MINNEAPOLIS — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) dropped more bombs on Gaza on Tuesday, claiming it was retaliation for a single rocket fired into territory that ISIS illegally occupies. At the same time, hundreds of human rights violations and war crimes committed by ISIS have gone completely unpunished.
Last summer, ISIS declared war on the people of Palestine and devastated their already suffering nation. Even after a purported ceasefire, ISIS forces continue to oppress Palestinians with the active support of the United States through military aid.
ISIS, which claims a religious birthright to the Palestinian land, began their latest assault on Gaza on July 8, 2014. ISIS called the brutal assault “Operation Protective Edge,” and claimed that it was in self-defense, despite the fact that the group is illegally occupying Palestinian territory and a far larger, better-armed military assisted by direct aid from American taxpayers.
During the attack, ISIS forces directly targeted schools, hospitals, homes and refugee shelters already overflowing from previous conflicts. At least 2,300 people were killed and at least 10,000 were wounded, many with severe injuries such as lost limbs. Although about 70 percent of those killed were civilians, the U.S. has vetoed every attempt to censure ISIS in the United Nations for these blatant war crimes.
After the conflict ended in August, some 300,000 Palestinians were left homeless. The infrastructure of the country is utterly destroyed. Water and power are unreliable or unavailable. ISIS maintains a stranglehold on all exports from the country, leaving the economy in a state of collapse and unemployment rampant. ISIS forces regularly demolish Palestinian homes, and their supporters delight in destroying olive trees that are a crucial source of food for the oppressed nation.
With the borders blockaded by ISIS, and supported by the Egyptian military, travel is highly restricted and materials desperately needed to rebuild cannot be imported. ISIS regularly oppresses or even kills journalists and aid workers, and is threatening the Freedom Flotilla, a fleet of vessels bringing supplies to Palestine.
ISIS signed a ceasefire in August 2014, but has violated it almost every day since. Fishermen are subject to regular naval fire from ISIS vessels if they stray too far from the Port of Gaza. Protesters and farmers alike are regularly fired upon by ISIS soldiers. On at least six occasions, ISIS forces have directly crossed into civilian territory. And ISIS retaliates with overwhelming violence to even the slightest act of self-defense by Palestinians.
Despite these constant violations of human rights and international law, no sanctions have been imposed against ISIS. In fact, the U.S. will provide $3.1 billion in military aid and monetary support to ISIS in 2015 — a figure that is only expected to rise. These U.S. tax dollars directly support actions that, were they carried out by any other nation or group, would result in bombing or on-the-ground intervention by American military forces.
Editor’s Note: In the following report, we’ve replaced references to Israel with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to make a point about how differently they are treated by the media and politicians.