‘Unfathomable Catastrophe’ Looms in Gaza

There is no realistic scenario in which this assault goes ahead and there isn’t massive loss of innocent life.

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Michael Wahid Hanna calls on the U.S. to avert further catastrophe in Gaza:

It is hard to imagine things getting worse, but an assault on Rafah would up the ante. The US is the only power that can stop it. To do so, it will have to exert a degree of pressure it has so far been reluctant to apply.

Hanna is right, and I said something similar in my column this week. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has no intention of doing anything to discourage an Israeli ground assault on Rafah. Politico reported yesterday that multiple administration officials said that “no reprimand plans are in the works, meaning Israeli forces could enter the city and harm civilians without facing American consequences.”

This report is being correctly interpreted as giving Israel a green light to do anything it wants. In case it wasn’t clear enough, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, “Oh, we never said that they can’t go into Rafah to remove Hamas.” When pressed about possible consequences, Kirby refused to discuss “hypotheticals.”

The administration previously said that the operation shouldn’t “proceed without a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for the more than one million people sheltering there,” but it is obvious that they aren’t going to object when the operation goes ahead anyway. As usual, there is never an “or else” attached to these warnings, and that makes them easy to ignore. Even when the U.S. seems to be putting a limit on its support, it never means anything in practice.

This has been the pattern throughout the war. U.S. officials issue statements that sound like red lines that Israel shouldn’t cross, and then almost immediately the administration clarifies that absolutely nothing will happen if Israel crosses them. The warnings that the U.S. gives are the thinnest smokescreen imaginable for the real policy of full backing for whatever the Israeli government chooses to do.

Read the rest of the article at Eunomia

Daniel Larison is a contributing editor for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

7 thoughts on “‘Unfathomable Catastrophe’ Looms in Gaza”

  1. Israel never had to face US consequences. The US has always given it the green light to do as it wishes even if the US sometimes disapproves of what it does.
    So many Israel supporters say it is Antisemitism to say what Israel does is wrong even if they say Minority Groups in America don’t deserve special treatment due to what happened in their history.

  2. Until the kidnapped victims of 10/7 are free, Israel has not only the right but the duty to attack anywhere in Gaza that the victims may be held. If one wants to stop Israel release the victims of 10/7.

    1. Interesting assertion, but sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. How many kidnapped Palestinians are still being held by the Israelis? Until they’re freed, do the Palestinians still have not only the right but the duty to attack anywhere in Israel that the victims may be held?

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