The Pentagon announced its approval on July 30 for unlocking a huge stockpile of ammunitions for use by the Israeli Defense Forces. It came as the IDF continued to pummel civilians inside the Gaza Strip, as the death toll neared 1400 people — a majority of whom are civilians, including almost 300 children.
Worldwide condemnation over Israel's attack on Gaza has reached previously unseen levels. The US government, however has stated that its commitment to aiding Israel will not waver, despite accusations Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza and international calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said of the new ammunition shipment: “The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability.”
According to reports the Israeli military had requested access to a “little-known stockpile of ammunition” maintained by the Department of Defense inside Israel for “emergency” purposes. The sale was approved just three days later on July 23.
Rhania Khalek, writing writing for Electronic Intifada on July 31, reported: “Asked whether the defense department -- the Pentagon -- is concerned that its weapons might be used to harm innocent Palestinians given that the overwhelmingly majority of those killed in Gaza have been civilians, Kirby replied that the US is troubled by civilian casualties and is actively pushing for a ceasefire.
“The spokesman also issued an unprompted reaffirmation of support for ‘Israel’s right to defend itself,’ and praised the Israeli army’s supposed moral superiority, saying ‘Unlike Hamas, which is firing rockets from populated areas and indiscriminately targeting civilians in Israel, the IDF takes measures to limit civilian casualties.’”
At the same time as the US rushed arms to Israel, the chorus of international outcry chorus of international outcry over the situation in Gaza has grown in recent days, as Israeli shelling and air strikes escalated.
The IDF targeted the main power station in Gaza on July 29, a UN-administered refugee shelter that killed at least 20 people on July 30, and continued targeting of homes in densely populated areas.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the bombing of the UN school, which was acting as a shelter, an “outrageous” act that could have no possible justification.
“Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children,” Ban said in his harshest statement to date against Israeli action.
UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said: “For 23 days, too many children in Gaza have lived with fear and desperation. Water taps have run dry and raw sewage is running in the streets, while health workers try to save lives with little electricity and insufficient medicines.
“For 23 days, children in Israel have lived with the threat of indiscriminate attacks targeting their homes and neighbourhoods.”
Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi condemned the US government for its continued military and diplomatic support of Israel.
Writing in The New Yorker on July 30, Khalidi said: “In this surreal, upside-down vision of the world, it almost seems as if it is the Israelis who are occupied by the Palestinians, and not the other way around.
“In this skewed universe, the inmates of an open-air prison are besieging a nuclear-armed power with one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world.”
[Abridged from Common Dreams.]