Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Dersh on Gaza, and Olmert's new assault on freedom of speech
Israel, Hamas, and moral idiocy
Much of the world's response is a false moral equivalence that simply
encourages the terrorists.
By Alan M. Dershowitz
from the December 31, 2008 edition
Cambridge, Mass. - Israel's decision to take military action against Hamas
rocket attacks targeting its civilian population has been long in coming.
I vividly recall a visit my wife and I took to the Israeli city of Sderot
on March 20 of this year. Over the past four years, Palestinian terrorists
. in particular, Hamas and Islamic Jihad . have fired more than 2,000
rockets at this civilian area, which is home to mostly poor and
The rockets are designed exclusively to maximize civilian deaths, and some
have barely missed schoolyards, kindergartens, hospitals, and school
buses. But others hit their targets, killing more than a dozen civilians
since 2001, including in February 2008 a father of four who had been
studying at the local university. These anticivilian rockets have also
injured and traumatized countless children.
The residents of Sderot were demanding that their nation take action to
protect them. But Israel's postoccupation military options were limited,
since Hamas deliberately fires its deadly rockets from densely populated
urban areas, and the Israeli army has a strict policy of trying to avoid
The firing of rockets at civilians from densely populated civilian areas
is the newest tactic in the war between terrorists who love death and
democracies that love life. The terrorists have learned how to exploit the
morality of democracies against those who do not want to kill civilians,
even enemy civilians.
The attacks on Israeli citizens have little to do with what Israel does or
does not do. They have everything to do with an ideology that despises .
and openly seeks to destroy . the Jewish state. Consider that rocket
attacks increased substantially after Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005,
and they accelerated further after Hamas seized control last year.
In the past months, a shaky cease-fire, organized by Egypt, was in effect.
Hamas agreed to stop the rockets and Israel agreed to stop taking military
action against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The cease-fire itself
was morally dubious and legally asymmetrical.
Israel, in effect, was saying to Hamas: If you stop engaging in the war
crime of targeting our innocent civilians, we will stop engaging in the
entirely lawful military acts of targeting your terrorists. Under the
cease-fire, Israel reserved the right to engage in self-defense actions
such as attacking terrorists who were in the course of firing rockets at
Just before the hostilities began, Israel reopened a checkpoint to allow
humanitarian aid to reenter Gaza. It had closed the point of entry after
it had been targeted by Gazan rockets. Israel's prime minister, Ehud
Olmert, also issued a stern, final warning to Hamas that unless it stopped
the rockets, there would be a full-scale military response. The Hamas
rockets continued and Israel kept its word, implementing a carefully
prepared targeted air attack against Hamas targets.
On Sunday, I spoke to the air force general, now retired, who worked on
the planning of the attack. He told me of the intelligence and planning
that had gone into preparing for the contingency that the military option
might become necessary. The Israeli air force had pinpointed with
precision the exact locations of Hamas structures in an effort to minimize
Even Hamas sources have acknowledged that the vast majority of those
killed have been Hamas terrorists, though some civilian casualties are
inevitable when, as BBC's Rushdi Abou Alouf . who is certainly not
pro-Israel . reported, "The Hamas security compounds are in the middle of
the city." Indeed, his home balcony was just 20 meters away from a
compound he saw bombed.
There have been three types of international response to the Israeli
military actions against the Hamas rockets. Not surprisingly, Iran, Hamas,
and other knee-jerk Israeli-bashers have argued that the Hamas rocket
attacks against Israeli civilians are entirely legitimate and that the
Israeli counterattacks are war crimes.
Equally unsurprising is the response of the United Nations, the European
Union, Russia, and others who, at least when it comes to Israel, see a
moral and legal equivalence between terrorists who target civilians and a
democracy that responds by targeting the terrorists.
And finally, there is the United States and a few other nations that place
the blame squarely on Hamas for its unlawful and immoral policy of using
its own civilians as human shields, behind whom they fire rockets at
The most dangerous of the three responses is not the Iranian-Hamas
absurdity, which is largely ignored by thinking and moral people, but the
United Nations and European Union response, which equates the willful
murder of civilians with legitimate self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of
the United Nations Charter.
This false moral equivalence only encourages terrorists to persist in
their unlawful actions against civilians. The US has it exactly right by
placing the blame on Hamas, while urging Israel to do everything possible
to minimize civilian casualties.
. Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard
Law School. His latest book is "The Case Against Israel's Enemies:
Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace."
2. The most anti-Semitic journalist in Israel, Gideon Levy of Haaretz,
served as spokesman for Shimon Peres between 1978 and 1982. Here is a
typical Levy anti-Semitic diatribe:
3. Rahat is a town of Arab Bedouins in the Negev and has long been one
of the most openly anti-Israel pro-terror towns in Israel. It regularly
holds violent anti-Israel demonstrations. It was hit by Hamas rockets
4. There is a lot of cynical talk these days about any possibly role of
the upcoming Israeli elections in the behavior and positions of various
public figures with regard to the operations against the Hamas. There is
ONE development that CLEARLY is nothing more than a cynical play for
electoral support: Uncharacteristically, Meretz, the leftist semi-Marxist
party, has endorsed the attack on Gaza, as have a few other leftist
groups. Shimon Peres has also endorsed it. The exceptions to the more
general rule of treason on the Left. Oh, the Meretz branch in the US is
NOT an exception. They are out shilling for the Hamas this week:
5. Rabin and the good ole days:
6. Nice piece:
7. The Olmertocracy is exploiting the war to launch a new assault on
freedom of speech in Israel:
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1051346.html Some rabbis dared to
call for affirmative action in favor of Jews. The Israeli political
establishment which operates affirmative action on behalf of Arabs sees
this as racist.
8. Hornik on the war:
9. The Inside Gaza Story:
10. What "Palestine"?
11. Spain's Joo Problem: