quinta-feira, 20 de julho de 2006

“Disproportionate” Criticism

“Disproportionate” Criticism
Israel will not back down, and Europe owes it thanks.

Por Joshua Muravchik.

No sooner had Israel raised its hand in self-defense Finland, speaking as the rotating president of the European Union, denounced it for “the disproportionate use of force.” This position, echoed by France, Spain, the United Nations, and others, is wrong legally, morally, and strategically.

From a legal standpoint, Israel is the victim of multiple unprovoked aggressions. It withdrew entirely from Lebanon in 2000 and from Gaza in 2005. (Both of these occupations had come about as acts of self-defense: the former against rocket fire from Lebanon in 1982 and the latter against a war of annihilation declared by Egypt in 1967.) From the time of its withdrawal from Gaza, not a single day had passed without rockets being fired into Israel. Now from the north as well as the south, Israel finds hundreds of rockets being fired across its border. Even if these were aimed at military installations, it would be a clear-cut act of war. To make it worse, these rockets are aimed randomly at cities and other civilian population centers, making them not only acts of war but war crimes.

In the face of this criminal aggression, Israel has an absolute right to defend itself by making war against those who are attacking it. In the south this means against the Palestinian Authority. In the north it means fighting Lebanon. Of course, Israel has not been attacked by the army of Lebanon but rather by the militia of Hezbollah. Israel’s counterattacks are focusing on Hezbollah installations but are also aimed at Lebanon itself. This is tragic, but it may be inescapable, and it is certainly lawful: It is a well established principal of international law that a state is responsible for any armed attacks that originate from its territory. The government in Beirut must rein in Hezbollah. If it is too weak to do so, it has every right to request international assistance in this task. Indeed, it has an obligation.

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