In a highly alarming move, the White House has requested the ability to conduct arms deals with Israel in complete secrecy without Congressional or public oversight, as Israel stands accused of genocide in Gaza.
The brazen request comes in a $106 billion defence funding proposal to waive notifications to Congress on up to $3.5 billion in arms sales to Israel. Experts have called the waiver “unprecedented” and “an insult to Congressional oversight”. It seems calculated to reduce transparency around arms sales, amid accusations Israel is committing genocide.
John Ramming Chappell of the Centre for Civilians in Conflict is reported saying that Congress must reject the dangerous request, stating: “The waiver would further undermine meaningful scrutiny of weapons sales on Capitol Hill at a time when US support is enabling bombings that have killed thousands of civilians.”
Read 800 scholars warn of potential genocide in Gaza
The waiver follows reports that the Biden administration is silencing dissent and ignoring evidence of atrocities within its own ranks. There are varying reports that officials are side-lining work on Gaza, sweeping aside reports of war crimes and stifling discussion – even as leaders privately acknowledge atrocities.
One staffer resigned in protest. “The fact that none are willing to [publicly acknowledge war crimes] points to a deep moral rot in our system,” said Josh Paul, who has been the Director of Congressional and Public Affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs for over 11 years.
Paul went on to say that the Biden administration’s “blind support for one side” was leading to policy decisions that were “short-sighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values we publicly espouse.”
Calls to conduct arms sale to Israel comes as UN human rights official resigned in protest this week over what he calls the “genocide” unfolding in the besieged enclave. Craig Mokhiber, outgoing Director of the New York office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, accused the UN of “failing again” to prevent genocide like it had in Rwanda and Bosnia.
In a fiery departure letter, Mokhiber categorised Israel’s “wholesale slaughter” of Palestinians as a “textbook case of genocide” rooted in ethno-nationalist ideology. He condemned the US, UK and Europe as “wholly complicit” for arming Israel’s assault and providing it diplomatic cover. Mokhiber called for dismantling Israel’s “deeply racist, settler-colonial project” and establishing a single secular state in historic Palestine.
READ: Turkiye prepares to notify ICC about Israel’s war crimes
The top UN human rights official is not alone in calling on the international community to shake off its apathy and prevent an Israeli genocide on Gaza. Associate professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University and the endowed professor in the study of modern genocide, Raz Segal, has also called Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza “a textbook case of genocide”
As the civilian death toll in Gaza surpasses 9,000, Israel’s systematic targeting of civilians, hospitals, and schools has sounded alarms of impending war crimes prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC). In this context, the brazen US bid to remove transparency around arms sales to Israel appears to be a preventative measure to reduce complicity should the ICC indict Israel for genocide.
Disclaimer: Accused of 'genocide' in Gaza and fearing ICC prosecution: US seeks to hide arms deal with Israel - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view