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Sunday, August 03, 2014

What would you do if it were your country?

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold answers critics who claim that Israel's handling of Shejaiya was 'disproportionate.' If your country were confronted like this, what do you think it would do? (Hint: Think NATO in Yugoslavia in 1999 - not pretty).
Finally, there was the decision that Israel ultimately made: Separate, as much as possible, the civilian population from the Hamas fighters and arms in their midst. This required getting the Palestinian population to evacuate potential target areas by multiple means: dropping leaflets with evacuation routes, breaking into Hamas radio broadcasts with warnings about specific areas, Arabic-language telephone calls to homes and text messages to cellphones. While the notification process was underway, an Israeli drone would hover over the area that was to be cleared to ensure that residents had left.
Against this Israeli effort, Hamas employed a counter-strategy of trying to prevent civilians from heeding Israeli warnings. On July 8, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri appeared on local television and called on Gazans to serve as human shields against Israeli air attacks. Hamas enforcers sought to dissuade civilians from fleeing. And, anticipating a ground incursion into neighborhoods like Shajaiya, Hamas booby-trapped whole rows of homes, hoping to collapse them on Israeli soldiers. This only magnified the scale of the destruction.
It should be recalled that proportionality in international law has a very specific meaning: It is the calculation a military commander must make as to whether the military advantage to be gained by the use of force is greater than the probable harm that may be inflicted on the surrounding civilian population. Anyone who complains about ‚Äúdisproportionality‚ÄĚ must explain exactly what the IDF should have done to neutralize the terrorist threat from Shajaiya while causing less destruction than what occurred.
War between an embattled democracy, like Israel, and a terrorist organization, like Hamas, inevitably produces certain asymmetries. Israel heavily invested in the defense of its population, including air raid shelters as well as a missile defense system, known as Iron Dome. Where did Hamas put the billions of dollars it obtained from supporters like Qatar? It built the system of attack tunnels and an arsenal of missiles. Yet there are those who wrongly infer Israeli intent to cause civilian casualties from the greater damage suffered by Hamas, which resulted from a war Hamas imposed, and from its readiness to sacrifice the lives of its people to advance its extremist goals.
 Read the whole thing.

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