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Monday, August 7, 2006

TARGETING CIVILIANS?

Aside from the trumped-up charges of a “civilian massacre” at Qana which are probably at least partially false, let’s examine the corollary charge that is aimed at Israel in this war: that we are, G-d forbid, targeting civilians:

Alan M. Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, in his article The Arithmetic of Pain, writes:

An analogy to domestic criminal law is instructive: A bank robber who takes a teller hostage and fires at police from behind his human shield is guilty of murder if they, in an effort to stop the robber from shooting, accidentally kill the hostage. The same should be true of terrorists who use civilians as shields from behind whom they fire their rockets. The terrorists must be held legally and morally responsible for the deaths of the civilians, even if the direct physical cause was an Israeli rocket aimed at those targeting Israeli citizens.

This is echoed by fellow blogger Sultan Knish:

In criminal law there's something called the 'Felony Murder Rule' what that means is a criminal who perpetrates a felony as a result of which a death occurs, can be charged with murder even if he was not the one who pulled the trigger. If a gunman who holds up a liquor store exchanges fire with police and the police return fire kills an innocent civilian, the gunman can be put on trial for murder because it was his criminal act that caused that man's death.

It was Hizbullah who triggered this war. Hizbullah's felony of invading Israel and killing and kidnapping Israeli soldiers touched off this entire campaign. All the deaths, on every side, military and civilian are Hizbullah's responsibility. Since Hizbullah has additionally actively used civilians as shields, operated in civilian clothing and from apartment buildings, all casualties that occur in such operations are Hizbullah and only Hizbullah's fault.

Israel has dropped leaflets, broadcast warnings, in Gaza Israel even called up the homes of Arabs in strike zones warning them to leave. What other military would remotely go to all this trouble. Yes children will die in this war and whoever kills them, their blood will be on Hizbullah's hands. They sought this war and they got it and they fought in the most dishonorable and cowardly ways conceivable and no matter how much they parade for the cameras with dead children in their heads, they are the killers. End of story.

And finally, James Taranto of the Wall St. Journal writes [emphasis added]:

Who's Targeting Lebanese Civilians?

The BBC yesterday carried a report on Israeli strikes against the Hizbullah stronghold of Baalbek, and unsurprisingly it was highly unsympathetic to the Jewish state. Here's the lead paragraph:

Though Israel says it is temporarily suspending air strikes against Lebanon to investigate the latest Qana tragedy, its drones scarcely stopped buzzing like sinister insects high over Baalbek throughout Monday.

Reporter Martin Asser goes on to describe "a succession of bombed petrol stations and industrial workshops--all buildings with civilian rather than military use, local people say." But then he offers this revealing anecdote:

Faisal Sahili said his family had a lucky escape when their house in the Sheikh Habib neighbourhood was destroyed by Israeli bombing on the third day of the conflict.

"The aircraft started bombing our area and so we ran out into the fields, which is the safest place," the retired Lebanese army officer said.

Moments later, the house was flattened. The reason behind the attack is not clear, although local journalists say 12 houses were bombed in that area.

Asser does not, however, draw the obvious conclusion, which is that if "the safest place" for a Lebanese civilian is in an open field--i.e., in plain view of the Israelis--any accusations that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians are nonsense.

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