Don’t muddy the waters.

“Im ba l’hargekha, hashkem l’hargo,” “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him (first).”

By Ted Belman Mar 27, 2008

I asked Col. Bruce T Smith for a legal opinion on what restrictions or laws Israel is subject to in its self defense and included the opinion in my post Bomb Gaza. Win the War.

In sum: Israel is free to employ ALL munitions, tactics, equipment and personnel in her arsenal to defend herself against the outlaw Hamas terrorist organization. Short of the intentional targeting and murder of truly uninvolved and innocent civilians, Israel can (and should) operate as freely as she desires to protect her territorial sovereignty and the lives of her citizens.

What could be clearer.

Just the other day Ehud Barak said that he was going to ask the Justice Ministry for an opinion on the matter. This is a joke. There is no question that Barak has numerous legal opinions on the question throughout his career and now that he is Defense Minister must have viewed all the opinions given to his predecessor during the Lebanese War.

PM Olmert also muddied the waters when he said “Nobody has the right to preach morals to Israel for taking basic measures to defend itself.” He obviously is introducing a moral standard rather than a legal one. But the moral standard is a quagmire. A state owes a duty to its citizens to defend them. Fulfilling this duty is its highest value. A state is derelict if it compromises this duty by concern for a non-existent duty to avoid killing enemy civilians. The only duty in war a state has is not to intentionally kill civilians. If civilians get killed as collateral damage even in disproportionate numbers, it is still legal. The IDF must kill as many of its terrorists as it can with the least casualties of its own. This is its duty and its morality.

As a numbers game, is it moral to cause one of your own to be killed to avoid killing ten of them? What about one hundred of them. In the last few days we killed 100 of them and lost 2 of ours. To my mind that is moral.

The US had to face this dilemma near the end of WWII. It understood that to invade Japan street by street (just as Israel must entertain invading Gaza street by street) would result in the loss of one million Americans and Japanese. So instead it gave a warning that if Japan didn’t unconditionally surrender its cities would be flattened. Japan refused and so two A-Bombs were dropped resulting the the deaths of 250,000 Japanese. Then Japan surrendered. In the result, far less people were killed.

The Middle East Forum recently published a major paper The Psychological Asymmetry of Islamist Warfare by Irwin J. Mansdorf and Mordechai Kedar.

[..] The Israeli military faces a serious dilemma because it adheres to a specific moral code. Despite Arab propaganda to the contrary, Israeli military planners respect human life.[6] Tel Aviv University philosophy professor Asa Kasher and current Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intelligence chief Amos Yadlin write that, even when dealing with terrorists, Israeli soldiers conduct operations “in a manner that strictly protects human life and dignity by minimizing all collateral damage to individuals not directly involved in acts or activities of terror.“[7] When trying to oust terrorists from Jenin in April 2002, for example, Israeli commanders decided to pursue a house-to-house ground strategy rather than employ the kind of airpower that would keep Israeli soldiers out of danger but would heighten the risk of collateral civilian casualties.[8] This decision cost the lives, in one incident, of thirteen IDF soldiers in an ambush in the Hawashin district on April 9.[9]

While it is right to minimize collateral damage, not at the expense of your own soldiers.

The Israeli judiciary also provides a check on the military. Israeli courts regularly impose restrictions on military tactics, despite the “price paid by the limitations put on the army’s actions.”[10] Arab petitioners have a voice. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz wrote that Israel’s courts represent an “independent judiciary willing to stand up to its own government.”[11] In 2004, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled for petitioner Fatma al-Aju against the Israeli military in a case that called for the IDF to take into consideration obligations towards civilians, such as allowing medical teams to enter combat areas, and other humanitarian needs when planning military operations.[12] The court also sided with Palestinian Arabs regarding the routing of Israel’s security barrier.[13] Arab states have no such judicial independence nor are their leaderships subject to the rule of law.

I am totally against involving the courts to impose restrictions on the IDF which result in a price being paid. This is the business of the military and not the courts. When the High Court had to decide on the fence location it used the rule of proportionality to balance the interests of Israel’s security against the inconvenience to the Arabs. How do you give the nod to inconvenience over security?

[..] Avi Dichter, Israel’s public security minister, spoke to this predicament in the context of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war: “You can [conduct military operations] in a short time; you can flood southern Lebanon with ground troops, and you can bomb villages without warning anyone, and it will be faster. But you’ll kill a lot more innocent people and suffer a lot more casualties, and we don’t intend to do either.”[15] Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, Israel’s national security advisor from 2005 to 2006, explained the Israeli decision-making process: “We are forced to kill someone only when four conditions are met: Number one, there is no way to arrest someone. Number two, the target is important enough. Number three, we do it when we believe that we can guarantee very few civilian casualties. And number four, we do it when we believe that there is no way that we can delay or postpone this operation, something that we consider as a ticking bomb.”[16]

What is missing from the foregoing is the endangerment of our own soldiers. The latter quote applies to something like a police operation but in war it doesn’t apply at all. Eiland starts his remarks by saying “we are forced to kill someone only when four conditions are met.” This is oddly put. Now I fully agree that Israel should minimize collateral damage when it can but it should not put its own soldiers at risk to do so. This is not a game or a police action even. It is war.

Israel is further harmed by the invocation of international law to implicate the legitimacy of its fight against its adversaries. International law is routinely misconstrued by the media commentators and non-specialists who cite it. Some journalists, for example, describe Israeli treatment of Palestinian terrorists as a contravention of international law. This is misleading. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, among others, fail to meet the criteria required for full protection under the Geneva conventions.[17]

More broadly, human rights groups selectively quote international law but fail to note that “protected persons” (i.e., citizens under occupation) may not participate in violent activities against the occupying power.[18] Despite rhetoric to the contrary, there is no “right of resistance” under international law to either civilians under occupation or irregular forces that purport to challenge an occupier.[19]

These constraints are voluntarily imposed on Israel not only by others but by Israel itself. Furthermore such constraints flow from the Geneva Convention which Smith argues doesn’t apply. Such thinking places our soldiers in greater jeopardy and is thus immoral.

Mansdorf and Kedar point out,

Extensive reports by the Israeli NGO Monitor continue to document how Israeli counterattacks, which result in Palestinian causalities, spark criticism of Israel by human rights organizations whose condemnations either ignore or minimize Israel’s right to self-defense.[52] Although moral codes limit Israel’s range of action, such restraint does not prevent exaggerated accusations of Israeli “war crimes.”

True enough but I have trouble with the following conclusions.

How to balance military needs, international humanitarian law, and the reality of facing an enemy whose tactics are not restrained by accepted conventions are challenges to which Israel and other Western nations need to devote serious thought.

This suggests that there is international humanitarian law which applies. That’s the first error. As long on Israel doesn’t intentional kill civilians it can do everything else. Don’t muddy the waters.

In the short-term, Israel can take the lead by repeatedly and forcefully asserting the moral high ground by pointing out that civilian causalities are never intentional but, given the cynical tactics of the enemies it must fight, are regrettably inevitable. Israeli spokespersons must further assert that the culpability for civilian casualties lies with the terrorists who have deliberately chosen to wage war against Israel from within civilian populations precisely because of the propaganda benefits of such tactics.

Why is it “asserting the moral high ground” to say the civilian casualties weren’t intentional. Instead he should say that nothing Israel did was illegal because there was no intentional killing of civilians.

Alan Dershowitz makes a point of saying that all Palestinians are responsible for the actions of their government because they elected it. And so do I. There are no “innocent” Palestinians.

There is only one rule, If Someone Comes to Kill You, Rise Up and Kill Him First
I strongly recommend that you read all the comments.

May 13, 2023 | 30 Comments »

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  1. The Right of Self-Defense should have been No. 1 in the Constitution. Without it, there is no Life, Liberty or Pursuit of Happiness. Self-defense is a God-given right that applies to each and every individual, every family, every neighborhood, every town, every country, every people, and to every society. What was the American Declaration of Independence, after all, but a statement that “the American People” were invoking their God-ordained right of self-defense against a tyrannical ruler?

    Claiming such a right, however, presupposes innocence. If you are the aggressor, you have waived your moral right to self-defense. Such is the case for killers, terrorists, or rogue nations. If you are such a person, you may, of course, defend yourself when confronted by the law, but you do so with NO moral justification. You rightly suffer whatever justice is meted out, whether you resist or not.

    Enough of the generalities. Israel certainly has the right to defend itself in ANY WAY necessary, as long as innocents are not injured. Because Israel has always tried to do this, it occupies, the moral high ground. Israel should remember, however, (and I’m sure that it does), that standing on the moral high ground is no guarantee that their self-defense will be easy, or that they will always prevail. Being morally right is a divine currency that is not easily spent here on earth.

