Given the present posture of London and Washington, committed to enlarging the Israel’s horrible military campaign in Gaza into a regionwide, prolonged conflict, one must take U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s performance yesterday with more than a grain of salt. Add in the reality that a simple cutoff of the billions of dollars of military equipment to Israel, a “cold turkey” policy, sends the clear message that Blinken pretends to be delivering to Netanyahu, and his performance today is more than a sick joke.
Blinken, at his Tel Aviv press conference yesterday, gave his obligatory preface, that Israel had the right to defend itself, that Hamas is “an enemy whose leaders surround themselves with hostages; an enemy that has declared publicly its goal: to kill as many innocent civilians as it can, simply because they’re Jews, and to wipe Israel off the map.” So, the good friend of Israel can now cautions that too many Palestinian civilians are being killed: “Israelis were dehumanized in the most horrific way on October 7th. The hostages have been dehumanized every day since. But that cannot be a license to dehumanize others. The overwhelming majority of people in Gaza had nothing to do with the attacks of October 7th, and the families in Gaza whose survival depends on deliveries of aid from Israel are just like our families. … And we cannot, we must not lose sight of that. We cannot, we must not lose sight of our common humanity. … With regard to Rafah … [a]ny military campaign, military operation that Israel undertakes needs to put civilians first and foremost in mind.”
Blinken proclaimed that “we have pressed Israel in concrete ways to strengthen civilian protection, to get more assistance to those who need it. And over the past four months, Israel has taken important steps to do just that: starting the flow of aid; doubling it during the first pause for hostage releases; opening the north and south corridors in Gaza so that people could move out of immediate harm’s way … opening Kerem Shalom [border crossing] … As a result, today, more assistance than ever is moving into Gaza from more places than at any time since Oct. 7th….” What kind of reckless disregard pretends that an 80% drop in daily supplies, below the inadequate levels of the last 16 years, is to be described this way?
He stressed “the imperative of maximizing civilian protection and humanitarian aid to address the ongoing suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. … Most have lost someone that they love. And day after day, more people are killed. … the daily toll that its military operations continue to take on innocent civilians remains too high.”One wonders, how high is appropriate?
One thing is pretty clear—Netanyahu told Blinken earlier in the day that he had already ordered Israel’s forces to dismantle UNRWA, the only relief agency on the ground capable of delivering food, water and medicine; and it doesn’t provoke Blinken to give his “kabuki theater” performance a rest.