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Parihaka
08 Jan 09,, 01:21
While directly aimed at the current Israel/Hamas conflict, this blog has wider implications to conflicts today. Should for instance, British troops in Afghanistan be limited to a proportional response as Miliband has suggested for Israel?



How Many Israelis Should Have Died First? (http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=30137#continueA)
by Richard L. Cravatts
01/05/2009

No sooner had Israel launched its December 27th offensive against Hamas operations in Gaza, reacting to the unceasing barrages of rockets and mortars that have rained into southern Israel, than the moral arbiters of acceptable behavior in war between democratic states and terrorism condemned Israel for its perceived abuses in executing its national self-defense.

David Miliband, Britain’s Foreign Secretary, smugly accused Israel of causing a "dangerous and dark moment" in history, and made the preposterous, and unrealistic, judgment “that any innocent loss of life is unacceptable.” Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri obscenely suggested that Israel’s actions were crimes against humanity that were "tantamount to genocide," indicating both an ignorance of what that term actually signifies and a blindness to actual genocides occurring presently at the hand of his co-religionists.

But the most insidious refrain, one which is uttered only when Israel’s enemies are killed and not when only Jews are murdered, is that Israel’s military response is too aggressive, that the force and effect of the excursion into Gaza are beyond appropriate boundaries.


French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for instance, could not get to a microphone fast enough to decry “the disproportionate use of force" on the part of Israel. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who presides over a morally bankrupt group of comprised largely of despotic, self-righteous regimes, deemed the violence "unacceptable," and added that he had to specifically condemn the “excessive use of force by Israel in Gaza.” India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Vishnu Prakash, was disappointed at what he witnessed as “the use of disproportionate force is resulting in a large number of civilian casualties on the one hand and the escalating violence on the other," both taking place, presumably, as a result of Israel’s actions.

Nor did non-governmental figures refrain from chiming in with the moral scolding of Israel’s actions. Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Katharine Jefferts Schori, personally challenged “the Israeli government to call a halt to this wholly disproportionate escalation of violence.” And the Muslim Public Affairs Council, always reticent when confronted with terrorism unleashed in the name of Islam, was quick to determine that "Israel's latest military assault is a disproportionate and inhumane response to Palestinian militants' cross-border rocket attacks.”

The remonstrations of Israel’s many and far-flung critics aside, Israel is not the international outlaw here, but the victim who is now involved in a defensive countermeasure to illegal terrorism. In fact, in a recent report, Justus Reid Weiner and Dr. Avi Bell, two legal scholars at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, note that Israel’s counterstrikes fastidiously conform to what is called the “rule of proportionality,” even while the Jewish state has been promiscuously condemned for the past week by its critics for committing “genocide,” “crimes against humanity,” and multiple human rights violations in their assault against Hamas.

“The rule of proportionality,” say Weiner and Bell, “forbids collateral damage that is expected to be excessive in relation to the military need,” and given Israel’s surgically-precise targeting of Hamas personnel and infrastructure, “it is difficult to see how a credible claim can be made that any of Israel’s counter-strikes have created disproportionate collateral damage.”

In fact, collateral damage -- the accidental killing of civilians during military conflicts -- is itself even allowed by international law, provided the actions that caused the civilian deaths are not, according to the legal scholars, excessive in relation to the military need. But the fact that deaths occur in civilian populations -- even what might be perceived as excessive deaths -- are not in and of themselves indicative of violation of international law, and, says Weiner and Bell, “if a state, like Israel, is facing aggression, then proportionality addresses whether force was specifically used by Israel to bring an end to the armed attack against it.”

Also, in Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas on earth with its population of 1.5 million, Israel also scrupulously followed the “rule of distinction” by precisely targeting Hamas terrorists and infrastructure, with minimal, though still unfortunate, collateral damage to the Gaza civilian population -- a feat made all the more difficult by Hamas’ insidious tactic of embedding rocket launchers and armament stores within residential neighborhoods as a perverse way of further demonizing Israel when the inevitable killing of civilians occurs.

