Though the rockets and bomb blasts are almost 7,000 miles away, the turmoil in Gaza is not far removed from U.S. interests.
In fact, with its economic heft, the U.S., as a seemingly silent superpower, is a larger player in the chaos ensuing now than perhaps either Israel or the Gaza strip.
But as Israel has intensified air strikes and bombs in retaliation to Hamas-launched rockets from Gaza, the U.S. response has spoken as to what side the American taxpayers will be supporting.
While President Barack Obama has said it would be “preferable,” according to the Associated Press, for violence to not exist, he has consistently defended Israel’s “right to defend itself.”
But according to the New York Times, Gaza health officials have reported at least 600 injuries and 70 deaths since Wednesday and Israel has reported 79 injuries and three deaths, the human rights violations being brought upon the people of Gaza by Israel are not things the U.S. should endorse.
While the initial violence of the rocket launch is not condonable, Israel’s response — the response sponsored by the taxpayers of America — is certainly not either, and coupled with the history of aggression and blatant disregard of civilian, women and children’s lives, the U.S.’s strategic oblivion is one that goes against the very value of democracy that allied Israel with the U.S. in the first place.
Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called for the “flattening of Gaza” in an op-ed written for the Jerusalem post.
“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza,” he wrote. “Flatten all of Gaza. … There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”
The U.S. has a strong, vested interest in Israel — an interest so expansive (and expensive) that it is willing to overlook important aspects of democracy, such as human rights, to secure its own best interest in an utterly undemocratic process.
Israel has received about $115 billion in U.S. aid, and continues to receive about $3 billion a year, making it the largest recipient of U.S. aid since World War II. According to a Congressional Research Report prepared for the U.S. Congress, the Bush administration approved a 10-year, $30 billion package for Israel’s Foreign Military Financing grant, which Obama has continued.
The very Iron Dome system, the system that has intercepted 245 rockets for Israel since the recent burst of violence, is largely funded by the U.S, which provides an additional $70 million for it per year, according to CNN.
While it is incredible that this technology protects Israeli civilians, does the U.S. government value their lives more than Palestinians?
Though a 2011 Gallup poll found that 63 percent of Americans supported Israel over Palestine, it is worth a closer look as to whether cozying up to Israel solely because of its “democratic” roots is worth the fiscal and humanitarian costs.
A democracy is not simply electing leaders, and by turning a blind eye to these injustices, the U.S. is further distancing itself from other Middle Eastern nations at a time in which diplomacy is most needed.