The Guardian offers polite tactical advice to Netanyahu – unreserved condemnation for Assad

A Guardian editorial on Israel’s latest atrocities in Gaza – the murder of 140 defenseless

Palestinians and the wounding of another 1200– stated the following:

“…has he [Netanyahu] just discovered the limits of the use of force? Instead of trying to wipe Hamas out, perhaps Mr Netanyahu should try talking to them.”

In contrast, when militias loyal to Assad were accused of perpetrating the Houla Massacre, which claimed fewer lives than Israel’s latest rampage, the Guardian used incomparably stronger language. The Guardian then referred to the ”horror of Houla”. It then referred to “war Bashar al-Assad is waging against his own people”

Unlike Netanyahu, Assad confronts rebels with powerful allies and who have proven capable of inflicting serious military loses on the Syrian military. In July, the Guardian, like many other western commentators, speculated that the Syrian rebels were on the verge of winning after the assassination of members of Assad’s inner circle. The Guardian editors remarked

“the [Assad] regime's bloodcurdling threats of revenge only served to heighten the sense of a cornered clique.”

Israel, in contrast, bombs and blockades Gaza with an impunity that Assad must envy. Assad’s army has suffered thousands of deaths (and numerous defections) at the hands of the rebels.  Israel lost 6 soldiers during operation "Cast Lead” and one soldier during its latest bombing of Gaza. Nobody has ever speculated that the Palestinians were on the verge of forcibly driving Israel out of the Occupied Territories, or even capable of making Israel pay any significant military price for its crimes.

It should not be forgotten, as it routinely is, that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is more lethal than its bombs. In 2003, a UN report stated that

"Over 22 per cent of children under 5 were suffering from malnutrition (9.3 per cent suffering from acute malnutrition and 13.2 per cent suffering from chronic malnutrition) in 2002. 5 Around 15.6 per cent of children under 5 suffered from acute anaemia, 6 which for many will have permanent negative effects on their physical and mental development. Severe malnutrition reported in Gaza is now equivalent to levels found in poor sub-Saharan countries, an absurd situation as Palestine was formerly a middle-income economy. 

Israel’s economic punishment of Gaza has become much more savage since that grim report was issued. According to UNICEF, as of 2011, child mortality in the Occupied Territories is almost 8 times higher than it is in Israel (and nearly double what it is in Syria). Israel's occupation therefore kils thousands of Palestinian children every year.

Based on the vague promises Israel has just made to obtain the latest “ceasefire”, the Guardian editors have proclaimed “the siege of Gaza, which Israel fought so bitterly and for so long to maintain, has just ended.”

Needless to say, the Guardian would never express such blind faith in promises made by Assad, or fail to demand that Russia pressure him to keep his word.

The Guardian editors don’t limit themselves to condemning Assad for his crimes. Like many westerners, the editors frequently call out Russia, a key Assad ally. In one editorial the Guardian wondered if “the cold, pragmatic judgment could eventually point to Russia cutting Assad loose”.

The Guardian never wonders what it would take for rich western countries like USA, UK and Canada to cut Israel loose. When prominent western pundits are finally forced to seriously consider that option, we’ll know that Israel’s “experiments in human despair” (to borrow from Jonathan Cook) may soon be over.

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