Since the publication last week of CiF Watch’s special report on the situation in southern Israel, further escalation has occurred, but a search on CiF’s Middle East section – as well as the Guardian’s World News, Israel, page – this morning shows a total absence of any attempt whatsoever to inform Guardian readers of these significant changes.
Yesterday, Israeli media outlets buzzed with the news that Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi had reported that two weeks earlier a Russian-made Kornet anti-tank missile had been used against IDF forces patrolling the border with Gaza for the first time. This is the same type of missile which was used by Hizbollah against Israeli tanks in the second Lebanon war of 2006 and which is thought to have been supplied by Syria.
On the morning of Tuesday, December 21st, catastrophe was narrowly averted when a Kassam rocket exploded near a kindergarten in a kibbutz close to the Gaza border just as the children were arriving. We are, of course, grimly familiar with this tactic of targeting educational establishments at crucial times of the day as used so often by the terrorists in Gaza for many years now.
The day before seven mortar shells were fired into the region surrounding the Gaza Strip and on the Sunday night, four mortars exploded near Ashkelon. In the three weeks since the beginning of December, thirty-one mortars and five Kassam rockets have been fired at civilian targets in southern Israel and the number of border incidents has doubled.
We can search in vain for the Guardian’s outraged article about the targeting of pre-school children peppered with references to International Law and Geneva Conventions.
We can sit and accumulate cobwebs waiting for Harriet Sherwood’s ‘human interest’ story on the psychological effects of years of living in the shadow of Islamist terror upon Israeli civilians.
We can look forward to the CiF expose of the smuggling route of weapons from Iran, via Syria, to Hizbollah and then to Gaza in much the same way as for years my little sister was convinced every birthday that she would awake to find a pony tethered to the end of her bed.
If this current escalation continues and gets out of hand, Israel will of course have to respond forcefully at some point in order to meet its obligations regarding the protection of its civilians. To the millions of Guardian readers throughout the world this will of course come totally out of the blue, just as Operation Cast Lead did at the time, because they will yet again have been denied the background knowledge which is so essential to a complete understanding of the difficulties facing Israel.
One does not have to be proficient with a crystal ball to know that the result will be a barrage of anti-Israeli sentiment and opinion which the Guardian will have helped engineer by means of its deliberate neglect of the obligation to “fair and balanced” reporting from the Middle East.