If US foreign policy were consistent, America would be bombing Israel right now

Published: May 18, 2018
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Teargas canisters fired by Israeli security forces explode above Palestinian demonstrators as they run for cover. PHOTO: AFP

The Syrian civil war, we have been told, began as part of the Arab Spring and really took hold when Syrian government forces allegedly opened fire on protesters across the country in early 2011. This pattern of indiscriminate violent behaviour against civilians has been a talking point in the western media’s regime-change narrative. The media often goes so far as to claim that the government led by Bashar al Assad has lost all legitimacy.

What, then, should we make of Israel’s decision to open fire on protesters in the Gaza Strip this past week, killing over 60 protesters and wounding 2,700 more in the process? According to the US ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Israel is not an aggressor at all but a country that has shown considerable “restraint” in its use of force. Despite the claim that most of the dead were Hamas members, the fact that 2,700 people were injured suggests Israel deployed lethal force upon thousands of protesters – not exactly what comes to mind when one thinks of the word “restraint”. Even purposely shooting one unarmed protester seems to contradict everything we are supposed to believe about human rights and democracy.

By that logic, Assad has also used considerable restraint. For some time, Assad’s forces have been battling groups like the Islamic State (IS), al Qaeda, and Jaish al Islam, just to name a few of the Sunni-inspired jihadists currently wreaking havoc across the country. These aren’t some ragtag bunches of rebels dreamily vying for Armageddon – they have received billions upon billions of dollars of weapons and training from the United States and an endless supply of fighters from some of the most powerful nations in the entire region.

Israel, on the other hand, has been documented shooting down unarmed protesters including women, children, journalists and first responders; all the reasons we are told we should despise Assad. What could be more cowardly than shooting down people who are protesting their right to have basic human rights, who don’t have any significant armed forces of their own?

For those who want to paint the people of Gaza as the real terrorists in this dilemma, consider that these people have been living in what is widely regarded as an open-air prison for years. According to an expert hydrologist, 97% of Gaza’s drinking water has been contaminated by sewage and salt. For most of last year, residents in Gaza were receiving three to four hours of electricity per day, the flow of which is controlled by Israel. On a bad day, some estimates suggest Gazans have received as little as two hours of electricity per day despite the intense heat in Gaza.

In 2015, the UN predicted Gaza would become uninhabitable by 2020. The UN has acknowledged that the main reason for this impending doom is the blockade Israel has imposed on Gaza with Egypt, as well as Israel’s devastating military operations which have crippled Gaza’s economy and infrastructure.

Call me an “Assad apologist” if you like, but what I am actually suggesting here is that if we were to apply the Israeli model to Assad, there would be no basis to even begin criticising Assad for something American taxpayers support just across the ditch from Syria; and further, that what Israel is doing by humanitarian standards is actually arguably worse than anything Assad could ever hope to achieve. This is not to say that Assad is not, as the Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan wants us to remember, a “war criminal” – but, then, this is the real hypocrisy at play here: If Assad is a vile war criminal, so is the Israeli government.

This post was originally shared here.

Darius Shahtahmasebi

Darius Shahtahmasebi

The author has completed a Double Degree in Law and Japanese from the University of Otago, with an interest in human rights, international law and journalism. He's a fully qualified lawyer in two separate jurisdictions, and writes about foreign policy for Anti-Media. He tweets at @TVsLeaking ‏(twitter.com/TVsLeaking)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Gratgy

    If US’s policy was consistent, US would be bombing IranRecommend

  • Lakhkar Khan

    If US’s policy was consistent, israel would had not existed.Recommend

  • G. Din

    Consistency is the virtue of fools.Recommend

  • cautious

    50 of the 62 protesters who were killed were members of Hamas – that doesn’t get much publicity but comes directly from Hamas. Hamas is a terrorist organization – same as the TTP which Pakistan vilifies. The picture accompanying this article looks horrific … but it’s worth noting that the fires were set by the Palestinians and the smoke trails are non lethal tear gas – same gas that Pakistan uses to break up protest.Recommend

  • Parvez

    U.S. foreign policy has been consistent ….. their policy rests on the principle of no permanent friend and permanent enemy, only permanent self interest…..and it has worked well.Recommend

  • Rajiv

    Israel forces distributed leaflets informing the protesters of the consequences.
    Why people don’t read?Recommend

  • Pan Mat

    Well the fact is that no country follows a consistent foreign policy, here is one example…if Pakistan’s foreign policy were consistent on perscution of Muslims (like Rohingyas) then Mahila Lodhi should be criticizing China in the UN General Assembly for persecution of Muslims in China..hope you got the point.Recommend

  • Gratgy

    US has always consistently supported Israel right from its existence. Consistent doesn’t mean what is favorable to you.Recommend

  • asif jamal

    Ttp is financed by India aloneRecommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Author carefully avoids talking about WHERE the electricity for Gaza comes from!
    There are three sources: Electricity from Israeli sources, Electricity from Egyptian sources, and from Gaza electrical generation plants using imported fuel.
    Due to the turf war between Hamas who run Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority which runs the left bank, the Abbas Palestinian authority has been cutting back on electrical payments to Israel to pressure Hamas, resulting in Israelis cutting back electrical supplies!
    Curious the author avoids talking about WHO is keeping Gaza in the dark!Recommend

  • Sane

    Rather all sort of terrorism irrespective to the name of group is planned and financed by India and logistic support is given through Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a proxy of India.Recommend

  • Sane

    There prevails two sets of policies in the world; 1st for Muslims and 2nd for non Muslims.Recommend

  • Sane sid

    Yes Bhutto, Zardari, Musharraf and Nawaz were all financed by India to draft crazy policies…..Recommend

  • Sane

    I’m talking about terrorism from India. Probably you have weak comprehension.Recommend

  • Sane sid

    There are two sets of Policies…. 1st for wise the other one for fools who are stuck in Cold War era…..Recommend

  • Sane sid

    That is called Doctrine of Necessity… it has been in practice for very long now…..Recommend

  • Sane sid

    But I am speaking the truth….believe me…..why are you hurt?Recommend

  • http://solomon2.blogspot.com/ Solomon2

    “What, then, should we make of Israel’s decision to open fire on protesters in the Gaza Strip this past week, killing over 60 protesters and wounding 2,700 more in the process?”

    That the tens of thousands of genuine protesters were not targeted by the IDF but only the determined invaders hiding among the protesters.

    ” the fact that 2,700 people were injured suggests Israel deployed lethal force upon thousands of protesters”

    The fact that thousands of Gazans received nonlethal injuries with only a few dozen fatalities suggests Israel deployed mostly non-lethal force.

    “Even purposely shooting one unarmed protester seems to contradict everything we are supposed to believe about human rights and democracy.”

    A “seeming” quickly dispelled by the realization that it isn’t weapons that matter but the intent of the people assaulting you. Furthermore, Hamas’ definition of “unarmed” seems to have extended to molotov cocktails and incendiary artillery – potentially lethal weapons.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    The Iran nuclear deal ngotiated by the six and approved by Obama stipulated that in case of Israel attack on non nuclear Iran, the USA will use force against Israel. This clause was not acceptable to Israel friends among the US republicans including Donald Trump, hence the deal was ended. The consiparcy being that Israel should be encouragd to stay among the semite arabs and not return to anti semite Europe.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Gratgy

    Does anyone in their right minds think US will use force on one of its staunchest allies in the region?? especially one which has its latest weapons including F 35 aircraft.

    Sounds like another conspiracy theory. Please give a source which states that US will attack Israel. As far as I know there is no such point in the agreement .Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Mr Obama was in right mind when he along with other five signed it. Donald Trump objected to this clause why not read the contract yourself which was published by washington post.
    The American administrations have proven time and again that they are not reliable in sticing to contracts.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    What a load of crap. The food and electricity in a prison is the responsibility of the prison guard hich is solely Israel.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Gratgy

    Give me the link for the contract by Washington post if you are not lyingRecommend

  • Gratgy

    I read the document and there is no mention of using force on Israel. Please point out the clause number if you have read the agreementRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    A bizaare explanation for the palestinians who want to go back home.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    are the members of Hamas resistance not humans. Have they not the rights to go back to their homes as the jews are returning to European cities?

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Patwari

    Very likely it is the other way around. And since ‘you’ wrote it,
    it is, that maybe you are the one who is lying.
    It does not matter whether there is such a clause in the the
    agreement. The fact that Big Yellow aka as Trump has pulled
    out of the accord, signed by China, Russia, England, France
    and Germany should tell you a lot. The man, since he took
    office has lied more than 3000 times! Is considered a dangerous,
    erratic, mentally unstable man. Facing impeachment, soon.
    It would be hard pressed for a Hindustani to understand all this.Recommend

  • Sane sid

    The fact is …no one cares what you people think or want…..Cheers…. The countries you mentioned hold some Clout in their own right……. and so dictate termsRecommend

  • Gratgy

    I don’t blame you, I blame your comprehension skillsRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    The Trumpers have lost the sense for truth. People with right mind do care and are prepared to oppose the present incumbent of the white House.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Gratgy

    “Truth” and “Justice “is not whatever is in your favor. Nor is “Right” and “Wrong”. Pakistanis like you need to understand this concept. Posting falsehoods on the Iran Agreement about US using force on Israel is not “Truth”Recommend