Peter Myers Digest: The Gaza Massacre

(1) Israel prepares to hit Gaza with US-supplied bunker busting bombs – Seymour Hersh
(2) Netanyahu to Likud: “support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas … This is part of our strategy”
(3) Section Commander of the Gaza Fence: “The obstacle is built so that even a fox cannot pass it”. They Let It Happen
(4) J Street To Democrats: Back Resolution Supporting Gaza War Or Lose Endorsement
(5) CFR Globalists at Foreign Affairs say Invasion of Gaza Would Be a Disaster

(1) Israel prepares to hit Gaza with US-supplied bunker busting bombs – Seymour Hersh


As refugees crowd the border with Egypt, Israel prepares to hit Gaza City with US-supplied bunker busters


15 OCT 2023

It’s been one week since the horrific Hamas attacks on Israel took place, and the shape of what is to come from the Israeli armed forces is clear, and uncompromising.

Over the past week Israeli jets have conducted around-the-clock bombing of non-military targets in Gaza City. Apartment buildings, hospitals, and mosques were torn apart, with no prior warning and no effort to minimize civilian casualties.

By the end of the week Israeli jets were also dropping leaflets telling the citizens of Gaza City and its surrounding areas in the north that those who wished to survive had better start going south—walking if necessary—25 miles or more—to the Rafah border crossing leading to Egypt.

As of this writing, it was not clear whether financially stricken Egypt will allow a million immigrants, many of them committed to the Hamas cause, to cross.

In the short term, I have been told by an Israeli insider that Israel has been trying to convince Qatar, which at the urging of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a long-time financial supporter of Hamas, to join with Egypt in funding a tent city for the million or more refugees awaiting across the border.

“It’s not a done deal,” the Israeli insider told me. Israeli officials have warned Egypt and Qatar that without a landing site, the refugees will have to “go back to Gaza.”

(2) Netanyahu to Likud: “support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas … This is part of our strategy”

Section Commander of the Gaza Fence: “The obstacle is built so that even a fox cannot pass it”. They Let It Happen. The Hamas Attack Was Allowed to Close the Book on Palestine.

“Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas,” Netanyahu told his Likud party’s Knesset members in March 2019. “This is part of our strategy”

<> 8:34 pm · 9 Oct 2023

(3) Section Commander of the Gaza Fence: “The obstacle is built so that even a fox cannot pass it”. They Let It Happen

Section Commander of the Gaza Fence: “The obstacle is built so that even a fox cannot pass it”. They Let It Happen. The Hamas Attack Was Allowed to Close the Book on Palestine.

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and General Herzl Halevi

Global Research, October 13, 2023

On October 9, 2023, I posted <> this.

What follows purports to be a description of the impenetrable Israeli security barrier around Gaza written by a former commander of a section of the fence. Whether it is or not, the description of the security barrier provided can be checked. It seems impossible that Hamas could have succeeded in a surprise attack:

Here’s what commander of the Kerem Shalom Battalion, who knows the area in detail, wrote…

“Something here doesn’t add up to me!!! This is a mystery that I can’t find an answer to.

I happen to know how things work in Gaza and on the border. I was the commander of the Kerem Shalom sector (Rafih), I was in charge of the Kissuf sector, I know the perimeter fence very well, I know how the army works there. I was in the Shatti refugee camp in Gaza, I was in charge of the Jibaliya refugee camp, I would make ambushes on the fence and deep in the area. I met Gazans, ate and breathed Gaza.

The obstacle is built so that even a fox cannot pass it:

Set alerts according to 3 levels of pressure. She must alert when she is cut. There are 24/7 forces that are responsible for arriving within a few minutes, if not seconds, to the point where there is an alert in the fence. Every day do at least one penetration practice. Each subdivision has a standby squad whose role is to increase the force in an emergency situation. Observations scattered along the border cover every inch of it. The female observers are champions in identification. They don’t miss. They detect movement even before it even approaches the obstacle – day and night.

At problematic points (dead areas) they place a tank with observation and detection capabilities, and a terrifying firepower. In some cases snipers are deployed in the field.

Every day before dawn there is a “dawn alert” procedure. At this hour all the forces are awake (in this case also the hour when hundreds of terrorists entered Israel). The night shift alternates with the day shift. The commander of each force inspects the axis to make sure there were no infiltrations during the night. Trackers that move on the axis know how to recognize traces. They know who crossed the fence, how much and even when.

Each scenario has a clear procedure. For example, a procedure for infiltrating terrorists, a procedure for taking hostages. Everything is written in blood and has been proving itself for years.

There are several other layers of security that this is not the place to talk about. In short, we are talking about an obstacle that proves itself for years and years.

So how the hell does a Palestinian tractor move towards the fence without anyone reacting to it?

How did the tractor manage to sabotage the fence for a long hour and open access to Israel without anyone reacting to it?

How did hundreds of terrorists and civilians cross the barrier without anyone on our side lifting a finger?

How did terrorists arrive on foot and in vehicles, armed from head to toe, to dozens of Israeli settlements, without any reaction from our side?

How did hundreds of terrorists stay in Israeli territory for long hours, shoot hundreds of Israelis, loot property, without there being even a single reaction on our side?

How did it happen that hundreds of terrorists kidnapped dozens of Israelis, surprised soldiers, officers when they were not ready, and kidnapped them to Gaza, without anyone stopping them?

How is it that one bullet was not fired?
How did all this happen under our noses?
Where did an entire division go?
Where did 3 brigades go?
Who swallowed 9 battalions?
What happened to 36 companies?
Where did an entire regular infantry brigade go that usually outnumbers the elite?
Where were all the reserve battalions that augment the regular army?
Where did thousands of soldiers go???
Someone here needs to provide explanations!!”

In view of this description of the security barrier, this statement by the Israeli General Halevi admitting the failure of the Israeli Defense Force to protect Israel from Hamas is obviously intended as a coverup for the fact that the attack was allowed in order to close the book on Palestine.

Since 1947 the world has done nothing to stop Israel’s absorption of Palestine, so naturally Israel expects no opposition this time. It looks like this is a miscalculation by Israel. See <>this.

“The Cat is Out of the Bag”. Hamas is a Partner

Of relevance to the analysis of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

In March 2019, Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed his alliance with Hamas in a recorded statement to Likud Party Knesset members:

“Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy – to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.” (quoted in Haaretz, October 9, 2023)

(4) J Street To Democrats: Back Resolution Supporting Gaza War Or Lose Endorsement

Israeli Settlers Take Advantage of Gaza Chaos to Attack Palestinians in West Bank


Once a “pro-peace” Israel lobby alternative, J Street is pushing a hawkish resolution on Israel that ignores Palestinian civilians.

ON TUESDAY, HOUSE Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., introduced a <> resolution pledging Congress would stand “with Israel as it defends itself against the barbaric war launched by Hamas and other terrorists.” Nearly every member of Congress announced their support for the resolution — with the exception of 13 Democrats.

The resolution, however, does not mention Palestinian civilians, who face an ongoing siege of medieval proportions — with Israeli forces cutting off access to food, water, and electricity — and calls for further restricting and scrutinizing imports because of Hamas’s use of bulldozers and other rudimentary equipment to break down the border fence with Israel.

The lack of any attempt in the resolution to urge Israel to avoid civilian casualties, as the Palestinian territory stares down an apocalyptic and ongoing massacre, has led to a small pocket of resistance to the resolution among a handful of Democrats.

The liberal organization J Street is working to break down that resistance. J Street, which dubs itself both “pro-preace and pro-Israel,” often serves as a counterweight to the more hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee. On this resolution, however, there’s no daylight between the two.

J Street has been warning Democrats that if they don’t sponsor the McCaul–Meeks resolution, they will lose the group’s endorsement come reelection time, according to sources familiar with the position J Street has been relaying to members of Congress.

Asked for comment, J Street confirmed it has made the resolution a priority, providing a statement from Kevin Rachlin, vice president of government affairs:

An important part of being in political partnership is ensuring that one’s core values are shared — especially in moments of crisis. We have been reaching out to all of our endorsed candidates to let them know that for J Street, a pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy organization, signing on to the broad-based congressional resolution that condemns Hamas, and states support for the State and people of Israel, is a deeply important affirmation of one of our core values. We are urging our endorsed candidates and all Members of Congress to vote yes on this resolution if and when it is brought to a vote.

While the resolution has yet to officially pass, Israel has been buoyed by the United States’s continual assurance of unwavering support. On Thursday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin remarked that American military aid would remain unconditional, though President Joe Biden, in his more recent remarks, made an aboutface, and has begun to insist that civilian lives be protected in Gaza. On a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, Biden said that “it is really important that Israel, with all the anger and frustration … that exists, is that they operate by the rules of war.” The resolution J Street insists all Democrats support does not include the type of admonition now being made by Biden himself.

On the Hill, Democratic leadership has <> declined to defend members who’ve urged a ceasefire — among them the holdouts from the McCaul-Meeks resolution — when they have come under attack.

Human Rights Watch has confirmed that Israel, in its airstrikes, has been using <> white phosphorus in violation of international law — an ordinance prohibited particularly for its risk of threatening civilians and surrounding buildings and structures. On Thursday, Israel’s Air Force boasted on Twitter of its use of 6,000 bombs to raze entire city blocks — or, as the military put it, “terrorist targets” — in Gaza; the account posted accompanying <> photos depicting the rows of buildings leveled by Israeli strikes.

Later Thursday, Israel <> ordered 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to leave the area within 24 hours, in what is believed to be a warning of a looming ground invasion. Human rights organizations as well as the United Nations have called such a rushed evacuation impossible. Nevertheless, Israel has stuck by its order to evacuate half the territory, which houses Gaza’s main hospital.

Some 70 of the Gazan civilians who <>heeded the orders to flee were reportedly bombed and killed by Israel anyhow. Israel has also <> killed at least seven journalists.

Israeli strikes have killed at least 1,900 people in Gaza, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, since Hamas’s attack, which itself killed more than 1,000 Israelis, many of them civilians.

J Street has also expressed support for a 55-signature <> letter, led by Reps. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Mark Pocan, D-Wis., urging the Biden administration to work to ensure that people in Gaza have access to food, water, and electricity, and that Israel follows international law. The letter discouraged hate crimes against both Jews and Muslims and asked Biden to guarantee that any supplemental funding requests include aid for Palestinians and Israelis.

The signatories of the smaller letter, signed by just 26 percent of the Democratic caucus, also condemned Hamas’s attack and stated that Israel has the right to defend itself — but they wrote that Israel’s response must acknowledge the millions of Palestinian civilians in Gaza “who themselves are victims of Hamas.”

(5) CFR Globalists at Foreign Affairs say Invasion of Gaza Would Be a Disaster

An Invasion of Gaza Would Be a Disaster for Israel

An Invasion of Gaza Would Be a Disaster for Israel

America Must Prevail on Its Ally to Step Back From the Brink

By Marc Lynch

October 14, 2023

In the early morning of October 13, the Israeli military issued a warning to the 1.2 million Palestinians of northern Gaza: they must evacuate within 24 hours, in advance of a probable ground invasion. Such an Israeli assault would have the avowed goal of ending Hamas as an organization in retaliation for its shocking October 7 surprise attack into southern Israel, where it massacred over 1,000 Israeli citizens and seized over a hundred hostages.

An Israeli ground campaign has seemed inevitable from the moment Hamas broached the security perimeter surrounding the Gaza Strip. Washington has fully backed Israeli plans, notably refraining from urging restraint. In an overheated political environment, the loudest voices in the United States have been those urging extreme measures against Hamas. In some cases, commentators have even called for military action against Iran for its alleged sponsorship of Hamas’ operation.

But this is precisely the time that Washington must be the cooler head and save Israel from itself. The impending invasion of Gaza will be a humanitarian, moral, and strategic catastrophe. It will badly harm not only Israel’s long-term security and inflict unfathomable human costs on Palestinians, but also threaten core American interests in the Middle East, in Ukraine, and in Washington’s competition with China over the Indo-Pacific order. Only the Biden administration—channeling the United States’ unique leverage and the White House’s demonstrated close support for Israeli security—can now stop Israel from making a disastrous mistake. Now that it has shown its sympathy with Israel, Washington must pivot toward demanding that its ally fully comply with the laws of war. It must insist that Israel find ways to take the fight to Hamas that do not entail mass killing and displacing innocent Palestinian civilians.

The Hamas attack upended the set of assumptions which have defined the status quo between Israel and Gaza of nearly two decades. In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip, but did not end its de facto occupation. It retained full control over Gaza’s borders and airspace, and it continued exercising tight control (in close cooperation with Egypt) from outside the security perimeter over the movement of Gaza’s people, goods, electricity, and money. Hamas assumed power in 2006 following its victory in legislative elections, and it consolidated its grip in 2007, after a failed U.S.-backed effort to replace the group with the Palestinian Authority.

Since 2007, Israel and Hamas have maintained an uneasy arrangement. Israel keeps up a stifling blockade over Gaza, which severely restricts the territory’s economy and imposes great human costs, while also empowering Hamas by diverting all economic activity to the tunnels and black markets it controls. During the episodic outbreaks of conflict—in 2008, 2014, and again in 2021—Israel massively bombarded the densely populated Gazan urban centers, destroying infrastructure, and killing thousands of civilians while degrading Hamas’ military capabilities and establishing the price to paid for provocations. All of this did no discernible harm to Hamas’s grip on power.

Israeli leaders had come to think that this equilibrium could last indefinitely. They believed that Hamas had learned the lessons of past adventurism through Israel’s massively disproportionate military responses, and that Hamas was now content to maintain its rule in Gaza even if that meant controlling the provocations of smaller militant factions, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The difficulties the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) experienced in a brief ground offensive in 2014 tempered its ambitions to attempt more. Israeli officials waved off perennial complaints about the humanitarian effects of the blockade. Instead, the country was content to keep Gaza on the back burner while accelerating its increasingly provocative moves to expand its settlements and control over the West Bank.

Israeli leaders had come to think the status quo could last indefinitely.

Hamas had other ideas. Although many analysts have attributed its shifting strategy to Iranian influence, Hamas had its own reasons to change its behavior and attack Israel. Its 2018 gambit to challenge the blockade through mass non-violent mobilization—popularly known as the “Great March of Return”—ended with massive bloodshed as Israeli soldiers opened fire on the protestors. In 2021, by contrast, Hamas leaders believed that they scored significant political gains with the broader Palestinian public by firing missiles at Israel during intense clashes in Jerusalem over Israeli confiscation of Palestinian homes, and over Israeli leaders’ provocations in the Al-Aqsa complex: one of Islam’s holiest sites, which some Israeli extremists want to tear down to build a Jewish temple.

More recently, the steady escalation of Israeli land grabs and military-backed settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank created an angry, mobilized public, one which the United States—and the Israel-backed Palestinian Authority—seemed unable and unwilling to address. Highly public American moves to broker an Israeli-Saudi normalization deal may also have appeared like a closing window of opportunity for Hamas to act decisively, before regional conditions turned inexorably against them. And, perhaps, the Israeli uprising against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial reforms led Hamas to anticipate a divided and distracted adversary.

It is still unclear the extent to which Iran motivated the timing or nature of the surprise attack. Certainly, Iran has increased its support to Hamas in recent years, and sought to coordinate activities across its “Axis of Resistance” of Shiite militias and other actors opposed to the U.S.- and Israeli-backed regional order. But it would be an enormous mistake to ignore the broader, local political context within which Hamas made its move.


Israel initially responded to the Hamas attack with an even more intensive bombing campaign than normal, along with an even more intense blockade, where it cut off food, water, and energy. Israel mobilized its military reserves, bringing some 300,000 troops to the border and preparing for an imminent ground campaign. And Israel has called on Gaza’s civilians to leave the north within 24 hours. This is an impossible demand. Gazans have nowhere to go. Highways are destroyed, infrastructure is in rubble, there is little remaining electricity or power, and the few hospitals and relief facilities are all in the northern target zone. Even if Gazans wanted to leave the strip, the Rafah crossing to Egypt has been bombed—and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has shown few signs of offering a friendly refuge.

Gazans are aware of these facts. They do not see the call to evacuate as a humanitarian gesture. They believe that Israel’s intention is to carry out another Nakba. or “catastrophe”: the forced displacement of Palestinians from Israel during the 1948 war. They do not believe—nor should they believe—that they would be allowed to return to Gaza after the fighting. This is why the Biden administration’s push for a humanitarian corridor to allow Gazan civilians to flee the fighting is such a uniquely bad idea. To the extent that a humanitarian corridor accomplishes anything, it would be to accelerate the depopulation of Gaza and the creation of a new wave of permanent refugees. It would also, fairly clearly, offer the right-wing extremists in Netanyahu’s government a clear roadmap for doing the same in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

This Israel response to the Hamas attack comes from public outrage and has thus far generated political plaudits from leaders at home and around the world. But there is little evidence that any of these politicians have given serious thought to the potential implications of a war in Gaza, in the West Bank, or in the broader region. Nor is there any sign of serious grappling with an endgame in Gaza once the fighting begins. Least of all is there any sign of thinking about the moral and legal implications of the collective punishment of Gazan civilians and the inevitable human devastation to come.

The invasion of Gaza itself will be laced with uncertainties. Hamas almost certainly anticipated such an Israeli response and is well prepared to fight a long-term urban insurgency against advancing Israeli forces. It likely hopes to inflict significant casualties against a military which has not engaged in such combat in many years. (Israel’s recent military experiences are limited to profoundly one-sided operations, such as this July’s attack on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.) Hamas has already signaled gruesome plans to use its hostages as a deterrent against Israeli actions. Israel could win a quick victory, but it seems unlikely; moves which might accelerate the country’s campaign, such as bombing cities to the ground and depopulating the north, would come with major reputational costs. And the longer the war grinds on, the more the world will be bombarded with images of dead and injured Israelis and Palestinians, and the more opportunities there will be for unexpected disruptive events.

Gazans have nowhere to go.

Even if Israel does succeed in toppling Hamas, it will then be faced with the challenge of governing the territory it abandoned in 2005 and then mercilessly blockaded and bombed in the intervening years. Gaza’s young population will not welcome the IDF as liberators. There will be no flowers and candy on offer. Israel’s best-case scenario is a protracted counterinsurgency in a uniquely hostile environment where it has a history of failure and in which people have nothing left to lose.

In a worse-case scenario, the conflict will not remain confined to Gaza. And unfortunately, such an expansion is likely. A protracted invasion of Gaza will generate tremendous pressures in the West Bank, which President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority will have little ability—or, perhaps, intention—of containing. Over the last year, Israel’s relentless encroachment on West Bank land, and the violent provocations of the settlers, has already brought Palestinian anger and frustration to a boil. The Gaza invasion could push them over the edge.

Despite overwhelming Israeli anger at Netanyahu for his government’s nearly unprecedented strategic failure, opposition leader Benny Gantz has helped solve Netanyahu major political problems at no evident cost by joining a national unity war cabinet without the removal of the right-wing extremists Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. This decision is significant because it suggests that the provocations in the West Bank and Jerusalem, which Ben Gvir and Smotrich spearheaded last year, will only continue in this unsettled environment. In fact, it could accelerate, as the settler movement seeks to take advantage of the moment to attempt to annex some or all of the West Bank and displace its Palestinian residents. Nothing could be more dangerous.

Serious conflict in the West Bank—whether in the form of a new Intifada or an Israeli settler land grab—alongside the devastation of Gaza, would have massive repercussions. It would lay bare the grim truth of Israel’s one-state reality to a point where even the last diehards could not deny it. The conflict could trigger another Palestinian forced exodus, a new wave of refugees cast into already dangerously overburdened Jordan and Lebanon, or forcibly contained by Egypt in enclaves in the Sinai Peninsula


Arab leaders are realists by nature, preoccupied with their own survival and with their own national interests. Nobody expects them to sacrifice for Palestine, an assumption which has driven American and Israeli policy under both former U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. President Joe Biden. But there are limits to their ability to stand up to a furiously mobilized mass public, particularly when it comes to Palestine. Saudi Arabia might very well normalize relations with Israel, that curious obsession of the Biden administration, when there are few political costs to doing so. It is less likely to do so when the Arab public is bombarded with gruesome images from Palestine.

In years past, Arab leaders routinely allowed anti-Israel protests as a way to let off steam, diverting popular anger towards an external enemy to avoid criticism of their own dismal records. They will likely do so again, leading cynics to wave off mass marches and angry op-eds. But the Arab uprisings of 2011 proved conclusively how easily and quickly protests can spiral from something local and contained into a regional wave capable of toppling long-ruling autocratic regimes. No Arab leader will need to be reminded that letting citizens take to the streets in massive numbers threatens their power. They will not want to be seen taking Israel’s side.

Their reluctance, in this climate, to cozy up to Israel is not simply a question of regime survival. Arab regimes pursue their interests across multiple playing fields, regionally and globally, as well as at home. Ambitious leaders seeking to expand their influence and claim leadership of the Arab world can read the prevailing winds. The last few years have already revealed the extent to which regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been willing to defy the United States on its most critical issues: hedging on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, keeping oil prices high, building stronger relations with China. These decisions suggest that Washington should not take their continued loyalties for granted, particularly if U.S. officials are seen as unequivocally backing extreme Israeli actions in Palestine.

Not since the American invasion of Iraq has there been such clarity about the fiasco to come.

Arab distance is far from the only regional shift the United States risks if it continues down this path. And it is far from the most frightening: Hezbollah could also easily be drawn into the war. Thus far, the organization has carefully calibrated its response to avoid provocation. But the invasion of Gaza may well be a red line which would force Hezbollah to act. Escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem almost certainly would be. The United States and Israel have sought to deter Hezbollah from entering the fight, but such threats will only go so far if the IDF continuously escalates. And should Hezbollah enter the fray with its formidable arsenal of missiles, Israel would face its first two-front war in half a century. Such a situation wouldn’t just be bad for Israel. It is not clear that a Lebanon, already laid low by last year’s port explosion and economic meltdown, could survive another Israeli retaliatory bombing campaign.

Some American and Israeli politicians and pundits seem to welcome a wider war. They have, in particular, been advocating for an attack on Iran. Although most of those advocating for bombing Iran have taken that position for years, allegations of an Iranian role in the Hamas attack could widen the coalition of those willing to start a conflict with Tehran.

But expanding the war to Iran would pose enormous risks, not only in the form of Iranian retaliation against Israel but also against oil shipping in the Gulf and potential escalation across Iraq, Yemen, and other fronts where Iranian allies hold sway. Recognition of those risks has thus far restrained even the most enthusiastic Iran hawks, as when Trump opted against retaliation for the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq refineries in 2019. Even today, a steady stream of leaks from American and Israeli officials downplaying Iran’s role suggests an interest in avoiding escalation. But despite those efforts, the dynamics of protracted war are deeply unpredictable. The world has rarely been closer to disaster.


Those urging Israel to invade Gaza with maximalist goals are pushing their ally into a strategic and political catastrophe. The potential costs are extraordinarily high, whether counted in Israeli and Palestinian deaths, the likelihood of a protracted quagmire, or mass displacement of Palestinians. The risk of the conflict spreading is also alarmingly large, particularly in the West Bank and Lebanon, but potentially far wider. And the potential gains—beyond satisfying demands for revenge—are remarkably low. Not since the American invasion of Iraq has there been such clarity in advance about the fiasco to come.

Nor have the moral issues been so clear. There is no question that Hamas committed grave war crimes in its brutal attacks on Israeli citizens, and it should be held accountable. But there is also no question that the collective punishment of Gaza, through blockades and bombing and the forced displacement of its population, represent grave war crimes. Here, too, there should be accountability—or, better yet, respect for international law.

Although these rules may not trouble Israeli leaders, it poses a significant strategic challenge to the United States in terms of its other highest priorities. It is difficult to reconcile the United States’ promotion of international norms and the laws of war in defense of Ukraine from Russia’s brutal invasion with its cavalier disregard for the same norms in Gaza. The states and peoples of the Global South far beyond the Middle East will notice.

The Biden administration has made very clear that it supports Israel in its response to the Hamas attack. But now is the time for it to use the strength of that relationship to stop Israel from creating a remarkable disaster. Washington’s current approach is encouraging Israel to launch a profoundly misbegotten war, promising protection from its consequences by deterring others from entering the battle and by blocking any efforts at imposing accountability through international law. But the United States does this at the cost of its own global standing and its own regional interests. Should Israel’s invasion of Gaza take its most likely course, with all its carnage and escalation, the Biden administration will come to regret its choices.