Biden’s Creeping “Red Line” Allows More Israeli Atrocities in Gaza

By Khalil Al-Wazir and Dan Kovalik, LA Progressive, June 9, 2024

What has transpired is a horrifying series of massacres against civilians, which the Biden Administration continues to try to downplay, excuse, and explain away.

For some time, President Joe Biden has claimed that there are limits to US support for Israel, that he cares about the loss of Palestinian life and that certain Israeli conduct (e.g., an invasion of Rafah, an Israeli-designated “safe zone”) would result in the loss of US backing. The events of the past weeks have demonstrated that none of these claims are in fact true.

The atrocities of Israel in Gaza continue to mount and become more egregious by the day. A month ago, on May 6, 2024, Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement that looked a lot like the ceasefire agreement now being promoted by the Biden Administration. Israel responded by rejecting this agreement and then immediately doing what Biden warned against doing—attacking Rafah where around 1.7 million Gazan refugees are now living in makeshift tents. As part of this offensive, Israel closed off the Rafah crossing, the border area between Israel and Egypt, cutting off any aid or supplies from coming into famine-ravaged Gaza and preventing any people from leaving. What has transpired is a horrifying series of massacres against civilians, which the Biden Administration continues to try to downplay, excuse, and explain away.

One of the worst massacres took place on May 27, 2024, when Israeli forces carried out an air assault upon a neighborhood in Rafah in which, as explained by CNN, “[a]t least 45 people were killed and more than 200 others injured . . . most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and Palestinian medics. No hospital in Rafah had the capacity to take the number of casualties, the ministry said.” Many were horrified by a video which went viral on social media showing a father holding his headless baby who had been decapitated in the assault.

Not even this abominable act elicited a rebuke from the Biden Administration which said that it would leave Israel to investigate itself in regard to this incident, and that it had no plans of changing policy as a result.

And now, Israel has just destroyed a school in Rafah which had been run by UNRWA and had been sheltering 6,000 Gazan refugees at the time of its destruction. In this assault, at least 40 civilians were killed, including 14 children and 9 women, bringing the total number of civilians killed in Gaza since October 7, 2023, to 36,000, including 15,500 children. As is usually the case given that the US is by far the largest arms supplier to Israel, it was determined that Israel had used US munitions in this attack on the school. After this atrocity, the UN added Israel to its “list of shame”—a distinction reserved for countries that bring extraordinary harm to children. In response to this massacre and this shameful UN designation, the best US spokespeople could muster was to urge Israel to be “transparent” about the assault. No change in US policy toward Israel is forthcoming.

If this were not enough, reports of more grisly crimes are emerging daily. For example, accounts have emerged of the heinous treatment of Palestinian prisoners at the hands of Israeli correctional officers and investigators.

As Mondoweiss explains in a June 7 article, “[b]ehind the bars of Israeli prisons, Israel has been waging war against Palestinian prisoners, creating conditions that make the continuation of human life impossible. The effects of this brutal campaign have reverberated among prisoners’ families outside of jail, who are watching their loved ones being systematically starved, beaten, tortured, and degraded.” Mondoweiss cites a CNN exposé, based upon whistleblower testimony, which detailed “a number of medieval practices to which Palestinian prisoners have been subjected, including being strapped down to beds while blindfolded and made to wear diapers, having unqualified medical trainees conduct procedures on them without anesthesia, having dogs set on them by prison guards, being regularly beaten or put into stress positions for offenses as minor as peeking beneath their blindfolds, having zip-tie wounds fester to the point of requiring amputation, and a host of other horrific measures.”

Mondoweiss also cites a New York Times article “based on interviews with former detainees and Israeli military officers, doctors, and soldiers who worked at the prison, bringing new horrors to light about the treatment of Gazan prisoners. Detainee testimonies repeated many of these same accounts but also included additional disturbing accounts of sexual violence, including testimonies of rape and forcing detainees to sit on metal sticks that caused anal bleeding and ‘unbearable pain.’” And of course, as Mondoweiss notes, the abominable treatment of Palestinian prisoners—which number in the thousands and includes women and children—has been going on long before October 7.

All of this illustrates how Israel has no limits or restraints upon its treatment of the Palestinian people. And this is so because its great patron, the United States, imposes no such restraints upon it. For all of the crocodile tears shed by Biden, his Cabinet officials and his spokespeople, there truly is no “red line” which Israel could cross which would elicit a cessation of US support, including lethal support, for its war upon the Palestinian people. And for this reason, the war Israel is waging upon Gaza proceeds without pause and continues to descend into greater acts of depravity and horror. In truth, as protest planners organizing to surround the White House to show opposition to the war in Gaza, it is the American people who must therefore be the “red line” to stop this genocide.

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