Israel, Hamas, and moral idiocy
Much of the world's response is a false moral equivalence that simply encourages the terrorists.
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On Sunday, I spoke to the air force general, now retired, who worked on the planning of the attack. He told me of the intelligence and planning that had gone into preparing for the contingency that the military option might become necessary. The Israeli air force had pinpointed with precision the exact locations of Hamas structures in an effort to minimize civilian casualties.Skip to next paragraph
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Even Hamas sources have acknowledged that the vast majority of those killed have been Hamas terrorists, though some civilian casualties are inevitable when, as BBC's Rushdi Abou Alouf – who is certainly not pro-Israel – reported, "The Hamas security compounds are in the middle of the city." Indeed, his home balcony was just 20 meters away from a compound he saw bombed.
There have been three types of international response to the Israeli military actions against the Hamas rockets. Not surprisingly, Iran, Hamas, and other knee-jerk Israeli-bashers have argued that the Hamas rocket attacks against Israeli civilians are entirely legitimate and that the Israeli counterattacks are war crimes.
Equally unsurprising is the response of the United Nations, the European Union, Russia, and others who, at least when it comes to Israel, see a moral and legal equivalence between terrorists who target civilians and a democracy that responds by targeting the terrorists.
And finally, there is the United States and a few other nations that place the blame squarely on Hamas for its unlawful and immoral policy of using its own civilians as human shields, behind whom they fire rockets at Israeli civilians.
The most dangerous of the three responses is not the Iranian-Hamas absurdity, which is largely ignored by thinking and moral people, but the United Nations and European Union response, which equates the willful murder of civilians with legitimate self-defense pursuant to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.
This false moral equivalence only encourages terrorists to persist in their unlawful actions against civilians. The US has it exactly right by placing the blame on Hamas, while urging Israel to do everything possible to minimize civilian casualties.
• Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter professor of law at Harvard Law School. His latest book is "The Case Against Israel's Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace."