With Israeli special forces starting operations in Gaza to complement the IDF’s surgical air campaign against the indiscriminate, increasingly long-rage terror barrage from “Hamastan,” the international community , quite predictably, is beginning to rev up its favorite mantra, i.e., that the Jewish state is guilty of “disproportionate response.” After all, Palestinian civilians—ordered by Hamas to stay in their homes rather than evacuate terror targets in residential areas as well as in mosques and hospitals—have begun to die as “collateral damage” in Israel’s anti-terror campaign to protect its own civilians, so far psychologically traumatized but not slaughtered because of Iron Dome and the option of bomb shelters or safe rooms. Hamas prefers to use its cement to build terror tunnels rather than bomb shelters for Gazans.
Such protections that Israelis enjoy are not available to the exposed Jews of France where synagogue goers were terrorized by an enraged French Muslim mob, at first barely contained by five gendarmes whose initial orders seem to have been to act more like World Cup soccer refs than enforcers of the law. Did they have implicit orders from the French government whose commitment to be in neutral in “thought and deed” in the Mideast may have translated into a policy of semi-neutrality against terror in the Paris streets”? Was this a case of “disproportionate response” on the domestic level, but in the sense of inadequate response by a twenty-first century western government that has forgotten that the fundamental definition of the state is “the monopoly over the means of legitimate violence within a given territory” (Max Weber’s definition) and which doesn’t understand that failing to defend that monopoly by the use of force against violent challengers will ultimately undermine the survival of the state as well as the security of its law-abiding citizens?
Internationally, in the Mideast, Israel is, to some extent, being hoisted on its own petard by its ritual adherence to a strict self-imposed code of military ethics, devised primarily by Moshe Habertal, something of a peacenik professor, who believes it is better for Israel soldiers to die than to recklessly risk the lives of Palestinian innocents in ways that dishonor the Jewish state. Despite the aspersions of its critics, Israel is the only country in modern history that in wartime has avoided intentionally using its air force to target the enemy’s civil population. Israel refuses to practice vendetta against Palestinian civilians (as distinguished from Hamas’ terror operatives) for complicated reasons. It doesn’t want to betray Jewish values, alienate international opinion, or encourage civil strife between Israeli Jews and Israel’s Muslim minority.