  2. While we are all getting excited regarding the Gaza situation, which is problematic but rather minor compared to another matter. We seem to have forgotten Iran.
    In 1991 after America had defeated Iraq in the first Gulf war it was discovered that Iraq was just several months away from developing a nuclear device. That revelation was surprising in that although it was believed Iraq was working in the nuclear area it did not seem possible that Iraq could have been that close to achieving this kind of advance in bomb making technology.
    The Osirik reactor had been destroyed in 81 and there was no discernable evidence that a replacement reactor had been built. What was forgotten was that a bomb could be developed without the use of a reactor facility. For Israel and the west in general, that fact is frightening indeed. There is the real possibility is that Iran could be building its reactor for genuine peaceful purposes and at the same time developing its bomb making facility in some obscure location in the same manner as what the Iraqis did in 91.

    America and Israel are basing its estimates on Iranian development on some rather dicey intelligence sources. There is always the question of disinformation which the Iranians are the past masters in carrying off.Locations could be bombed and there would be no way of verifying if something very important was missed.You can also be sure the Iranians are not sitting around waiting to be bombed without undertaking vigorous defensive measures.

    In terms of bombing the reactor complexes, we are now reaching a threshold period. Once a site is completed it becomes, using atomic parlance “hot” .Destroying these facilities would be tantamount to dropping a low yield atomic bomb.The death and destruction could be huge and not necessarily limited to Iran. The radiation contamination could affect, Turkey, Pakistan, India, China, Afganistan etc.,etc. Israel itself could potentially be contaminated depending on wind velocity.
    Radiation poisoning is very insidious.Its effects are both immediate and long term.

    In my view Gaza is a dangerous distraction diverting Israel from much more lethal concerns.

  3. Yamit:
    Once again I seem to have touched a raw nerve.I feel like a dentist that is working on a patient with a mouthful of rotten teeth.






  4. Laura by now the worlds position is a given. That you should still be upset if not surprised is useless waste of energy and emotion. This is antisemitism in its classic form but transferred from the nonpolitical correct overt antisemitism of the individual Jew to the state of the Jews. Our Biggest problems are with Jews like Peskin and JW AKA Andrew Hingston ; These guys are the gentile antisemites’ wet dreams. They become the ammunition of the antisemites to which we have little defense against.

  5. No other country is expected to put its own citizens at risk in order to avoid harming or killing the enemy’s civilians. This absurd bullshit standard is only applied to Israel.

  6. There can never be peace between the Arabs and Jews in the land of Israel!

    The Laborer And The Snake

    A SNAKE, having made his hole close to the porch of a cottage, inflicted a severe bite on the Cottager’s infant son, of which he died, to the great grief of his parents. The father resolved to kill the Snake, and the next day, on its coming out of its hole for food, took up his axe; but, making too much haste to hit him as he wriggled away, missed his head, and cut off only the end of his tail. After some time the Cottager, afraid lest the Snake should bite him also, endeavored to make peace, and placed some bread and salt in his hole. The Snake, slightly hissing, said: “There can henceforth be no peace between us; for whenever I see you I shall remember the loss of my tail, and whenever you see me you will be thinking of the death of your son.

  7. Peskin;

    The Ass, The Fox, And The Lion

    THE Ass and the Fox having entered into partnership together for their mutual protection, went out into the forest to hunt. They had not proceeded far, when they met a Lion. The Fox, seeing the imminency of the danger, approached the Lion, and promised to contrive for him the capture of the Ass, if he would pledge his word that his own life should not be endangered. On his assuring him that he would not injure him, the Fox led the Ass to a deep pit, and contrived that he should fall into it. The Lion seeing that the Ass was secured, immediately clutched the Fox, and then attacked the Ass at his leisure.

  8. Peskin you are in great form today, not any smarter or informed but the caffeine seems to be working if everything else isn’t. You expel so much leftist liberal crap and reject anything that might and here I (emphasize the word Might). All true believers are closed minded and yours seems to be securely locked, so anything I or any one else here says will never penetrate and and you will never cede your untenable positions based either on truth or facts,and arguments presented here. Fine so good bye. Slogans just don’t cut it. if you can’t back up what you say chapter and verse, then you have nothing to contribute, as we know your opinions by now and your world view fine your call but one last thing. Your are every bit the fanatic as the religious eight you despise.

