'Proportionality' as a non-military weapon used against Israel

"Proportionality" is too often misused by detractors of Israel as a propaganda tool. Op-ed.

Barry Shaw ,

People take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the
People take cover as a siren sounds a warning of incoming rockets fired from the
Tomer Neuberg/Flash90

Although the last conflict, with Israel defending itself from Palestinian-initiated aggression, is behind us, it is useful to be informed of the laws of proportionality in advance of future anti-Israel aggressions, as there will, inevitably, be such future aggressions.

Proportionality goes way beyond body counts. Here are just four examples:

1. There has to be a clear distinction between who is being targeted - civilians or combatants.

It was perfectly clear that Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad opened a war directed against Israeli civilian targets.

Conclusion. Palestinians were the guilty party.

2. There is a prohibition in the Laws of Warfare against initiating military violence against civilians. This is a confirmation of 1.

Again, Palestinian Hamas did precisely that.

Conclusion. Palestinians were the guilty party.

3. There is a prohibition on inflicting "superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering."

Launching over 4000 missiles into civilian areas perfectly fits that legal description.

Conclusion. Palestinians were the guilty party

4. The principle of necessity.

There was zero necessity for Hamas' suddenly launching a rocket barrage against dozens of Israeli towns and villages. There had been no prior Israeli attack.

Using the excuse of "defending Jerusalem," or supporting Palestinian Arab anger over the cancellation of a Palestinian Authority election, (canceled by Mahmoud Abbas, not Israel) does not cut in, especially as Hamas targeted dozens of Israeli towns and villages, but not Jerusalem.

Conclusion; Palestinians were the guilty party.

Dispassionately examining the legal understanding clearly shows who was guilty of conducting disproportionate warfare.

And it wasn't Israel.

A final thought. Proportionality is often incorrectly viewed as a test of morality. However, military inferiority does not equal moral superiority, particularly when the militarily inferior force is an internationally designated terror organisation such as Hamas or Hezbollah and especially, when it plans to attack but does not use its massive funding to build shelters for civilians..

Remember this, ICC. Remember this, UN. Remember this, biased media and anti-Israel NGOs.

Barry Shaw.is a member of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.



top