Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Kemp, explains the concept of proportionality in war and how the term is being misused to criticize Israel.
A common criticism made against Israel is that during last year’s war against Hamas in a battle known as Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli military used “disproportionate response.”. During the war, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at civilian targets mainly in Israel. Despite their best efforts to kill and maim innocent civilians, Israeli casualties were minimal. In response, and in accordance with international law, Israel fired at military targets in Gaza, killing a large number of terrorists. It is important to note that Israel took extraordinary measures to protect innocent lives in Gaza by dropping leaflets, phoning residents and sending warnings to civilians before attacking a Hamas target.
Hamas committed a double war crime: they fired from behind innocent Palestinian civilians while firing indiscriminately at innocent Israeli civilians. By doing so, they were directly responsible for the deaths of innocent Gazan and Israeli civilians. Because of Hamas’ war crimes, numerous innocent Palestinians were killed. Many human rights activists and governments pointed to the number of killed on each side and came to the mistaken and wrongful conclusion that the higher number of deaths on the Palestinian side meant Israel was using disproportionate force in Gaza. In fact, this is not true at all. And according to Colonel Kemp, this is not how one measures disproportionate response.
When Hamas fires a rocket, Israel has to assume the worst. It could hit a school and kill children. That means the threat of the rocket attack must be neutralized, ideally before the rocket is fired. When Palestinian civilians are killed in such a case, does this make it a war crime? Colonel Kemp provides us with the very clear answer. Now, it’s up to all of us to SHARE this video. No more demonizing of Israel!