Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Gaza 2012: Proportionality and Collective Punishment

November 20, 2012 11:33 am 1 comment

A Grad rocket destroyed this kindergarten classroom in Beersheva, Israel on Dec. 31, 2008. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO.

It would be a denial of reality to assume that only a small group of terrorists could be involved in the thousands of documented acts of terror in the past 10 years by Palestinian Arabs. In the seven years since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets directly at civilian populations in Israel. It would be reckless to assume that these acts of terror are isolated, undertaken independently, without the direct involvement of the Palestinian populace and the leadership they opt to elect.

Israel often is portrayed in the media, by Western leaders, human rights activists and the many different organs of the United Nations as inflicting disproportionate and collective punishment on many Palestinians for the deeds of a few terrorists.

Ironically, the prohibition of imposing “collective penalties [punishment] … intimidation and terrorism” that Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention talks about, should be applied in this case to the millions of innocent men, women, and children of Israel that are collectively being punished day-in and day-out by Arab terrorists for “offenses” they never “personally committed.” As to the “terrorism” Article 33 speaks about; it is the Israelis that fight to prevent Palestinian terrorism, and not the other way around.

Interestingly, the British in 1929 thought that collective punishment was a perfectly legitimate measure when inhabitants of Arab villages attacked the Jews. This collective punishment was not merely a single necessary step, but actually an existing ordinance of the British Mandate supported by the League of Nations, in dealing with Arab terrorism:

“Collective Punishments. The Collective Punishments Ordinances were applied to the [Arab] towns and villages whose inhabitants were guilty of participation in the concerted attacks on Jews at Hebron, Safad, Motza, Artuf, Beer-Tuvia, and heavy fines were inflicted.”

Throughout history, Jews were law-abiding, peaceful people defending themselves against Arab aggression. In a 1946 Report, the Anglo-American Committee described its observation regarding Jews living in the land of Palestine:

“The Jew had to train himself for self-defence, and to accustom himself to the life of a pioneer in an armed stockade. Throughout the Arab rising, the Jews in the National Home, despite every provocation, obeyed the orders of their leaders and exercised a remarkable self-discipline. They shot, but only in self-defence; they rarely took reprisals on the Arab.”

Israel’s reaction to Arab aggression is nothing more than a measured, fair response designed “to effectively terminate the attack [s]” by a conglomerate of Palestinian Arab terrorists, supported by Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah, in order to prevent its recurrence.

Palestinian Arabs, by their first use of armed force against Israeli civilians and non-combatant Jews in contravention of the United Nations Charter, constituted prima facie [Latin: on its face] evidence of an act of aggression – aggression being defined by international law as “the most serious and dangerous form of illegal use of force.”

Therefore, the rule of proportionality in this case of continuous aggression needs to be met by Israeli acts that will induce the aggressors to comply with its international obligations. Israel countermeasures need not be the exact equivalent of the breaching act. Judge Schwebel, the former president of the International Court of Justice is quoted saying:

“In the case of action taken for the specific purpose of halting and repelling an armed attack, this does not mean that the action should be more or less commensurate with the attack.”

The perception among Palestinians that politically motivated violence is legitimate and effective is nothing new. From a broader perspective, if the Palestinians are rewarded with political gains following their acts of aggression, it can be expected that other radical groups will also make use of their tactics. Israel will no longer be the main target.

1 Comment

  • Lawrence Kulak

    The Arabs are upset that the Bible proceeded without Yismael replacing Yitzchak in the narrative. Muslims seek to negate the Biblical phrase “Hakol Kol Yaakov v’ Hayadim Yedai Esav” which was just read this past Shabbos, because they cannot accept the dual nature of Yaakov. This is because the Muslims have always been prepared to try to take by force what was not their rightful legacy. The cannot bear the thought therefore, that yaakov, in addition to being a man of simplicity and Torah learning can also be a fierce warrior. This is true of “all Muslims” and not simply the ones who are branded as terrorists or terrorist leaders. And that is why assistanced given to terrorists is a natural and automatic reaction by all Gazans and all Arab Muslims who are associated with Yishmael. Therefore, it is academic when you discuss the issue of collective punishment to conclude that it in fact does and should apply to all the Arab residents who choose to live amongst the terrorists. It is not mere ‘guild by association’ but guilt through connected deeds and ideologies. When an Arab youth goes out and slaughters an entire Jewish family, do we question whether he is a member of Hamas? We simply assume that he is “one of them”. And that is the correct assumption. Apologies in the midst of war are no more than self defeating acts of appeasement.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Food Jenna Jameson Flips Janice Dickinson the Finger for Raiding Her Kosher Fridge on ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ (VIDEO)

    Jenna Jameson Flips Janice Dickinson the Finger for Raiding Her Kosher Fridge on ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ (VIDEO)

    Former adult film star Jenna Jameson slammed Janice Dickinson on Sunday night’s episode of U.K.’s Celebrity Big Brother after she found out that the former model took food from her kosher refrigerator, the Daily Mail reported. A hungry Dickinson took a pack of celery from Jameson’s fridge, which was reserved for food adhering to kosher dietary laws. When Jameson, who converted to Judaism, found out, she shouted, “I’m about to go eat Janice’s f***ing face.” The previous porn star then stormed into the kitchen and confronted Dickinson. She […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →