Once Again, Israel Goes Far to Prevent Civilian Casualties—and Is Nonetheless Condemned

This past weekend, after Hamas launched hundreds of rockets at Israel, the IDF countered with carefully targeted airstrikes—and received the usual condemnations for responding “disproportionately,” mostly from those utterly ignorant of the laws of war or simply committed to libeling the Jewish state at all cost. David French sets the record straight:

Hamas . . . uses civilian facilities for military purposes, tries to blend its fighters in with the civilian population, and uses civilians as human shields. [But] nations have a right to defend themselves, and that right of self-defense is not abrogated when an opponent fights dirty. . . .

Whenever Israel responds to Hamas, you see much misuse of the term “proportionality,” as if there is something inherently wrong with using more-powerful weapons to destroy a less-powerful foe. There is not. Under the law of war, “proportionality” doesn’t mean responding with similar force. It means avoiding attacks when the expected harm “incidental to the attack” would be “excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated to be gained.” To take an example, if you know a sniper is in a building, and you can destroy the building without destroying the city block, then you use force against the building, not the entire block. . . .

But rather than recognizing this legal reality, the international community subjects Israel to two separate anti-Semitic double standards. First, [Hamas’s] attacks against its civilian population are rationalized and justified to an unprecedented extent. . . .

Second, the world then holds Israel to a standard of military restraint that it applies to no other military force on the planet. If Israel used American rules of engagement or applied American military doctrine, the devastation in Gaza would be orders of magnitude greater than anything we’ve seen [since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007]. The George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations have been far more aggressive . . . than Israel in responding to terror. . . . Yet, with isolated exceptions, we’ve done so under self-imposed rules of engagement that are stricter than the law of war requires.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Laws of war

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy