During the latest outbreak of violence in Gaza, Israeli security forces, using high-powered rifles and live ammunition, have killed forty Palestinians (and counting), and wounded more than five thousand. B'Tselem, a leading Israeli human rights group, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders have all accused Israel's government and its minister of defence, Avigdor Lieberman, of targeting reporters and mostly unarmed civilians. Lieberman replied that there are ‘no innocent people' in Hamas-run Gaza. The new US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, reassured Israelis that ‘the United States is with Israel in this fight. And we strongly support Israel's sovereign right to defend itself.' That this support applies not only to its confrontations with Iran but also to Israel's turkey shoot of Palestinians in Gaza was established when President Trump's envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have investigated the Gaza killings. This was justified on the same grounds: Israel's sovereign right to defend itself. The invocation of Israel's ‘sovereign right' is the big lie at the heart of America's responsibility for the collapse of the peace process. In Gaza, as in the West Bank beyond the pre-1967 armistice line, Israel is acting not in accordance with its sovereign right to protect itself, but to protect its occupation. What Israel's military restores when it quells Palestinian protests is not law and order, but illegality and repression, reinforcing its theft of Palestinian territory in order to preclude the possibility of a Palestinian state, a goal it has achieved.