Israel and Hamas: What would a "proportionate" response look like?
R. Emmett Tyrrell:
It is dreadful that Gaza, one of the most densely populated places on earth, is under heavy aerial bombardment from Israel. Yet Hamas, the governing entity in Gaza, has been lobbing shrapnel-filled missiles into Israel on a regular basis for months. Two weeks ago Hamas arbitrarily broke its six-month ceasefire with Israel, and the danger to Israeli life and property has gotten worse. How many missiles is Israel to suffer before it is warranted to defend its territory and its people?
Now that word "disproportional" is being raised among foreign policy elites. Israeli air strikes since Saturday have killed several hundred Palestinians and injured several thousand. So we are hearing that the Israeli actions are "disproportional." I can almost imagine a learned seminar being convened here in Washington wherein the assembled gogues excogitate precisely how many incoming Hamas missiles will warrant one air strike or more. And how will these advocates of proportionality factor in the targets of the Israeli air strikes? It is tragic that Palestinian civilians are dying, but Hamas locates its military installations and administrative facilities in civilian areas precisely to dissuade Israel from attacking Hamas as it insouciantly bombards Israel, its soldiers, and more frequently its civilians. ...
I have no idea how many Hamas strikes against civilians warrant how many Israeli acts of retribution. Frankly, such calculations strike me as beside the point. The real question is how many Israeli strikes are needed to close down Hamas? That is what is necessary. The Israelis have at their border a violent, unprincipled enemy that has vowed to destroy Israel. Hamas not only vows to destroy Israel, it bombards Israel and expects the world to object when Israel counterattacks. Now that strikes me as irrational. Hamas should accept the consequences of its assaults on Israel. Hamas might even renew the ceasefire that it broke. For that matter Hamas might end its war against Israel. I doubt the Israelis would object.