Does Israel Have a Right to Defend Itself?

This is the typical question lobbed by the pro-Israel crowd. What we are saying is that Israel doesn’t have a right to defend herself. This is supposedly an aspect of the New Anti-Semitism, in that everyone has a right to fight back but Jews. Jews have to just sit there and let people kill them, like in WW2. Maybe someone is saying that, but it sure isn’t me.
Let’s get things straight here. Everyone has a right to self-defense in wartime (Article 51 of the UN Charter), and possibly in peacetime.
If you haven’t shot at cops, but cops are shooting at you (assuming you are not pointing a weapon at them) I assume you have a right to shoot back at cops. This is basically what Leonard Peltier is accused of doing, although the Indian who killed the FBI agent is not Leonard but another guy.
During the AIM vs. BIA wars of the early 1970’s, some FBI agents pulled into the Pine Ridge Reservation Sioux reservation in South Dakota, got out of their cars, and started shooting at the Indians up on the ridge. The Indians took cover, grabbed some guns, and started shooting back. Peltier was shooting, but he wasn’t the one who shot the agent, some other Indian was. This is exactly what I think happened.
So let’s get clear on this. Everyone has a right to shoot back. Including Nazis. Including Japs in WW2. We were shooting at them, so they had a right to shoot back. They had a right to attack us even when we were not shooting at them, since we were hostile forces at war with them. So of course Israel has a right to fight back, and even to attack Palestinian forces in Gaza who were shooting rockets at Israel.
What about proportionality? Israel killing 1,400 Palestinians while only 13 Israelis got killed is said to be the war crime of lack of proportionality. Actually, this is a difficult case to make.
Disproportionality can be a war crime, but even this is uncertain. There are laws against collective punishment, but it’s uncertain if disproportionality is included. There is stuff about disproportionality in the Draft Articles in State Responsibility, recently adopted by the International Law Commission (see December 29, 2008 1:02 PM comment), but that’s not international law yet.
What that means (see December 28, 2008 1:18 PM comment) is that if you have a town where there is one building in the town with some fighters in it shooting at you, you don’t have a right to blow up or level the whole town to get at the one building. You can blow up the building, sure. So it’s hard to argue that Israel committed the war crime of disproportionate response in this case.
However, the UN is complaining that what Israel did is to lock the civilians into Gaza, prevent them from fleeing, and then attack. I’m not sure on international law, but I’m pretty sure you have to give civilians the right to flee the fighting? Egypt and the US are also at fault here, since the US, Egypt and Israel all control the Rafah checkpoint, and terrified Gazans were not allowed to flee to Egyptian safety in this latest war, held back to gun-wielding troops.
I will point out that the US did much the same in Fallujah. Right before they invaded, scores or hundreds of civilians, mostly unarmed young men in civilian clothes, tried to flee the city, only to be turned back at gunpoint by US troops. How cruel can you get?
In the Gaza case, even worse from my point of view is that they dropped leaflets on Gaza telling civilians to leave the area as it was about to be attacked, then the Israelis went ahead and attacked them anyway after they fled to UN shelters and whatnot.
I guess that is some kind of a super-cruel Israeli joke. “Flee! Flee! Civilians get out! We are going to attack the area!” Then later, “Haha! Just kidding! You fell for it. Suckers! Here’s a bomb on your head!” The punch line is there’s no escape.
It’s like throwing a Surprise Birthday Party for a guy at work, and then the boss barges in and says, “Happy birthday! You’re fired!” And the whole room erupts in gales of laughter as birthday boy shrivels up. Downright hilarious.

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13 thoughts on “Does Israel Have a Right to Defend Itself?”

  1. Where are the jew mafia?
    I, heg have single handed shut up all the jew mafia thugs here at Robert Lindsay. How did I do that? I got my facts right and can tell the TRUE story with jew sources ONLY that none can debunk.
    Hence, all the jew rats have left the ship. The lying jew mafia thugs can’t stand the truth.
    Robert Lindsay blogg is really jusgt a walk over. Can’t you give me a link to a diehard, hardcore zionist-jew forum Robert?
    I will singelhanded wipe out the whole forum jew mafia thugs.
    I’m good, just watch and enjoy 8D)

  2. We don’t have a lot of Super-Jews or even Zionists who come around here, heg. We had a few at the other blog, but they haven’t started to come here yet. I guess they figure this blog is a lost cause. All sorts of Zionist blogs out there, heg, but they will probably ban you. I can’t think of any offhand that won’t ban you. I’ll let you know if I do.

