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Is America Enabling Israel’s International Law Violations?


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As the conflict between Israel and Palestine escalates, questions are being raised about the role of international allies, particularly the United States, in Israel’s actions. The recent Israeli military operations in Rafah, Gaza, have drawn widespread condemnation and concerns about violations of international law. We examines whether the United States is complicit in Israel’s actions and the broader implications of such support.

Israel’s Military Operations in Rafah

Israeli tanks have recently advanced into Rafah’s city center, and the Israeli army announced control over the Philadelphi Corridor, a buffer zone stipulated in its treaty with Egypt. This move has been widely criticized as a violation of international agreements and a potential escalation point in the ongoing conflict.

The Philadelphi Corridor and Treaty Violations

The Philadelphi Corridor, also known as the Salah al-Din Axis, is a strip of land along Egypt’s border with Gaza’s Rafah Governorate. According to the treaty between Israel and Egypt, this area is meant to be a buffer zone overseen by Egypt. Israel’s control over this corridor has been perceived as a breach of this agreement, raising alarms about the implications for regional security and international law.

Intensification of Military Actions

In recent months, Israel has intensified its military actions in Rafah, including airstrikes and ground assaults. On May 6, Israel declared a “limited operation” against Hamas targets in eastern Rafah, leading to a significant increase in air attacks and displacement of Palestinians. The situation escalated further when Israel took control of the Rafah land crossing, severely impacting aid deliveries to Gaza.

International Response and Legal Implications

European Union’s Stance

In February, all European Union members, except Hungary, warned Israel against a full-scale military operation in Rafah due to the potential for a significant human toll. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a provisional order on May 24, instructing Israel not to proceed with actions that undermine Palestinian rights under the Genocide Convention. Despite this, Israel continued its operations, leading to further international outcry.

United States’ Position

United States President Joe Biden initially declared that a major Israeli invasion of Rafah would cross a “red line.” However, following Israel’s intensified actions, including the bombing of a displacement camp in Tal as-Sultan, the Biden administration concluded that these actions did not constitute a “major offensive” warranting a response. Critics argue that this stance signals a lack of accountability and effective deterrence against further violations by Israel.


Complicity and Strategic Interests

US-Israel Relations

Omar Rahman, an expert with the Middle East Council on Foreign Affairs, asserts that the US will likely never take punitive action against Israel due to their closely aligned strategic interests. This sentiment is echoed by Mairav Zonszein from the International Crisis Group, who believes that US and Israeli interests in Gaza are aligned, particularly in maintaining pressure on Hamas.

Symbolic Actions and Real Impact

While some countries, such as Ireland, Norway, and Spain, have taken symbolic steps like recognizing Palestine as a state, experts argue that these actions have little practical impact on the ground. The real issue, according to Rahman, is the lack of substantive punitive measures against Israel for its violations of international law.

Israel’s violation

The question of whether the United States is behind Israel’s violation of international law is complex. While there is no direct evidence of US complicity, the lack of significant punitive measures and the alignment of strategic interests suggest a level of tacit support. Until Western nations, particularly the US, take decisive action, Israel is likely to continue its operations with relative impunity, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Muhammad Arshad
Muhammad Arshad
Mr Arshad is is an experienced journalist who currently holds the position of Deputy Editor (Editorial) at The Think Tank Journal.

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