U.S. Condemns Israeli Killings, Then Gives Them More Weapons

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It took the bombing of three UN schools in Gaza, but the United States is finally starting to speak out against Israel’s indiscriminate killing of Palestinians. After news came of the third school to be hit in a matter of days, the Obama administration denounced it as “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.” Unfortunately, in war, talk is cheap, and while condemning Israel on one hand, the United States has been giving them mortar shells and missiles with the other.

The death toll in Gaza stands at over 1,400, but as with any information during ongoing fighting, that number is tentative and expected to continue rising. In a very real sense, Israel is leveling the Gaza Strip. In some neighborhoods, not a single building remains intact. The latest strike, in a refugee camp no less, adds another 15 dead – many of them children.

Israel has invaded Gaza with ground troops, but the war has largely been conducted at a distance. Consequently, most of the deaths in Gaza have come from mortar fire, airstrikes and tank shelling. For that kind of weaponry, Israel is dependent on the U.S. to provide them with it. After several weeks of intense attacks, Israel’s stockpiles are running low and this week the Israeli government asked the US to “resupply it with grenades and mortar rounds,” according to a U.S. defense official.

The munitions were located inside Israel as part of a program managed by the U.S. military and called War Reserves Stock Allies-Israel (WRSA-I), which stores munitions locally for U.S. use that Israel can also access in emergency situations.

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Israel, however, did not cite an emergency when it made its latest request about 10 days ago, the defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. [source]

So instead of an emergency, Israel has treated itself to American munitions as if it is there as their own personal war chest. According to that same defense official, more ammo is being processed within the United States and will be sent to Israel when its ready. Apparently, the Obama administration hates what Israel is doing with its weapons but doesn’t mind giving it to them regardless.It’s not clear which country will pay for the weapons, but the bill will be massive. According to a 2012 estimate, the cache of weapons and ammunition the U.S. had stockpiled in Israel was around $1 billion.

It’s hard to feel anything but cynicism towards the Obama administration’s statements of sympathy and outrage considering they have no problem supplying the means by which Israel is murdering Palestinians. While other countries, organizations and the United Nations have all strongly condemned Israel for its actions and demand that it be held accountable for possible war crimes, the United States’s stance has remained tepid. What’s worse, the United States – as Israel’s foremost arms dealer – is in a unique position to actually stop the violence by cutting off Israel’s access. As the world looks on in horror and frustration, America can only pretend that it isn’t complicit in the crimes for so long.

Here is what we, the world, know will happen once Israel gets its hands on more American-made, American-paid for weapons: It will be using those weapons in Gaza. They don’t mind using them against civilians. They won’t stop. The United States knows all of this, yet signs over its munitions anyway.