As Israeli officials proudly compare their bombardment of the Gaza Strip to the Allied firebombing of Dresden, the Associated Press has quietly removed a section noting US alarm over the historical comparison.
The Associated Press has quietly deleted a reference to official Israeli threats to subject the Gaza Strip to a Dresden-style firebombing campaign — the latest move in legacy media outlets’ ongoing push to downplay the impacts of Tel Aviv’s siege of over two million Palestinians.
“Four U.S. officials familiar with the discussions said American diplomats became increasingly alarmed by comments from their Israeli counterparts regarding their intention to deny water, food, medicine, electricity and fuel into Gaza, as well as the inevitability of civilian casualties,” the AP article previously stated.
“Members of the Israeli security and political establishment told the U.S. diplomats that the eradication of Hamas would require methods used in the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II,” the AP originally wrote, adding that “Israeli officials have publicly made similar comparisons.”
The offending passages have since been deleted without explanation — a textbook violation of journalistic ethics. The decision is all the more baffling given that Israeli officials have made no secret of their desire to treat Palestinian civilians the same way Western Allies treated the Germans at the end of World War II.
In an October 16 interview, the Israeli ambassador to the UK, Tzipi Hotovely, shrugged off concerns about the thousands of innocents killed in IDF strikes on Gaza, suggesting that because Allied powers killed tens of thousands of German civilians with relentless airstrikes in the 1940s, Israel is entitled to do the same.
“There were many, many civilians [that] got attacked from your attacks on German cities,” she told a Sky News anchor. “Dresden was a symbol, but you attacked Hamburg, you attacked other cities, and altogether it was over 600,000 civilian Germans that got killed.”
Comparing the militarily occupied Palestinian population to Nazis, Hotovley continued: “Was it worth it in order to defeat Nazi Germany? And the answer was yes.”
Media coverage of that exchange, however, largely centered on the Israeli ambassador’s repeated insistence that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Addressing the uproar in a segment with Piers Morgan that same night, Hotovley returned to the Dresden comparison once again.
“600,000 Germans were killed in your attacks on Hamburg and Dresden,” she declared to the Talk TV host. “Why? Because you knew this was the only way you could defeat the Nazis,’ the ambassador insisted.
Israeli ambassador to the UK cites the firebombing of Dresden in 1945 (deliberate aerial incineration of civilian population centers by US and UK) as precedent for what Israel is about to do in Gaza pic.twitter.com/GFXuv5T2Lq
“We are giving the people in Gaza the opportunity” to flee that Israelis “were never given… they were slaughtered in their beds,” she concluded.
But she was not the only Israeli official who openly invoked the Allied attacks on German civilians to justify Israel’s assault on Gaza. In a heated exchange with another Sky News host, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett declared that “when Great Britain was fighting the Nazis during World War Two, no one asked what’s going on in Dresden.”
On October 12, the former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett also indignantly cited Dresden as a precedent for what Israel is about to do in Gaza pic.twitter.com/xo4iHqClD9
Designed to break the will of the German population as its military collapsed on the battlefield, the British-led campaign of firebombing Dresden left at least 30,000 civilians dead and an entire city in ruins in February 1945.
Historian Donald Miller wrote of the nightmare unleashed by the Allied aerial assault: “People’s shoes melted into the hot asphalt of the streets, and the fire moved so swiftly that many were reduced to atoms before they had time to remove their shoes. The fire melted iron and steel, turned stone into powder, and caused trees to explode from the heat of their own resin. People running from the fire could feel its heat through their backs, burning their lungs.”
Palestinians in Gaza have related a similarly hellish experience as the civilian death toll in less than two weeks of bombardment tops 4000. “The bombardment in Gaza tonight is the most intense ever,” wrote Ahmed Nehad, a resident of Gaza. “The scale of the attacks is crazy, to a level even unprecedented for Gazans. Yet, Gaza is without internet. People can’t even peer out their windows to see. Thus, there’s no media coverage.”