— VICE News (@vicenews) August 3, 2014
Better late than never? After weeks of defending Israel’s strikes on Palestinian civilians in Gaza as necessary and appropriate, the US State Department finally issued a statement condemning one of Israel’s attacks. The State Department labeled Israel’s shelling of yet another UN school as “disgraceful” and called on Israel to “meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties.”
The US push back comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was revealed to have ordered US Secretary of State John Kerry to “not to ever second guess him again” when it came to Hamas. A statement Netanyahu’s office confirmed making but took issue with the how the statement was framed by press reports.
Prime Minister Netanyahu also confirmed his commitment to continuing the attacks on Gaza despite the international condemnation Israel is receiving for killing so many civilians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled that military operations against Palestinian militants would continue.“We will take as much time as necessary, and will exert as much force as needed,” Netanyahu said Saturday. He said that Hamas will pay “an intolerable price” for its attacks.
Earlier, Israeli officials had said they would not send representatives to negotiations planned for Sunday in Cairo, and reports circulated in the Israeli news media that Netanyahu was preparing to pull his country’s ground forces from Gaza.
Given that the UN has reported that 80% of those killed are Palestinian civilians it is not clear what price Hamas is paying. The Israeli communications strategy is to claim that Hamas is using human shields seemingly oblivious to the fact that that is typically an argument for restraint not excess. When someone is using human shields civilized people hold fire.
The Gaza Health Ministry says that over 1,400 Palestinians have now been killed from the start of Operation Protective Edge in July, also among the casualties is any hope for a viable Middle East peace process in the near future.