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  ISRAEL ישראל    
 
 
  ISRAEL  
 

Delusions of  Disproportionate Force

Jock L Falkson

April 3, 2009

 

 

Jock L. Falkson

Israel’s vociferous critics (other than our Muslim enemies) who demonize Israel for its alleged use of “disproportionate force” in the War on Hamas are mostly dyed in the wool anti-Semites. I refer to those whose eyes are so focused on Israel that they accuse us of crimes Muslims and non-Jews have committed and continue to commit, in spades. Can anyone recall these critics ever reacting to the disproportionate force of Muslims which in some instances bordered on being genocidal? Like the horrendous war crimes and enormous fatalities committed by Muslims in Afghanistan, Algeria, Chechnya, Darfur, Eretria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Sudan, Uzbekistan etc.

The so called crime of “disproportionate force” is incomprehensible in light of the fact that all successful wars in the past 100 years were won by overwhelming force. Were that not true the Allies might have continued at war with Germany and Japan for goodness knows how many more years. Absent defeating the enemy by greater force, wars would have carried on till they petered out. Germany would likely then have remained with its conquests in Europe intact; and the Japanese with their’s!

On March 26, after 2 months intensive investigation, the IDF (Israel Defense Force) announced that of the 1,166 killed in the battle against Hamas, 709 were terror operatives, 295 were non-combatants, and another 162 had not yet been classified. However, a simple comparison of numbers killed does not define “disproportionate force”.

Hamas responsible for its dead

As difficult as it may be for Israel’s critics to accept, the fact is that Hamas was responsible for its own dead, as I shall detail. Hamas got the hiding it deserved for having acted stupidly and mistakenly when it continued to fire Katyusha missiles and mortars against Israel southern area. But when they introduced long range Grad missiles capable of hitting its big port cities – and other areas home to a million or more civilians - Israel had no other option but to rise up in defense of its people.

It was also asinine of Hamas to challenge Israel to invade, threatening death to Israel’s soldiers and destruction to its military machine. For in the war that followed (in which Israel forfeited the element of surprise) Hamas failed miserably to leave its mark on Israel’s army. It paid the price of its empty threats and boasting. Only a UN imposed cease fire urgently pushed by Islamic nations saved Hamas from a richly deserved knockout not many days away.

Hamas was entirely responsible for its casualties because in every war each side is responsible for its own consequences. Moreover Hamas did just about everything wrong, beginning with totally underestimating its enemy. Its terrorist followers and civilian accomplices paid a high price for their mistakes and poor defense. Israel had expected far stiffer opposition. But the only thing Hamas leaders were good at was to hide deep down in fortified bunkers. They had no compunction in exposing their civilian accomplices to the injuries and fatalities of a modern war.   

Hamas’ unprotected civilians 

Israel suffered fewer civilian casualties from Hamas’ missiles, rockets and mortar bombs because these weapons could not be aimed with accuracy. Nevertheless Israel had taken responsible measures to reduce its casualties. The Red alarm siren gave people in the vicinity some 15 - 20 seconds to take cover before the missiles exploded. Safe shelters in public areas had been provided for civilians in earshot. Some public buildings - schools, hospitals etc., had been fortified. And mobile concrete shelters were quickly brought in and placed in dangerous areas. 

As a result Israeli civilians were far safer compared to Hamas’ complete neglect of its civilians. For this Hamas bears the entire blame. Hundreds, even thousands more Hamas casualties were avoided because of Israel’s unique life saving measures comprising some 30,000 telephone calls plus a million warning leaflets scattered from the sky.

Telephone calls no less! Did ever an army in modern warfare provide safety warnings to its enemy? Did the anti-Semitic world give Israel one iota of credit for doing so? Did the media? Did the BBC - The Guardian?

While Israel’s security efforts were far from total, Hamas did virtually nothing to protect its civilians. On the contrary there had been massive misuse of donor money received. Uncounted amounts were funneled into the deep pockets of its leaders; next to nothing on institutions and infrastructure to provide security or employment for Gaza’s population. Hamas’ disregard for the safety of its inhabitants is one more reason it cannot hide from the responsibility of protecting its civilians.

Hamas used their civilians

as human shields 

Contrary to Israel’s warnings to prevent civilian casualties Hamas adopted a cold-blooded attitude to its population. It irresponsibly endangered their civilians by firing missiles, rockets and mortar bombs from civilian occupied homes, hospitals, schools, even mosques. Knowing full well that Israel would retaliate by firing back at the areas in question. Israel had no other option else it would have invited continued barrages from apparently safe areas.

Hamas was thus wantonly responsible for its civilian casualties by showing more interest in creating successful propaganda. This they did very well - and not for the first time. Their cameras were always ready to film; and their women to sob over bleeding and dead victims. All designed to prove Israel’s criminal use of “disproportionate force”  to a world which inherently cannot stomach an Israeli victory.

One wonders when Gaza’s civilians will realize that Hamas is far more interested in photographing their deaths and injuries than their safety.

Hamas’ poor intelligence                                      

contributed to the casualty count

Those who regard simple arithmetic as evidence of overwhelming force mistake the significant part played by factors other than fire power. Military intelligence is one of the most important. Better intelligence invariably increases the enemy’s casualties and reduces one’s own.

Clearly Hamas did not appreciate this; consequently it lost the ground war. Did Israel’s fulminating critics expect Israel to share its intelligence so that Hamas would not be outmaneuvered, outgunned and out proportioned? Why blame Israel for what is plainly Hamas’ guilt?

Hamas lost to better strategy, better battle plans  

Did Israel have better battle plans and strategies when it made war on Hamas? Yes, it’s very reasonable to assume so. After all the IDF has a hierarchy of military personnel who have been through several wars and who have had the benefit of the highest levels of military education. The IDF is headed by a High Command of outstanding military talent, knowledge and experience. It’s extremely doubtful that Hamas appreciated the importance of this aspect when it challenged Israel to invade and promised disproportionate slaughter and mayhem in return.

Did Hamas not know they were heading for a war they could not win? Whose fault is that? Israel’s or Hamas’?

Hamas Losses from Chaos, Mistakes and Friendly Fire 

There is chaos in every war said Richard Kemp, former British Army Colonel now a senior advisor on army issues to the British government. Kemp commanded British troops in Afghanistan in 2003 and was being interviewed by the BBC on Israel’s war on Hamas.  

Of course Hamas would never admit to chaos and losses by friendly fire on its side, though Israel has. Not only did we lose soldiers by friendly fire in our war on Hezbollah, we also lost 4 soldiers the same way in our war against Hamas.

Casualties are affected by the severity of mistakes on both sides. Hamas doesn’t confess its mistakes as does Israel. (Refer to its Winograd Report after the second Lebanese war.) It suits Hamas to blame all losses on Israel’s disproportionate force”. The truth is clearly not welcome – yet it stares them in the face.

Hamas lacked will and determination 

Factors of will and determination play a significant role in winning wars. A stronger will to win invariably brings about the faster collapse of the enemy and causes greater casualties. Naturally Hamas does not admit that its fighters were outdone by Israeli soldiers. Hamas never admits weakness in any area – not when it’s more self-serving to blame it on Israel’s “disproportionate force”.  Nevertheless it’s undeniable that Hamas incurred greater casualties because Israel had the stronger will and determination to win.

Hamas’ chronic medical shortages 

Hamas complained they did not have the medical capacity to deal with their large number of casualties. How did this become Israel’s fault?

Hamas’ inability to take care of its casualties is the fault of Hamas and no one else. They govern Gaza. But instead of building hospitals and medical facilities and graduating doctors and surgeons, they, and the Palestinians before them, frittered away much of the billions of dollars donated by charitable nations year after year.

Was it not stupid for Hamas to goad Israel into a war when they knew in advance they would be unable to deal with any large number of casualties?

Hamas’ neglect of medical facilities is its own responsibility. Yet despite being at war, Israel did provide free medical services to badly wounded Hamas personnel. Hamas also turned down Israel’s offer to erect a field hospital outside Gaza.

Conclusion

It must be surely clear that “disproportionate force”  is certainly not a matter of simple arithmetic. And that Hamas’ inherent incapability, callousness, negligence and irresponsibility had everything to do with their high casualties.

 {}  {}  {}

 

 

Jock Falkson is a former South African Advertising executive who immigrated to Israel in 1993. His articles which are published on the internet, stoutly defend Israel's interests in world opinion.
Blog:
http://www.breasy.com/israeldefender/  Email: falkson@013.net

 

 

 
 

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