.

13 ) Maureen / Australia
31/07/2014 19:08
Australia is another one! And like other Western countries, claim to be Christian! With all the wars and double standards, none are Christian!

14 ) Nate / USA
31/07/2014 20:54
There he goes again. Brian Cohen the LIAR and SAVAGE along with Yehuda and the so called Israeli government. Your repeated lies no longer are working. The world will hunt down all those ZioNazis of IsraHell and their supporter until justice is done. Start running now boy. WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

15 ) ihsaninnab / usa
31/07/2014 21:51
UIf you look at the history off Jewish people always great wars and we're they go

16 ) some one / some where
01/08/2014 00:57
you are lossing your credit as you call yourself analyst as you see one side who start this war and who has agenda to destroy a country and who is shooting as arafa said fire cracker on civilian in other country WHO? Mr.Baroud

17 ) 3 / 4
01/08/2014 04:35
They didn't start it.as usual air strikes and Hamas arrests did. And where are they going to fight? U do know that gaza is a tiny strip filled with ppl and more that 40% has been destroyed. I'm not for armed conflict but it was no surprise when it happened.

18 ) Florence / planet earth
01/08/2014 04:48
Israel is acting with gross hostility because it doesn't want a Palestinian State nor does it want to incorporate what would be a Palestinian State into Israel. The fact that more children are being killed than ever before is a testament to the desire that future generations not be born. This is a chilling reality and one that was unacceptable in Europe during the ethnic cleansing of Jews and is unacceptable now in Gaza during the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

19 ) Igor / Russia
01/08/2014 08:30
This writing may be OK on comments level but very bad for international level columnist. Absolutely biased and not interesting article.

20 ) Augustos Sharon / Chile
01/08/2014 10:20
The problem is that your article does not address the main issue. Hamas ruling Gaza is a terrorist organization, was elected by the people of Gaza knowing what perverted their ideas. Everyone in Gaza agree with Hamas and held missiles against Israel. Hamas and the people of Gaza want to destroy Israel. It is clear that Israel will not allow this to happen before destroy Gaza to the ground. The problem of Gaza called Hamas and not Israel. Israel withdrew from Gaza for years.

21 ) Augustus Sharon / Chile
01/08/2014 10:23
(continue) The issue is clear; Gazans must repudiate Hamas before it is destroyed, but Israel destroy Hamas and all who support him. I hope for your honor to publish this comment.

22 ) Zabedee / Mars
01/08/2014 13:17
#18 Try telling that to world leaders who support Israel's right to defend themselves, demonise Muslims as fanatical jihadists & allow their own (non Muslim) citizens to join a "just war" fighting for the IDF against terrorism.

23 ) Carlos / usa
01/08/2014 18:57
Very few intelligent comments. israel has big pockets to pay these trolls. The thoughtful comments with truth in them are; 18 ) Florence / planet earth 17 ) 3 / 4 If I understood correctly. 14 ) Nate / USA 13 ) Maureen / Australia She always has great points. 12 ) Cannot hide truth forever / Usa 10 ) IBS / UK 9 ) Mel / USA, Always to the point and well supported by facts

24 ) Adnan Rathore / Pakistan
01/08/2014 19:16
Just study history. Israel atrocities started much before ths creation of Hamas. If a person occupy your home then your reaction is normal. Killing of children, women, elders, targeting of ambulances, hospitals, un schools, places of worships has no justifications whats so ever. Why only Israel nuclear facility is exumpted from inspection. Why why are there double standards.

25 ) mel kamell / malaysia
01/08/2014 20:04
The issue is clear..israel must back off from Gaza...,otherwise morally...Israel will be hated.. /punished by the whole world.. * time wll tell..!!!

26 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/08/2014 01:30
Do Americans who fight for the IDF have dual US/Israel citizenship? That might explain their dual (not competing) loyalties. As for mercenaries: they have no loyalty, they fight for any side who pays them. One thing to remember also about Jihadists who go fight in Syria or Lebanon or Afghanistan etc., they come back home ready to use those skills against their adopted land. That's a big no-non, and the UK and US gov't SHOULD ban them from returning.

27 ) David / USA
05/08/2014 03:28
Nobody here knows anything about the region's history. Until you do, commenting here is useless. It's nice to see Maan give space to morons, idiots, and fools with their simplistic and often inaccurate 'facts.' But that's never bothered Maan before! The Maan Motto: 'Opinion Before Knowledge!'

28 ) Iain Cameron / New Zealand
05/08/2014 10:56
Hamas after the Oslo Accords and toppling Fatah funded and armed by the Sharon Government refused to be a puppet of Israel. After they won a fair and just election in Gaza watched by independent monitors who verified their legitimate win. Israel and America then deemed them terrorists...surprise,surprise. No reason for Palestinians to drop support of Hamas at all. They fight the illegal Occupation.

29 ) Jude Richvale / USA
05/08/2014 21:05
"Israeli Jihadists"? what ridiculous nonsense! This war was started due to attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas using its rockets. The Israeli response was defensive. A truce was offered to Hamas several times and they even agreed on some. They either did not agree to a truce or broke it after they agreed. The true Jihadists are Hamas who are using their own brother and sister Palestinians as human shields. These are the the only cowardly Jihadists in this war, a stupid war they can not win.

30 ) JoeFattal / USA
07/08/2014 00:49
The war was on Hamas in Gaza. But Israel wage a war on the civilians in Gaza, not Hamas. They didn't want to take Hamas out, they planning to use them when negotiation starts as an obstacle for peace.

31 ) Outlier / USA
09/08/2014 23:22
Actually, it is a Hamas war on Israel. Some folks refuse to learn and change. As for how it is going, the photos tell the story. Gazans will not remember this period fondly.

32 ) mel kamell / malaysia
10/08/2014 02:52
Uncivilized..Israel/zionist...in modern world,..cowardly..& no ball.!! Good brain without heart.. creat monsters nation...!! Hell in the world & day after.. waiting for U all...,the truths wll prevailed..!!
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