Humanitarian international law continues to correctly require that every use of force by an army or insurgent force meet the test of "proportionality." Going back to the basic legal principle that "the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited," proportionality stipulates (among other things) that every exercise of armed force be limited to the minimum application needed for operational success. More specifically, this ancient principle of customary international law applies to all judgments of military advantage and to all planned reprisals.
International law is not a suicide pact. Israel's distinctly measured use of force against terrorist bases in Lebanon is entirely consistent with international law. Although some would mistakenly contend that Israel's essential actions express "aggression," the incontestable right of individual self-defense is plainly codified in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. Indeed, by persistently allowing its territory to be used as a base of terrorist operations against Israel, it is Lebanon that is in flagrant violation of the charter.
Every Jew is familiar with Deuteronomy 30:19: "I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live." This Torah obligation is binding not only upon individuals, but also upon states - especially the always imperiled State of Israel.
For the president of Iran, threats to annihilate Israel are now a daily ritual. Were it not for his country's complementary capacity to inflict genuinely existential harms, these threats would not be worrisome. But Iran's capacity to become fully nuclear is now more imminent than had ever been recognized by our own intelligence communities. It follows that a persistent refrain of genocidal intent issuing from Tehran must now be taken with utmost seriousness in Jerusalem.
Israel now faces existential destruction from two main sources: The Islamic Republic of Iran and the aspiring Islamic republic of "Palestine." One source is an established state with an expanding near-term potential to inflict nuclear harms. The other is a Hamas-led configuration of terror groups that seeks to become a state for the immediate purpose of annihilating an existing state. Neither Iran nor Hamas is particularly subtle or circumspect about what it hopes to inflict upon Israel. On the contrary, both are entirely explicit about their unrelenting intent to commit genocide.
With steady Iranian nuclearization correctly at the forefront of world public attention, no country has more to fear than the State of Israel. Less than half the size of Lake Michigan, Israel fully understands that the Iranian president's incessant bluster about wiping the Jewish State "off the map" is far more than mere posturing. It is, rather, an unambiguous declaration of criminal intent to commit genocide.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert now gives guns to Arab terrorists while planning to surrender more of his country's essential heartland. The apparent rationale of Israeli arms to Fatah is to diminish the contending power of Hamas. Inevitably, these same weapons will be used to murder individual Jews. Surely they will do absolutely nothing to help Israel.
"There is but one truly serious philosophical problem," says Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus, "and that is suicide." Nowhere is Camus' observation currently more correct than in the darkly reciprocal relationship between Israel and Hamas.
The following remarks on Iranian nuclearization were delivered by Professor Louis Rene Beres at the National Press Club, Washington DC, May 10, 2006, on behalf of the Iran Policy Committee. They were televised nationally and internationally, including in Iran where, via the Iranian resistance movement, they were viewed by millions.
We must learn to read widely beyond the mainstream press, which is often ignorant of facts on the ground, or worse - is maliciously inclined toward Israel. In this connection, American Jews must really learn history - Jewish history; Israel's history; Arab history; and Islamic history.
"May we be worthy of our role." So ends the author's dedication of The Jewish Revolution (1971) to his son, Aryeh. Scholar, writer and active Zionist, Israel Eldad warned the Jewish people against relying on others to defend them. Boldly recognizing that it had been the consistent miscalculations of "Jewish diplomacy" that hastened the fate of millions during the Holocaust, Eldad's great wisdom underscores the terrible folly of current and ongoing Israeli concessions for "peace."
Although Arab/Islamic "suicide bombing" terrorism can prove to be quite useful in political, strategic and tactical terms, its true rationale always lies elsewhere.
The April 17 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv included the usual breakdown of casualties - the steadily rising number of dead and of those casually described as "merely wounded." But what, exactly, does it mean to be in the second category? Consider just a few of the carefully documented medical answers.
Israel would be entirely correct that the Declaration of Principles (DOP) was intended to establish an "autonomy," not a state. Further (according to Ambassador Shoval), "Palestinian statehood is contingent on the Palestinians destroying their terrorist infrastructure, of which Hamas itself is an integral part." However, the Palestinians themselves will certainly understand something very helpful to their cause. That is: there are applicable norms supporting statehood that exist outside the narrow legal context of the specific Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
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.
At the conclusion of the recent [first] Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), the [first] Bush administration announced plans to sell Saudi Arabia, a country of six million inhabitants, an arms package. Included were over 500 tanks, 48 F-15 fighter planes, Apache helicopter gun ships, more than 30 Patriot batteries, tens of thousands of armored vehicles, multiple rocket-launchers and command/control systems.
As the continuing flow of new missiles to Iran reveals, the Bush administration (refers to first President Bush) remains committed to misconceived policies in the Middle East. Even if Israel were to yield West Bank and Gaza to create a new state of Palestine (with east Jerusalem as its capital), the government in Teheran would persist in planned aggression against the Jewish state. Altogether unconcerned with the fate of the Palestinians, this government will be satisfied only by Israel's disappearance.
Since the latest Arab attacks on the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the fashionably operative counter terrorism strategy in Israel has focused on "smashing the infrastructure of Hamas." With this in mind, the United States will now send at least $100 million of equipment to Israel for advanced bomb detection devices, X-ray systems and robotics devices, as well as for advanced thermal and radar sensors.
For the moment, fears of a nuclear war in the Middle East remain focused narrowly and correctly on Iran. In the coming months, before that country is able to deploy a fully operational nuclear capability, Israel will have to preemptively destroy essential parts of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.
It is exceedingly unlikely, but not entirely inconceivable, that Israel would ever decide to preempt enemy state aggression with a nuclear defensive strike. While circumstances could surely arise where such a defensive strike would be completely rational, it is enormously improbable that Israel would ever permit itself to reach such dire circumstances. To wit, and following Project Daniel, Israel will assuredly not allow Iran to proceed to the stage of an assembled nuclear weapons capacity.
The year 2006 could become a fateful one for Israel and for the entire world. Still struggling to survive in the very worst of international "neighborhoods," the always imperiled Jewish State knows only too well that nuclear war and genocide need not be mutually exclusive.
Soon, Israel will have little choice but to preemptively destroy Iran's developing capacity for nuclear weapons and nuclear war. Confronted by a declared enemy state that remains openly genocidal as it forges ahead with illegal nuclearization, Israel will face many tactical difficulties.
In calculating the Iranian threat to national survival, Israeli strategists will have to consider both enemy capabilities and enemy intentions. Yet, because such threat components are never entirely discrete, but rather interdependent, interpenetrating and interactive, these strategists will have to look closely at all pertinent relationships.
We who care desperately for Israel and for the Jewish People don't need a propaganda film to make our case. A completely truthful account - as Spielberg has given us - will always be in our interest.
Not Convinced By Plaut I always enjoy Steven Plaut's articles in The Jewish Press and until last week ("Israel's Plague of Conspiracism," front-page essay)...