Written by Gavin O’Reilly
On Friday, Israeli Forces launched Operation Breaking Dawn, an air campaign intended to target Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) figures in the Gaza Strip.
Less than 72 hours later, when an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire would end hostilities, 45 Palestinians lay dead, including 15 children and 4 women; in comparison to zero Israeli deaths as a result of the fighting.
What is interesting to note, is that in response to this wildly disproportionate use of violence, both the United States and Britain issued statements reiterating their view that Israel had the right to ‘defend’ itself.
An approach that lies in stark contrast to their response towards Russia for taking measures to counter NATO expansionism which threatened to place nuclear missiles on Moscow’s doorstep.
In February of this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a special military operation in the east of neighbouring Ukraine, in order to defend Russian-speaking minorities, and to destroy any military infrastructure intended to have been used against Moscow had Kiev ultimately gone on to become a NATO member.
Despite the prevailing narrative of the Western media being one of ‘Russian aggression’ and an ‘unprovoked invasion’ following the Russian intervention, the path that led to it stretches back almost nine years, with Moscow trying to resolve the situation peacefully along the way.
In November 2013, following his rejection of an EU trade deal in order to pursue closer ties with his Eastern neighbour, then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych would find himself the victim of a CIA and MI6-orchestrated regime change operation known as Euromaidan.
Involving the use of anti-Russian far-right elements, the violence that would sweep the former Soviet state in the following months, would ultimately result in the predominantly ethnic Russian Donbass region in east Ukraine breaking away to form the independent Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
Both regions having little alternative left they find themselves subjected to an ethnic cleansing campaign by the post-coup coalition government of Petro Poroshenko, one in which the aforementioned far-right elements played a key role.
Nevertheless, such a situation would indeed occur when the new Western-backed Kiev government began a war against the Donbass Republics following their establishment in April 2014.
Involving the use of neo-Nazi paramilitaries such as Azov Battalion and Right Sector, Kiev’s war on the Donbass would lead to 14,000 deaths as of September 2021, a figure paid little heed to by the Western media over the past eight years.
What would also receive miniscule media coverage, was Moscow’s attempts to resolve the situation peacefully via the Minsk Agreements – a federalisation solution in which Donetsk and Luhansk would receive a degree of autonomy, whilst still remaining under Ukrainian rule.
With Kiev’s failure to implement its side of the agreements, a mounting death toll in the Donbass conflict, and the subsequent revelation that the US was producing bioweapons on Russia’s borders, Moscow’s hand would ultimately be forced in February this year when a special military operation was launched into Ukraine, the only realistic alternative being that US nuclear missiles would eventually be placed within striking distance of Moscow.
Unlike Israel however, there were no affirmations from Western officials that Russia had the right to defend itself.
Instead, Moscow found itself on the receiving end of sanctions not seen since the end of the Cold War, with mass expulsions of Russian diplomats from the West, the banning of Russian media networks, and the boycotting of Russian athletes from major sporting events.
Measures that have never been suggested would be used against Israel for events such as what occurred over the past weekend, or for its 2014 war against Gaza that resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 Palestinians in the space of seven weeks.
To understand why, one must take into account the wider geopolitical factors at play in the West’s relationship with both Russia and Israel.
A key ally of the United States since its establishment in 1948, Israel has played an instrumental role in US foreign policy, particularly since the 9/11 attacks – which Israeli intelligence operatives would subsequently confirm foreknowledge of in a television interview.
Used as the pretext for the United States to launch the ‘war on terror’, 9/11 would result in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, something that Israel had stringently lobbied for, and would also be used as a justification for the 2011 regime change operation targeting Syria, in which Israeli operatives played a key role.
Indeed, this is where a divergence begins to emerge in the West’s relationship with both Moscow and Tel Aviv.
With Syria being a key Russian ally, Damascus sought Moscow’s assistance in 2015 in order to counter the Western-backed terrorists that had laid waste to the Arab Republic in the four years previous.
The result would be a Russian air campaign that allowed the Syrian Arab Army to retake the vast swathes of the country that had fallen under terrorist control, and also prevented Syria from succumbing to the same fate that befell Libya, itself subjected to a disastrous regime change operation in 2011.
It is also why Moscow has received condemnation by Western officials for taking measures to defend itself militarily against a hostile regime seeking to host troops and weaponry intended to attack Russia, whereas Israel’s bombardment of Palestinian children is justified by those same officials as ‘self-defense’.
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