The United States and Israeli violations of international humanitarian law

Authored by: Stephen Zunes

Routledge Handbook on Human Rights and the Middle East and North Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138807679
eBook ISBN: 9781315750972
Adobe ISBN: 9781317613763


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Violations of international humanitarian law and other human rights abuses by governments in the Middle East and North Africa are tragically common. Those committed by the government of Israel are certainly not the worst in this regard. However, there is no country engaged in such breaches of these widely-accepted legal norms for which the United States—which often sees itself as a defender of human rights—has gone to such extent to support and defend in the face of international criticism. Excusing Israeli violations of international humanitarian law has overwhelming bipartisan support in both Congress and successive administrations. This is part of a longstanding consensus within Washington that war crimes by U.S. allies, particularly in the strategically important Middle East, must be ignored, downplayed, defended, and/or covered up.

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