  3. Dear Robert
    Does the right of self-defense apply to intruders? If I enter your home illegally with the clear intent to harm you, then you have the right to defend yourself. What if you entered my home by force or by stealth and I start to attack you once you are inside? Do you still have te right to defend yourself? Maybe you do if I don’t give you the option of fleeing, but if you can flee, then you don’t have the right to defend to yourself. You shouldn’t be in my house. The right of self-defense has a territorial demension. As a rule, people have a right to defend themselves only in areas in which their presence is legitimate.
    Very well, in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel is an armed intruder. Its presence there is illegitimate. Consequently, the right of self-defense applies to the Palestinains in those areas, not to Israel. If Arabs were launching rockets on Israel from Jordan, then Israel would have the right of self-defense. If Israel were to grant sovereignty to Gaza and after that the Gazeans were still firing rockets at Israel, then and only then could Israel fairly claim the right of self-defense.
    Some will argue that Israel left Gaza. That may be true insofar as Israel is not inside Gaza, but Israel is laying siege to Gaza. If an army does not enter a city but lays siege to it, then it would be acting in bad faith if it complained because people inside the besieged city are attacking the army. When they lift the siege, then they can legitimately complain about the attacks from the city.
    If Israel wants to be taken seriously, it should simply announce that Gaza is no longer part of Israel in any form and that Gazeans have the right to choose Hamas as their government. If Gaza is independent, it has a greater incentive to behave with restraint and the Gazeans have a smaller incentive to support a government that seeks to destroy Israel.
    In conclusion, Israel does not have a right of legitimate self-defense against Gaza today.
    Regards. James

  4. Well, even if Israel’s presence is illegitimate, just about anyone has a right to counterattack if they are being fired on.
    You make an interesting argument, but I have not seen any analyses of international law that says that Israel has no right to attack Palestinians who are attacking it.

  5. heg – here’s a link to ‘Harry’s Place’, a uk site pretending to be the humanitarian pro-war ‘left’ – they are, of course, none of these things; they are the most slimy, zionist neoliberal propagandists you could find. I think you might fine more extreme zionists, but none slimier.
    http://tinyurl.com/6egkag
    Robert – do you have evidence that there were 500 jews killed in the trade centers? I mean, it would be strange if there weren’t – but I seem to remember some stories about all the jews staying home that day – I mean, how would you get the proof for or against that? I’ve also heard that there were no, or only 1, Israeli nationals killed on 9/11, which would also be suspicious. I’m not attached, pro or con, to these stories, but I’d want to see solid evidence from anyone who claims to know the answer.
    I think you’re too dismissive of the 9/11 truth movement. I read David Ray Griffin’s books, and I’m convinced of his seriousness, and of the people around him ( including the excellent Peter Dale Scott).
    There is a hard core of 9/11 skeptics who no-one should dismiss as nuts (PD Scott a nut?), and a penumbra of gullible and less-cautious enthusiasts, some of whom give the other a bad name.
    I am not attached to any theory about who was behind it, except that the mainstream story is the least likely, and that the 9/11 commission report was just a cover. I believe that planes hit the towers, but I don’t believe they brought them down – whatever stories they can find structural engineers to support, 3 buildings collapsing into their own footprints due to burning aircraft fuel in ONE DAY, is less likely than the same person winning the jackpot in a lottery 3 days in a row.
    I confess I haven’t looked at any of the 9/11 truth sites for a year or 2, and the material I know may not be the stuff you’ve looked at, but I recommend you stay, or get, skeptical about 9/11.

  6. Thx LS for the link 8o)
    heg’s manual to whipe out the fake “jew” khazar
    First you grab the fake “jew” khazar by the neck. Next you nail the fake “jew” to the floor face down and then you start shovel facts down the fake “jew”s thoath.
    Fake “jew” Game Over.
    It’s really easy, all you have to do is ask the FAKE “jew” if he or she is an ashke-NAZI “jew”.
    Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, Ariel Sharon, take any leding FAKE “jews” and they are all fake khazaria “jews”,
    NO “jew” can debunk that.

  7. That previous post of mine went to the wrong thread – this seems to be happening a lot.
    James Schipper is dead right. I saw an article in Counterpunch, by Michael Neumann, which gave the argument in terms of international law, much the same as James’s view. An occupied people have a right to resist, to make the occupier pay a price for their occupation; the Palestinians do not have the luxury of being able to target only the military; Israel, as the illegal occupier, the aggressor, cannot by definition be acting in self-defense.

  8. Heg: Let’s say you’re right. The Khazars were a Turkic people related to many of the ethnic groups in Turkey, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Do you hate them too?
    I think the whole Khazar/Ashkenazi thing has been refuted, but I don’t give enough of a s**t to chase it down, and you’d probably disbelieve the sources anyway.

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