Washington sends Israel more city-busting bombs to level Rafah

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the Biden administration has approved yet another arms shipment to Israel for use in the Gaza genocide, including over 1,800 massive 2,000-pound bombs.

A man sits on the rubble as others wander among debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

Coming after a series of high-level US-Israeli meetings to plan Israel’s offensive on Rafah, Washington is sending a clear message that it is giving Israel a green light to level the city, where over 1.5 million people are crammed together in inhuman conditions.

These 2,000-pound bombs are equivalent in size to the so-called “blockbuster” bombs that leveled entire city blocks during World War II. When detonated, they leave craters 40 feet in length and kill and maim people up to 1,200 feet away, over an area equivalent to 58 soccer fields.

To date, Israel has dropped hundreds of 2,000-pound bombs, which have been a major contributor to the systematic destruction of the majority of Gaza’s homes, schools, businesses and civil institutions. Among the most notorious uses of this weapon was the October 31 strike that destroyed the Jabalia refugee camp, killing or wounding over 400 people.

The use of these massive bombs has largely been phased out by the American military, nominally because of their massive potential for “collateral damage.”

But the killing of Gaza’s people and the destruction of its buildings is not an unintended consequence but a deliberate goal of the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza.

In just the first two months of the war, Israel dropped over 25,000 tons of bombs on Gaza, equivalent to nearly twice the yield of the nuclear bomb dropped over Hiroshima in 1945.

The latest weapons shipment reveals the real content of what the US media has called a “rift” between the American and Israeli governments. To the extent that the White House publicly criticizes the Netanyahu government, it is to provide itself with cover to achieve its goal of killing or displacing as many Palestinians as possible.

Earlier this week, the United States declined to veto a resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. In explaining why the United States allowed the resolution to pass, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said the US did not veto it because it will have “no impact at all.” He added, “It is a non-binding resolution.”

This is the mentality that underscores the recent public criticism of the Netanyahu government by President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. The Biden administration hopes that by declaring it supports a “ceasefire” and calling for the Israeli government to allow more food into Gaza, it will make the world’s population forget that American imperialism is providing the weapons being used to bomb Gaza and blockade its borders.

Earlier this week, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, notorious for describing Palestinians as “human animals,” visited Washington D.C. to meet with leading US officials, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, to plan Israel’s assault on Rafah.

In the official readout of the meeting between Gallant and Austin, a US Defense Department official was quoted as saying that “defeating the Hamas battalions that are in Rafah” is an objective of the US military, all but signing off on Israel’s planned assault on the city.

On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal published an article headlined, “Behind closed doors, the US pushes to shape, not stop, the Rafah operation.” The article explained that “discussions on Israel’s planned military operation in southern Gaza focused not on how to stop it, but on how to protect civilians during its rollout.”

US officials have made it clear that by “protecting” civilians, they mean first displacing them from the city before Israel pulverizes it. The American doctrine, in effect, is that genocide is acceptable so long as it is accompanied by ethnic cleansing.

Israel’s genocide in Gaza has, to date, killed over 32,000 people, with thousands more buried beneath the rubble, meaning the real death toll is likely over 40,000. Over 1.9 million people are internally displaced.

Those left alive are being systematically starved by the ongoing Israeli blockade. Last week, the official UN-backed global body designating starvation found that “famine is imminent” in Gaza, leading to a “major acceleration of deaths and malnutrition.”

Within a matter of months, experts warned, the number of deaths from mass starvation will eclipse even the number of deaths from Israeli bombs and bullets.

The starvation of Gaza’s population continues because it is fully supported by the United States, which sees starving Gazans to death as a means of achieving US-Israeli war aims. The demands by the International Court of Justice, both in a ruling in January and in another this week, that Israel allow food into Gaza are likewise seen as “non-binding” on the US because it does not accept the legitimacy of the International Court of Justice.

The United States government, in other words, functions as a criminal regime, operating entirely outside the framework of international law. As it escalates its war with Russia and its military provocations against China, the Biden administration seeks to set a precedent in Gaza: Will it get away with annihilating or displacing an entire population of 2.2 million people?

No confidence can be placed in capitalist institutions, such as the United Nations or the International Court of Justice, to stop the US-Israel genocide. When the United States declares the UN’s resolutions to be “non-binding,” it is, in fact, describing the actual state of affairs. These institutions have proven themselves neither able nor willing to do a single thing to stop the systematic destruction of Gaza.

Over the past five months, millions of people have marched in nearly every country of the world in opposition to the genocide. But these demonstrations have been met only by an intensification of the mass murder in Gaza.

One central lesson must be drawn: The struggle against the genocide in Gaza is a struggle against the imperialist governments that are enabling it, first and foremost, the government of the United States. Stopping the genocide against the Palestinian people requires the mass political mobilization of the working class in every country on the basis of a socialist perspective of overturning the capitalist system, which is the root cause of war and imperialist barbarism.