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 “disproportionality” must explain
exactly what the IDF should have done to neutralize the terrorist
threat from Shajaiya while causing less destruction than what occurred.
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.
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Labels: civilian casualties, disproportionate response, Dore Gold, Gaza, Hamas, human shields, IDF, Operation Protective Edge, Shejaiya