Baird's Tweets On Israel And Gaza Leave Out Something Sort Of Important

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Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. (CP)
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. (CP)

There's no doubt that Twitter has become a soapbox for politicians. It's given them a platform to do everything from condemning terrorist activity to letting the world know that a certain meal they're having is, in fact, delicious.

Canada's foreign affairs minister, John Baird, uses Twitter to tell Canadians who he's meeting with, what he's concerned about and, most recently, how much he hates Hamas, the Islamic militant group. His pro-Israel and anti-Hamas tweets really took off when the Israeli military's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza began on July 8.

In contrast, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has tweeted twice on the issue: Once to retweet a video link shared by Baird, and once to share a 24 Seven — Harper's weekly video diary — clip that explains how Baird stands with Israel.

But as active as Baird is in denouncing Hamas' rockets attacks on Israel, he's mentioned a relatively important part of the conflict — the death toll of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, many of them children — only once since July 8.

Prior to that date, Baird tweeted that he was "appalled" at the abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager.

Here's the timeline of his tweets since Operation Protective Edge began, along with the bloody developments in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

July 8

Israel launches the first of many airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for Hamas' rocket attacks. Interestingly enough, Baird begins following the official Twitter account of Israel's foreign affairs ministry.

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

23 Palestinians in Gaza killed. At least 17 were civilians and five were children, according to health officials. Two wounded in Israel, according to medics.

July 12

Baird sends out a release condemning a report by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who had expressed concerns about Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and the rising civilian death toll.

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

Death toll tops 120, Israeli bombing campaign continues.

July 13

Baird shares a statement by Harper "in response to the situation in Israel"

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

More than 160 Palestinians have been killed. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calls for an immediate cease-fire.

July 16

Israel agrees to an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire. Hamas doesn't and fires rockets at Israel.

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

Four children are killed on a Gaza beach by a shell fired from an Israeli naval gunboat. Ayman Mohyeldin,a reporter for NBC News in Gaza, witnesses the attack.

207 Palestinians, according to local health officials, have been killed so far.

July 17

The Israeli military invades Gaza.

The U.S. government is concerned that Israel is failing to do all it can to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki calls the beach attack that killed four children "horrifying."

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

235 Palestinians and at least one Israeli have been killed.

July 20

A vicious battle in Gaza City's Shijaiyah neighborhood takes place.

What he tweeted:

The tweet below is the only one from Baird that mentions the death of Palestinians:

What else happened:

432 Palestinians killed and more than 3,000 wounded. On the Israeli side, 18 soldiers have been killed and dozens have been wounded.

July 21:

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza tops 500. U.S. president Barack Obama says Israel has the right to defend itself but adds that he doesn't want to see any more civilian deaths.

What he tweeted:

What else happened: At least 566 Palestinians have been killed. 27 Israeli soldiers have died.

July 22:

The U.S. calls on global leaders to push for a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

Hamas fires a rocket that lands near Ben-Gurion Airport, prompting the U.S. and Canada to ban flights to Tel Aviv. At least 630 Palestinians and 29 Israelis — 27 soldiers and two civilians — killed so far.

July 23

Navi Pillay says there is "a strong possibility" that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza. John Baird is, again, not happy about her report.

What he tweeted:

What else happened:

687 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died.

July 24

Egypt tries to work on a truce between Hamas and Israel. More than 700 Palestinians. mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict so far.

John Baird has not tweeted on the conflict since July 23. As of 4:09 p.m. ET on Thursday, his last post on Twitter, a retweet, is this:

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