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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What could go wrong? Hezbullah has more rockets than all 27 NATO countries... combined

A report in the Weekly Standard indicates that the Hezbullah terror organization has more than 130,000 rockets in southern Lebanon - a number that exceeds the rockets held by all 27 NATO countries... combined.
Hezbollah currently has a stockpile of over 130,000 rockets, more than the combined arsenal of all NATO countries, with the exception of the United States. This number includes long-range rockets and M-600 ballistic missiles, which carry a high payload and would be able to “wipe out a good chunk of Times Square and maim and kill people four football fields away from the point of impact,” Stern noted. Hezbollah also has approximately 100,000 short-range rockets trained on schools, homes, and hospitals in northern Israel, which could potentially kill hundreds of civilians.
“You don’t collect 130,000 missiles if you don’t intend to use them,” said Matthew Levitt, an expert on counter-terrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Hezbollah’s positioning of this weaponry in civilian areas poses a challenge to Israeli officers, added Geoff Corn, an international military law expert at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. “After exhausting all feasible efforts to reduce civilian risk, IDF commanders must resolve the decisive question: Is the potential for civilian harm excessive in comparison to the advantages the attack would provide? When you talk of an M-600 in the hands of an enemy that targets vital military assets or the civilian population—even if that apartment building is full—launching the attack will be necessary to mitigate the threat,” he explained.
That seems like a no-brainer. When it's our civilians or their civilians, it's pretty clear to this Israeli that the IDF must act to defend Israel's civilians, and damn the rest of the world for facilitating their doing this.
Israeli military officials in May 2015 told the New York Times how Hezbollah has “moved most of its military infrastructure” in and around Shiite villages, which “amounts to using the civilians as a human shield.” A senior military official stated that Lebanese civilians are “living in a military compound.” He told the Times: “We will hit Hezbollah hard, while making every effort to limit civilian casualties as much as we can…We do not intend to stand by helplessly in the face of rocket attacks.” Stern, who was shown maps of the locations of Hezbollah weapons, said that they are not only being stored in these southern villages, but in Beirut itself.
Yaakov Amidror, Israel’s former national security advisor, met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the summer of 2013 and showed him “detailed evidence of Hezbollah’s deadly arsenal and the fact that it was strategically placed within densely populated civilian centers.” When Amidror asked Ban what the Israelis should do, he “offered no response and no suggestions.” Stern concluded his piece, “Nobody, it seems, in times of peace is willing to offer Israel a constructive suggestion on how to deal with an Iranian-backed terrorist organization in possession of a massive arsenal on its northern border. But these same organizations stand front and center to criticize Israel for acting legally and proportionately for protecting its own citizens in wartime.”
As I pointed out on this blog ten years ago, Israel under the Geneva Convention, Israel has every right to defend itself
Article 28 of the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949 is simple and clear. It says: " The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations." Hezbullah violates this provision daily. It is due to Hezbullah's violations of this provision that Lebanese civilians are being killed.

In an article published on the Wall Street Journal's OpinionJournal.com web page over the weekend, Orde F. Kittrie, a professor of international law at Arizona State University and who served in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department from 1993 to 2003, summarized the three-part test in determining whether Israeli actions violate the Geneva Convention:
International law has three major prohibitions .... One forbids deliberate attacks on civilians. Another prohibits hiding forces in civilian areas, thereby turning civilians into "human shields." A third prohibition, the proportionality restriction that Israel is accused of violating, involves a complicated and controversial balancing test.
Ignoring the fact that Israel has warned Lebanese citizens to flee the combat zones dozens of times, given the manner in which Hezbullah has hidden both itself and its weapons among civilians, it is impossible to assert, let alone prove, that Israel is deliberately attacking civilians. But it is clear that Hezbullah has turned what remains of Lebanon's civilian population into human shields.


I have already noted that Orde Kittrie wrote that the proportionality test "involves a complicated and controversial balancing test." Kittrie goes on to explain:
Geneva Convention Protocol I contains one version of the proportionality test, the International Criminal Court Statute another; neither is universally accepted. As a result, the proportionality test is governed by "customary international law," an amalgam of non-universal treaty law, court decisions, and how influential nations actually behave. It does not hinge on the relative number of casualties, or the force used, however, but on the intent of the combatant. Under customary international law, proportionality prohibits attacks expected to cause incidental death or injury to civilians if this harm would, on balance, be excessive in relation to the overall legitimate military accomplishment anticipated.


If Israel was mistaken and Hezbollah was not firing from or hiding amongst these civilians, the legality of its action is assessed by the proportionality test. [But we know from countless testimonies that Israel is not mistaken and that Hezbullah is firing from among civilians. CiJ] Because the test is vague, there have been few, if any, cases since World War II in which a soldier, commander or country has been convicted of violating it. In the absence of guidance from the courts, determining whether Israel's military has failed the proportionality test depends on an assessment of what civilian casualties it expected, what its overall military goals are, the context in which the country is operating, and how the international community has in practice balanced civilian risk against military goals. [There is no way to attack a munitions depot hidden beneath a house and a school without blowing up the house and the school. That would make any attack in which the civilians have been warned to leave the house and the school proportional per se. CiJ]

Israel did not expect civilian casualties; it warned civilians to leave Qana [and all areas south of the Litani at this point. CiJ]... The law of war recognizes that mistakes are inevitable, and does not criminalize soldiers who seek in good faith seek to avoid them.
Read the whole thing (it describes similar tactics adopted by Hezbullah on a lesser scale during the Second Lebanon War ten years ago).

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At 12:05 AM, Blogger free` said...

Isn't there any way the Mossad or special forces can go in and destroy or bury these weapons in a covert way so they aren't a threat???

At 11:27 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


There are way too many to do that, and most of them are in private homes and public institutions like schools and hospitals. The only way to destroy them would be to level much of Lebanon, which might eventually happen.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger free` said...

I can't imagine what it must be like to live with the knowledge that all of this is pointed at you and controlled by lunatics. I will continue to pray for Israel and all the good people there.


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