Even so, with some 400 fatalities in Gaza as of the end of a week of incursions, even Israel’s critics admitted that the great majority of causalities were Hamas operatives and gunmen,
showing that, unlike its enemies who target only civilians, Israel has not only effected obvious “distinction” in its targeting, but by doing so it also maintained “proportionality,” the other aspect of warfare upon which international law insists.

In fact, the scholars notes, Israel is scrupulous in adhering to these guidelines for warfare by “apply[ing] an extremely restrictive standard of both distinction and proportionality, in accordance with intrusive Israeli Supreme Court rulings that have imposed far stricter legal standards on the Israeli military than those found in international law.”

Weiner and Bell also emphasize that Hamas’ shelling of civilian targets within Israel’s borders clearly violates international law by violating the rule of distinction, even though world observers have been oddly silent on those transgressions. “The Palestinian attacks violate one of the most basic rules of international humanitarian law,” they say, “the rule of distinction, which requires combatants to aim all their attacks at legitimate targets -- enemy combatants or objects that contribute to enemy military actions. Violations of the rule of distinction -- attacks deliberately aimed at civilians or protected objects as such -- are war crimes,” exactly what Hamas has been committing with its relentless rocket assaults.

How many Jews should have died in the 6300 rocket barrages falling on Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Netivot since 2005 when Israel disengaged from Gaza to have made Israel’s incursion legal and morally acceptable? Was the daily terror of 3000 Qassam and Grad rockets and mortars falling into civilian neighborhoods in the last year alone not justification enough for self-defense?

Should Israel have continued to wait until a school or daycare center was struck, forcing Israel to play, in the words of Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, “Russian Roulette with its children?” What harm had to be done, in addition to the trauma and social dysfunction that daily rocket barrages have on civilian populations, until critics would ever decide, in their sanctimony and moral equivalency, that Israel finally had the right to defend its population? Were not the 425 attacks between 2000 and 2004 on Israel that wounded more than 2,000 and killed nearly 400 civilians adequate in their lethality and seriousness to indicate the unrelenting jihad that defines Hamas’ existence?

An odd, racist student organization on American campuses, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), like the Palestinians, is an irredentist movement that seeks the “liberation” of what they consider to be their rightful ancestral homelands. For MEChA, that mythic land is something called “Aztlan,” a territory which inconveniently includes much of the Southwest of the present-day United States, from Washington State to Texas and great swathes of territory in between. In language eerily similar to the PLO Charter, MEChA claims a right to reclaim lands stolen from it by imperial powers. Aztlan “became synonymous with the vast territories of the Southwest,” says the MEChA charter, “brutally stolen from a Mexican people marginalized and betrayed by the hostile custodians of the Manifest Destiny. It also initiated the rebirth of our consciousness as indigenous people, whose history and heritage have overcome the forces of European colonialism in order to inspire us today.”

Assume for a moment that a radicalized element of the MEChA organization decided to act on their “reconquista” ambitions and repeated terrorist attacks had taken place against Texas border towns; at the same rate of causalities per capita that Hamas has achieved in Israel, those 400 Israeli dead in a nation of under six million would be the equivalent of some 19,000 dead American civilians. Can anyone doubt the inexhaustible effort, might, and political will that would have been unleashed on those perpetrators, how every resource of our government would have justly and firmly responded to domestic terrorism with formidable wrath and might? Would we have hesitated to eliminate the leadership of such a horrific enemy, even if its leadership had alleged, divine claims to our land and had ordained that we had no right to exist?

Of course we would not, nor would we countenance the criticism of the international community that cautioned us against possibly inciting further terrorism or in being heavy-handed in protecting our own citizenry from harm -- just as Israel has, appropriately, largely ignored world opinion critical of its actions last week.

"Palestinian terrorism is not a plea to Israel to relieve material needs," suggested Louis Rene Beres, sadly, "but rather a demand to die so that Arabs can realize their spiritual wants." So an Israel-hating world may well call for restraint in Gaza as the IDF neutralizes Hamas’ ability to spread its homicidal ideology, but Israel certainly is not violating international law in this incursion, nor does it ever have to enter into a suicide pact in the often morally-defective universe of world diplomacy.

gunnut
08 Jan 09,, 01:44
I love "proportionate responses" in world affairs.

For example, if I make a film not kind toward a certain religion, then the followers of that religion are free to make a film, just one mind you, or else it's "disproportionate," not kind toward my religion.

Or if I write a book, unkind toward a certain religion, then the followers of that religion are free to write a single book, unkind toward my religion.

Or if I draw some cartoons critical of a certain religion, then the followers of that religion are free to draw some cartoons critical of my religion.

There appears to be some kind of double standard in this world. I just can't put my fingers on what...

Shiny Capstar
08 Jan 09,, 18:20
I love "proportionate responses" in world affairs.

For example, if I make a film not kind toward a certain religion, then the followers of that religion are free to make a film, just one mind you, or else it's "disproportionate," not kind toward my religion.

Or if I write a book, unkind toward a certain religion, then the followers of that religion are free to write a single book, unkind toward my religion.

Or if I draw some cartoons critical of a certain religion, then the followers of that religion are free to draw some cartoons critical of my religion.

There appears to be some kind of double standard in this world. I just can't put my fingers on what...

Fully agree:)):))

I would also add that 'certain groups' are no good at taking a joke.

BudW
10 Jan 09,, 04:24
You mean the Americans should have flown Planes into buildings in the middle east?

Triple C
10 Jan 09,, 05:28
Funny that a group threatening the extermination of a nation belly-aches of a military incursion in response to that threat.

The proper definition of proportionality is, assuming the cause is just, that no more force then that commensurate to the mission should be applied. Hamas is getting that force.

Castellano
10 Jan 09,, 09:39
An honourable warrior

Alan M. Dershowitz | January 03, 2009

ISRAEL's actions in Gaza are justified under international law, and Israel should be commended for its self-defence against terrorism. Article 51 of the United Nations Charter reserves to every nation the right to engage in self-defence against armed attacks. The only limitation international law places on a democracy is that its actions must satisfy the principle of proportionality.

.....


The claim that Israel has violated the principle of proportionality - by killing more Hamas terrorists than the number of Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets - is absurd. First, there is no legal equivalence between the deliberate killing of innocent civilians and the deliberate killings of Hamas combatants. Under the laws of war, any number of combatants can be killed to prevent the killing of even one innocent civilian.

Second, proportionality is not measured by the number of civilians actually killed, but rather by the risk posed. This is illustrated by what happened on Tuesday, when a Hamas rocket hit a kindergarten in Beersheba, though no students were there at the time. Under international law, Israel is not required to allow Hamas to play Russian roulette with its children's lives.


Source:

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24866318-7583,00.html

zraver
10 Jan 09,, 18:29
Proportional response also addresses the means of the response. Israel has been taking a lot of heat for the 3 shells that struck near a UN school. In so far as I know using a a single volley from a battery of gun in a counter battery mission vs an enemy artillery piece is wholly proportionate. The civilian deaths are the result of Hamas using the site as a firing location, not Israel's legal counter-battery efforts.

Triple C
12 Jan 09,, 08:36
Perhaps Israel should fire unguided rockets into Gaza, of equivalent weight and power. Of course reality can force itself on practice, so we might have to concede to let Israel ensure theirs do not fall short of the border.

gunnut
12 Jan 09,, 18:32
You mean the Americans should have flown Planes into buildings in the middle east?

They topple 2 buildings. We take over 2 countries. :biggrin:

If they prefer proportionality, then we fly a few airliner sized cruise missiles into some big and "important" buildings.

"Proportionality" is a very dangerous thing. It encourages more warfare rather than restrict it. Warfare has to be terrible, painful, and messy, lest we grow used to it.

Dreadnought
12 Jan 09,, 22:00
I dont get proportionality of response when it comes to dealing with terrorists.
Seems as though these people want everybody has to abide by some golden rule such as in "politically correct" except the terrorists.

Whom ever came up with this rational should be told to STFU and go calculate some meaningless statistics while business is tended too. Yeah, Israel should give the terrorists a breather so they can re arm as well as other things perhaps launch more rockets into civilians. Patton would have torn these people a new ahole for even dreaming up this idea. War is hell and politically correct asnine ideas such as this thought should be tossed in the scrapheap and the idiot geniuses pink slipped for being such pussies!:mad:

Oscar
13 Jan 09,, 14:53
What proportionality of response? This a safari war. Some HAMAS guys launch a makeshift rocket that mostly end up in the Israeli desert while repeating Allah ouakbar, a US sattelite or a drone locate their positions, transmit it to the command center in a few seconds, track them and a F-16 or a tank shell blow them up. In comparison the Iraq war in 2003 was a duel according to the code of chivalry.

Shek
13 Jan 09,, 16:00
What proportionality of response? This a safari war. Some HAMAS guys launch a makeshift rocket that mostly end up in the Israeli desert while repeating Allah ouakbar, a US sattelite or a drone locate their positions, transmit it to the command center in a few seconds, track them and a F-16 or a tank shell blow them up. In comparison the Iraq war in 2003 was a duel according to the code of chivalry.

So what do you propose as "approved" proportional responses?

Oscar
13 Jan 09,, 16:35
So what do you propose as "approved" proportional responses?

This is a false debate. Israel is waging a total war against the Hamas movement. This not a punitive raid for the rockets anymore. If there are 10 000 HAMAS members in Gaza they will try to kill them all if they can. The Israelis will make the place clean before Obama takes over.

I don't even know if Israel has ever seriously contemplated a dialogue with HAMAS, they are far more comfortable with FATAH with whom they can negociate according to their rules.

gunnut
13 Jan 09,, 17:59
This is a false debate. Israel is waging a total war against the Hamas movement. This not a punitive raid for the rockets anymore. If there are 10 000 HAMAS members in Gaza they will try to kill them all if they can. The Israelis will make the place clean before Obama takes over.

I don't even know if Israel has ever seriously contemplated a dialogue with HAMAS, they are far more comfortable with FATAH with whom they can negociate according to their rules.

Let me take potshots at your house every day with a 22 rifle. Most of the bullets will just pass through. No harm done. What are you gonna do? Take potshots at my house? Or call the police, have the SWAT move in, kick down my door, but a boot on my neck, haul my ass to jail, take away all my toys, put me on trial for attempted murder, and hopefully lock me away for life?

That doesn't seem like a proportional response, does it?

Shek
13 Jan 09,, 18:11
This is a false debate. Israel is waging a total war against the Hamas movement. This not a punitive raid for the rockets anymore. If there are 10 000 HAMAS members in Gaza they will try to kill them all if they can. The Israelis will make the place clean before Obama takes over.

I don't even know if Israel has ever seriously contemplated a dialogue with HAMAS, they are far more comfortable with FATAH with whom they can negociate according to their rules.

Oscar,

Whether you think it's a false debate or not, you avoided the question. What is an appropriate response? How can you target rocketeers? You've narrowed the options considerably, and so I'd like to know what's acceptable from your point of view.

Also, Israel has had negotiations with Hamas - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/985012.html - apparently rocket attacks didn't stop.

Dreadnought
13 Jan 09,, 18:16
You cannot deal with people whose sole purpose in life is the destruction of another country. Hamas should be beaten/eradicated so badly they will leave the Gaza strip and return to their masters in Iran with a very strong message.
With Sadir marginilized and having to retreat to Iran (where he preaches nothing but hatred mind you) the next should be sending Hamas back home with their balls in a sling sending them the clearest message possibe.

Iran, IMO is under the idea she will have escaped unscathed in this action. Needless to mention I strongly doubt Israel is taking its eyes off of the real menace in the background and with crude prices plunging again just how long do you believe Achmadinajad will remain in power if Israel decided to strike and bring Iran out of hiding behind Hamas and into the open. In other words circumventing the airspace needed to attack Iran that the US controls in Iraq. It will be interesting no doubt before all is said and done.

Oscar
13 Jan 09,, 19:52
Let me take potshots at your house every day with a 22 rifle. Most of the bullets will just pass through. No harm done. What are you gonna do? Take potshots at my house? Or call the police, have the SWAT move in, kick down my door, but a boot on my neck, haul my ass to jail, take away all my toys, put me on trial for attempted murder, and hopefully lock me away for life?

That doesn't seem like a proportional response, does it?

Yeah but I didn't tell the police that I had locked you in a cave for an agonizing period of time and beat you daily. About the Palestinians, Israel is on the good side only if you have short memories.


Shek,


Whether you think it's a false debate or not, you avoided the question. What is an appropriate response? How can you target rocketeers? You've narrowed the options considerably, and so I'd like to know what's acceptable from your point of view.

Israel has never looked for a proportionate response in 2006 or 2008 or any other time. The proportionate response would have been to retaliate like they did before and continue to negociate with them.


Also, Israel has had negotiations with Hamas - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/985012.html -

Also, Israel has tried from the first day to eliminate the HAMAS governement.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/international/middleeast/14mideast.html?_r=1&ei=5094&en=d28cff5caa1702fa&hp=&ex=1139979600&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print


apparently rocket attacks didn't stop.

Yes they did.

gunnut
13 Jan 09,, 20:04
Yeah but I didn't tell the police that I had locked you in a cave for an agonizing period of time and beat you daily. About the Palestinians, Israel is on the good side only if you have short memories.


And of course you locked me in a cave only because I beat up your wife and tried to burn down your house after you built it next to mine.

Oscar
13 Jan 09,, 20:06
And of course you locked me in a cave only because I beat up your wife and tried to burn down your house after you built it next to mine.

Fair enough. :tongue: But thats a chicken and egg question.

gunnut
13 Jan 09,, 20:39
Fair enough. :tongue: But thats a chicken and egg question.

And we can go back a few thousand years, before Palestine, the Palestinians, even Islam had existed.

But the most recent tiff was due to Hamas's unwillingness to re-up the cease fire agreement and lobbing rockets over the border.

One observer said Hamas was emboldened by the incoming Obama administration's more sympathetic views toward Palestine.

Israel also noticed Obama's views so it decided to do something during Bush's lame duck period. Bush is effectively on vacation. He's not saying anything. Obama is not saying anything because he's not the president yet. Golden opportunity for Israel to put the smack down on Hamas and also gauge Obama's reaction.

Shek
13 Jan 09,, 21:07
Shek,

Israel has never looked for a proportionate response in 2006 or 2008 or any other time. The proportionate response would have been to retaliate like they did before and continue to negociate with them.

You've never defined your definition of proportionality re: the rocket attacks, therefore creating a circular argument.


Also, Israel has tried from the first day to eliminate the HAMAS governement.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/14/international/middleeast/14mideast.html?_r=1&ei=5094&en=d28cff5caa1702fa&hp=&ex=1139979600&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print

I don't doubt that this is a goal. I suspect that Fatah would have a much greater chance of co-existence, which would be better for both Israelis and Palestinians. However, whether or not Israel pursued any such policy is still irrelevant to the question as to what you would consider to be a proportionate response to rocket attacks.


Yes they did.

I'm happy to see stats that counter this since it comes from the IDF, but I doubt that Israel is pumping up stats and making things up here. From these stats, the rocket attacks did anything but stop.


http://idfspokesperson.com/2009/01/03/rocket-statistics-3-jan-2009/

Today, over 950,000 Israelis live within range of rocket and mortar attacks.
There have been approximately 7,200 rockets (Grads, Qassams) and mortars launched at Israel since 2005.

