May 8, 2019
Firing 600 Rockets at Civilian Targets Is an Act of War – David French (National Review)
When it comes to Hamas, “restraint” is Israel’s choice – one it may make for tactical and strategic reasons of its own. The actual law of war would allow Israel to invade Gaza, utterly destroy Hamas, and occupy Gaza City until Israel’s safety is ensured. Firing 600 rockets at civilian targets in a neighboring country is an act of war.
It’s an attack by an army against a nation-state, and as such it grants the nation-state the authority under the international law of armed conflict not just to disable the specific military assets used to carry it out but to destroy those who carried it out.
For example, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, America had the right not just to sink the Japanese fleet but to defeat Japan’s military, invade its sovereign territory, and overthrow its government. Similarly, when America and its allies launched their war against the ISIS caliphate, they had the right not just to destroy ISIS military assets but to take ISIS territory.
Moreover, a terrorist army cannot lawfully protect itself from destruction by blending in with civilian populations, fighting from civilian structures, or using civilians as human shields. Hamas violates every single one of these commands. Nations have a right to defend themselves, and that right of self-defense is not abrogated when an opponent fights dirty.
Think of it like this: If an army tried to march into Philadelphia behind a wall of women and children, the citizens of Philadelphia would not have to surrender if fighting meant killing those human shields. Instead, they could fight back and then hold war-crimes trials against the attackers for the resulting civilian deaths.
The world holds Israel to a standard of military restraint that it applies to no other military force on the planet. If Israel used American rules of engagement, the devastation in Gaza would be orders of magnitude greater than anything we’ve yet seen.
(Click on title of article to see whole article…Ed.)