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If Israel’s Defensive Measures are Called ‘Disproportionate,’ What to Call Hezbollah’s Aggression?

The implications of Hezbollah's drone flight into Israel.
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There was not that much doubt, when reports of Israel bringing down an unidentified drone over the southern Hebron Hills first appeared a week ago [see our post "6-Oct-12: Someone's drone manages to reach southern Israel before being shot down. Questions outnumber answers for now"], that the spy plane originated with Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah.

The head of Hezbollah confirmed the suspicion on Thursday [report]:

Today we are uncovering a small part of our capabilities, and we shall keep many more hidden,” Nasrallah said, adding that it is Hezbollah’s “natural right” and the group “can reach any place we want.

The drone, he said, was made in Iran. And today, the defense minister in the Iranian government, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, says on Iranian state television that this was a “great job by Hezbollah.”

How significant are the admissions? Yaakov Lappin analyzes it on the JINSA website and says they are crucially important

since it will be Hezbollah, with its tens of thousands of rockets, that will lead Iran’s reprisal attempts for any potential Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons development program… Over the duration of the [2006 was with the Lebanese-based terrorist organization], some 4,000 Hezbollah rockets struck northern Israel. That’s a pattern the IDF believes must not be repeated, since Hezbollah is today armed with some 60,000 rockets, including projectiles that can strike any location in Israel including the heavily populated area of greater Tel Aviv. Hezbollah was founded in the 1980s by Iranian intelligence agents operating within the Lebanese Shi’ite community. Today, the organization is an alien feature in the Lebanese landscape, and represents Iran’s strike force in the Levant, situated right on Israel’s northern border.

Robin Shepherd publishes an excellent blog called The Commentator. On Thursday, under the heading “The banal realities of Israel’s self-defence“, he writes:

The key phrase [in the Nasrallah claim of credit] is this: “it is our natural right…” That is a precise and accurate reflection of how Israel’s enemies have always seen the rules of the game in their decades long struggle to annihilate Israel. They are justified in doing anything to anyone in pursuit of their ambitions; if Israel puts up the slightest resistance, it is Israel that must be held to responsible for what follows. And it is a measure of what Israel is up against in the wider world that the United Nations, the British Foreign Office, the European Union (absurdly just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize), most of the world’s NGOs, and all of the world’s Islamic states have to varying degrees internalised this narrative and made it their own… If an enemy state or organised military group sent drones over Russia, or Britain, or France, or China, or (your candidate here), as part of an openly stated campaign of ultimate destruction, there would not be the smallest word of dissent against the victim’s right to defend itself… To people of goodwill – i.e. none of the above – this underlines the daily realities that Israel has to confront in securing its borders and protecting its citizens.

Some sample complaints by distant onlookers about the scale of Israel’s response to attacks on its civilians territory:

* “Finland’s Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has expressed his incredulity at the attack by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. He added Israel all too often used disproportionate military force…” [An unpronouncable news-site from Finland - June 1, 2010];

* “Moscow condemns Israel for using disproportionate force against Palestinians” [Russia's Interfax news agency - October 9, 2012];
*”UN rights boss condemns disproportionate use of force” [Turkish newspaper Sunday's Zaman, June 1, 2010];

* “Israel’s increasingly aggressive stance on the regional stage is also reflected in its disproportionate response to the UNESCO decision to admit the Palestinians to full membership…” [From a November 4, 2011 editorial in the Irish Times entitled "A dangerous game"].
The Iranians, feverishly developing nuclear capacity even while their economy and currency crumble, are especially fond of dismissing Israel’s concerns.

The Israeli military frequently bombs the Gaza Strip. In the attacks, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured… [Iran's PressTV - Wednesday, October 10, 2012. And repeated verbatim on numerous other government-owned Iranian news channels like SaharTV andShiapost and Ahlul Bayt andTehran Times and so on.]

And finally a brief reminder, via Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post some weeks back of how proportionality actually works:

Israel [is] a speck on the map, at one point eight miles wide. Israel is a “one-bomb country.” Its territory is so tiny, its population so concentrated that, as Iran’s former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has famously said, “Application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world.” A tiny nuclear arsenal would do the job… The mullahs have a radically different worldview, a radically different grievance and a radically different calculation of the consequences of nuclear war… Israel refuses to trust its very existence to the convenient theories of comfortable analysts living 6,000 miles from its Ground Zero.

Visit This Ongoing War.

About the Author: Frimet and Arnold Roth began writing and speaking publicly soon after the murder of their fifteen year-old daughter Malki Z"L in the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre, August 9, 2001 (Chaf Av, 5761). They have both been, and are, frequently interviewed for radio, television and the print media, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, and others. Their blog This Ongoing War deals with the under-appreciated price of living in a society afflicted by terrorism which, they contend, means the entire world. Frimet is a native of Queens, NY while her husband was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. They brought their family to settle in Jerusalem in 1988. They co-founded the Malki Foundation in 2001 and are deeply involved in its work as volunteers. They can be reached at thisoingoingwar@gmail.com .


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