During 2008, there have been 1755 mortars shells, 1720 Qassams rockets, and 75 Grad missiles launched at Israel.

Since Hamas’ election there has been a steady increase of these rocket attacks against Israel’s citizens:

Between Israel’s evacuation of Gaza and the election of Hamas (Aug. 15, 2005 – Jan. 25, 2006), there was an average of over 15 rocket and mortar attacks a month.

Between Hamas’ election and Hamas’ forceful takeover of the Strip (Jan. 25, 2006 – June 14, 2007), there was an average of over 102 attacks per month—an over 650% increase.

Between Hamas’ takeover and the start of the Tahadiya (State of Calm), (June 14, 2007 – June 16, 2008), there was an average of over 361 attacks per month—an increase of an additional 350%.

On Nov. 4 – 5, Israel launched Operation “Double Challenge”, targeting a tunnel Hamas was building as part of a plan to kidnap Israeli soldiers.
From the end of Operation “Double Challenge” until the end of the Tahadiya, (Nov. 4 - Dec. 19, 2008) a period of only a month and a half, there were 170 mortars, 255 Qassams, and 5 Grads fired upon Israel’s civilian population centers.

Since the end of the Tahadiya (Dec. 19, 2009) until the beginning of Operation “Cast Lead,” (Dec. 27, 2008) a period of little more than a week, there were approximately 300 mortars and rockets fired onto Israel.
Since the begining of Operation ”Cast Lead”, there have been an additional 500 launches, 284 of which have been verified as rockets (both Qassams and Grads), and 113 as mortars.

Oscar
13 Jan 09,, 21:25
I'm happy to see stats that counter this since it comes from the IDF, but I doubt that Israel is pumping up stats and making things up here. From these stats, the rocket attacks did anything but stop.

During the truce they stopped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYhGYZxl-f8

Oscar
13 Jan 09,, 22:08
You've never defined your definition of proportionality re: the rocket attacks, therefore creating a circular argument.

You really want a definition of proportionality? Well it would be a shell for a shell. With as many losses inflicted to the population of Gaza than the one in Sderot. After all its the land of an eye for an eye. That would sound fair, wouldn't it?

astralis
14 Jan 09,, 01:41
oscar,


During the truce they stopped.

during the truce, rocket fire was reduced, not stopped.

Shek
14 Jan 09,, 03:40
During the truce they stopped.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYhGYZxl-f8

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/20/world/middleeast/20mideast.html


Israeli and United Nations figures show that while more than 300 rockets were fired into Israel in May, 10 to 20 were fired in July, depending on who was counting and whether mortar rounds were included. In August, 10 to 30 were fired, and in September, 5 to 10.

Shek
14 Jan 09,, 03:48
You really want a definition of proportionality? Well it would be a shell for a shell. With as many losses inflicted to the population of Gaza than the one in Sderot. After all its the land of an eye for an eye. That would sound fair, wouldn't it?

So which is it? A shell for a shell or a loss for a loss? A tank shell for a Qassam sounds like an exactly proportionate caliber response, but you poo poo'd this earlier as being unproportionate.

International law is pretty clear that proportionate losses is not the case.

Dreadnought
14 Jan 09,, 15:09
You really want a definition of proportionality? Well it would be a shell for a shell. With as many losses inflicted to the population of Gaza than the one in Sderot. After all its the land of an eye for an eye. That would sound fair, wouldn't it?

Is terrorism fair?
Politics and War dont go hand and hand Politics ****s everything up because the world expects political correctness from the victor but dick from the terrorists no matter what they do. Full speed ahead Israel!


Political Correctness and Proportionality of response are a pussies way of saying yes we what this but you have to do it this way ergo a bull in a china shop wearing high heels and a blindfold and being turned around ten times until its dizzy and being told it cant touch anything and find you own way out.
Yeah that solve problems.:rolleyes: