US and Israeli interests clash over Gaza

By Zhao Jinglun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, July 31, 2014
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Heavy smoke billows following an Israeli military strike in Gaza City on July 29, 2014. The Israeli offensive, which began on July 8 to end Hamas rocket attacks on the Jewish state, has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians according to the United Nations, while 56 lives have been lost on the Israeli side, all but three of them soldiers. [Xinhua photo]

The myth that U.S. and Israeli interests coincide or are identical is just that -- a myth. It exploded in the debate over Gaza.

Israel's war on Gaza's civilians is provoking an anti-American reaction in many parts of the Middle East. The rising "Islamic State" (IS) in Iraq and Syria has Washington seriously worried, and Israel's killing of civilians, especially women and children, is helping IS recruit and radicalize Muslim youth.

Israel's war is also helping Islamic militants in Libya recruit members, and the United States has already been forced to evacuate its embassy there.

Turkey, a long-term U.S. ally in the region, is also infuriated by Israel's actions. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Israel's war on Gaza a "genocide." Turkey may even send another Mavi Marmara-style aid ship to Gaza.

Many Egyptians deeply dislike Hamas, but virtually the entire population of Egypt wants to see the Israeli attacks on Gaza stop.

Importantly, U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry do not share Netanyahu's desire to eradicate Hamas, which participated in the 2006 elections and has a strong civil wing.

Kerry turned to Qatar and Turkey for advice on how to achieve a ceasefire. That infuriated Tel Aviv, as Qatar and Turkey are the strongest supporters of Hamas. And Israel fiercely attacked Kerry.

The Obama administration reacted strongly to a torrent of Israeli criticism of Kerry. National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the United States is "dismayed" by the mischaracterizations of Kerry's efforts. Israeli media reports have cast Kerry as seeking a ceasefire that is more favorable to Hamas, without demanding that Gaza be demilitarized.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other." She added that the United States was "surprised and obviously disappointed to see [Kerry's] draft proposal made public."

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