Once again, the international community and the media are becoming obsessively focused on the ridiculous notion of “proportionality” in regard to Israel’s response to the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre.
First, it should be clearly understood that there is no accepted or exact definition of the term “proportionality” or a formula for calculating it.
In general, the principle of proportionality involves a balance between the military advantage that will likely result from a proposed operation and the harm that is likely to be inflicted on civilians and noncombatants.
This is extremely hard to assess for those outside of a military and intelligence apparatus, simply because outsiders do not have access to all the information necessary to make such an assessment.
Unfortunately, however, many ill-informed commentators believe proportionality is simply a numbers game, as if war and conflict were some sort of sports match.
Already, the international media is presenting the casualties among Israelis and Palestinians side-by-side and asking if Israel’s response to the horrors and atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists is proportionate.
This is outrageous. It implies that once Israel has killed more Palestinians than Palestinians killed Israelis, Israel’s war suddenly becomes illegitimate.
British author and journalist Douglas Murray said during a recent interview that this “would mean that, in retaliation for what Hamas did in Israel on Saturday, Israel should try to locate a music festival in Gaza, for instance—and good luck with that—and rape precisely the number of women that Hamas raped on Saturday. Kill precisely the number of young people that Hamas killed on Saturday.”
“They should find a town of exactly the same size as Sderot, and make sure they go door-to-door and kill precisely the correct number of babies that Hamas killed in Sderot on Saturday, and shoot in the head precisely the same number of old age pensioners as were shot in Sderot on Saturday, just to choose one town,” Murray added.
This response immediately shut up the interviewer who had tried to press Murray on the issue of proportionality. It was an excellent retort, but I would like to turn to another comment of Murray’s that is even more important.
In a recent meeting with Jewish leaders in the U.K., Murray said, “Israel seems to be the only country in the world who are never allowed to win a war. Whenever Israel begins to win it is told to stop.”
This is the crux of the issue.
By mercilessly pushing the proportionality narrative, Israel is being told that, in its wars of defense, it will not be allowed to achieve victory. The proportionality obsessives know Israel cannot be defeated by Hamas, so they want to ensure that Israel does not defeat Hamas.
This diminishes Israel’s security, to which every sovereign nation has a right.
Even if were possible to put aside the bestial manner in which Hamas mercilessly raped women, beheaded and burned babies, and kidnapped old women and children, it is almost trite to say that any nation that lost the same proportion of Israelis in one day to terrorist attacks would use overwhelming force to ensure that those who perpetrated the attacks could never do so again.
We have seen such reactions around the world and the word “proportionality” was never once used during or after such military operations. It is a word that seems to apply only to the Jewish state.
Israeli leaders and the IDF should dismiss such hypocritical criticisms from the international community. They should seek victory and nothing else. Victory must be the only word in our lexicon when we decide how to respond to Hamas’s atrocities.
Hamas cannot be allowed to stand after this war. They must never be allowed to raise their heads again to massacre Israelis. This must be the last war against Hamas. The international community must understand why victory is essential for Israel, for the innocent Gazans who are oppressed by Hamas and for the region and beyond.
Hamas’s defeat will immediately make millions of innocent people more safe and secure. It will end the group’s genocidal actions and aspirations. It will also stand as a warning to other extremist and terrorist organizations around the world who threaten the lives of tens if not hundreds of millions of people.
Clearly, defeating Hamas is the only proportional response possible.