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December 29, 2008

Following Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead' (Day 3 Edition) Updated

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives
from the front1.jpg
(Image via The Muqata)

Readers will find the latest liveblogging of "Operation Cast Lead" at IsraellyCool and at The Muqata (lots of images).

Via Atlas Shrugs, ""Did Israel Use "Disproportionate Force" in Gaza?"" This excellent - must read - editorial by the formidable Ambassador Dore Gold addresses the issue:

Dore Gold

  • Israeli population centers in southern Israel have been the target of over 4,000 rockets, as well as thousands of mortar shells, fired by Hamas and other organizations since 2001. Rocket attacks increased by 500 percent after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. During an informal six-month lull, some 215 rockets were launched at Israel.
  • The charge that Israel uses disproportionate force keeps resurfacing whenever it has to defend its citizens from non-state terrorist organizations and the rocket attacks they perpetrate. From a purely legal perspective, Israel's current military actions in Gaza are on solid ground. According to international law, Israel is not required to calibrate its use of force precisely according to the size and range of the weaponry used against it.
  • Ibrahim Barzak and Amy Teibel wrote for the Associated Press on December 28 that most of the 230 Palestinians who were reportedly killed were "security forces," and Palestinian officials said "at least 15 civilians were among the dead." The numbers reported indicate that there was no clear intent to inflict disproportionate collateral civilian casualties. What is critical from the standpoint of international law is that if the attempt has been made "to minimize civilian damage, then even a strike that causes large amounts of damage - but is directed at a target with very large military value - would be lawful."
  • Luis Moreno-Orampo, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, explained that international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court "permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur." The attack becomes a war crime when it is directed against civilians (which is precisely what Hamas does).
  • After 9/11, when the Western alliance united to collectively topple the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, no one compared Afghan casualties in 2001 to the actual numbers that died from al-Qaeda's attack. There clearly is no international expectation that military losses in war should be on a one-to-one basis. To expect Israel to hold back in its use of decisive force against legitimate military targets in Gaza is to condemn it to a long war of attrition with Hamas.

Israel is currently benefiting from a limited degree of understanding in international diplomatic and media circles for launching a major military operation against Hamas on December 27. Yet there are significant international voices that are prepared to argue that Israel is using disproportionate force in its struggle against Hamas. 

Israeli Population Centers Under Rocket Attack

There are good reasons why initial criticism of Israel has been muted. After all, Israeli population centers in southern Israel have been the target of over 4,000 rockets, as well as thousands of mortar shells, fired by Hamas and other organizations since 2001.1 The majority of those attacks were launched after Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in August 2005. Indeed, rocket attacks increased by 500 percent (from 179 to 946) from 2005 to 2006.

Moreover, lately Hamas has been extending the range of its striking capability even further with new rockets supplied by Iran. Hamas used a 20.4-kilometer-range Grad/Katyusha for the first time on March 28, 2006, bringing the Israeli city of Ashkelon into range of its rockets for the first time. That change increased the number of Israelis under threat from 200,000 to half a million.2 Moreover, on December 21, 2008, Yuval Diskin, Head of the Israel Security Agency, informed the Israeli government that Hamas had acquired rockets that could reach Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, and even the outskirts of Beersheba.3 The first Grad/Katyusha strike on Ashdod, in fact, took place on December 28. There had been no formal cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but only an informal six-month tahadiya (lull), during which 215 rockets were launched at Israel.4 On December 21, Hamas unilaterally announced that the tahadiya had ended.

  Continue reading ...

At Jihad Watch, Iran's "Combatant Clergy Society" signing up volunteers to fight jihad against Israel - and Pam Geller believes we ought to grant their wish; she also says forget about talking about how this will galvanize the Muslim world against us, after all, they are already galvanized.

Ace is forwarding a shocking revelation for Hamas from the White House: Hey, You Know What Might End the Hannukah War? Maybe Hamas Could Take a Chill-Pill on Lobbing Rockets Into Israel.

More or less, Israel has said to Hamas - we'll know when you've had enough when we don't see anymore rockets, bombs, and mortars coming our way. Meanwhile, as posted at 10:38 PM Israel time, a Katyusha (Grad) rocket lands in Ashdod. (Channel 10 Israel TV reporting). The rockets are still coming - and the IDF is still rolling over Hamas.

From Spiegel Online (via Real Clear Politics), That Hamas' Strategy of Escalation is obviously not working and it is unlikely that Hamas will ultimately be successful:
The Palestinians are simply too divided to provide a unified response to Israel -- too split for a third Intifada. On a political level, that became abundantly clear on Sunday. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah Party has the upper hand in the West Bank, condemned the attacks, but seemed to partially blame Hamas for the ongoing bloodbath in the Gaza Strip.
Although the Israeli actions are certainly stirring up the radical Islamic world into a frenzy with the Islamonuts wanting to go to Gaza and throw away their lives for whatever moves them, nothing like getting the fish to jump into the barrel on their own before killing them. At least Israel want have to go looking for them. (Pardon my cynicism but I have little patients for radicals and especially radical Islamists that want me and my fellow Christians just as dead as they want the Jews wasted.

For readers interested Why Gaza Matters, Yossi Klein Halevi is offering (also via Real Clear Politics) his opinion over at The New Republic, including some of the possible consequences to watch for in the coming days and weeks. .

As for who the Palestinians should want to win this conflict, the folks over at the WSJ are saying that the Palestinians Need Israel to Win because if Hamas gets away with terror once again, the peace process will be over.

Not directly related to the Gaza action but still involving Jews and the treatment of them on the part of Islamists, Girl on the Right has a moving and informative piece on the treatment of the Jews in the Mumbai massacre. I like her final take that every Jew alive today who does not own or have access to a firearm is self deluded. I'm all for that myself; you know how it goes, from my cold dead hand" etc... , I'm a super strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment - and believe me, I do know how to handle my Sigs and M4s (that's plural for both if you're in the dark about weapons).

Going back to Gaza, Pam Geller has "News from the Front in Israel" as of 1641 today. Via, Rockets fired from Gaza kill 2 Israelis within hour. There's an informative news video at the link showing the damage.

Later updates will be in new posts.

Posted by Hyscience at December 29, 2008 1:02 PM

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