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.

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Read more at National Review

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

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism