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Israel got tank shell that killed 20 at UN school from US without Obama’s approval — WSJ bombshell

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Jabaliya school after Israeli strike that killed 20, photo by Mohammed Saber/EPA

Jabaliya school after Israeli strike that killed 20, photo by Mohammed Saber/EPA

When Walt and Mearsheimer published their book on the Israel lobby in 2007, I thought, they’ve scratched the surface, we don’t know the half of it. Well here you go, friends. The Wall Street Journal reports today that even as Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were trying to brake Israel during the slaughter in Gaza, Israel relied on its “allies” in “Congress and elsewhere in the administration” to dip into American weapons stocks to refill its guns, without Obama’s approval.

And those tank shells were used on a UN school on July 30, killing 20 Palestinian civilians. The US is a partner to this war crime, a Palestinian says in the WSJ article.

It’s a shocking report about Israel’s autonomy inside the US government, in defiance even of the president.

Adam Entous at the Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has responded with quiet anger to the encroachment.  His first three paragraphs:

White House and State Department officials who were leading U.S. efforts to rein in Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip were caught off guard last month when they learned that the Israeli military had been quietly securing supplies of ammunition from the Pentagon without their approval.

Since then the Obama administration has tightened its control on arms transfers to Israel. But Israeli and U.S. officials say that the adroit bureaucratic maneuvering made it plain how little influence the White House and State Department have with the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu —and that both sides know it…

In addition, current and former American officials say, U.S.-Israel ties have been hurt by leaks that they believe were meant to undercut the administration’s standing by mischaracterizing its position and delay a cease-fire. The battles have driven U.S.-Israeli relations to the lowest point since President Barack Obama took office…

Will the Obama administration ever go public with this estimation of what Israel is, “reckless and untrustworthy”? We can just hope.

Today, many administration officials say the Gaza conflict—the third between Israel and Hamas in under six years—has persuaded them that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy.
Israeli officials, in turn, describe the Obama administration as weak and naive, and are doing as much as they can to bypass the White House in favor of allies in Congress and elsewhere in the administration.

Allies elsewhere in the administration? What’s that mean? The lobby’s moles? The piece explicitly references the power of the Israel lobby:

American officials say they believe they have been able to exert at least some influence over Mr. Netanyahu during the Gaza conflict. But they admit their influence has been weakened as he has used his sway in Washington, from the Pentagon and Congress to lobby groups, to defuse U.S. diplomatic pressure on his government over the past month.

So the tail really can wag the dog. Now let’s argue about how much.

Here’s the nuts and bolts of that weapons transfer. Even as Israel was negotiating with the White House and Congress over the means of getting replacement parts/supplies for its Iron Dome rocket-defense–

Unknown to many policy makers, Israel was moving on separate tracks to replenish supplies of lethal munitions being used in Gaza and to expedite approval of the Iron Dome funds on Capitol Hill.
On July 20, Israel’s defense ministry asked the U.S. military for a range of munitions, including 120-mm mortar shells and 40-mm illuminating rounds, which were already kept stored at a pre-positioned weapons stockpile in Israel.
The request was approved through military channels three days later but not made public. Under the terms of the deal, the Israelis used U.S. financing to pay for $3 million in tank rounds. No presidential approval or signoff by the secretary of state was required or sought, according to officials.

The watershed moment came in the early morning in Gaza July 30. An Israeli shell struck a United Nations school in Jabaliya that sheltered about 3,000 people. Later that day, it was reported in the U.S. that the 120-mm and 40-mm rounds had been released to the Israeli military.
“We were blindsided,” one U.S. diplomat said.

The Wall Street Journal says what we all know, but that the liberal Israel lobby groups Peace Now and J Street are unable to say, the Israeli attacks on civilian settings were indiscriminate.

White House and State Department officials had already become increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe capable of harming regional stability and Israel’s interests.
They were especially concerned that Israel was using artillery, instead of more precision-guided munitions, in densely populated areas. The realization that munitions transfers had been made without their knowledge came as a shock…

Here’s the Palestinian angle:

The Palestinians, in particular, were angry, according to U.S. diplomats.
“The U.S. is a partner in this crime,” Jibril Rajoub, a leader in Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Western-backed Fatah party, said of the decision to provide arms to Israel during the conflict.

And it’s a crisis for the Israel lobby. Or you’d think it would be:

The last straw for many U.S. diplomats came on Aug. 2 when they say Israeli officials leaked to the media that Mr. Netanyahu had told the U.S. ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, that the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” about how to deal with Hamas.
The White House and State Department have sought to regain greater control over U.S.-Israeli policy. They decided to require White House and State Department approval for even routine munitions requests by Israel, officials say.

So is the special relationship at an end? What will the Obama administration do to make that happen, and to educate the American public about the influence of a passionate faction over US policymaking?

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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61 Responses

  1. Justpassingby on August 14, 2014, 10:52 am

    Interesting but to say that Obama wanted to stop the slaughter is some pro-obama propaganda. Obama made the massacre happen in the first place.

  2. just on August 14, 2014, 10:57 am

    I read this via Maan this morning, and I’m shaking my head even more forcefully now!

    I mean, did Hagel say ‘Yes’ to Israel w/o approval??? Who are the worms in the DOD? I’m in shock.

    “So is the special relationship at an end? What will the Obama administration do to make that happen, and to educate the American public about the influence of a passionate faction over US policymaking?”

    I pray that this happens. It sounds like indictable crimes for those responsible, if true.

  3. Kay24 on August 14, 2014, 11:00 am

    Good article Philip. To your point, Haaretz also reports:

    “The White House has instructed the Pentagon and the U.S. military to put on hold a transfer of Hellfire missiles that Israel had requested during its recent operation in the Gaza Strip, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    According to the report, during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, White House officials were dismayed to discover how little influence they wield over the topic of Israeli arms shipments, against the backdrop of the U.S. government’s unhappiness with the widespread damage inflicted upon Palestinian civilians.”

    We have got to wonder why at this late stage of the game there is some reluctance by the Obama administration to arm the aggressor. Is this closing the stable door after the horses have bolted? We are complicit in these Israeli massacres of civilians, that happen often. It is time we stopped arming a blood thirsty nation that cannot be trusted to use our arms with caution, and certainly not when they resort to collective punishment.

  4. lysias on August 14, 2014, 11:10 am

    What will the Obama administration do to make that happen, and to educate the American public about the influence of a passionate faction over US policymaking?

    It would be very easy for the Obama administration to make that happen. They would just have to issue a finding that Israel has nuclear weapons, and therefore cannot receive aid under the Symington amendment:

    The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 was amended by the Symington Amendment (Section 669 of the FAA) in 1976. It banned U.S. economic, and military assistance, and export credits to countries that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology when they do not comply with IAEA regulations and inspections. This provision, as amended, is now contained in Section 101 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

    The Glenn Amendment (Section 670) was later adopted in 1977, and provided the same sanctions against countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear device. This provision, as amended, is now contained in Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).

    • just on August 14, 2014, 11:11 am

      Thanks lysias.

    • Whizdom on August 14, 2014, 11:26 am

      The AECA also limits arms sales or transfers if their use is not for “legitimate self defense”. The legitimacy of Protective Edge is under some question.

      Also, the Hellfire is an anti-armored vehicle missile. Hamas has no armored vehicles. Its use on civilian structures could be considered improper.

      • talknic on August 14, 2014, 1:12 pm

        There have been developments in the Hellfire for other targets … However note the payloads, none of which are pin point accurate on activation. It seems they are in fact designed for maximum slaughter

        AGM-114M Hellfire II
        Target: Bunkers, light vehicles, urban (soft) targets and caves
        Warhead: Blast fragmentation/incendiary

        AGM-114N Hellfire II
        Target: Enclosures, ships, urban targets, air defense units
        Warhead: Metal augmented charge (MAC) (Thermobaric)

        AGM-114R Hellfire II
        Target: Bunkers, light vehicles, urban (soft) targets and caves
        Warhead: Integrated Blast Frag Sleeve (IBFS) (combine blast fragmentation and fragment dispersion)

    • Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:27 pm

      I’m merely echoing the “thanks” posted by just. So easy, so truthful, so right . . .

  5. lysias on August 14, 2014, 11:11 am

    This just the latest of many indications that, with respect to issues allegedly connected with “national security”, it is the national security state that rules, and not the president.

    • Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:33 pm

      If so, it would not be the first time. Gareth Porter has reported that:

      “. . . Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara’s misled LBJ by withholding from him the information that the US commander in the Gulf who had initially reported an attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats on US warships had now expressed serious doubts about the initial report and was calling for a full investigation by daylight. That withholding of information from LBJ represented a brazen move to usurp the president’s constitutional power of decision on the use of military force.”

      Whether this is true, and McNamara’s motives, one can judge by reading the report:

  6. American on August 14, 2014, 11:24 am

    ” So is the special relationship at an end? What will the Obama administration do to make that happen, and to educate the American public about the influence of a passionate faction over US policymaking?”

    No its not at an end and Obama will do little to nothing =$$$ for Dems = lots of money for Isr, lots of weapons, lots of dead enemy children.
    Some day we will kill all the monsters…but not any time soon.
    A few more things have to happen to get there.

  7. iResistDe4iAm on August 14, 2014, 11:24 am

    Obama to Netanyahu:
    I will never second-guess you again but ONLY if you promise never to undermine my authority again …IS THAT CLEAR?
    Okay, next time just ask me directly — I’m here for you 24/7 — and I’ll make sure you get all the WMDs you want.
    Done deal then.
    Now how many bunker busters do you want?

  8. John O on August 14, 2014, 11:53 am

    Well, well. I commented on a recent thread that I seemed to remember Israel helping itself to the contents of this stockpile during Cast Lead. So, even if my memory was at fault, they’ve certainly done so now.

  9. piotr on August 14, 2014, 11:53 am

    This is strange.

    I suspect that the agreement for allowing the transfer from Pentagon’s stockpile in Israel to IDF covered the transfers that occurred. If Obama and Kerry did not want it, they should proactively stop it. I do not know why they did not, but clearly, both of them were too busy talking from two sides of their mouth.

    Right now, there is a trade war with Russia because of allegation (not proven!) that Russia supplied a missile used to shot Malaysian airliner. Russia of course points out the Western hypocrisy of letting a perfectly documented massacre slide when Israel does it, and invoking sanction on the basis of hard to interpret photos (Russians have their own satellite photos that they claim prove something totally different, Americans do not show their photos) and “social media” with questionable interpretation. In any case, the Western doctrine is “responsibility of the supplier”.

    Hypocrisy works if people who follow hypocritical theories do not complain. The problem may be that some Europeans actually grumble. The “leak” to WSJ could be to mollify the grumblers. Or perhaps Kerry and Obama are genuinely flustered with all of that (including what to do with the Caliphate) happening.

    • American on August 15, 2014, 2:37 pm

      This will explain it…

      Read more:

      When Israel cracks into its U.S.-funded weapons stockpile, even Obama doesn’t hear about it.


      ”Putting aside for the moment the question of why Israel—after only three weeks of battling vastly inferior Hamas forces—would need to replenish tank shells, WRSA-I is a strategic boon to Israel. The process is streamlined: No 60-day congressional notification is required, and there’s no waiting on delivery.
      The WRSA process is so efficient, in fact, according to a story published earlier this week in the Wall Street Journal, that the White House, to its chagrin, was unaware that last month’s WRSA transfer had even occurred.
      When WRSA was created, the stockpile was conceived as weapons systems and ammunition for rapid deployment to American forces in the region, and contained $100 million worth of U.S. military materiel. At Israel’s behest, over the years Congress has significantly plussed-up the program, and successive U.S. administrations have executed the legislative authorization. Next year, that value of WRSA-I should reach $1.2 billion.
      Today, WRSA-I is intended to meet primarily Israeli, not American, military contingencies.

      In large part, this repurposing was due to the efforts of an unsung mid-level Pentagon bureaucrat named Keith Rowe.
      At nearly 400 pounds, this tobacco-dipping former U.S. postal worker would seem an unlikely player in such an important U.S. policy initiative. An Evangelical Christian—something he didn’t necessarily advertise to his co-workers—Keith may have held some spiritual affinity for the Jewish state.
      Keith served as Israel director in the Defense Security Cooperation Agency or DSCA, a bureau in the Office of the Secretary of Defense responsible for weapons sales to foreign countries, and was an expert in the arcane “how-tos” of transferring weapons to allies.

      In 2006, during the Israel-Hezbollah war, Keith pioneered an innovative bureaucratic technique within existing U.S. law to allow the Jewish state to utilize the U.S. stockpile. Along the way, he established the precedent for shipping U.S. weapons from Israel to Israel—without the need for a cumbersome, politically fraught signoff from the White House.”

      • American on August 15, 2014, 2:41 pm

        Keith Rowe is now dead… not available to answer any questions…lol

  10. Kay24 on August 14, 2014, 12:02 pm

    Most probably without the support of Congress, Obama cannot do anything independently, when it comes to Israel. They have already backstabbed him when Israel ordered them to go against Obama’s Iran initiative, and they tried to pass a resolution favoring tighter sanctions against Iran, at the most inconvenient time.
    Bob Menendez went against his own President for his lord and master.

    • lysias on August 14, 2014, 12:08 pm

      The Supreme Court has held that the President’s powers in foreign policy are not dependent on congressional approval. United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304 (1936):

      United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp., 299 U.S. 304 (1936),[1] was a United States Supreme Court case involving principles of both governmental regulation of business and the supremacy of the executive branch of the federal government to conduct foreign affairs. The Supreme Court concluded not only that foreign affairs power was vested in the national government as a whole but also that the President of the United States had “plenary” powers in the foreign affairs field that was not dependent upon congressional delegation.

      • Kay24 on August 14, 2014, 12:12 pm

        Thanks for making that clear. I am still puzzled as to why Obama cannot be independent of Congress and do the right thing. Must it always be for the good of Israel?

      • chris o on August 14, 2014, 8:45 pm

        It’s true Obama can’t do anything without the Congress, or at least one party in Congress, just for practical, political purposes. If he were to try to halt military or financial aid, the Congress would unanimously pass a law mandating the aid. If he were to restrict weapons transfers, Congress wold flip that decision and send the weapons, they do have this power. If Obama used his power to withdrew the Ambassador or issue a statement criticizing Israel, the Congress would pass a resolution condemning him, probably.

        Since Congress is truly for all intents and purposes Israeli-occupied territory, Obama can’t do anything. Anything he did would be politically disastrous and totally ineffective.

      • lysias on August 14, 2014, 9:20 pm

        You’re wrong. There is something he could do. He could go over the heads of the Congresspeople and make a speech to the American people. That’s what Ike did in 1956, and that’s how he forced Israel to withdraw from the Sinai then.

  11. Theo on August 14, 2014, 12:11 pm

    In Israel there are huge stock piles of US weapons of all kinds in case we have another major war in the ME, so it will not take a Houdini to get for the IDF what they need or want. I presume they all are under israeli control and the WH will never know if a few tons are removed. We are just a very sorry world power, Humpy-Dumpy without much brain!

    • Kay24 on August 14, 2014, 1:06 pm

      I remember someone in the media mentioning that the recently requested for by Israel, and given by the US, ammunition that was stored in Israel, was supposed to be “expiring” soon. Is that an excuse to hand over deadly ammo, that everyone knows, will be used to massacre civilians?

    • RoHa on August 14, 2014, 4:09 pm


      In ’73 the US stripped material from NATO bases in order to resupply Israel. This was a breach of the NATO treaty, and made Western Europe a bit more vulnerable to the Soviets.

      But Israel was more important.

      (Of course, NATO knew as well as the Soviets that neither intended to attack the other, but the public wasn’t supposed to realise that.)

  12. dbroncos on August 14, 2014, 12:32 pm

    “…which were already kept stored at a pre-positioned weapons stockpile in Israel.”

    …in a plywood shack with a padlock on it?

    The special relationship is out of US control – at least Obama’s control. He has an easy case to make to the American people. He can corner Israel’s supporters and put their loyalties on display in a very public way. He can name names. He can fire individuals “elsewhere in the administration” and bring them up on charges if crimes were committed. This is a tee ball ripe and ready for him to hit out of the park if he had the scrote to do it. But he doesn’t.

    • lysias on August 14, 2014, 12:46 pm

      The military-industrial complex has an interest in seeing weapons used up (so that they have to be replaced). Is Obama willing to defy both the Israel lobby and the military-industrial complex? I don’t think so.

      • Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:06 pm

        Yes, lysias, he could defy them if he wanted to, but he doesn’t care to make the effort. If he spoke directly to the public, he could stop the flow of weapons and he could stop using the veto to preclude action through the UN (at least for the rest of his term) . . . but that would be bad for business of garnering contributions.

  13. frankier on August 14, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Plausible deniability, anyone? How stupid do they think we are? In a situation like that, with stockpile depleted not as a result of some practice shooting, whoever received the request from the Israeli must have communicated upstream at least up to the Secretary of Defense. Maybe he stopped the request from going to Obama to shield him…

  14. Steve Macklevore on August 14, 2014, 1:08 pm

    [U.S officials have come to realise] that Mr. Netanyahu and his national security team are both reckless and untrustworthy.

    What is it with American officials? Are they specially selected for high stupidity and naivete levels?!?

    • piotr on August 14, 2014, 2:18 pm

      This is the old “nature or nurture” dispute. One may conjecture that the operation that removes the spine also affects higher cognitive functions, and this operation is required from American officials.

  15. Boomer on August 14, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Yes, frankier, I suspect you are right, it is probably just spin and plausible deniability. Obama being cute, dancing away from responsibility for his own policies, actions and inaction, deferring to power and money. I don’t know that for a fact, of course, but it seems a familiar pattern. Or Obama not caring enough to control his own administration . (I wonder if that is the reason for our rhetoric and sanctions re Ukraine . . . having put the neocons in control at State for some reason, and being unwilling to confront them, and his critics on the right.) If it isn’t just a matter of spin and plausible deniability, if he is truly outraged, Obama’s response–golfing followed by more golf–seems odd to me.

    But maybe that’s just me. When the going gets tough, do the tough go golfing? Or is that what sociopathic cowards do? I would like to think well of Mr. Obama, but I find it hard to do so now. It is not as if the issue of providing weapons was new and unexpected. The Campaign to End the Occupation had addressed it before the “sale” was announced. (I put “sale” in quotes, since we give Israel the money to buy the weapons.)

  16. David Doppler on August 14, 2014, 1:34 pm

    Right Wing Foreign Government Secures US Arms Sales from Pentagon Behind Administration’s Back and Against its Will!

    Now there’s a headline to contemplate. Obama and Netanyahu are both right in their negative assessments of each other. “Reckless and untrustworthy,” and “weak and naive.” Obama seems too smart to be naive, but he IS naive when it comes to executive leadership, seeking comfort and escape in a solitary, thoughtful cigarette, akin to sucking his thumb, rather than taking necessary action by bringing the relevant people together in one room and imposing his will on them, setting bars for people, terminating them if/when they fail, putting in place alternative means to insure that people aren’t saying one thing and doing another, especially when he knows that is the proven pattern.

    What is the point of seeking and obtaining the Oval Office if one isn’t prepared to wield power? It’s not a debate, or a legal brief, an oral argument, or a conversation in the faculty lounge. It’s about cutting people off at the knees, ruining people’s lives, destroying your enemies, if necessary. The question for Obama to contemplate over that thoughtful smoke is, who’s life gets destroyed here? His own, or at least his place in history? the American people’s? the Palestinian people’s? the Israeli people’s? or the Israeli right wing and their neocon American fellow travelers?

    I don’t remember the exact context, but some years ago some neocon voice was quoted as saying Obama’s efforts to force the Israelis to do that which they didn’t want to do was a mistake because it would just drive them further down into their “bunkers.” I was struck by the imagery and the association with Hitler’s final moments, and looked up the etiology of the word “bunker” and learned that it was in fact from the German, coined in the 30s to describe the ubiquitous bomb shelters Hitler had built for the German people, to which they could resort when the horrific threat to the German people used by the Nazis to consolidate power – the bogeyman of the Jewish-Communist conspiracy and their ridiculously naive and weak allied powers – brought on their inevitable attacks. The threat was thus made “real” and “concrete” for the people, even as the strong-man leadership led them to utter ruin.

    It is typical of the hasbara effort to cloud such comparisons by slander and endless distinctions that make any such comparison inaccurate, but it is plain to see that the Israeli people, led by their right-wing leaders, are in a similar somatic state to that of the German people, in which the “dire threat that makes the flesh crawl” is perceived as real and immediate, and in response to which strong leaders not afraid to use overwhelming force, whatever it takes, to smash the threat, are the only answer.

    Obama needs to pull the rug out from under this tinpot regime and force the Israeli people up from their “bunkers” to wake up and smell the coffee. And he needs to be able to use American resources, not have them used by the tinpot, to do so. As far as I’m concerned, and I voted for him twice, he’s already on the ash heap of history as a failure due to weakness. Maybe he can turn it around, but I’ll believe it when he demonstrates that he sees the necessity and has the capability of inflicting political harm on Netanyahu (and the part of his cabinet to his right) and on the domestic neocons. Everything less is mere appeasement of the bully in the room, who is looking for the next opportunity to laugh at him in contempt of his weakness.

    “Don’t ever second guess me again,” left unanswered, indeed. You’ve been called out, Mr. President.

    • Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:10 pm

      I imagine that if Mr. Obama is upset, it is merely by the public nature of the humiliation. Doing the donkey is more comfortably done in private.

    • ritzl on August 14, 2014, 2:20 pm

      If only Obama had the courage and conviction of a [51%] rank-and-file Presbyterian. It seems that they were up against the same Israeli Pressure Machine yet somehow managed to suck up their guts and do the right thing.

      Obama, well… not so much. He either likes being the proverbial “donkey” or is so weak that any lines he draws are meaningless. Mostly the latter would be my guess.

    • chris o on August 14, 2014, 9:07 pm

      I appreciated your post with many good points. It’s hard to disagree but on the other hand, in the case of Israel, since every single Senator in his party and 99% of the House are devoted to Israel, on this issue it is hard to imagine that Obama could use his “power” to get what he wants here, presumably a 2-state solution. The Democrats in Congress have proven to be more loyal to Netanyahu than Obama. He literally could be impeached if he took on Israel and Netanyahu. At the very least, he would be thoroughly embarrassed when the Congress unanimously rebukes him and embraces Israel. He faces severe political constraints here.

  17. concernedhuman on August 14, 2014, 2:00 pm

    seems all fodder for sheep?!
    If infact Obama administration felt it heavy handed, why would US vote against investigation for war crimes in UNHRC?
    Every thing between US and israel is as usual providing diplomatic cover, military and intelligence help.

    • Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:18 pm

      If by that you mean that the US provides “diplomatic cover, military and intelligence help” to Israel, then yes, I quite agree.

  18. Rosebud on August 14, 2014, 2:13 pm

    For what it’s worth, it appears that the US might limit/delay/prevent transfer of additional Hellfire missiles to Israel.

    • Boomer on August 14, 2014, 2:21 pm

      From a PR standpoint, banning additional “Hellfire” missiles seems wise. Less colorfully named mortar shells, bombs, etc. will no doubt continue to be okay.

    • Kay24 on August 14, 2014, 3:58 pm

      Most probably it might only be a “delay”. These sort of situation usually ends up with the US giving in to Israel’s intimidation and pressure, and the rogue state usually gets it’s own way by it’s lobbies controlling the congress, to do it’s dirty work. In our lifetime we will never see a President or a Congress refusing to do Israel’s bidding, and telling them to go jump in the Dead sea.

  19. ritzl on August 14, 2014, 2:21 pm

    If it helps, Mr. Obama, just look on the people that did this to you as “whistleblowers.”

  20. ThorsteinVeblen2012 on August 14, 2014, 2:37 pm

    The military makes decision in absence of the political leadership?

    That’s a military coup in my book.

    Who are these people and why aren’t they under arrest?

  21. Binyamin in Orangeburg on August 14, 2014, 2:59 pm

    “Officially we are not allowed to use anything without American authorization, but there definitely might be someone out there who thinks that if we really will need this equipment, and the Americans won’t allow our access to the emergency depots, we’ll take it anyway,” says Dani Yatom, former Knesset Member and former head of the Mossad, who served as the Head of the IDF’s Planning Directorate of the General Staff in the period when the US began to transfer emergency reserves to Israel.

  22. Kay24 on August 14, 2014, 4:21 pm

    It seems there is not much change in the US policy of supplying weapons to Israel:

    U.S. confirms taking ‘additional care’ over Israeli arms transfers amid Gaza operation
    State Department spokesperson tries to minimize significance of the move, says no change in U.S. policy on supplying weapons to Israel.
    The U.S. State Department confirmed Thursday that the Obama administration was taking extra care in supplying weapons to Israel in the wake of Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.

    Deputy State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said that the U.S. was concerned about civilian deaths in Gaza. “We thought Israel could do more to prevent civilian casualties,” she said. “Due to the crisis in Gaza we took additional care like we would take in any crisis. We took steps to look at (munitions) deliveries. … We wanted to look at things a little bit harder.”

    Just a little display of toughness the US likes to show the world, but eventually we give in to the abuser, we are a battered nation.

    • Boomer on August 15, 2014, 7:57 am

      I don’t know what to make of all this. The story as reported in WSJ seems highly important, worthy of comment and reporting, but the spokesperson seems to be saying “move along, nothing to see here” . . . and the U.S. MSM seem to be following that line. At least, a quick Google News search this morning didn’t turn up much on it from U.S. sources for me (obviously, I may have missed some).

      I found a few complaints from conservative, pro-Israel voices that Obama would have the temerity to slow the supply of weapons to Israel. There were, however, quite a few references to the story in Israeli sources, and from U.S. sources oriented to Jewish readership. These seem to support the WSJ version, albeit with a variety of perspective and detail, which lend support to the WSJ report. For example:

  23. DICKERSON3870 on August 14, 2014, 5:06 pm

    RE: “White House and State Department officials had already become increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe capable of harming regional stability and Israel’s interests.” ~ WSJ

    Col. Ofer Winter: Poster Boy for IDF’s New Dirty 200, Ceasefire Dies (Again)
    , by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם, 8/07/14

    After Operation Cast Lead, peace activists prepared a list of 200 IDF officers who played major roles in the sowing the killing fields of Gaza with blood. I’m hoping someone is right now preparing a similar list for Operation Protective Edge. The level of mass mayhem in it far exceeds that of the prior campaign. More dead, more injured, more orphans, more devastation.

    Remember this name in particular: Ofer Winter. He’s the poster boy of IDF war criminals. He was also high on the list of those accused of similar acts during Cast Lead. It was he who wrote the genocidal battle plan announced to his troops in the accompanying image:

    History has chosen for us to be the bayonet point of battle against the Gazan terrorist enemy which curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel’s military campaigns…

    God, the Lord of Israel, make our path successful, as we are about to fight for Your People, Israel, against an enemy who defames your name. In the name of the IDF fighters…make the phrase “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” come true, and we shall answer: Amen.

    Lest you think I overstated the term “genocidal” above, anyone who knows their Bible will recognize this language. It is the language used to describe those tribes which the Israelites wiped out in their campaign to capture the land of Israel and populate it with their offspring. Tribes like the Amalekites, Moabites, Jebusites and others were all exterminated in battles in which the ancient Jews followed what they perceived as God’s will in taking over the land.

    Winter’s Givati brigade played a key role in the slaughter in Rafah in the last week of the war in which 160 Palestinians were killed by vengeful IDF forces seeking vengeance after a Hamas attack that killed an IDF major, sergeant and captured Lt. Hadar Goldin. . .


    • lysias on August 14, 2014, 5:15 pm

      So this Ofer Winter guy thinks the one God Allah of the Muslims and the God of Abraham are not the same God? On what grounds?

      • just on August 14, 2014, 5:22 pm

        Probably thinks that the God of Christians is different, too.

        Reminds me of this:

        “Boykin, a born-again Christian has gained attention for his Christian views over the years and some of his public remarks which cast the War on Terror in religious terms have generated considerable controversy.[10] A Pentagon investigation concluded in 2004 that he had violated regulations by failing to explain these remarks were not made in an official capacity.[11]

        In an October 15, 2003 speech to a community church in Oregon, Boykin was recorded stating that Islamic extremists hate the United States “because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. … And the enemy is a guy named Satan.”.[10][12] William Arkin,[13] military analyst for NBC News, was the source of the video and audiotapes of Boykin. The following day the Los Angeles Times ran a piece on Boykin. Among several quotes, the article revealed Boykin giving a speech about hunting down Osman Atto in Mogadishu: “He went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, ‘They’ll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.’ Well, you know what? I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.” ”


      • RoHa on August 15, 2014, 4:03 am

        And yet Boykin needed the help of the Muslims in the Pakistani and Malaysian armies.

    • DICKERSON3870 on August 14, 2014, 7:01 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “IDF Col. Ofer Winter’s Holy War Against Latter-Day Philistines”, by Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam, 8/07/14
      LINK –

    • Citizen on August 15, 2014, 6:47 am

      Speaking of heavy-handed battle tactics, here’s a piece on what’s going on in Ferguson–an example of the israelification of America’s police forces:
      Ferguson cops used military equipment and vehicles given to them free by the US government sans instructions on the limits of their use, and the Ferguson police chief, like so many across America, was trained by Israelis in Israel:

      • Citizen on August 15, 2014, 6:53 am

        Jack Moore @JFXM · 5h
        Palestinians in #Gaza/West Bank have been showing support for #Ferguson. Even offering tips on dealing with teargas.

  24. Hostage on August 14, 2014, 9:02 pm

    Will the Obama administration ever go public with this estimation of what Israel is, “reckless and untrustworthy”? We can just hope.

    Netanyahu better hope that the administration doesn’t. The mens rea for unlawful attacks which cause disproportionate civilian casualties or civilian property damage is intention or “recklessness”, not mere negligence. If the US is delaying or withholding arms shipments because civilian casualty rates have been excessive, and they deem their use in the IDF Gaza op as reckless, then how could the officials involved object to criminal prosecutions?

    • Jackdaw on August 15, 2014, 6:41 am


      Your earlier post paraphrased the Hague Convention (1908), Article 27, which reads:

      Art. 27. In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.

      Kelman’s direct subordinate, Daniel Neuman, commanded the squad that moved toward the small mosque. In his 1988 film interview with Goldstein, with Bulldozer standing right beside him at the very spot in Lydda where the action unfolded, he explains how he ordered the PIAT strike:
      “We somehow dashed forward in formation . . . until we got to this place, where a grenade was thrown at us. Now we were in a double bind. There was the grenade, and we’re in a narrow alley, with no room to maneuver, and snipers continue to fire on us. So I looked around, I looked and surmised that from the building next to me, they threw the grenade. I pointed, I indicated to the PIATnik to fire a shell in there. He fired a shell.”

      Ezra Greenboim, a squad commander who preceded Bulldozer down the alley by the small mosque, would likewise recall summoning the PIAT operator:
      From inside the mosque, grenades were thrown at us. I remember the shout: “Grenade!” We hit the dirt, because there wasn’t time to take cover. . . . Because we were certain—I say “certain,” maybe it wasn’t so—but at that moment because we were certain that grenades were thrown from the window of the mosque, we called the PIATist.

      And from Greenboim’s testimony in the same interview by Goldstein: “Everyone hit the dirt. There were wounded from the grenade itself, and then the order came to fire the PIAT.”

      Finally, Bulldozer himself also says, in the same 1988 interview, that he was expressly dispatched to the mosque with his PIAT:
      I received an instruction to run immediately with the PIAT to the small mosque. We came running, under fire from both sides of the street, down this alley, where we’re standing now. Fire came from the houses, and especially from the second stories. Just as we were running, a grenade was thrown at us from the mosque—not from inside the building, but from its roof. Three people took shrapnel. I was lightly wounded by a fragment, which didn’t keep me from functioning.

      Hostage. You discount the three eyewitness (Jewish) testimonies that clearly suggest that the small mosque was being used for military purpose, in favor of the second hand Arab testimony which says that the Arab grenadier ran into the small mosque, which, necessarily, begs the question, did the grenadier run into the small mosque from the mosque’s roof or courtyard?

      • Mooser on August 15, 2014, 12:11 pm

        Oh no, not another Zionist mutterer! Muttering, muttering, and the sound of one hand thwapping.

      • Hostage on August 15, 2014, 10:54 pm

        Art. 27. In sieges and bombardments all necessary steps must be taken to spare, as far as possible, buildings dedicated to religion, art, science, or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals, and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not being used at the time for military purposes.

        Article 27 of the Hague convention ceased to be a license to invade neighboring states when the prohibition against the threat of use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of any state was included in both the UN Charter and UN General Assembly resolution 181(II). There was no “military necessity” for the Jewish militias to be in Ramle of Lydda during the transition period, since they were allocated to the Arab state, and the militias were under strict orders to avoid border clashes, let alone invasions or occupations.

        You discount the three eyewitness (Jewish) testimonies that clearly suggest that the small mosque was being used for military purpose, in favor of the second hand Arab testimony which says that the Arab grenadier ran into the small mosque, which, necessarily, begs the question, did the grenadier run into the small mosque from the mosque’s roof or courtyard?

        No, there are first hand Palestinian and Jewish accounts about the deaths and atrocities that happened during the forced march.

        I simply accept the first hand video taped testimony of the Palmach perpetrator who confessed to massacring the people in the mosque and on the forced march. So far you’ve suggested everything, except that the Jewish militias “got lost” and accidentally ended up conducting operations that constituted the crime of aggression, war crimes, and crimes against humanity inside the territory allocated to the Arab state by the UN.

      • Jackdaw on August 16, 2014, 3:03 am


        Funny. Here’s an eyewitness Arab narrative that makes no mention of atrocities during the ‘death march’.

        Where is your eyewitness, Arab narrative that details these alleged atrocities during the ‘death march’?

      • Jackdaw on August 16, 2014, 3:21 am


        “There was no “military necessity” for the Jewish militias to be in Ramle of Lydda during the transition period, since they were allocated to the Arab state”

        Okay…so what’s your explanation for the presence of Transjordanian Arab Legion’s in Lydda? Lydda was allocated to the Arab State, not TransJordan.

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