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‘Terrifying’: Israel May Have Used Iran Conflict as ‘Red Herring’ for Gaza Occupation – Report

On April 1, Israel attacked the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, marking an act of war against Iran and Syria. Iran then responded to the attack two weeks later, which was intercepted by Israel’s western allies including the US.

An article published on Tuesday, ‘Did Israel Use Iran’s Attack to Secure a US Green Light for Rafah Invasion’, questions whether the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used Iran’s attacks as leverage for his war strategy in Gaza.

The conflict between Israel and Iran prompted the US to funnel billions of dollars into Israel’s war chest, with the country now making preparations to invade Rafah. The journalist, Palestine activist and author Robert Fantina joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Wednesday to discuss these unfolding events.

“We have to remember that the welfare of the Palestinians in Gaza has never been a concern of Israel or the US. There has been an international outcry against the genocide, against the horrific suffering, the slaughter of innocent persons, men, women and children,” said Fantina. “This has come to the attention of the world’s population. But, Israel and the US government don’t care.”

Palestinians line up for a free meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. International aid agencies say Gaza is suffering from shortages of food, medicine and other basic supplies as a result of the two and a half month war between Israel and Hamas - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.03.2024

“The Iranian reprisal attack on Israel, which, of course, was in compliance with international law following Israel’s violation of international law by bombing the Iranian consulate in Damascus. This was something that the US was trying to demonize Iran for doing when it was simply a matter of reprisal for a crime that had been committed against it,” the journalist added.

“The welfare of the people of Gaza has never been a concern of the US. Iran was just a red herring to distract it.”

Following Iran’s retaliatory attack against Israel on April 13, the US approved $14 billion to Israel in the aftermath, with 90 congressional lawmakers urging House Speaker Mike Johnson to immediately advance the foreign funding bill. House Democrats also called for lawmakers to pass a $95 billion foreign funding bill which includes aid to both Ukraine and Israel – with $17 billion in defense for Israel. Meanwhile, analysts expect that just $2 billion will go to humanitarian aid in Gaza.

A boy stands in the rain at a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 14, 2023. - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.11.2023

The Palestinian presidency said that this funding will be a “dangerous escalation”, and added that the money would “translate into thousands of Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip”. But as the threat of a regional war faded following Israel’s most recent attack, Israel launched strikes in the city of Rafah, killing 18 children and four others, health officials said on Sunday. About 1.5 million people currently shelter in Gaza as it is the last city that has been spared from the atrocity caused by Israel’s ground forces.

“These are people that the US government and the US system considers expendable because they’re not white,” Fantina added. “The US is sending more weapons and money to Ukraine. When Gaza is being victimized in the same way, only far, far worse, and the US, rather than giving the Palestinians the means to defend themselves, it’s giving the perpetrator more means to commit the slaughter and the genocide. So, it comes down partly to racism, partly to profits and partly to power.”

An article published on Wednesday described the “unprecedented terror” that continues to haunt Palestinians in Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, just two days after the Israeli army completed its 52-hour-long invasion of the camp. According to the article, Israeli forces killed 14 Palestinians. A resident said that this is not the first time the Israeli occupation has raided Nur Shams, but it was different because this time they used “unprecedented violence” during the raid, one resident said.

“The IDF is an extremely brutal force, a terrorist force, that is government sanctioned and US sanctioned. And the fact that this was unprecedented terror is just horrifying to me. And reading about it, they killed several Palestinians,” Fantina said. “The raid lasted a couple of days. They bulldozed houses and whatever else, stores, businesses. Just terrifying people, killing the people and making it difficult for them to continue their life.”

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