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This is Restraint, Secretary-General By: Micah Halpern
MicahHalpern.com | Tuesday, March 04, 2008


It's official. It's on the record. The words have been spoken out loud. Israel, according to Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, is using "excessive and disproportionate" force in Gaza.

Now the Security Council knows it. Now the world knows it.

After years of being pounded by missiles and rockets from Gaza, after weeks of escalating Hamas instigated and led attacks, Israel chose to respond. And in turn, the world has responded by condemning Israel.

"While recognizing Israel's right to defend itself," said the Secretary General "I condemn the disproportionate and excessive use of force that has killed and injured so many civilians, including children."

What did Israel do? Did Israel raze a village, bomb an orphanage, massacre an entire village? No. Israel officiated a counterattack, striking at those terrorists who are targeting Israeli cities and citizens with Qassam rockets and with missiles.

"I call on Israel to cease such attacks" said the Secretary General with the European Union saying almost exactly the same thing, using almost the same language. Well what would Ban Ki-Moon and European leaders have Israel do? What would be an acceptable, proportionate response? Let me offer some suggestions. Perhaps, Israel should:

* day after day, for the next few years, indiscriminately lob rocks into residential areas

* sponsor civilians to build and shoot crude and inaccurate rockets into Gaza

* preach hatred, teach about destruction and dream of annihilating the entire Palestinian population

* reprint textbooks eliminating the Palestinian Authority from maps

Would that change the thinking of those who are now condemning Israel? Would those be less excessive and proportionate responses? I don't think so.

Israel has initiated a series of surgical aerial operations and ground strikes. There might even be plans for a ground invasion. The purpose of these strikes is to assess the value of an invasion. The purpose is to hurt Hamas command and destroy Hamas resources. And in all that, Israel has been successful. And because Israel has been successful, Israel is being condemned.

Condemned for using excessive force. Condemned for using disproportional force. And this condemnation of Israel comes from the same man who, until now, has been pretty clear about condemning the Palestinians for their relentless Qassam rocket attacks into Israel. And the Secretary General is still condemning them. He is still saying: "I condemn Palestinian rocket attacks and call for the immediate cessation of such acts of terrorism."

And Israel is taking this all very seriously.

Israeli Defense Minister Barak, a former Prime Minister and a former Chief of Staff, has officially asked Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Freidman to examine international law on the issue of targeting terrorists who attack from within civilian populations. Barak wants to determine Israel's right and Israel's position on hitting Hamas terrorists. The defense minister wants to know how to respond to the world as they vilify Israel for finally initiating what is a low grade response to the daily blows raining down on them from Gaza.

And defense minister Barak wants to reassure Israeli soldiers that the counter attack they are now engaged in, the operation that has already cost the lives of Israeli soldiers is just, is fair, is appropriate and is essential.

There are people around the world who hate Israel and who will do anything to vilify Israel. There are people who are cheering after hearing about the UN condemnation of Israel. There are people, including Jews, who cannot accept Israel in any role other than victim. These are the people who fall prey to the Palestinian public relations campaign that paints Israel as the big, bad Goliath of modern history. But instead of five smooth stones, in this version the wronged and smaller Daoud slings rockets and missiles.

If anything, Israel can be blamed for exercising too much restraint. Maybe it was that restraint that brought about the current situation. Maybe Israel should have responded sooner and responded more vigorously. Maybe Sderot would be safe and Israel would not be criticized in today's news. But that is a historical, not a military analysis.

Say what they want, if Israel was not using restraint in their response to Hamas many more Palestinians would be dead.


Micah Halpern maintains The Micah Report.


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