In his first and much-anticipated comments on the latest round of violence in the Middle East, Barack Obama delivered a rather confusing, and somewhat hypocritical message on Wednesday.
While the president said he would back any diplomatic efforts that can help restore peace in the conflicted region, he also expressed support for Israel’s “right” to defend itself – which, quite honestly, has nothing to do with diplomacy.
Ever since the three slain Israeli teenagers went missing on June 12, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu carried out the largest ground operation in the Palestinian territory in nearly a decade. This was done despite the fact that there wasn’t, at that point, any concrete evidence that Palestinians or even Hamas militants had anything to do with the kidnappings.
Ignoring multiple calls from the international community to terminate the manhunt, the Israeli prime minister continued to violate all humanitarian laws – in the name of defense – and ransacked at least 2,200 Palestinian homes and businesses, while carrying out raids in colleges and universities. Radio and television broadcasts have been shut down and electricity was cut off in some target areas.
Hundreds of Palestinians were detained without charge. Over 10 people were killed by the Israeli Defense Force and at least 120 were injured.
The atrocities mentioned above, were carried out under Netanyahu’s orders without any diplomatic consultation – all in the name of Israel’s “right” to defend itself.
Matters only grew worse after the three teens were found dead and a Palestinian boy was killed in what was called a “revenge attack” by Israeli extremists.
After Hamas reportedly fired rockets towards Israel on July 8, Netanyahu immediately decided to step up its offensive and launched Operation Protective Edge which is still ongoing.
While one casualty has been reported in Israel as of July 17, the death toll in Gaza has hit 216, leaving more than 1,500 people injured.
And the worst part is that almost 80 percent of those killed as a result of the so-called “defensive” bombing of Gaza are civilians, according to the United Nations.
So, by saying Israel has a right to carry on with its “right” to defend itself, Obama is inadvertently supporting a civilian massacre.
However, it’s not really surprising that Obama is backing Israel regardless of its blatant humanitarian abuses and lack of any commitment to diplomatic efforts.
Obama himself is responsible for mass civilian casualties through his unmanned military aircrafts flying in countries like Yemen and tribal areas of Pakistan.
Although the United Nations has appealed to the government to halt its drone program, missiles were fired at militant hideouts in northwestern Pakistan in June, marking the resumption of the CIA-led program after a nearly six-month break.
Collateral damage is something that holds Obama and Netanyahu together. They condemn loss of innocent life, but they don’t seem to really care about it because they do not do anything substantial in order to prevent it.