Sunday, December 28, 2008

Disproportionate Force

As usual, whenever Israel moves to defend its borders and civilians from terrorist attacks, the chattering classes begin to .. well.. chatter.

Here is a round up of some interesting posts and comments I collected from the Internet, trying to deal with this hallucinatory argument lobed at Israel's right and duty to defend itself:

Eamonn Mcdonagh: Treating Hamas with the seriousness and respect it deserves:

There have indeed been hints from Hamas that they would accept the 1967 borders but only as a stepping stone to its long term objective. This objective is the destruction of Israel and its replacement by an Islamic republic. For every hint of an interim willingness to accept the 1967 borders there have been a hundred loud affirmations that the destruction of Israel is the goal of Hamas and they are not going to stop till they achieve it. Why give the plainly stated less credit than the subtly hinted? Are they incapable of stating what their policy is? Why should Israel be interested in such an agreement?


George Szirtez:

You think they don't mean it? If you were surrounded by hostile states who have never recognised you, who have vowed your destruction and keep lobbing rockets at you, you might want to take it a little more seriously. On the other hand - and this is what I increasingly hear - you might be coming round to thinking that maybe Israel, the one country where Jews are not in a vulnerable minority, has outlived international goodwill (friends have said this much to me) and really should be vanished (unspecified how) along with all those Zionists who support it. Remember Zionism equals Fascism, Racism, Nazism, Genocide and the True Holocaust.

Commenters on The Spine:

* Nothing about the doctrine of proportionality, properly understood, bears on Israel's response to Hamas rockets. Israel has an absolute right, enshrined in the UN Charter, to defend itself against such attacks without need of any Security Council authorization, and defending means, not "proportionate" retaliation, but the actions necessary to eliminate the attacks. Indeed, absolutely contra the notions of such as Sarkozy, retaliation purely for its own sake, to inflict damage solely as punishment, would be prohibited as non-defensive. Only actions rationally intended to eliminate the attacks would be legitimate self-defense. On the other hand, in defending against such attacks, one is entitled to use such force as is necessary to end them. Thus, if the Israeli actions, rationally intended to end the willingness and/or ability of Hamas to continue its rocket attacks, are not sufficient to end them, the force being used is not only not disproportionate, it is insufficient.

.... In war, there are civilian casualties. They should be minimized but are not the basis for compromising the achievement legitimate military objectives, not now, not ever. There is not and has never been any such law of war. (roi

**Re[a]d the Hamas charter and you will see an example of a disproportionate response: “all Jews are evil” they say. Such words lead to targeting of women and infants. Yet no one speaks of a disproportionate response of the part of the Arabs fighting Israel.

What was the murder of the Hassidic Rabbi and his wife in Mumbai if not an example of a disproportionate response?

Why is the firing of missiles at civilians in Israeli towns not an example of disproportionate force?

Which country in the world would have waited more than a year to respond to attacks on its civilians before it decided to strike back? This in itself is a sign of moderation.

*** I find it extraordinary how all of these Arab nations criticize Israels right, yet are absolutely silent to the actions of China, which truly represses Muslims in Xinjiang. They know if they ever screwed with China they would know the real meaning of disproportionate response.

Terry Glavin:


Let's remember that the Hamas leadership knew this was coming and looked forward to it, and only two days ago they were eagerly anticipating
"joining the bandwagon of martyrs." The IDF, taking every caution not just to minimize but to avoid civilian casualties altogether, should do its very best to oblige them, and send them on their way.


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