These American bombs weighing almost a ton which ravaged Gaza

These American bombs weighing almost a ton which ravaged Gaza
These American bombs weighing almost a ton which ravaged Gaza

In Pentagon jargon, the Mark 80 family bombs are “general purpose.” This means they can be used against all targets. Developed after World War II, these munitions were subsequently used in every war led by the United States, from Vietnam to Iraq. Dropped by plane, these bombs were gradually equipped with a guidance system for greater precision. The White House also suspended the transfer to Israel of the Mark 82, which is smaller and weighs 227 kg. In total, 3,500 shells were retained by Washington.

Craters by the hundreds

“Civilians were killed in Gaza by these bombs,” Joe Biden admitted laconically on Wednesday. Friday, in a long-awaited report requested by Congress, the State Department concluded that Israel had probably violated international humanitarian law, which notably imposes a principle of proportionality, by massively using American weapons in Gaza. But the findings were not strong enough to stop all arms deliveries. This result does not satisfy anyone in the United States, while positions are increasingly irreconcilable on the continuation of the war in Gaza.

The use of Mark 84 bombs in Gaza, a thin, densely populated territory, has been denounced for months. In December 2023, surveys from New York Times and CNN revealed that shells of this type had been dropped hundreds of times in the first weeks of the war, which has so far claimed more than 35,000 lives, most of them civilians, according to Ministry figures. of local health dependent on Hamas.

Read also: The supremacisms of Hamas and the Israeli far right capture the geopolitical debate

The two American media outlets based themselves on satellite images showing the large craters caused by these bombs throughout the Palestinian enclave, including in supposedly safe areas designated by the Israeli army for civilians to take refuge. These bombs can tear apart buildings, burying their occupants in rubble. According to CNN, their impact kills or injures within a radius of 365 meters, the equivalent of the area of ​​58 football fields. Still according to the American channel, the United States last used this weapon in 2017 in an urban area, in Raqqa, in Syria, held by the Islamic State. But this bomb would then have been used only once.

A standoff that has precedents

To engage in a standoff with the Israeli ally, the American president therefore chose to suspend deliveries of the most controversial weapons. Despite this warning shot, the Israeli government remains inflexible. “We will continue the war, even alone,” responded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He overplays an abandonment by Washington, while Joe Biden was an unwavering support of Israel after the massacre of October 7, 2023, perpetrated by Hamas. To the point of isolating the United States on the international scene and endangering its re-election. The Israeli leader knows the United States perfectly, having studied there. He is counting on the Republicans to change Joe Biden’s position but also on a part of the Democrats who denounce the president’s decision with regard to an ally of the United States. The Israeli Prime Minister is not giving Joe Biden any gifts, undoubtedly betting on a return to the White House for Donald Trump.

In reality, Joe Biden is not the first to suspend arms deliveries to Israel. Republican Ronald Reagan did the same, outraged by the Israeli bombings against Beirut during the Lebanon War in 1982. Forty years later, Joe Biden finally decided to use the lever of arms deliveries, on which he is dependent Israel. He wants at all costs to slow down the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who is preparing an invasion of Rafah, the last bastion of Hamas. The White House, on the contrary, is clinging to hopes of a ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages held by Hamas. Because the continuation of this war revolts part of the Democratic electorate and mobilizes campuses against the president accused of being complicit in a “genocide”.

More than a million residents of the Palestinian enclave took refuge in Rafah, because the Israeli army ordered them to flee south at the start of its operations in Gaza. According to UN figures, more than 300,000 Palestinians have already returned to the north, terrified by the prospect of a new Israeli offensive and no longer knowing where to go.

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