Saturday, July 15, 2006

Proportionality (or how Israel is flaunting international law)

What is it about the principle of proportionality which the government of Israel refuses to comprehend? Before I go any further, allow me to provide you with a list of recent actions that have led us to where we find ourselves today. Keep in mind, of course, there is FAR MORE influencing the current situation, but these are the most recent actions:

  • Militants strike a point of the Egyptian border, capturing an Israeli soldier
  • In response, Israel enters Gaza, destroying a power plant relied upon by 700,000 civilians. Those civilians will be without power for at least 6-7 months. Additionally, Israel shells open areas in civilian neghborhoods in Gaza.
  • Hezbollah attacks an Israeli check point on the border of Lebanon, killing one Israeli soldier and capturing two.
  • Israel strikes cities in Lebanon, including a civilian airport in Beirut, public transportation systems, bridges, and even a refugee convoy.
  • Hezbollah indiscriminately strikes various Israeli cities, killing civilians in those cities.

    Is this not the same principle at play throughout history? The very one decried in Dr. Strangelove? Violence begets violence. Israel has done nothing but escalate violence. Where a total of 3 soldiers had been captured in two strikes, at least 8 Israeli soldiers are now dead. At least 4 Israeli civilians are dead. At least 80 Lebanese civilians are dead. Hundreds more have been wounded. (All this is detailed here). And all this says nothing about the hundreds of thousands in the occupied territory of Palestine who have been deprived of power and the attendant emergency services. Israel has repeatedly struck the civilian infrastructure in the territories they occupy, attacking, in recent days alone, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry and the Treasury Department.

    Please do not misunderstand me, I am in no way excusing the actions of the militants or claiming Israel should not pursue the militants and retrieve their captured soldiers. But the Israeli government has gone FAR beyond any form of 'measured response.' It has repeatedly and intentionally targeted civilians infrastructure - a clear violation on international law. (Though Israel has refused to sign many of the treaties, the targeting of civilians infrastructure is part of customary international law, which applies to everyone, regardless of treaty provisions). I will also say that as a nation professing to observe human rights, I hold Israel to a high standard.

    Finally, I absolutely deplore the statements of the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations on CNN last night (and Lou Dobbs, who let him get away with it). First, he said that all Muslims *MAY* not be terrorists, but that all terrorists were Muslim. The picture he painted was one in which Islam is the enemy, which it is not. Those who escalate violence are the true enemies to peace, and at the moment that includes Hezbollah, other militant groups, and the State of Israel. This problem is our problem (for peace is in the interest of all of us) and this violence is our violence (for many of the bombs and jets that are killing civilians were paid for funding from the United States).

    [Regrettably I am on the go, but this post cannot wait. If there is a fact in want of a citation, please ask in the comment section. The facts are based on that which I have read and seen, but my internet connection is currently too slow to access the resources necessarily to full cite facts. Also, if you wish to take action and the demand the U.S work for peace instead of offering almost bling support for Israel's military actions, call your senators. Here are the numbers for Washington State's senators:

  • Sen. Murray - (202) 224-2621
  • Sen. Cantwell - (202) 224-3441

    This is an issue we cannot afford to ignore - people are suffering and dying as you read this.]

    I do hope Alex will post, elaborating on the idea of this situation as a ntural extension of the "Bush Doctrine". I'm also certain this post will not be my last on the matter.
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