web analytics
July 25, 2014 / 27 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Israel And Its Enemies: Future Wars And Forceful Options (Conclusion)


Beres-Louis-Rene

The following article was written March 30, 1992.

Israel’s preemptive action could still be entirely law enforcing, even if Iran and the Arab enemies of Israel were not in a declared condition of belligerence with the Jewish state. The customary right of anticipatory self-defense has its modern origins in the Caroline incident, which concerned the unsuccessful rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada against British rule (a rebellion that aroused sympathy and support in the American border states). Following this case, the serious threat of armed attack has generally been taken to justify militarily defensive action. In an exchange of diplomatic notes between the governments of the United States and Great Britain, then U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster outlined a framework for self-defense that did not require an actual attack. Here, military response to a threat was judged permissible so long as the danger posed was “instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation.

Some scholars today argue that anticipatory self-defense, as articulated by the Caroline, has been overridden by the specific language of Article 51 of the UN Charter. In this view, Article 51 fashions a new, and far more restrictive, statement of self-defense, one that relies on the literal qualification contained in Article 51, “if an armed attack occurs.” This interpretation ignores the fact that international law cannot compel a state to wait until it absorbs a devastating or even lethal first strike before acting to protect itself. The argument against the restrictive view of self-defense is reinforced by the apparent weaknesses of the Security Council in offering collective security against an aggressor. Moreover, both the Security Council and the General Assembly refused to censure Israel for its 1967 preemptive attack against certain Arab states, signifying implicit approval by the United Nations of Israel’s particular resort to anticipatory self-defense.

Before Israel could persuasively argue any future instances of anticipatory self-defense under international law, a strong case would have to be made that it had first sought to exhaust peaceful means of settlement. Even a broad view of the doctrine of anticipatory self-defense does not relieve a state of the obligations codified in Article 1 and in Article 2(3) of the UN Charter. Strictly speaking, of course, these obligations should not be binding upon Israel because of the condition of belligerency declared by its Arab enemies and Iran, but – as a practical matter – the global community seems generally to have ignored this condition. It follows that Israel, should it decide upon future instances of “preemption,” would be well advised to demonstrate its prior efforts at peaceful settlement.

Indeed, looking over the more than 40 years of conflict between Israel and certain Arab states, Israel itself has generally defended its resorts to military force as measures of self-help, short of war. For the most part, such defense has had the effect of shifting the burden of jurisprudential responsibility for lawful behavior from the Arab states to Israel – an unfortunate shift because it focuses blame unfairly upon the Jewish state. Furthermore, Israel has often identified its uses of military force as “reprisals,” thereby choosing a problematic concept under international law that compounds one legal mistake with another. Because under the current Charter system of international law the right of reprisal is essentially contingent upon self-defense, it would be wise for Israel – so long as it chooses to ignore or downplay the declared condition of war announced by its enemies as grounds for different legal justifications for resort to armed force – to confine its rationale of military operations to the continuing right of self-defense. This would be especially reasonable, in view of the fact that Israel now faces the threat not only of war but of genocide.

Genocide is a word with precise jurisprudential meaning. Codified at the Genocide Convention, a treaty that entered into force on January 12, 1951, it means any of a series of stipulated acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such….” The key to understanding and identifying genocide lies in the “intent to destroy.” Genocide can take different forms. Its victims can be transported to the gas or the gas can be brought to the victims. Either way, the effect is the same: intentional mass murder of defenseless civilian populations.

Ideally, the United States will soon recognize Israel’s precarious position and take decisive steps to reduce Iranian and other preparations for renewed aggression. Failing such steps, Israel may conclude that prompt non-nuclear preemption, as an expression of “anticipatory self defense” in international law, is the only way to protect itself. Preemption may, in fact, be the best available means of reducing the risk of regional nuclear war.

There is a lesson in all this for Israel’s enemies and her friends. The real danger to peace in the Middle East is not inter-communal conflict with the Palestinians, but war. And it is in Teheran especially – not Jerusalem – that war is being prepared. Should these preparations continue at a rate that remains ominous for essential Israeli security, Israel will almost certainly have to strike first. Should the United States seek genuine stability for the region, it will have to avoid treating Iran as a non-risk factor. Assuredly, Jerusalem cannot base its survival upon the wise ways of Washington geopolitics.

Finally, Israel’s enemies and friends must understand that there are conditions wherein Jerusalem might decide to actually use its nuclear weapons. Faced with what would be perceived as imminent destruction of the Third Temple Commonwealth, Israel’s leaders would do whatever is needed to endure, including a resort to nuclear retaliation, nuclear counter-retaliation, nuclear preemption and nuclear war fighting.

© Copyright, The Jewish Press. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D. Princeton) is the author of many books dealing with international relations and international law. His Security Or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy (1986) remains an early authoritative treatment of the subject. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press and Chair of “Project Daniel.”

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israel And Its Enemies: Future Wars And Forceful Options (Conclusion)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
John Kerry
Entire Israeli Cabinet Rejects Kerry’s Proposed Ceasefire, Talks Continue
Latest Indepth Stories
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett

Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier

Shimon Peres meets with the family of fallen IDF soldier Max Steinberg.

As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.

UNHRC High Commissioner Navi Pillay accuses the IDF of possible war crimes in Gaza again, cutting slack to Hamas.

There is much I can write you about what is going here, but I am wondering what I should not write. I will start by imagining that I am you, sitting at home in the Los Angeles area and flipping back and forth between the weather, traffic reports, the Ukraine, Mexican illegals and Gaza. No […]

Should Jews in Europe take more responsibility in self-defense of community and property?

It is time for a total military siege on Gaza; Nothing should enter the Gaza Strip.

Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”

The truth is we seldom explore with kids what prayer is supposed to be about.

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres
Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Louis Rene Beres

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

An undifferentiated or across-the-board commitment to nuclear ambiguity could prove harmful to Israel’s’s overall security.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/israel-and-its-enemies-future-wars-and-forceful-options-conclusion/2006/04/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: