In Gaza, the US is an active partner in genocide

By Brad Parker

A march in support of the people of Gaza, in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, 26 October 2023 (AFP)

On 25 October, when confronted with the escalating Palestinian death toll and asked if Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ignored his requests to minimise civilian casualties, President Joe  Biden took the opportunity to casually cast doubt on Palestinian death statistics and declared: “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.”

Biden’s comments suggest he is completely unconcerned by the scope and scale of Palestinian civilian harm as a result of Israeli military attacks in Gaza, or the fact that, day by day, he is actively becoming evermore complicit in an Israeli military campaign where Israeli forces are killing Palestinian children with impunity, constituting the crime of genocide.

During the past 24 days of hostilities, Israeli forces have killed at least 3,542 Palestinian children in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, with estimates of over 1,050 children reported missing and presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble, awaiting rescue or recovery.

During this same time, Israeli forces have killed 36 Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank.

To put the intensity of the current Israeli bombardment into context, Israeli forces in the past 24 days have killed more than two times the number of Palestinian children killed in Gaza in all previous Israeli military offensives combined from January 2006 to 6 October 2023.

Prior to 7 October, my colleagues and I at Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP) had documented and verified a total of 1,171 Palestinian children killed in Gaza.

Grave violations against children

I first worked with DCIP in the summer of 2009, just after the Israeli military offensive on Gaza during December 2008 and January 2009, known as Operation Cast Lead, where DCIP documented and verified 353 Palestinian children killed in Israeli attacks.

I pored over documentation collected by our DCIP field researchers in Gaza to draft evidence-based reports on Israeli attacks on schools and hospitals, civilian homes, and direct attacks on civilians. 

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The high water mark for Israeli war crimes against Palestinian children in Gaza was reset during the 50-day Israeli military offensive in July and August 2014, known as Operation Protective Edge. Our investigation into Palestinian child fatalities found overwhelming and repeated evidence that Israeli forces committed grave violations against children amounting to war crimes.

DCIP independently verified the deaths of 547 Palestinian children among the killed in Gaza, 535 of them as a direct result of Israeli attacks. Nearly 68 percent of the children killed by Israeli forces were 12 years old or younger. 

To put the scale of Palestinian children killed into a broader context, Israeli forces have killed more children in Gaza in the past 22 days than the total number killed in armed conflict globally over the course of a whole year, for the last three years.

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects.

Deploying explosive weapons in densely populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks and carrying out direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects amounts to war crimes. 

Yet, the near complete impunity delivered by the United States and enjoyed by Israeli officials and armed forces means they essentially know no bounds.

Each Israeli military offensive from Operation Cast Lead to now has been met with little to no international pressure to hold any actor accountable, simply perpetuating systemic impunity as the norm.

The previous failure of the international community to hold Israeli officials accountable for war crimes, and, maybe even more importantly, to sit back and not challenge the United States’ unconditional support for Israel, has led us to where we are now. 

Apartheid policies

Children in occupied Gaza account for nearly 50 percent of the total 2.3 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Nearly all of them now have grown up under 16 years of Israeli siege and closure and repeated Israeli military offensives that created an increasingly unlivable human-made humanitarian situation prior to 7 October.

In the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Palestinian children experience an unceasingly oppressive and increasingly violent Israeli military occupation where Israel’s leadership is more intent than ever on relying on apartheid policies and intentional lethal force to manage an unjust, oppressive, and entirely unsustainable military occupation.

In addition to the current threat of indiscriminate Israeli air strikes on residential buildings and civilian infrastructure, Palestinian children face further imminent threats due to mass internal displacement and Israeli government restrictions on food, water, fuel, and other humanitarian assistance being able to reach them and their families.

The medical system in Gaza is collapsing as Israeli forces continue to escalate their bombardment of Gaza by air, land and sea.

Under international law, genocide constitutes the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group, in whole or in part. Genocide can result from killing or by creating conditions of life that are so unbearable it brings about the group’s destruction.

What we are witnessing, and in the case of DCIP documenting in real-time, is Israeli forces actively committing the crime of genocide against Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, as they carry out unlawful attacks with complete disregard to international law, in an attempt to depopulate Gaza. It is happening with the full and unconditional support of the United States government.

The United States, as a signatory to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, has a duty to both prevent and punish the crime of genocide. Beyond that, Biden and other US government officials should know that the Genocide Convention criminalises not just the commission of genocide, but also attempts to commit genocide and, importantly, complicity in genocide. 

Bold US leadership needed

The US is not simply standing by, failing to prevent or punish genocide against Palestinians – it is actively enabling and supporting the gravest crime under international law, making the US complicit.

Israeli warplanes are entirely US-sourced and the munitions killing Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are overwhelmingly American-made weapons. 

When confronted with the widespread and systematic Israeli military attacks against an overwhelmingly youthful civilian population in Gaza and the routine unlawful killing of Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank, the Biden administration has responded with unconditional support to Israel.

It has used its diplomatic support to paralyse the United Nations Security Council to ensure Israeli forces can continue the onslaught, and has pledged another $10.6bn in US taxpayer-funded military assistance and American-made weapons.

This is on top of the $3.8bn in US military assistance already provided annually to Israel.

If Biden is not concerned about the current Palestinian death toll, then I have no illusions that obligations under the Genocide Convention will make him shift his policies.

With no end in sight, there is a dire need for bold US leadership to take immediate action to prioritise the preservation of human life, given the worsening hostilities and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

How many Palestinian children do Israeli forces have to kill before someone steps up to lead in an incredibly urgent humanitarian and political moment?

Brad Parker is an attorney and Senior Policy Adviser at Defense for Children International – Palestine. He specializes in issues of juvenile justice and grave violations against children during armed conflict and leads DCIP’s legal and policy advocacy efforts on Palestinian children’s rights. He is a co-leader of the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

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Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.






15 responses to “In Gaza, the US is an active partner in genocide”

  1. paul edwards Avatar
    paul edwards

    The American Empire and Zionist Israel are criminal states complicit in the murder and genocidal effort to destroy the Palestinian people. There will be retribution, richly deserved.

    1. shaz48 Avatar

      Thats what we do best.. Our glorious history is fully loaded with such acts & we feel so proud of it.. and we openly display our demeanor by electing such genocidal & corrupt representatives to our political houses to steal our money we pay thru taxes. We create such conditions & then justify our robbery & acts by walking over slaughtered dead bodies of civilians, women, children & even babies;

  2. muhammad khan Avatar
    muhammad khan

    For past 75 years,USA is carrying out crusade through Israeli proxy in Occupied Palestine.Very shameful

  3. scrdmgl Avatar

    It’s hard to wish deadly retribution to a rogue state like America intent on world domination by war and destruction, with so many decent and honest Americans reading these comments. But is unavoidable, the foolish complaints about inaction from entities like the UN and other world agencies under complete US control, must cease once and for all. America and its allies use those agencies when and if convenient, to hide their criminal and illegal activities and that’s been the rule since the end of WWII. The only alternative left to the common man, is to answer in kind in legitimate self defense. That applies at local level as well as in foreign lands, those fools who preach peace on earth and good will must be routed out since they only perpetuate oppression by the world elites. It makes no difference whether is America or foreign corrupt and despotic leaders. The main culprit of this situation is the regime used to enslave the lower classes, namely the fictitious ‘Democratic’ regime used to exploit the masses. It is in fact Socialism for the elites and Capitalism for the 99%, since the state works for their exclusive benefit, all the rest is sheer BS.

  4. Gene Avatar

    On 01 November 2023, UNICEF has decried Israel’s terror on the Palestinians, saying its worst fears about the staggering child death toll are being realized. “Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children,” UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told reporters on Tuesday in Geneva, “It’s a living hell for everyone else.” Where is Russia? Why is it so impotent? Why has Russia been unable to defend Syria in the same way the U.S. is defending Israel?
    There are some 300,000 extremist Russians in Israel. It is a big Putin’s constituency. It is most likely Russia has been rewarded in Ukraine to turn blind eye to Jewish crimes in Palestine.
    Russia will never abandon the illusion of being part of the “European Family” where Russians are hated and despised. Russia will do what Russia does well: betraying and selling its “allies” and “friends” (to the U.S.-West). It is a Slavic mentality that Russia cannot escape.

    1. Woopy Avatar

      Russia has a large population of Ashkenazi (Jews) and must somewhat cater to them. However unlike the US that also has a population of Ashkenazi, Russia doesn’t give weapons and other military help for Israeli wars. It’s all about the white supremacy of Israel and its absolute control of Washington DC.

      1. scrdmgl Avatar

        The Russia justifiably criticized by Gene is capitalist Russia, run by an oligarchic Zionist elite.
        In no way this unfortunate situation is related to Russia as a country or race, this is a legacy from traitor Yeltsin’s years in power who created this robber baron elite currently in power.
        However, the army as clearly shown in every single victory day parade, still shows its true allegiance with a sea of red Soviet banners. The same goes for the majority of the common Russian people who in due time will reclaim its revolutionary roots. If somebody doubts my words, all they have to do is to watch the celebrations and how proud those troops march on parade. Most people don’t realize like I do, the great favor done to the liberation of Russia by the unrelenting effort to control or destroy the country by America, since it has forced Putin and his elite supporters to fight for their very lives. Its just a matter of time than this temporary cycle in Russian politics comes to an end.

  5. Vassilios Kokkinias Avatar
    Vassilios Kokkinias

    Since 1945, what is known as “international law”, including all “international” institutions and structures, are nothing but the structures put in place for the United States of America, along with it’s western allies, to dominate the entire world. To talk about the evident fictions of international law, Geneva conventions, the genocide convention, the rights of the child and many other such “international laws” is to add insult and dirt on the graves of the countless of inocent victims of western supremacy.
    The blunt reality, to this most recent flare up of this long-standing conflict as well as many other deadly conflicts around the world, is that there is no impartial institution available anywhere to intervene, restore calm, aid victims, investigate, and provide and enforce a just solution. The greatest tragedy that faces our planet is that there is no one that can legitimately speak for humanity. The planet and humanity have no brain, no morals, and no voice. No one speaks for Earth.

    1. scrdmgl Avatar

      You’re 100% correct Vassilios. I’ve being saying the same in these pages for years, specially for our American brothers and sisters who due to indoctrination from an early age still believe in Santa as adult people. The same concept goes for ‘Democracy’, regime introduced to satisfy the masses yearning for a measure of control on their lives through senseless election cycles from one party to the next, going nowhere. Even in the land of my Greek ancestors, democracy in ancient Greece was limited, since the real power resided in the Agora or council of elders and property owners. That is the true behind the myth, and the same took place in Rome during the time of the Republic where the power came from the Senate populated by landowners and vested aristocracy. Nothing will ever work unless is a properly implemented Socialist regime with full power over public life and national resources.

  6. Sem Abdul-Hamid el Ayoubi Avatar

    HOLOCAUST 2.0 will be very soon.


    1. shaz48 Avatar

      It is cast in stone, written in all the 4 books of Abrahamic religions. There is no exceptions, no exclusions & no mercy.. They will be exterminated .. holocaust is a small word.. that happened locally in Europe.. this one will be globally executed.. Then, as per promise of God in the Holy Books, even them Jews they know they will be exterminated en-masse.

  7. doug Avatar

    Holding HAMAS accountable, which is a joke coming from the US and ISRAEL, does not justify the indiscriminate murders of thousands of innocent Palestinians. How guilty can a child be of terrorism? The unjustifiable use of nuclear weapons on Japanese civilians by the Americans during WW2, does not justify the mass murder in Gaza by NETANYAHU, HERZOG OR GALLANT! The WORLD NEEDS TO REMEMBER THESE THREE NAMES.

    1. scrdmgl Avatar

      There are so many arguments that bear discussion, that they deserve to be exposed. First of all, Hamas was a movement and institution funded and supported by Israel in 1987, with the expressed purpose of upsetting the Yasser Arafat’s PLO movement, Engineer and Palestinian leader assassinated by them in 2004. A critical element, is the fact that the PLO was a secular movement and Hamas is a Muslim organization. It so happened that in a manner to another US created monster the Taliban, Hamas had its own agenda, the liberation of Palestine.
      Talk about not errors but horrors of American foreign policy, that came back to bite then at a later time. Like the CIA/MI6 Iran’s coup d’etat that brought down the also secular government of DR. Mosaddegh for the simple reason that he nationalized the oil industry, catastrophe that brought up the Iranian Theocratic regime in 1979, country that today is America enemy #1 together with Russia, China, North Korea and so many other enemies real or imagined. Today Hamas, please give me a break. As for the ultimate solution to the present Israel/Gaza conundrum, to talk about a cease fire, peace and agreement between the parts is all a farce and a fallacy. The only solution is the complete dismantling of world cancerous entity, the Zionist Entity known as Israel. Nothing else will solve the root problem, given that America loves Zionist Jews so much, ship the whole lot to NYC to keep company to the millions already there.

  8. Disadvantaged Avatar

    The U.S. government better realize that China may decide to invade Taiwan in order for that island to be a part of China again. With the U.S. involved in two conflicts now, I bet no one in Washington is giving one thought to this possibility.

  9. philosophyofgoodnews Avatar

    Tragedy awakes new Tragedy…
    As long as we do not realise that we all are in the same boat circling Universe…