Moshe Yaalon is a retired lieutenant general and former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces. In “Rules of War” in the Washington Post (thanks to Sr. Soph), of all places, he lays bare some of the inconsistency and dishonesty of what passes for thought among all too many dhimmi analysts in the West.
The conflict in the Middle East is about much more than Israel and Hezbollah, or even Hezbollah’s Syrian and Iranian sponsors. What is at stake are the very rules of war that underpin the entire international order.
Sadly, judging from how most of the world has responded to Israel’s military action against Hezbollah, these rules have been completely abandoned.
The rules of war boil down to one central principle: the need to distinguish combatants from noncombatants. Those who condemned Israel for what happened at Qana, rather than placing the blame for this unfortunate tragedy squarely on Hezbollah and its state sponsors, have rewarded those for whom this moral principle is meaningless and have condemned a state in which this principle has always guided military and political decision making.
Faced with enemies who openly call for its destruction and victimized by unremitting wars and terrorism since well before it was born, Israel has risked the lives of its citizens and its soldiers to abide by this principle in a way that is unprecedented in the history of nations.
Here is but one of countless examples: In 2003, at the height of the Palestinian terror war against Israel, our intelligence services discovered the location of a meeting of the senior leadership of Hamas, an organization pledged to the annihilation of the Jewish state and responsible for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks ever carried out against Israel.
We knew that a one-ton bomb would destroy the three-story building and kill the Hamas leadership. But we also knew that such a bomb would endanger about 40 families who lived in the vicinity. We decided to use a smaller bomb that would destroy only the top floor of the building. As it turned out, the Hamas leaders were meeting on the ground floor. They lived to terrorize another day.
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