Thursday, July 20, 2006

Proportionality For Non-Jews

"While we believe the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers is deplorable and should be responded to in a just manner, we find it unconscionable Fiengold would condone lawlessness on the part of Israel. Israel's intentional deadly attacks on civilian population centers and civilian infrastructure in Gaza and Lebenon constitute illegal collective punishment of innocent men, women, and children in these areas. Israel's "serious" response to the kidnappings violates the principle of proportionality that must be observed when acting on military targets."

These are the words of Pete and Sonali Knotek and their entire letter can be found in todays letters from readers in the Racine Journal Times. I have some concerns with their argument.

First of all, Israel's military is not responding only to the kidnappings. Hezzbolah has been lobbing hundreds of missiles into civilian areas of Israel, which has resulted in the deaths of innocent Israeli men, women, and children. The authors neglected to mention this important fact.

So what is Israel to do? They are being attacked by terrorists. Innocents are going to die. The unfortunate choice facing Israel is whether those innocents will be primarily Israeli's or Lebonese. Of course it is Hezbollah, not Israel, that has created the danger for the innocents in Israel as well as the innocents in Lebanon.

Now, with regard to Israel's "intentional attacks on civilian population centers", the authors neglect to mention that the attackers, Hezbollah, are located, quite intentionally, in civilian areas. The only way to fight Hezbollah is to fight them where they are, which is in civilian areas. The responsibility for the unfortunate civilian deaths is Hezbollah's and only Hezbollah's, because they are using innocent civilians as shields. If the terrorists were fighting from non-residential areas, would Israel still be attacking civilian areas? I don't think so.

Well how about the attacks on infrastructure, such as the airport? Clearly some, if not most infrastructure has military uses also. The airport could be used to resupply Hezbollah if Israel did not destroy it. But who should bear the responsibility for this damage? Hezbollah and only Hezbollah because they initiated the aggression.

But is Israel's response proportional? The proportional response to someone who is trying to kill you is, if you value your own life, to kill them first. Israel's response is proportional.

I have a question for the authors. Is your concern for innocent Jews proportionate to your concern for innocent Lebonese? After reading the letter, I did not sense any such proportionality.

1 comment:

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