A reader writes:
Conveniently, your response to Chait omits two of the most significant events from the last ten years - the Israeli unilateral withdrawals from Southern Lebanon and Gaza. In the case of Lebanon, the world did not demand that Hezbollah disarm. Instead, the world has an organization in Hezbollah that is in a position to fully take over the entire country of Lebanon.
After the withdrawal from Gaza, the international community stood by as thousands of rockets rained down on the southern communities of Israel. The world also did not intervene when Hamas staged a coup in Gaza and toppled and systematically executed the Fatah led-government. One cannot appreciate the rise of Netanyahu and the collapse of the peace camp - which I am a proud member of - without looking to these two events.
I agree that these must be part of the picture as well. I think the international community failed badly in not enforcing the disarmament of Hezbollah in Lebanon. And I have long criticized Hamas as poisonously anti-Semitic at Nazi levels, and guilty of war crimes in their random targeting of innocents in Southern Israel.
But it is also significant, is it not, that Israel's concessions were withdrawals from foreign countries they had invaded. And it remains true that the number of Israeli civilian casualties from Hamas's war crimes over eight years amounted to 18; while the civilian casualties inflicted by Israel's aerial and ground assault on Gaza amounted to somewhere between 800 and 900 in less than a month, depending on the sources.
That makes the ratio of Palestinian civilian casualties to Israeli civilian casualties over the decade of conflict with Gaza roughly 1: 4000. I'm not sure how any theory of just war can possibly defend such an imbalance.
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