NYT's Middle East Morality: Israel Border Defense Makes Front Page, Mass Syrian Massacres on A-12

More double standards for Middle East morality. Monday's off-lead story featured 30 paragraphs from Jerusalem by Isabel Kershner on Palestinians in refugee camps in Syria goaded to cross over into Israel, who were then fired upon by Israeli troops, only after nonlethal means were tried: "Protests Draw Israeli Gunfire At Syria Border - Deadly Confrontation - Trying to Force Way In Emerges as a Strategy by Palestinians." A Syrian news agency reported 22 Palestinian protesters were killed, though Israel suggested that figure was exaggerated.

While Israel's armed response to the attempted invasion on its border with Syria was at least somewhat justified, Syrian authorities themselves in the last weeks have slaughtered over 1,000 of its rebelling citizens, actual human rights atrocities that have only sporadically made the Times' front page. In this way the Times is playing into the hands of Syria, which is using the all-purpose enemy Israel as a distraction from internal oppression.

The same Monday edition that fronted the Palestinian "strategy" of border invasion also contained a story of Syrian authorities murdering dozens of their own people, but it was relegated to 12 paragraphs on page A7: "Syrian Army Kills 38 in North, Reports Say."

Saturday's front page featured "Mourning a Boy, Crowds in Syria Defy Crackdown," reporting: "At least 40 protesters were killed in Hama, according to local activists. That report could not be immediately confirmed. The demonstrations were fueled in part by escalating anger over the torture and killing of a 13-year-old boy from the southern region of Dara'a."

Yet a Sunday follow-up, "Syrian Tanks Move In on City as Thousands Mourn Protesters' Deaths," only made page A18, even as it reported a high number of victims: "Syrian tanks took up positions outside the city of Hama on Saturday, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to mourn the deaths of at least 65 protesters gunned down by security forces there the day before."

And yet another massacre by Syria only merited page A12 last Thursday: "Syrian military forces killed 42 people, including a 10-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl, in raids on a string of towns around the central city of Homs."