State Responsibilities and
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the Principle of Proportionality
Today, I was discussing the massacres in Gaza with a friend and he said ... "well, you poke a bear, even lightly, you should expect that the bear would eat you." I had to agree with that argument about the bear. But then I thought, well, a bear is a wild animal. It has neither a mind nor a conscience. A bear has no choice. The bear is just an animal.
I denounce Hamas for killing Israeli civilians and for taking Gazans as hostages for months to achieve some political gains which are related to Hamas alone, and not to the Palestinian cause or the Palestinian people. But the massacres which Israel performed in Gaza are war crimes of the worst proportions.
Are we to allow States to act like animals? Would this be OK? To act like you were in a Jungle Book?
I would like us to reflect for a moment on the concept of "responsibility" and the concept of "proportionality". Israel, as a State has a responsibility to act like a state. Hamas is not a state. It is an organization. Some, perhaps even many would say, it is a terrorist organziation. Hamas claims itself as a resistance movement which started in the eighties, with a bunch of kids throwing stones at Israeli soldiers of the occupation forces which crushed the children's bones with heavy rocks and hammers.
As a State, Israel must respond with reasonably proportional force. But to kill children and civilians in this way, is neither proportional nor responsible. This behavior is not Stately.
Israel, therefore, must bear consequences to its choices. Hamas is already classified by many countries as a Terrorist Organization. Israel should today be classified as a State which uses, endorses and mass-produces terrorism. Israel must pay.
So, what should we do?
Shall we bring Israel to pay for these war crimes, as responsible states should be expected to?
Or shall we start to consider Israel as a mindless bear which threatens its neighbors and world peace at large?
Shall the UN and the Security Council deal with Israel as per its charter, as per the Book?
Or shall we endorse the Jungle Book?