‘Slaughter of Civilians’ – US Pilots Seek Conscientious Objector Status over Gaza War

Two US Air Force pilots are seeking conscientious objector status over support for Gaza Conflict. (Photo: screen grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

According to NBC, they “both referred to Israel’s attack on Gaza as genocide and said footage coming out of the region is weighing not only on them but many Americans.”

Two American pilots serving in the US Air Force are seeking a conscientious objector status in rejection of their country’s support for the Israeli genocide in Gaza, a report published by NBC revealed on Friday.

Senior US Airman Juan Bettancourt and active duty US airman, Larry Herbert Jr, shared their disappointment at their country’s unconditional support to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

“After witnessing footage of death and destruction in Gaza, senior U.S. Airman Juan Bettancourt said he could no longer ignore the US government’s role in the war, including its supply of weapons, diplomatic coverage and intelligence,” the report said.

“I see the slaughter of thousands of innocent civilians, all while the world watches through their smartphones,” Bettancourt said during the interview with NBC. 

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For his part, Herbert was particularly upset following Israel’s killing of six-year-old Hind Rajab, last February. Hind’s body was found alongside the bodies of five of her family members in a car encircled by Israeli occupation tanks in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza.

The discovery came after an extensive search initiated by a distress call from the Palestinian Red Crescent, as Israeli occupation forces were firing at the car she and her family were in.

“She looks almost just like my daughter, and that was something that was extremely hard to grasp, is that all these children that have aspirations and dreams and lives that many of us are living and want, and it’s wholly unjustified to support what’s happening,” Herbert was quoted by NBC as saying.

Israel has killed over 37,000 Palestinians in its genocidal war on Gaza, starting on October 7. 

Herbert and Bettancourt, who enlisted in 2022, are currently “requesting to become conscientious objectors over the United States support of Israel, a decision they said was emboldened by the ongoing war in Gaza.”

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According to NBC, they “both referred to Israel’s attack on Gaza as genocide and said footage coming out of the region is weighing not only on them but many Americans.”

Despite collective calls for a ceasefire, US President Joe Biden has offered unconditional support to Tel Aviv. The two US officers hope this could change.

“By coming forward, Bettancourt and Hebert said they hoped to help sway US policy away from support for Israel amid the war,” the report said.

Ongoing Genocide

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7. 

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 37,551 Palestinians have been killed, and 85,911 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.  

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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