Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Key to Gaza

Sad and reprehensible as was the kidnapping of 19-year-old Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit during a cross-border raid on Sunday, the act does not warrant the kind of response that Israel has visited upon the residents of Gaza. Once again, Israel's reaction to acts of aggression against it is stunningly disproportionate. The bombing of bridges and the disruption of water supplies (an illegal act) to the city of 1.4 million Palestinians is punishing an entire population for the actions of a few. Added to low-altitude over-flight of Syrian territory by Israeli military aircraft, the arrest in the West Bank of 64 Hamas officials whom Israel accuses of being linked to terrorism, and military mobilization outside the Gaza Strip, the response is of such disproportionateness as to make one wonder if the kidnapping of the young corporal might not have provided the pretext that Israeli had sought so that it could re-enter territory that it evacuated a year ago. Hell, not even the kidnapping of American soldiers in Baghdad has ever led to such show of force.

Once more, Israel has demonstrated its contempt for the law of war that stipulates that military organizations are to use proportionality whenever they make recourse to force; in other words, the military advantages of bombing a target, for example, must overwhelmingly outweigh the loss of life attendant to that act. Similarly, reaction to the kidnapping of a soldier must make use of the same ratio. Clearly, given the nature of the crime, bombing bridges and depriving a population of access to potable water (let alone internationalizing the situation by invading Syrian airspace) are anything but proportional. Look at it from any angle, a ratio of 1:1,400,000 just isn't permissible.

Israel ostensibly wanted back into Gaza; unwittingly, corporal Shalit provided the key to the city.


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