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Ear to the Ground

Shades of Gaza in Ukraine?

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Posted on Aug 29, 2014

Mykhaylo Palinchak / Shutterstock.com

At the risk of grossly oversimplifying two very different conflicts, read this New York Times summary of a U.N. human rights report on the fighting in Ukraine and tell us it doesn’t sound familiar:

Ukraine’s military had to bear responsibility for “at least some” of the heavy loss of civilian life and for extensive damage to property resulting from the use of heavy weapons, including tanks and artillery, in densely populated areas, the report said. But armed rebels were faulted for positioning their heavy weapons in densely populated areas and for launching attacks from them, putting civilians at risk and violating international law.

Even the death toll, which is conservatively estimated at 2,220, is very close to the loss of life suffered in Israel’s latest war with Hamas.

Of course the conflict in Ukraine bears many dissimilarities to the one in Gaza, but there is at least one way in which they resemble each other: the reckless disregard for civilian life.

Both sides in the Ukraine conflict come under U.N. criticism for civilian deaths. It has become all too commonplace for armies around the world to put the responsibility on innocent bystanders to get out of the way.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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