    What occured in biblical times ought to be kept in the Yeshivas and universities. It has no place at the negotiating table. Menachem begin learned that many years back.

    What did happen to Begin? We are talking about the country of Israel and you say the Bible has no place in our current or future or the negotiation table? why don’t you crawl back into your hole?

  9. Yamit: Your attitude towards this phantom non existing group, with no history, no identity, which for convenience sake we will call the Palestinians reminds me of a nonsense verse I learned in Kindergarden many years ago. Trust me, it has relevance.

    As I was walking down the stairs
    I saw a little man who wasn’t there
    He wasn’t there again today
    Gee,I wish that little man
    would go away.

  10. Bill Narvey:

    You write that there is a war being waged against all the West by Islamofacists who are inspired fundamentalist Islam. The Palestinians in their war with Israel are part of that Islamofacist war against the West.

    That sounds quite menacing but you may be certain the American security authorities are not losing any sleep that there is a possibility that the Hamas will some day bomb the White house or anywhere else in America. The National security authorities clearly distinguish between regional terrorist groups such as Hamas and the international variety. Yes, Hamas has been placed on the U.S. terrorist watch list and their activities in America severely curtailed. But they have done the same for the Tamil Tigers (non Muslim),P.K.K. (Kurdish), and ironically enough, the anti Iranian Muhajadeem. If ever Hamas agrees to recognize Israel and accept prior agreements, America would welcome it in the blink of an eye.

    Yes Israel would very much like to be regarded as a partner with America in the war on International Islamic terror, however the U.S. sees matters quite differently.

  11. Ted: You state that by delivering a devastating military blow to Syria, Israel need not go through the other steps like occupying and reconstruction. And how long do think it would take for Syria to rebuild its warmaking machine? There would be a virtual lineup of arms dealers at Syria’s door selling their wares. Most of what you write involves Israel stalling, playing for time- never do you and others contributing to this site, offer any viable, realistic solutions. And what I mean by realistic, I mean what is possible in light all the complex factors that exist in today’s middle east. What occured in biblical times ought to be kept in the Yeshivas and universities. It has no place at the negotiating table. Menachem begin learned that many years back.

  12. Peskin don’t gloat the popular and accepted wisdom of those in the know here say that Codi is shilling for Olmert who does not want to go into Gaza for many reasons most personal but he has the Geneva plan to implement with Abbas and an invasion of Gaza might and probably; not only get him kicked out of office quickly but unify the west Bank Arabs in another intifada not to mention possibility of Hizbola and others getting involved no Condi gave him his public ladder to climb down but Hamas won’t cooperate and he will be forced to go in eventually.


    Melhemet Mitzvah: War of Obligation-

    “There are two kinds of wars, Melhemet Mashoot and Melhemet Mitzvah. Melhemet Mashoot, which is only a war outside of Israel. It’s a voluntary war, a King decides to conquer land. David did it, Solomon did it in that part which is not Eretz Yisrael. For this type of Melhemet you need a Navi (prophet) a Sanhedrin and so that’s not practical in our time.

    So what is Melhemet Mitzvah? There are three kinds of Melhemet Mitzvah: 1.) The war against the Canaanites to conquer Israel, 2.) Melhemet Amalek (i.e. extermination of the Amalek people), and 3.) any time the enemy comes up against Jews that is a Melhemet Mitzvah and that is applicable in our time. There is no need for a Navi, nothing. It’s a gammorah…what does it mean when the enemy comes up against you? Rambam narrows it further…it means whenever there is an enemy trying to take land or even tribute, this is a war of obligation.

    Obviously the above war of obligation than would apply to the Arabs not only in the occupied territories but also actual Arab citizens within Israel, and not only Arabs but any non-Jew who has land in Israel.

    “Now, what is the difference between this mitzvat and other mitzvat that one can violate when there is a danger to life. Take Shabbat for instance, it is a mitzvat that is usually not dangerous in and of itself. There is nothing dangerous about keeping shabat. So once in a while when shabat becomes dangerous we say violate it so next week you can keep it. The same with Yawm Kippur…and indeed every mitzvah in the Torah is not dangerous usually… and in that rarity when it becomes dangerous violate these few times so you could keep it again but there is one mitzvat that by its very nature is always dangerous and that is a melhemet mitzvah. Think about the logic pattern that says, ‘it’s a mitzvah to go to war except if it is dangerous.’ The absurdity is so obvious…if you said that you would uproot a mitzvah from the Torah forever permanently.

    …says the following about melhemet mitzvah, ‘Its true for every mitzvah if there is danger they are set aside, never the less this mitzvah the Torah commanded you to go to war. The Torah doesn’t give you mitzvah and provide you miracles. It didn’t say go to war and nothing bad will happen, the Torah doesn’t do that and by the nature of things people die on both sides during a war therefore we see the Torah orders to go to war even though there is a danger. It is the danger that is pushed aside and not the mitzvah of going to war.’ This is a unique mitzvah, different from the other mitzvahs and God says you must go to war.

    What makes this mitzvah so different? The answer lies in Kaddosh HaShem (Sanctifying God). This is what is meant when someone said ‘If we give them the land our cities will become the cities of other gods.’ And then there gods will appear to be the true gods.

    There has been a tremendous struggle for a hundred years in the Torah camp between Zionists and Anti-Zionists, and so the essential question that arises is whether this state of Israel is by God’s Hand. The anti-Zionists say of course not look who created it.

    The greatest tragedy is that Torah Jews have stopped learning Tanakh. In Tanakh it says that God scattered the Jews in exile and they desecrated His Name. What does this mean? The nations say these are the people of God and we drove them out of their land. Jewish defeat in the eyes of the non-Jew means God is either weak or does not exist. For 2000 years the Catholic Church proved that you were not God’s people because you were drove out the land and didn’t acccept the true God. The essence of Auschwitz wasn’t killing of millions of Jews it was them mocking and saying “where is your God now?” That’s why Rashi said the desecration of the Jew is the degredation of God’s name and so He goes on to say that ‘I had pity on my Holy Name I will sanctify my Name which was desecrated and they will know that I do exist when I sanctify Myself through you’ just as I was desecrated by you being oppressed I will be sanctified by your victory and prowess…and He goes on to say ‘I will take from all the nations and I will gather you and take you back to the land.’ That is why there is an Israel…because after the worst degredation of God’s Name, the Holocaust, God said enough and that is why there is a state and that is why a Melhemet Mitzvah does not recognize peace for land because that is a desecration and degredation of God’s Name…because of the Galut this Torah Truth has been corrupted.

    In recent times, the absolutely authoritative Orach Chaim (ch.329), based on the Talmud, mandates that Jews fight even on Sabbath if the enemy asks for just for “straw and hay.” The libertarian rabbis should read this: Jews must kill the enemies in any conflict whatsoever, down to “straw and hay” dispute. Jewish religious authorities from Moses to Rambam to Rav Kook established that lives hold no value at all when Jewish national interests are at stake.

  14. Yamit; You write beautifully and I appreciate your efforts to educate me as to whether the Pals exist or deserve to have a state or whatever. The fact is your efforts are wasted. We don’t count for we are just a debating society . we don’t make policy and quite frankly the rest of the world who definitely do count, don’t give a rat’s ass for your arguments.

    The pals exist and have huge influence because they are in the most critically important areas in the world. They exert influence in the same way as the expatriate Cuban-Americans influence U.S. policy towards Cuba. They make a lot of noise in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi-Arabia etc. After 9/11, after the Iraq debacle, after the Afghanistan meltdown,after the Pakistan troubles, after the Lebanese crises, after the oil crises ($103 a barrel)the Pals count for a great deal.

    A footnote: Condi just proclaimed that Israel had a right to defend itself but nevertheless Israelis must exit Gaza immediately which they did pronto

    Sorry to rain on your parade.

  15. The rules of law apply to most situations but the exceptions. The rules of war apply to most conflicts but not all conflicts. One of the major and frequent problems is that most including experts and mass media do not know in detail the rules of law/war.
    Therefore a lot of confusion results and a lot of people including “experts” emit incorrect opinions that are reported all over the news/world.
    The rules of law/war help but do not answer exceptional situations yet the international community (rule of law/war) wants to impose general rules to exceptional situation at the expense of the victim (aggressed = Kassams towards Israel). The situation is exceptional for several reasons: It is the Jewish state and probably no other country in the history of humanity has ever been told that it has to respond to an attack without using all the means in its power to suppress the attacks coming from the enemy. In other words Israel is told that she can defend herself only to a certain limit but not beyond. This is an aberration of the political correctness of the West and this is unacceptable. Furthermore the Hamas is attacking civilians in contravention to the rules of law & war
    In a life and death situation you do not apply the rule of law first but the rule of survival and kill the opponent otherwise you are dead. The use of innocents by fanatics cannot change this principle because it is blackmail that is being used to kill the innocents (Palestinians) who to some extend in the present situation are not totally innocents since a significant number of Gazaens support the fanatics.
    The international community further bias is also demonstrated by its total failure to impose the rule of law/war on Hamas.

  16. #9 and hpeskin; Peskin we have a saying here THEY LEARNED NOTHING AND FORGOT NOTHING, Think about it:

    “Intelligent people know of what they speak; fools speak of what they know.”

    I happen to believe that Israel has the right to exist in peace and prosperity – but that there MUST be justice for
    the people of Palestine. I am finishing a book which looks at how Arab nationalist ideology was poisoned by European anti-Semitism – which remains a crippling contemporary problem. Hamas damages Palestinians as much as Israelis. But then Zionism was laced with colonial ambitions. However there are real men women and children suffering on BOTH sides: advocating yet moremilitary action is very wrong.

    Justice is code word for the elimination of Jews and Israel, |I am on to you………………? Ans. the questions below if you can , if you dare!

    If you are so sure that “Palestine, the country, existed, should exist, and goes back through most of recorded history, I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine: (JUSTICE?)

    When was it founded and by whom? What were its borders? What was its capital? What were its major cities? What constituted the basis of its economy? What was its form of government? Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat? Was Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation? What was the language of the country of Palestine? What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine? What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the US dollar, German mark, GB pound, Japanese yen, or Chinese yuan on that date. And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise and when did it occur? You are lamenting the “low sinking” of “once proud” nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that “nation” proud and what was it so proud of? And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call “Palestinians” are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over — or thrown out of — the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?

    I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day “Palestinians” to the Biblical Philistines: substituting etymology for history won’t work here.

    The truth should be obvious to everyone who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy. For that purpose, they created a terrorist organization, cynically called it “the Palestinian people” and installed it in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. How else can you explain the refusal by Jordan and Egypt to unconditionally accept back the “West Bank” and Gaza, respectively? The fact is, Arabs populating Gaza, Judea, and Samaria have much less claim to nationhood than that Indian tribe that successfully emerged in Connecticut with the purpose of starting a tax-exempt casino: at least that tribe had a constructive goal that motivated them. The so called “Palestinians” have only one motivation: the destruction of Israel, and in my book that is not sufficient to consider them a nation” — or anything else except what they really are: a terrorist organization that will one day be dismantled. In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel and, as the losing side should, pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organization from the land of Israel and accepting Israel’s ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. That will mark the end of the Palestinian people. What are you saying again was its beginning?

    The ideology of Hamas is every bit as vile as was Nazism right now they have high motivation but limited capabilities , to allow them to gain or attain those higher capabilities would be a criminal and suicidal option, which means for us no option but to destroy not the Idea of Hamas but all those who claim allegiance to it. if it means killing every man woman and jackass in Gaza and J & S so be it!

  17. H Peskin, I generally agree with your comment #3 and #5 suggesting Ted has misread your comment #3.

    That said, you are speaking of what is and Ted speaks of what should be, which is where I am aligned.

    I concur with BlandOatmeal that there is a war being waged against all the West by Islamofacists who are inspired fundamentalist Islam. The Palestinians in their war with Israel are part of that Islamofacist war against the West.

    I again return to my points that the West and Israel must become fully engaged in that war. That means being fully engaged militarily and with all other resources at our Western disposal against these Islamofacists of all stripes. Such measures necessarily included waging war with bullets and bombs, with words and ideas to capture hearts and minds, with economic leverage against nations that sponsor terrorism and economic sanctions against would be Islamofacists in our midst, securing the West domestically by Western nations exercising much greater caution and security in their immigration policies, curbing multicultural zealousness that leads to Western tolerance of Islamofacist intolerance and investing our Western authorities with much greater powers at surveillance, identifying, monitoring and apprehending would be Islamic Jihadists that live amongst us in the West and from there, investing our judicial system with powers to quickly and efficiently prosecute, jail or deport these Western enemies.

  18. Listen gang, you guys and myself can argue tactics until the cows come home but it is not us who make the big decisions. It is not the Israelis or Arabs that has the last word here. The real decision-maker is that skinny black lady that periodically flies in from Washington to Jerusalem.Let us hear what she has to say. And that happens to be the sad fact of life.

  19. Email

    Great article. Is is not “moral” and “legal” for Israel to warn (to get out) and then bomb? What about nice ships in the Miditerranean waiting to take them somewhere – to whatever country would like to accept these people that they care about so much. Why are we sacrificing our boys?

  20. Email

    I happen to believe that Israel has the right to exist in peace and prosperity – but that there MUST be justice for
    the people of Palestine. I am finishing a book which looks at how Arab nationalist ideology was poisoned by European anti-Semitism – which remains a crippling contemporary problem. Hamas damages Palestinians as much as Israelis. But then Zionism was laced with colonial ambitions. However there are real men women and children suffering on BOTH sides: advocating yet moremilitary action is very wrong.


    Israpundit is not a stranger to the issue of whether Nazism was influenced by Islam or vice versa.

    You cannot deny that Arab nationalism was first of all influenced by the Koran which is very antisemitic.

    Israel is being attacked. It must defend itself. What does your platitude have to do with it.

  21. Thank you for the article, Ted.

    In these wicked times, it is incumbent upon righteous men to repeat the obvious: and the obvious is that Israel must either decide to WIN this war, by ANY MEANS, or it will be destroyed.

    Nobody argues this case more convincingly, in my mind, than Mr. Peskin. He pointed out, in one post, the fact that Israel does not have the resources to sustain a long-term war. This is true! And all the more reason to shorten the war, by bringing its enemies, all of them, to their knees. There is no need, to do as Peskin insists, and “reconstruct” a devastated Syria. The Syrian leadership AND people need to be humbled, as were the German leaders and people, the Italian leaders and people, and the Japanese leaders and people in WWII; as the Germans, Austrians and Turks were in WWI; as the French leaders and people were in 1870 and before that in 1815; as the British leaders and people were in 1781; as the French leaders and people were in 1715… Need I go on? Wars ONLY end, when one of the two parties is CRUSHED; and the failure to bring this about (as in the initial wars of WWII, or in the McClellan days of the US Civil War) only prolongs the struggle — and as Mr. Peskin so aptly assures us, Israel is NOT equipped for such a struggle.

    Syria can be completely humbled in a few days, if it chooses to provoke such a course. Gaza provokes this response every day, as does Iran. I don’t think that anyone doubts that Israel will ultimately have to neutralize Iran — for the benefit of a world that knows the danger but refuses to act. I actually rejoice in this fact, because Israel will come out much the better for the experience. If the US acted, they would feel compelled to do an “Iraq-style” occupation; but nobody expects the Jews to do so: They can do a “surgical strike” like they did in Iraq in the early ’80s, or literally ANY scale-up of this.

    In fact, Israel is actually free to conduct warfare on ANY scale it wishes, ANYWHERE — because is impossible that the response can be worse than what is happening today. As it is, Arab terrorists kill and maim Israeli citizens, and Israel ends up being condemned by the entire world. In 1967, on the other hand, Israel took the initiative with a pre-emptive strike, quickly made mincemeat of her enemies, and the world responded by fearing and respecting her. That is the reality, plain and simple, that dreamers like Mr. Peskin and others need to wake up to.

    As for all this talk of “morality”, I have already thanked you for repeating the obvious. When talking about the psychological excrement that is the “Palestinian” mindset (wherein parents willingly raise their own children to be mass-murderers), the only moral thing to do is eradicate the disorder: to literally scare the nonesense out of these peoples’ heads. Those mothers who are so willing to send their own children to murder and death, will not stand by for a moment when they realize that their OWN lives are at stake. Any people who use their own children as human shields, to protect their strong young men, is devoid of any semblance of morality: They are psychopathic killers, and need to be treated as such. If they are not, all humanity will eventually suffer.

    I am writing this from a country that is on the front line in the war on terrorism — namely, the United States. Three thousand of my kinsmen were killed, a scant seven years ago, in an unprovoked attack by Arab, Islamic jihadis — the very people who are now attacking Israel from Gaza. I am a pacifist: I hate war; but if we must have a war (and the Hamas-Iran-Al Qaeda coalition insists that we must), I prefer to have my country’s soldiers killing their civilians and destroying their cities, rather than the other way around.

    I love my children, as mucy as those Arabs in Gaza hate their own. If they do not want to spare their own children from destruction, I say, “Destroy them, by all means! Give them what they long for! But spare my own children, because they love life.”

