Israel Doesn’t Follow International Law to Be Popular, but Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

For the past eleven years, Bashar al-Assad has waged a bloody war on his own people, not simply ignoring the laws of war but actively flouting them—yet he is about to be welcomed back into the community of nations. Russia, which assisted in this war with equal unscrupulousness, has been rewarded by Europe with gas pipelines and other economic benefits. Meanwhile, Israel has gone to unprecedented lengths to limit civilian casualties in a decades-long war with Palestinian terrorists happy to hide missile launchers in kindergartens, and is subject to constant condemnation from European and sometimes American leaders—not to mention from self-styled human-rights groups. A cynic might conclude that the Jewish state would be better served exploiting the tactical advantages of brutality, since it will be the object of censure no matter what. Not so, writes Yossi Kuperwasser:

The IDF is careful to uphold the principles [of just warfare], not only because doing so anchors its ability to defend itself against lawsuits in the International Criminal Court and other foreign courts, and not only because of the need for international legitimacy to use force, which directly affects the country’s ability to import appropriate weapons. The IDF upholds them, first and foremost, because the laws of war align with [Israel’s] own moral codes, which obligate the IDF, as an army in a democratic state, to the rule of law.

It could be argued that in a specific situation, not adhering to the laws of war could lead to greater success in the war on terrorism and in securing deterrence, and reduce the danger to Israel in the short term, but the cost of doing so would be insufferably high. It would harm uninvolved persons, as well as our ability as a people to face ourselves. The moral advantage actually increases Israel’s power in the long run.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Bashar al-Assad, IDF, International Law, Laws of war

Iran’s Options for Revenge on Israel

On April 1, an Israeli airstrike on Damascus killed three Iranian generals, one of whom was the seniormost Iranian commander in the region. The IDF has been targeting Iranian personnel and weaponry in Syria for over a decade, but the killing of such a high-ranking figure raises the stakes significantly. In the past several days, Israelis have received a number of warnings both from the press and from the home-front command to ready themselves for retaliatory attacks. Jonathan Spyer considers what shape that attack might take:

Tehran has essentially four broad options. It could hit an Israeli or Jewish facility overseas using either Iranian state forces (option one), or proxies (option two). . . . Then there’s the third option: Tehran could also direct its proxies to strike Israel directly. . . . Finally, Iran could strike Israeli soil directly (option four). It is the riskiest option for Tehran, and would be likely to precipitate open war between the regime and Israel.

Tehran will consider all four options carefully. It has failed to retaliate in kind for a number of high-profile assassinations of its operatives in recent years. . . . A failure to respond, or staging too small a response, risks conveying a message of weakness. Iran usually favors using proxies over staging direct attacks. In an unkind formulation common in Israel, Tehran is prepared to “fight to the last Arab.”

Read more at Spectator

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria