Hamas blatantly violates international law and all norms of decency. It forces this war on us and pulls us into civilian areas, using civilians as shields.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Israel’s Response Is Proportionate to Hamas’s Threat Ami Ayalon, a former director of Israel’s security agency Shin Bet, is a cofounder of the Israeli organization Blue White Future, which seeks a two-state solution through a negotiated agreement and the relocation of settlers.
We do not measure ethics and morality by counting dead bodies. The fact that many more Palestinians than Israelis have died does not mean that our cause, or this war, is not just. Many more Germans than Americans died in World War II. Does that mean that Hitler was right and America was wrong?
Every state has a duty to defend its citizens. That is what we are doing. The rockets and tunnels targeting Israeli civilians are real threats. But there is a gap between a just war and justice at war, so the question whether our response to the rockets and tunnels is proportionate remains legitimate.
The first answer is that we are in compliance with international law. Second, our actions in this war have to be compared with what other states have done or would do when facing similar threats. We give advance notifications to areas we are about to attack. Because of our intelligence capabilities, we give specific warnings to every house we intend to strike, thereby reducing the effectiveness of the attacks -- destroying the launch sites but allowing the militants to escape. How many other states have done this?
The conduct of Hamas is in blatant violation of international law and outside all norms of decency. It forces this war on us and pulls us into civilian areas. It uses its civilians as human shields. Its strategy is to have us kill as many civilians as possible. Unfortunately, it sometimes succeeds. Nevertheless, the deaths of innocent civilian Palestinians cause us great pain.
But in the end, we Israelis have to understand that in the war we are fighting, victory is not achieved on the battlefield. That is what I have learned during my nearly 40 years working for the security of my country.
We will have security only when the Palestinians have hope. That is why we must have a political horizon and we have to begin to create a reality of two states, even if we initially have to do it on our own. I urge my government to embark on this course, which is the key to peace and stability in our region.