Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Israel, Gaza and the myth of the disproportionate response.

With the five day Gaza cease fire at an end, ended with rocket fire from Hamas even before the cease fire expired, Israelis and Hamas have already begun another round of military exchanges with the same results as before.

Which almost assures that, along with the usual inadequate,sometimes mindless, coverage by the news media who can't get enough of Hamas controlled, supplied or approved video of casualites or destruction used as propaganda which the media runs on a loop,the previous exercise in journalistic absurdity from those like JD Tapper at CNN  others will begin again: the issue of the "disproportionate response".

The "disproportionate response" issue began before the last cease fire as a visceral response to the Hamas approved video of emergency rooms and rubble. But it's starting again. You see it in the reporting of journalists like Laura Carlsen in an opinion piece at  Al-Jazeera, where she has defined Israel's response to Hamas' terrorist rocket attacks as the "Israeli offensive" ( it's actually her reporting that's offensive) and defines the Gaza war as an Israeli offensive solely based on the disparity between Palestinian casualties and Israeli  and the failure of Hamas to cause more. Which is what makes  the idea of disproprtionate response in war not just mindless but with no basis in reality or morality and no relation to anything taking place in Gaza as a military response.

In matters of life of death there is no such thing as a disproportionate response. What matters is putting an end to an attack. That is true on an individual level, a law enforcement level and a military level. In fact the Powell Doctrine used in the first Gulf War was predicated on the use of overwhelming force against an enemy.

A disproportionate response is if someone takes your parking space and you shoot them. The space that Hamas wants to take, according to their charter, is the entire state of Israel which they regard as "the occupation".  Using all the force necessary to stop or defeat a state enemy that is attacking you militarily with rockets and other offensive weapons with the intent to cause mass casualties is never and can never be disproportionate.

To highlight the stupidity of the "disproportionate  response" argument, especially as it pertains to the Israeli military action to destroy attack tunnels and rockets in Gaza,  those who bring up "disproportionate response" always  point to the disproportionate casualties as the crux of their argument. A few journalists have made this simple minded comparison, among them JD Tapper, and Nick Schiffren,  a journalist for Al-Jazeera. 

Its disproportionally stupid to think that the difference in casualty figures has anything to do with disproportionate response. Hamas launched 3500 rockets into Israel, each capable, if they landed in the  heavily populated areas Hamas was trying to hit, of killing at least 10 people if it hit a crowd, and wounding many more. (see the above image of the cows killed by a single Hamas rocket hitting an Israeli dairy farm).A simple hand grenade thrown into a crowd would kill 5 or 6. If the Hamas rockets had hit their targets in cities like Tel Aviv, Haifa or Jerusalem and  Israel didn't have it 'a warning system or the Iron Dome, the rockets would have had the potential to kill 35,000 Israelis and wound tens of thousands more. That they didn't is no cogent argument that Israel's military response  to take out those rockets was disproportionate.

What those who bring up a disproportionate response are really complaining about ( if complaining is what they're doing)  has nothing to do with disproportionate response but Israel having disproportionate success both offensively and defensively. Which,if that's what they  really mean, is a morally bankrupt argument. Which is why Hamas also makes it. 

To further expose the absurdity of the number of casualties as the criteria for a disproportionate response,  imagine if a group of 20-30  terrorists piled out of a van in Times Square and opened fire with automatic weapons shooting at people indiscriminately with bullets flying wildly and civilians diving for cover.And imagine that only two or three civilians were actually hit.  And imagine an NYPD Swat Team arriving and killing all the terrorists.  What would happen to JD Tapper or any other journalist who tried to raise the issue of whether the NYPD response was disproportionate in killing all  the terrorists because only two bystanders were hit in the attacks?  It would be the end of their careers as journalists. And probably still should be.

It is no different on a personal level. If you are asleep in your bedroom with a gun on a night table for self defense and an intruder kicks in your door and enters with a knife, what are you doing to do?  Try and get to the kitchen to get your own knife so your response is proportionate? Or pick up the gun and shoot? 

Even in terms of  casualty figures the numbers offered by the UN have already proved to be bogus and not to be trusted since they are  given to the UN by Hamas and the Hamas controlled Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. That includes  the percentage of civilian casualties which the UN keeps parroting and journalists keep reporting, ignoring the fact that the UN has no way of checking the figures or the percentages, that Hamas would never be truthful about the number of their fighters killed, and that their  percentages are at disproportionate odds with the IDF figures of Hamas fighters killed which the UN ignores. According to the IDF over 900 Hamas fighters have been killed. That would put civilian casualties at 50% not the ever changing 70-80% Hamas and the UN keep reporting. 

For the news media or those who insist on using casualty figures to keep score like it was a game, Hamas had sent human bombers into Israel who killed 1400 from 2006-2007 but are not taken into account perhaps because the images of those casualties arent recent enough. But it's those casualties that are at the heart of the border closings and blockade that is at the crux of the current war.  It was the intention of Hamas to tunnel into Israel to cause more of those casualties while they now fire rockets with the irrational  idea that  they can force  the reopening of those borders. 

Which again shows there is no such thing as a disproportionate response to force Hamas to end their attacks and if necessary, destroy Hamas militarily if they refuse to stop voluntarily. 

The "disproportionate response" argument  also keeps citing  the number  of "innocent civilian" casualties as fuel for the disproportionate response argument. The term is  bandied about by the media as if "innocent" and "civilian" automatically go together. Certainly the children in Gaza are innocent having been victimized by the adults in Gaza who brought this all on.  But are the adult civilians who support Hamas really that innocent?  As Hillary Clinton pointed out  Hamas is responsible for all of the civilian casualties in Gaza. And it was the civilian adults in Gaza who elected Hamas, a psychopathic collection of terrorist killers to be their government and act on their behalf when they could have elected Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. Had Abbas been controlling Gaza there would be no blockade or border closings. And no war. But the Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas in 2007 knowing full well what Hamas is.And in that way makes them as responsible as Hamas for causing the circumstances they have been enduring that they want to see end. 

There is more evidence that many of these "innocent civilians" are not so innocent.  Rockets have been stored in the homes of these "innocent" civilians, assembled in the homes of these "innocent" civilian and fired from the homes of these "innocent civilians". And every terror tunnel had its entrance started in a civilian home with the help and support of the civilians who lived in those homes.Which is why those homes were destroyed.

The Institute for Palestinian Studies issued a shocking report in 2012 on these tunnels and reported that, with information supplied by Hamas, 160 Palestinian children being used by Hamas to dig those tunnels were killed digging those tunnels. And that doesn't count all the children Hamas used that survived. Children who were used with the permission of their parents to help Hamas dig tunnels whose sole purpose was to kill Israelis and their children . Which also doesn't sound very innocent. 

Before the cease fire ended there was a rally in Gaza attended by thousands of Palestinians who,  according to reports, were showing their support for Hamas and calling for more rocket fire and attacks on Israel if Hamas demands were not met while at the same time refusing Israeli demands that Gaza be demilitarized. There was talk that Israel might agree to an easing of the blockade with international supervision at the crossings to inspect what goes in and out. But that wasn't good enough for Hamas.

Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas official who led the rally in Gaza said Hamas would never give up its arms under any circumstances and demanded Israel open its borders and lift the blockade.

Mushir told the crowd. "Our fingers are on the trigger and our rockets are trained on Tel Aviv, Lod and beyond".

This is the organization the Palestinians in Gaza elected to be their representative government and to act on their behalf. Again, they could have elected Abbas and the Palestinian Authority and there would be no blockade or border closings. And no war. But they didn't.

Now, as the cease fire has ended Palestinian negotiators in Egypt who want the blockade lifted say that Palestinians in Gaza deserve to live like normal people. Maybe they do but first they should start acting like it.

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