Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: U.S. actions in Gaza questioned

Senator Bernie Sanders, referring to the war in Gaza, has said, “It is not just an Israeli war. It is an American war. These are our bombs and military equipment that are being used.” Even as American officials, including President Biden, complain that Israeli leaders have not done enough to protect civilians, Washington as of March 6, 2024, had approved more than 100 separate military sales to Israel since the invasion of Gaza. This includes thousands of “precision-guided” munitions, small diameter bombs, bunker busters, small arms and other lethal aid as reported by U.S. officials to members of Congress in a recent classified briefing. 

In addition to the 3.3 billion dollars in military aid provided to Israel every year, President Biden and the Republicans in Congress support an additional 17.6 billion dollars in military aid. Israel would not be able to conduct its genocide of the Palestinian people without this unconditional aid.

As Americans we need to come to terms with the realities of this war. In the first week of the war, Israel reported that it had dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza. Gaza comprises an area 13 miles long and 7.5 miles wide at its widest point. The Gaza Strip, smaller than Addison County, has been described as the world’s largest open-air prison, with a population of 2.3 million people. Under occupation, Palestinians were denied basic human rights, including access to clean water, food, power, health care, schooling and an ability to move in and out of Gaza without Israeli authorization.

For decades UNWRA, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, helped to fill this void by providing services to 50% of the population. UNRWA became the infrastructure that the people of Gaza depended on. This apartheid has been acknowledged and condemned by the UN numerous times over the decades of Israeli occupation. The Arab states have also condemned the apartheid state and have themselves been at war with Israel over what is commonly called “the Palestinian Problem.” 

President Jimmy Carter called the occupation for what it was, apartheid, and said that without justice for the Palestinians, there would be no peace. Since 1948 the Palestinians have resisted occupation and apartheid, but each military confrontation has resulted in Israel occupying more land. The Carnegie Endowment for International peace told CNBC: “Typically speaking, year in and year out, the number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli forces exceeds Israeli civilians killed by Palestinians several times over. Additionally, since 2008 alone, at least 183,500 Palestinians have been wounded due to conflicts while approximately 11,700 Israelis have been injured, according to UN data.”

Since the massacre of 1,200 innocent Israeli civilians on October 7 by Hamas, Israel has massacred over 31,000 innocent Palestinian civilians. In early February, the U.S. withdrew its financial support of UNRWA. The UNRWA workers as well as journalists, teachers, poets and healthcare workers have been targeted and killed by the Israeli military. The situation gets more and more dire by the day as Israel carries out its genocide. The Palestinians have been told to vacate their homes and move to southern Gaza while their homes, schools, hospitals, clinics are demolished. Now with over a million Palestinians forced to flee to Rafah, the southernmost town in Gaza on the border of Israel and Egypt, Israel has started its ground invasion of Rafah, where they were told to flee. 

Haven’t we seen this forced en masse expulsion of a whole ethnicity by powerful governments before? And yet despite the fact that we have seen this before in world history and have denounced it as barbaric and ethnic cleansing, we are “complicit,” as Bernie says. Amidst the deaths, rubble and destruction, we are seeing further genocidal acts as Palestinians face starvation, widespread disease and impending famine.

On March 11, 2024, Avril Benoit, from Doctors Without Borders USA said it well, “The U.S. plan for a temporary pier in Gaza to increase the flow of humanitarian aid is a glaring distraction from the real problem — Israelis’ indiscriminate and disproportionate military campaign and punishing Siege.”

Despite President Biden’s warnings and scoldings of Israel’s indiscriminate military actions, he continues to recommit U.S. allegiance to Israel regardless of their actions.

Bombs and promises of food and water. These are our gifts to the Palestinians of Gaza.

Linda Brown

Bristol

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