Israel Highlights Civilian Casualties of U.S. Wars Amid Criticism Over Gaza Issue
Israeli officials assert they have no choice but to retaliate as Hamas embeds within Gaza’s population of 2.2 million and stores weapons in civilian sites. Despite concerns about potential violations of war laws, the U.S., under President Biden, has refrained from publicly criticizing Israel or assessing the legality of its actions. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has defended the nation’s actions by comparing them to past military actions of the Allied forces in World War II and the American-led coalition in Mosul, arguing that civilian casualties are unavoidable in the war against terrorism.
Israeli Officials Defend Civilian Deaths: Cite Historical Military Campaigns
Israeli authorities argue they have no alternative, alleging approximately 30,000 Hamas fighters are embedded within Gaza’s 2.2 million population, storing weapons in civilian sites. They accuse Hamas of intentionally killing Israeli civilians.
President Biden and his team make no public suggestion that Israel could be breaching war laws. Meanwhile, the State Department continues to sign off on weapons sales to Israel, refraining from any legal judgments on Israel’s actions. This stance discomforts some diplomats, particularly after the department’s pledge made earlier this year to investigate civilian casualties involving American-made weaponry.
Israel argues that it is impossible to vanquish its enemy without civilian casualties — a concept that should resonate with Americans and allies, referencing historical military campaigns.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cites the 1945 Royal Air Force bombing in Copenhagen as an example. The bombing aimed at the Gestapo headquarters but accidentally hit a nearby school, causing 86 child and 18 adult fatalities. Netanyahu called the incident a “legitimate act of war with tragic consequences.”
Israeli officials also reference American battles against insurgents in Falluja in 2004 during the U.S. occupation of Iraq, and against the Islamic State terrorist group in Mosul from 2016 to 2017. They even discuss the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken’s visits to Israel.
Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman, emphasized that civilian casualties are a reality of combat situations. He cited the U.S.-led coalition to expel ISIS from Mosul in an Oct. 24 PBS interview. Regev claimed that Israel’s “ratio” of Hamas fighters to civilians killed “compares favorably to NATO and other Western forces” in past military campaigns.
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