    Another response to what Pesky Peskin said. He is deluded into thinking that we are not in “total war.” Tell that to the families of those thousands of innocents who died in New York City. What nonesense! At least at Pearl Harbor, the main objective of the Japanese was a military target. In this war, it is our women and children that are targeted. This is BEYOND total war — it has progressed to pure, unvarnished genocidal slaughter. It’s time to bring the Arab criminals — the jihadis AND the civilians who support and succor them — to account.


  22. Is there no enough reason to punish before he punishes,Ahmadinejad. He is oppenly threatening, opposing and assaulting more over he denied the existence of Israel and he ‘appreciated’ the holoucast. Is there no reason or no David against Goliath?

  23. Ted: You have simply ignored what I have written. Israel is hardly being invaded by the equivalent of a Nazi military power.

    If you shout wolf too often , when the real wolf arrives , it might be too late, it will be ignored. And that is what you have been doing shouting wolf.

    There are real existential threats for Israel to worry about. Hamas is not one of them.

  24. hp
    You are arguing that Israel should accept its role as the latter day Czechoslovakia. When the EU , the UN or the US demand that we don’t defend ourselves then they want us to serve their interests rather than ours. We must do what we have to do. We can not them a veto power or the right to decide what is in our best interests.

  25. Ted: Let make sure that we don’t confuse apples with oranges. This is not 1939, Hamas is not Nazi Germany and cohourts, Israel is not the Allied powers and this is not Total War. Also keep in mind that Israel is not a completely free agent in the middle east. There are many players in the region which are undergoing their own internal conflicts. All the nations here are interlocked, a crises in one can and often does effect others. Besides the protagonists, there are outside agents that feel that they have a stake in the region and act to protect their own best interests.

    Despite what you think, Israel is not a super Power and has some real limitations as to how it can react. What you often interpret as weaknesses in Israel’s leadership
    are merely a reflection on how constrained Israel is in light of its obligations to America and the E.U. Being an associate member of the latter entails allowing this body a fair amount of influence in Israeli affairs.

  26. Irwin Mansdorf is a noted American Israeli psychologist who has written extensively about the psycho dynamics of what Hebrew University Islamic scholar, Raphi Israeli terms ‘Islamokazis’. Israel when confronted with a moral dilemma of combating existential threats from Iranian-supplied rockets thrown at major cities and towns in the South and Western Negev cannot afford the luxury of moralizing with a non-state enemy who uses its own population as human shields-a violation of the Geneva Convention. There is nothing agonizing nor moralizing about the law of land warfare. Israel is fully justified, without obtaining a High Court ruling, to pursue a military action to clean out and destroy the rocket arsenal and terrorists from Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah’s Al Aksa Brigades engaged in a strategy borrowed from the ‘playbook’ of Hezbollah’s summer 2006 campaign on Israel’s northern border. Belman’s comments and those of Col. Smith elucidate what are the rules of engagement. Israel and Msndorf’s ‘problem’ has much to do with the conflation of the IDF military doctrine of ‘purity of arms’. One can appreciate that tradition. But in this era of assymetrical warfare with Islamist fanatics, the rule should be kill first. That is the rubric from the Talmud emblazoned over every mess hall door in IDF training camps.

    Let’s go back in history to something that Ted has referred to, the end of the War against Japan in WWII. In early 1945, General Curtis ‘grommet’ LeMay was sent to the Pacific from the US 8th Air Force in England to introduce a new air war strategy: incinerating Japanese urban areas with low altitude B-29 incendiary raids. Whole precincts of Tokyo and other major cities were set ablaze in fire storms and hundreds of thousands killed in the conflagrations that consumed the wooden structures and its residents. That didn’t bend the will of the Japanese Militarists and the population. After the bloody assaults on Iwo Jima and Okinawa in the spring of 1945, US military planners in Operation Downfall estimated that it could result in upwards of one million casualties in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. The message of the successful A-Bomb test carried to President Truman at Potsdam was that those massive casualties in the Japanese invasion plan could be avoided. The success of the Trinity Site Atomic bomb test in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, led to the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August that in combination with the Soviet invasion in Manchuria forced the Japanese Emperor Hirohito to sue for peace over the objection of the militarists.

    Israel does not have the equivalent of an ‘Emperor Hirohito’ among the Palestinian leadership to sue for peace. Instead it is confronted with fanatical Islamist enemies who seek to destroy Israel.