In the arithmetic of death, the latest fight between Israel and Hamas has been an unequal contest: more than 350 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes in the first four days, many of them civilians, against four Israelis killed by Hamas’s rockets. But does such one-sided bloodshed make Israel guilty of using “disproportionate force”, as argued by, among others, Amnesty International and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, just ending his six-month presidency of the European Union?
Proportionality is intimately bound up with notions of the just war, and has been enshrined in treaties regulating warfare’s conduct since the Hague Convention of 1907. But familiar as it is, proportionality is a slippery idea. It has two different meanings in Western theory. On the grounds for going to war, jus ad bellum, the cause must be important enough to justify force; any good that will follow must outweigh the inevitable pain and destruction. In the conduct of war, jus in bello, any action must weigh the military gain against the likely harm to civilians. (Full)
This is the more to be questioned as today two UN schools were hit by Israeli missiles, killing over 30 people.
Maxwell Gaylard, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, issued a statement saying:
"These tragic incidents need to be investigated, and if international humanitarian law has been contravened, those responsible must held accountable." (Full)
Meanwhile, Israel insisted there is no humanitarian crisis for the Palestinians living in Gaza, a statement contradicted by the UN humanitarian chief:
"This is, in our view, a humanitarian crisis. It's very hard for me to see any other way you could describe it, given the conditions in which the population are living." (Full)
Check the latest UN situation report on Gaza.
Join the discussion thread about Gaza on The Road's forum.
Discovered via AidNews
Picture courtesy Muhammed Muheisen/AP Photo