During his visit to Jordan, Pompeo refused to criticize the shooting of unarmed protesters by Israeli forces:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sidestepped any criticism Monday of Israeli actions against Palestinians along the Gaza Strip border, saying only that “Israelis have the right to defend themselves.”
We already knew that the Trump administration won’t hold U.S. clients accountable when they commit outrages and crimes, but it is nonetheless remarkable how far administration officials will go to avoid criticizing even the most egregious violations. Instead, they make excuses for the clients’ crimes and call the unjustified use of force against unarmed people “self-defense.”
Israeli forces have shot more than 40 unarmed Palestinians dead and wounded over five thousand more in the last month. Many of the wounded have been shot in the legs, and some of those have been disabled for the rest of their lives:
During the past month of demonstrations along the border between Gaza and Israel, at least 17 Palestinians have suffered gunshot wounds that ultimately cost them their legs, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.
In at least three of the cases, Israeli authorities rejected the transfer of wounded Gazans to the West Bank, where they could receive medical care that might have saved their limbs, according to lawyers and one of the patients’ families.
The protesters are driven to take these risks because of the horrible conditions in Gaza created by the blockade. Peter Beinart describes those conditions in a recent article:
But the actor with the greatest power over Gaza is Israel. Israeli policies are instrumental in denying Gaza’s people the water, electricity, education and food they need to live decent lives.
Over two million people suffer because of the blockade, and when some of them object to this appalling treatment they are maimed and killed with live ammunition. The blockade is an outrageous policy of collective punishment, and attacking the people protesting against the conditions created by the blockade is wholly unjustified. The U.S. ought to be calling for an end to both the shootings of protesters and the blockade, but unfortunately that isn’t going to happen under this administration.