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


Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy