The “Proportionality” of Israel’s Self-Defense

As usual, the outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas has brought forth accusations about the IDF’s use of “disproportionate” force. Most of these criticisms are rooted in a misunderstanding of the doctrine of proportionality, which does not require an army to ensure that an enemy’s losses are somehow “proportionate” to its own. Marc LiVecche explains:

[T]he doctrine of proportionality has at its core the requirement to calculate gains and losses, [that is], determining when a particular use of force—whether a weapon or a tactic—is likely to produce more harm than good.

Proportionality does not mean that an assaulted nation can only take precisely that weight in flesh that has been taken from it. It has the right to be sure the enemy’s capacity and resolve to try and take more flesh in the future has been humbled. There are limits to this, and it seems pretty clear that Israel is doing an appropriate job in keeping them. . . . Meanwhile, Hamas’s attempt to kill anything Jewish without regard for combatant status continues. That their rockets kill Arabs—both inside Gaza and in Israel—doesn’t seem to matter to them. Israel appears to take greater pains in preventing Palestinian civilian deaths than Hamas does.

It should also be remembered that Hamas can make it all stop in an instant, they need only renounce the violence and credibly stand down. To riff on the old truism, if Hamas were to lay down its arms, there would be no more violence. If Israel were to lay down her arms, there would be no more Israel. In proportion to that fact, Israel should continue to fight accordingly.

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Read more at Providence

More about: Hamas, IDF, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, 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