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Israel’s friends find no defence for revenge by settlement

If, to reverse Clausewitz, Israel’s politics are a continuation of war by other means, there is no place in the laws of war for acts of revenge.
As Guglielmo Verdirame said in Israel/Gaza, an enclave where laws of war do not reach ‘there is no place in international law for using force in revenge’. In Justice in Action: Just War Theory, Professor Hinman says ‘Revenge, Political expansion, Land acquisition’ are all ‘unacceptable intentions’ for violent aggression. December 03, 2012, Lawrence M. Hinman, Ph.D. Professor of Philosophy Co-Director, Center for Ethics in Science & Technology, University of San Diego hinman@sandiego.edu.

Israel’s punishment

The other side said its piece loud and clear: Yes to a two-state solution. But Israel’s government responded with a step that, first and foremost, punishes Israel.

Haaretz Editorial
December 02, 2012

The government decided this weekend to build another 3,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and also to move ahead with planning and building procedures for the E1 area, located between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim. That is how the government responded to the UN General Assembly’s decision to recognize Palestine as a nonmember observer state; that is how the government decided to punish the Palestinians and the world.

The latter said its piece loud and clear: Yes to a two-state solution. But Israel’s government responded with a step that, first and foremost, punishes Israel. The only positive aspect of this decision is the fact that Israel has recognized that the settlements are indeed a punishment.

This is a particularly grave and dangerous decision. Instead of internalizing the fact that a sweeping majority of nations are sick of the Israeli occupation and want a Palestinian state, Israel is entrenching itself even further in its own rejectionism, and deepening its isolation and the disconnect between itself and the international reality. Instead of drawing the necessary conclusions from its resounding failure, the government is dragging Israel into additional diplomatic disasters. And instead of embarking on sincere, genuine negotiations with the new observer state, Israel is turning its back on it, and on the world.

The government’s decision is the last nail in the coffin of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Bar-Ilan University speech in 2009. It is proof positive that this speech, in which he ostensibly accepted the principle of two states, was merely a deception. What is particularly astounding, however, is the violation of Israel’s commitment to the United States not to build in E1, given that construction there would preclude the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank. After America was left as virtually the last supporter of Israel’s position at the United Nations, Israel is repaying it with a resounding slap in the face.

Israel’s decision is also a slap in the face to another loyal friend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who explained Germany’s abstention in the vote as stemming from Israel’s refusal to stop construction in the territories. So, even before the next election, in which the joint “Likud-Beiteinu” ticket is presenting an especially right-wing, extremist slate, Netanyahu has already signaled where he is heading: toward extremism, diplomatic isolation, denunciation and ostracism by the world.

The world – even including the United States this time – can’t allow Israel’s arrogant response to pass quietly. This very government decision might serve as a spur to those who want to transfer the settlements issue to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, as punishment for the “punishment” imposed by Israel. And the next time Israel needs the world’s help, on the Iranian issue or on any other, the world will remember this decision.


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