By Matthew Rothschild
Israel recklessly bombed Gaza on Saturday, killing at least 205 Palestinians and wounding at least 350 more, according to Palestinian health officials.
This wholly disproportionate response to Hamas’s immoral but largely ineffective rocket attacks on Israel is guaranteed to further enflame the Middle East.
Not lost on anyone there will be the Bush Administration’s winking at Israel’s attacks.
White Houses spokesman Gordon Johndroe laid all the blame on Hamas.
"Hamas's continued rocket attacks into Israel must cease if the violence is to stop," Johndroe said.
Then even as he gave a perfunctory nod toward safeguarding civilians, he showed no displeasure with Israel going after Hamas: "The United States urges Israel to avoid civilian casualties as it targets Hamas in Gaza," Johndroe said.
Meanwhile, President-elect Barack Obama and Secretary of State-to-be Hillary Clinton were shamefully silent in the first hours after the attack.
Bush’s reaction, and the non-reaction by Obama and Clinton, underscores the point that Hanan Ashrawi made on Saturday. “Israel has gotten used to not being held accountable and to being a country that is above the law,” said the Palestinian legislator and human rights activist. She called the bombings a “massacre.”
With Washington condoning Israel’s assault, the violence may only get worse.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “The operation will be deeper and expanded as much as necessary. . . . It won’t be short, and it won’t be easy.”
A Hamas spokesperson vowed revenge and said Hamas “will continue the resistance until the last drop of blood."
This cycle of violence will get bloodier and bloodier unless and until Washington finally prevails on Israel to make a just settlement with the Palestinians.
Bush did not have the inclination to do so. Neither, it appears, does Obama.