An eye for an eyelash: The Gaza Massacre

An eye for an eyelash: The Gaza Massacre

On March 24, 1999, an emotional Tony Blair appealed to the House of Commons and to the people of Britain:

“We must act to save thousands of innocent men, women and children from humanitarian catastrophe.”

Blair described the emergency:

“Let me give the House an indication of the scale of what is happening: a quarter of a million Kosovars, more than 10 per cent of the population, are now homeless as a result of repression by Serb forces… Since last summer 2000 people have died.” (Blair: ‘We must act – to save thousands of innocent men, women and children,’ The Guardian, March 23, 1999; http://www.guardian.co.uk/Kosovo/ Story/0,,209876,00.html)

Not even Blair claimed all the killings had been on one side. George Robertson, the UK Defence Secretary at the time of the crisis, testified before the House of Commons that until mid-January 1999, “the Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] was responsible for more deaths in Kosovo than the Serbian authorities had been”. (Quoted, Noam Chomsky, Hegemony or Survival, Routledge, 2003, p.56)

The Guardian rallied to Blair’s cause:

“The only honorable course for Europe and America is to use military force to try to protect the people of Kosovo… If we do not act at all, or if there is a limited bombing campaign which still fails to change Milosevic’s mind, what is likely to be Kosovo’s future?” (Leader, ‘The sad need for force, Kosovo must be saved,’ The Guardian, March 23, 1999)

The following day, NATO began its 78-day blitz of Serbia.

Ten years later and almost one-half of the 2,000 death toll that so horrified Blair and the Guardian in 1999 has been reached by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) in its massacre of 890 Palestinians in just over two weeks. Some 3,800 more have been wounded. The current slaughter is far more one-sided than Kosovo. There have so far been 3 Israeli civilian deaths and 10 soldiers killed: 4 of these were victims of their own ‘friendly fire’.

KLA attacks did nothing to temper media outrage at the spectacle of the Serbian state attacking tiny Kosovo. The focus was on Serbian “massacres” and “genocide”.

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