The United States’ support for Israel—military, financial, diplomatic and more—is an old story. It hasn’t changed much, other than to escalate. Israel bombs Gaza, and Congress votes to send hundreds of millions of dollars beyond the $3.8 billion mandated by law, and to send new weapons to replace those used up in the assault. Israeli settlers officially backed by police and military raid Jenin and other West Bank towns, attacking residents and seizing land to expand illegal settlements, all in violation of international law, and Washington continues to protect Israel from ever being held accountable in the International Criminal Court or the United Nations. Israel elects an extremist government including self-declared fascists as cabinet ministers, and Congress invites the Israeli president to address a joint session, soon followed by a White House invitation to the leader of Israel’s extremist government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. We’ve seen this story before.

Israel’s recent assault on the Jenin refugee camp killed 12 Palestinians, four of them children. It left behind over 140 injured. Bombing and shelling damaged three hospitals, and over 900 houses, many of them now uninhabitable, and forced more than 4,000 people to flee their homes—refugees becoming refugees again. The US response reflected, once again, Washington’s role as chief arms provider, financier, and protector of Israel. Biden refused even to urge a cease-fire. Despite the president’s claim to keep human rights at the center of his foreign policy, Israel’s most recent assault showed again how little Palestinian lives count in Washington’s strategic calculus.

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Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

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