In May 2021, Israeli forces launched an 11-day military offensive against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip dubbed Operation Guardian of the Walls. The Israeli military used U.S.-manufactured weapons in a massive assault that resulted in the deaths of at least 256 Palestinians, including 67 children. More than 91,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced at the height of the bombardment, all while the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dangerously spread in the Gaza Strip.
In the midst of Operation Guardian of the Walls, the Biden administration approved a $735 million weapons sale to Israel, which included the same kinds of weapons used against Palestinians in Gaza. The State Department approved the sale before Congress could debate and vote on it, despite joint resolutions of disapproval being introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Additionally, Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz is reportedly asking the United States for $1 billion in emergency military assistance to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome aerial missile system.
The United States already sends Israel $3.8 billion in unconditional military assistance annually, and approving even more military assistance and weapons sales in light of the recent assault on Gaza is unconscionable.
International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires all parties to an armed conflict to distinguish between military targets, civilians, and civilian objects. While Israel relies on the principle of self-defense to justify military offensives on Gaza, Israeli forces are bound to customary international law rules of proportionality and necessity. As the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, Israel is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.
For more information, read Defense for Children International – Palestine’s reporting on the Gaza Strip.