Israel should exercise restraint? Come now, Mr. Obama
In the midst of Israeli civilians being relentlessly bombed by the internationally recognized terrorist organization, Hamas, President Barack Obama is urging Israel to respond with "reasonableness and restraint," while the United Nations calls Israel's reaction inhumane and unlawful.
Addressing the president's exhortation, American Center for Law and Justice senior counsel David French believes the commander-in-chief should reevaluate the word "reasonable."
"When an enemy force consistently and deliberately does all that it can to terrorize and kill as many of your citizens as possible, with no regard for the difference between military and civilian targets, the 'reasonable' thing to do is obliterate that enemy … [d]estroy it," French proclaims. "There is nothing unreasonable about self-defense, and there is nothing unreasonable about destroying an armed enemy force."
French sees a double-standard at work in the president's rhetoric.
"In fact, our own military has a long and proud history of destroying enemy armed forces, and our nation and the world tend to achieve far better outcomes when our military is given the free hand to do the truly reasonable thing: defeat the enemy," French added. "It is unreasonable to expect Israel to exercise more restraint than the United States would under similar circumstances."
Being quite aware of U.S. military practices as a U.S. Army Reserve captain, French – having served in Iraq for a year – asserts that Obama's advice to Israel and his foreign policy with the Palestinian government is anything but reasonable.
"It is unreasonable to demand that Israel abide by made-up rules of 'proportionality' that we've rightly rejected for our own armed forces," French explains. "It is unreasonable to assume that the so-called 'honest broker' role requires this nation to blind itself to truth and violate its own laws by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars per year to a terrorist 'unity' government."
In a recent statement, the United Nations is in agreement with Obama when it comes to how Israel should deal with its neighboring terrorist enemies occupying Gaza – going as far as accusing Israelis of using excessive and unlawful force to defend their land.
"We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, when speaking about Palestinians in Gaza. "Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law."
To this, the ACLJ would have Pillay re-read the U.N.-accepted definition of a legitimate military target.
"Military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military of advantage," states the First Additional Protocol of 1977 to the Geneva Conventions – Sections 52(2) and 52(3). "In case of doubt whether an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes, such as a place of worship, a house or other dwelling or a school, is being used to make an effective contribution to military action, it shall be presumed not to be so used."
Attorneys with the ACLJ are in a quandary as to how the U.N. could possibly conclude that Israel has wrongfully or unlawfully attacked militant targets.
"What emerges clearly from the above is that civilian buildings may be legitimate military targets if they are being used to make an effective contribution to military action," the ACLJ points out. "These include houses and other dwellings, if so used. Since the modus operandi of Hamas is to use civilian buildings for most, if not all of its military activity, the civilian buildings so used, including homes, become legitimate targets for attack."
Instead of seeing Pillay as a victim of some kind of failure of communication, the ACLJ insists that the U.N. leader is purposely choosing to overlook fundamental military tactics used by Israel's enemies on the Gaza Strip.
"At this stage, the U.N. High Commissioner has no way of knowing whether any particular building targeted by the Israeli military was or was not being used by Hamas or other militant groups for military purposes," the Christian legal organization explains. "If the High Commissioner's sources of information are the residents of those buildings, she should recognize that they have a vested interest in denying any knowledge of such military use."
In the ACLJ's eyes, Pillay's anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian stance in the Middle East conflict is quite transparent.
"Thus the High Commissioner is in no position to express 'serious doubts' about the legality of any particular Israeli attack," maintains the Washington, DC-based legal group. "Use of the term 'serious doubts' to denote what is simply a lack of information is no more than an expression of bias against Israel."
French sees this same bias when it comes to the Obama administration's foreign policy in the Middle East.
"Between the United States, which has pledged to continue funding the Palestinian government, and Israel, which is now dropping bombs to protect itself from terrorist aggression, the only nation that is violating international norms and its own laws is the United States," French reasons. "It's a violation of federal criminal law to provide support to a designated terrorist organization, like Hamas."
And he emphasizes that the White House has failed to provide Americans with any evidence that half a billion of their tax dollars – on an annual basis – are not funding terrorist activities.
"Yet the Obama administration has been unable to provide any meaningful reassurance that the money we send the Palestinian Authority won't aid Hamas, a member of the PA's government," French concludes. "Meanwhile, the right of national self-defense – which Israel is now exercising – is embedded in the U.N. Charter … so, who's truly reasonable?"