Shortly after Hamas launched its horrific October 7 attacks on Israel, Israeli officials began publicly pronouncing that Israel has a right to defend itself, and since then a steady progression of world leaders have voiced their agreement, and support, of Israel’s right to defend itself.
Why would Israel feel it must argue for its right to defend itself? It goes without saying that any nation that comes under attack implicitly has the right to defend itself. It would be difficult to form a credible argument against Israel’s, or any other nation’s, right to defend itself.
However, as events have unfolded over the past several weeks it’s become clear that what Israel is really arguing is that it has a right to defend itself regardless of how many civilians it kills, or how many buildings it destroys, during the course of that self-defense.
So it isn’t Israel’s right to defend itself that’s in question — rather, it’s Israel’s right to level thousands of buildings and kill thousands of innocents that’s in question.
Can Israel can use other methods — both military and non-military — to take out Hamas? It seems that creative military minds could join forces and come up with many different approaches Israel could take to remove Hamas that would not involve such massive death and destruction. But thus far there has been no public presentation and debate about what these methods might be.
Meanwhile, 7,000 Palestinians have died, and likely thousands of buildings have been destroyed.