Wednesday, January 3, 2024

US Admonishes Israeli Officials For Saying The Quiet Part Out Loud About Ethnic Cleansing

By Caitlin Johnstone - January 03, 2024 at 09:17AM

The US State Department has issued a statement indignantly finger-wagging at two Israeli officials who recently drew headlines for openly endorsing the ethnic cleansing of the Gaza Strip. 

The statement reads as follows:

“The United States rejects recent statements from Israeli Ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben Gvir advocating for the resettlement of Palestinians outside of Gaza. This rhetoric is inflammatory and irresponsible. We have been told repeatedly and consistently by the Government of Israel, including by the Prime Minister, that such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government. They should stop immediately.

“We have been clear, consistent, and unequivocal that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land, with Hamas no longer in control of its future and with no terror groups able to threaten Israel. That is the future we seek, in the interests of Israelis and Palestinians, the surrounding region, and the world.”

The offending statements by Ben Gvir and Smotrich promoted the idea of “encouraging” Palestinians to flee Gaza en masse, absurdly referring to this hypothetical outcome as “voluntary migration” despite the fact that Israel has been doing everything in its power to make living in Gaza impossible.

You will note, probably without surprise, that the statement contains nothing but empty scolding. No mention is made of the faintest possibility of any consequence of any kind being brought to bear should Israeli officials continue to openly advocate for eliminating the Palestinian population of Gaza and replacing it with Jewish settlements. This is because the US has no intention of actually doing anything to hinder Israel’s ethnic cleansing agendas.

And make no mistake, that absolutely is Israel’s agenda. The State Department can claim all it wants that “such statements do not reflect the policy of the Israeli government” and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has assured Washington that there are no plans to resettle Palestinians outside of Gaza, but Netanyahu himself has been publicly contradicting this claim with increasing brazenness. 

Just last week at a Likud party meeting Netanyahu explicitly said that his government is working on finding countries who would be willing to “absorb” Palestinian refugees from Gaza, claiming that the world is “already discussing the possibilities of voluntary immigration.” 

Indeed, it’s fair to say that the extreme-right ministers Ben Gvir and Smotrich are not actually saying anything on this front that is significantly different from what Netanyahu himself has been saying. Bibi’s just a bit more polite about it, with Ben Gvir openly thumbing his nose at the State Department’s remarks saying “we aren’t another star on the American flag” and “facilitating the relocation of hundreds of thousands from Gaza will allow those in the Israeli Gaza border communities to return home and live securely while safeguarding the IDF soldiers.”

In fact, one could easily argue that Netanyahu as well as Ben Gvir and Smotrich have been entirely in alignment with the State Department’s own language on this subject. The idea of “voluntary immigration” does not contradict the position asserted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the US vision for Gaza involves “no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza — not now, not after the war.”

Notice Blinken’s careful insertion of the word “forcible” there. His wording makes it clear that the US would only object if Palestinians were actually forced onto ships or marched across the Egyptian border at gunpoint, as middle east analyst Mouin Rabbani recently observed on Twitter:

“Alarm bells should have started ringing in early November when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other Western politicians began insisting there could be ‘no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza’. Rather than rejecting any mass removal of Palestinians, Blinken and colleagues objected only to optically challenging expulsions at gunpoint. The option of ‘voluntary’ displacement by leaving residents of the Gaza Strip with no choice but departure was pointedly left open.”

So contrary to its self-righteous moral posturing, the State Department is not actually upset with Ben Gvir and Smotrich for advocating the ethnic cleansing of Gaza. They’re just upset they said the quiet part out loud. 

If there’s one thing Blinken and his cohorts understand, it’s that you’re not supposed to describe the evil things you want to do in evil-sounding language. You’ve got to tapdance gracefully around the actual depravity you intend to inflict, uttering flowery prose about humanitarian concerns and compassion for both sides to keep everyone dazzled and hypnotized while the killing machines are quietly rolled out in the background. You’ve got to be eloquent and elusive about your murderousness. Like Obama.

The US war machine is every bit as depraved as the state of Israel, and the Biden administration is just as culpable for the horrors being unleashed in Gaza as Netanyahu and his goons. Ignore their words and watch their actions. Don’t let them dazzle you with their feigned concern for human rights.

Reprinted with permission from Caitlin’s Newsletter.
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