Was Israel’s response in the 2014 Gaza War disproportionate?

June 12, 2015 by J-Wire
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Days before the release of the United Nations Human Rights Council report on the 2014 Gaza War, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has released a 3-minute video that confronts one of the main accusations made against Israel throughout and after the war—that Israel’s response to Gaza’s rocket fire on Israeli civilian population centers was “disproportionate.”

The video quotes leading international warfare and legal experts who refute such claims.

The video explains that “proportionality” does not mean keeping the number of enemy casualties in any proportion to one’s own but rather, “proportionality” means refraining from intentional or unnecessary harm to civilians.

“A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage.”
–Luis Moreno-Ocampo, former Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

The piece recognizes that Israel did not intentionally attack civilians and that it is fighting a new type of asymmetrical war plaguing other democracies such as the United States and the UK in Afghanistan and Iraq, and NATO in Kosovo.

“No army in the world has ever done more than Israel is doing now to save the lives of innocent civilians in a combat zone”
–Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan

“When comparing civilian casualty-ratios to other democratic forces fighting an asymmetrical war, Israel stands out in its success to minimize the damage to civilians.”

–General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The video shows official Hamas combat manuals which acknowledge Israel’s self- restrictions and caution towards civilian lives.  The documents clearly explain the advantages of using Palestinian civilians as human shields both as protection for their rocket infrastructure and as a tactic to exploit civilian damages to gain popular support.

The clip clarifies that Hamas could have avoided ninety percent of Palestinian fatalities by accepting the July 15th ceasefire offer prior to Israel’s ground operation, but rejected that offer along with 10 ceasefire offers that Israel accepted.

The lesson the viewer learns is that the real disproportionality in the Gaza War was between the intentions of both parties; between Israel’s active efforts to minimize civilian casualties, and Hamas’ war crimes against civilians.


2 Responses to “Was Israel’s response in the 2014 Gaza War disproportionate?”
  1. Erica Edelman says:

    Yep – Israel was always going to sit and ruminate on whether to wait for more bombs or to fight back .
    This is major perfidy. The Human Rights Council has clearly way too much time on its hands – I guess they think attacking Israel is better than having blood on their hands.

    • Gil Solomon says:

      In World War 2 there was no such concept as a “disproportionate” response in defeating the Nazi regime. If there was, that evil regime would probably not have been defeated.

      Forget about so called “disproportionate” response, I would like Israel to give that crowd at the UN and elsewhere something to really rant on about and that is to once and for all launch a pre-emptive, devastating and overwhelming military response. It is the only way to deal with terrorists in a language they understand. No more ending every conflict prematurely and inconclusively because of world pressure.

      Unfortunately, Israel today has the means but not the will.
      My fear is that it may take some disaster to befall Israel before it does what needs to be done.

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