Israel is threatening to use disproportionate force in response to rocket attacks:
Israel’s government has threatened to take “fierce and disproportionate” action in Gaza after Palestinian militants fired six rockets on southern Israeli towns this morning.
The preparation to launch fresh attacks on Gaza comes two weeks after Israel halted a three-week onslaught and claimed its aims were “attained fully”.
Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said the defence minister, Ehud Barak, was preparing the army for a surprise attack. “We won’t give the terror groups warning as to when and how we’ll react, but Israel will respond and act at the time and place of its choosing,” Olmert said.
Olmert is wrong. What he is going to do is take proportionate action to prevent rocket attacks, that may entail the disproportionate use of force. So, if Hamas launch rockets that luckily do not kill anybody, then a proportionate response is too disable and degrade their ability to fire them. That will involve more than firing a proportionate number of rockets back. Olmert is not merely wrong, he is stupid to have given this opening to critics of Israel.
Olmert’s mistake did lead to this interesting exchange on the Today Programme. Note the attempt of the Israeli spokesman to get into the interview the fact that the UN had been wrong about the school bombing, and the interviewers quick attempt to shut down that point by suggesting that this was about Israeli actions – as though false accusations that Israel had bombed a UN refuge was nothing to do with Israel. The defence of Hamas breaking of the ceasefire also seemed somewhat disproportionate for an impartial news agency as well.