As more Gazan children die by the day in Israeli attacks, rage mounts at Washington’s silence

Posted on : 2023-11-08 17:31 KST Modified on : 2023-11-08 17:47 KST
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that Gaza is becoming “graveyard for children”
Palestinian children flee Israeli air raids on Rafah, southern Gaza, on Nov. 6. (AFP/Yonhap)
Palestinian children flee Israeli air raids on Rafah, southern Gaza, on Nov. 6. (AFP/Yonhap)

With Israel’s retaliatory attacks against the Gaza Strip now having killed more than 10,000 Palestinians, criticism is growing regarding US hypocrisy as the country turns a blind eye to Israel’s indiscriminate offensive that makes no exceptions for women and children. The current crisis is giving rise to concerns that America will erode its leadership as it attempts to forge ahead amid its strategic competition with China if it maintains its current stance.

On Monday, the Gaza Health Ministry announced that as of that day, one month since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, over 10,000 people had died due to Israeli attacks, 4,000 of whom were children. In comparison, Israeli deaths since Hamas’s large-scale attack on Oct. 7 are tallied at 1,400.

On the same day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for an immediate ceasefire once again, stating, “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children.”

Even though Israel’s indiscriminate tactics are killing women and children who have nothing to do with Hamas, the US has been reluctant to offer direct criticism. Moreover, it has been walking on eggshells and avoiding placing strong pressure on Israel, which has rejected both a ceasefire — fiercely demanded by the international community — and a humanitarian pause of hostilities.

Although US President Joe Biden sent State Secretary Antony Blinken to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday and even demanded a pause in fighting during a phone call on Monday, he did not succeed in getting his point across. Sharing the outcome of the call, the White House merely mentioned that “the two leaders discussed the possibility of tactical pauses.”

A young boy with his arm in a sling looks at the camera as he stands amid the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israel’s bombing of Rafah, southern Gaza, on Nov. 7. (AP/Yonhap)
A young boy with his arm in a sling looks at the camera as he stands amid the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israel’s bombing of Rafah, southern Gaza, on Nov. 7. (AP/Yonhap)

The US’ current attitude is a vast departure from its sharp criticism of Russia when the country’s war in Ukraine began in late February last year. Due to this, during a peace summit held in Cairo on Oct. 21, some Arab leaders expressed their anger regarding the West’s hypocritical silence on Israel despite its censure of Russia for humanitarian violations.

More and more insiders within the US government such as the Department of State staffers are voicing criticism regarding US hypocrisy as well. Subsequently, during an interview with Politico on Tuesday, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak remarked that sympathy toward Israel from the international community is diminishing, adding that Israel “will have to come to terms with the American demands within the next two or three weeks, probably less.”

If the US continues to apply a double standard toward Israel, US leadership may be damaged in the long run, some fear. Countries of the “Global South,” whose importance is growing amid intensifying strategic competition between Washington and Beijing, have been expressing their disappointment regarding the US and Israel. Countries like Chile, Colombia and Bolivia have communicated their strong objection by cutting diplomatic ties with Israel or recalling their ambassadors to the country for its violation of international humanitarian law. “The West is losing the Global South over Gaza,” Time magazine wrote.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated on Monday that Israel has been “placing heavy pressure on Hamas” through a “ground operation deep inside Gaza City,” sharing that many Hamas commanders were killed and significant damage was inflicted to the organization’s counterattack ability. Moreover, he added that Israeli combat engineers discovered a massive Hamas tunnel network and are in the process of destroying it.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society revealed that on Monday night, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike targeting the area near Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, dropping two missiles 50 meters away from the hospital’s front gate.

By Hong Seock-jae, staff reporter; Kim Mi-hyang, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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