The Senior Vatican Cardinal who said the Gaza Strip had been turned into a "concentration camp" was slammed by Israel as promoting "Hamas propaganda".
Even though Renato Martino pushed limits by using words that Jewish people interpreted as a (false) analogy with the camps in which the Nazis carried out their industrial extermination of six million Jews, he focused attention on the blockade which prevents Palestinians from escaping the carnage that Israel rains down on this 140 square mile strip to squash the Hamas militia.
Israel stomps on the rights of journalists to go into Gaza and objectively report what is happening by resorting to spurious arguments like that mounted by Daniel Seaman, the director of Israel's Government Press Office:
"Any journalist who enters Gaza becomes a fig leaf and front for the Hamas terror organisation, and I see no reason why we should help that."
This despite a ruling by Israel's Supreme Court saying foreign reporters should be admitted to Gaza.
Israel doesn't want its people to know the impact of the offensive either. This is borne out by an article in the Israeli financial newspaper Globes which points out the reporting ban means there is no coverage of dead Palestinian civilians in local television footage. Instead, Israelis see "military correspondents standing against a background of smoke pillars on a distant horizon, and reporters standing on deserted streets in the southern cities". The Globes'
article concluded: "The Israeli media is acting as a de facto army spokesman."
The blinkered stance by the leadership of this nation whose own numbers were swelled by Jewish refugees from the Nazi Germany Holocaust, which we later learned to our deep disquiet had been ignored by the Western allies in World War II, is deeply regrettable.
It simply feeds the horror many in the Western world felt as the Israeli defence forces targeted with the utmost precision UN shelters within the Gaza Strip, claiming that they were, in all reality, simply "human shields" for Hamas terrorists. A disquiet that deepened as Israel stomped on calls by UN officials trying to provide safe haven for Palestinians for an independent investigation to determine whether the Israeli claims that Hamas terrorists were, in
fact, within the shelters are true, or simply a fabrication as the officials alleged to cover up a war crime.
Even the International Committee of the Red Cross says: "The Israeli military [has] failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded."
Listening to the verbal contortions of Israeli diplomats on global television news channels undercuts the sympathies many of us have for Israel's plucky drive to exist in a region where it does, indeed, have many enemies.
So while we may feel Israel is within its rights to protect itself from the spates of rocket attacks that Hamas militia have launched against towns and, while we may have sympathies for the carefully developed "central message" that Israel is striking at terrorist infrastructure, as would any other sovereign nation, our support for the war on Hamas has not been as steadfast as it had hoped.
Israel now argues a double standard is at work within the UN Security Council, which seeks to bring the Gaza war to an end but did not respond to the Hamas rocket attacks over the years.
The reality is Israeli excesses helped pave the way for Hamas to become a power in the first place. Israel is not alone in facing provocations from "terrorists". But the extent of its retaliation will simply empower its enemies further as Palestinians react against the loss of life. At the end of the day, the moral arguments used by both sides to promote their excesses will not have much currency.
What will matter is the consequences that result from the Gaza War. If Israel's onslaught destabilises the Middle East further how much longer will it be able to count on the United States for unwavering support?
Israel's offensive was neatly timed to exploit the interregnum between US President George W Bush's twilight days in office and the advent of President-elect Barack Obama's new administration and to bolster the image of its own politicians ahead of its own elections.
Bush backed Israel, stating Hamas had provoked the response. Obama has said he will put the issue at the top of his international agenda after his swearing in as president.
The US is Israel's major sponsor. Last year, the Congress voted an extra US$170 million ($287 million) for security assistance as part of a 10-year US$30 billion defence aid commitment.
But Obama also inherits an economy which faces a government deficit predicted to run into the trillions of dollars for years to come.
The US has two other wars to finance: Iraq, where Obama will need time to withdraw US troops, and Afghanistan.
How long before American citizens protest against financing the military campaigns of a nation that finds it difficult to exercise restraint?