Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pikuach Nefesh

Pikuach Nefesh is the Hebrew term for the obligation to put the saving of a life above all other commandments. The source of the term is from the Yoma tractate, 83a, where the mishna discusses the conditions in which it is permissible to break the sanctity of Yom Kippur. One example is when a structure has fallen on someone who may still be alive, and the rule is that the rubble is to be removed (mifakchin alav et hagal). There is then a long and detailed discussion, which includes the commandment that the labor is to be done by the men, with no attempt to have it done, say, by children who aren't fasting anyway.

2,200 years later, a team of Haredi men has joined the Israeli rescue team in Haiti, and they're proudly working throughout the Shabbat. Yet another small expression of the importance of having a Jewish state.

Correction: that should be 1,800 years or so, not 2,200.


Anonymous said...

"2200 years later..."

Not 18-1900?

Richard Pearce said...

Dont forget the other "expression" by the Jewish State when it bombed Gaza last year, killing over 900 civillian non-combatants including 400 innocent children.

Where was the Pikuach Nefesh there? Israel's complicit hypocrisy makes a mockery of judaism and the real people who attempt to bring it's righteous teachings to others.

annie said...

Hmm, I think Richard Pearce did not notice the 8,000 rockets that were shot at the south of Israel over 8 years.

So, no. No pikuach nefesh there. Uhuh.

As to the number of non-combatants killed I really think you should take a look at Elder of Ziyon's meticulous accounting of each casualty and you will notice the outrageous lies.

Anonymous said...

@Richard Pearce
would you please elaborate on who qualifies as a child in the numbers you cite i.e. at what age do the children in your numbers begin to be adults.

no I am not being facetious I really want to know!
I have heard and read so many age limits during the last years that the word child used without any qualification has stopped to have any specific meaning for me

thank you!

Backseat Blogger said...

On the other hand Failed Messiah points out the following:

"On arrival, the ZAKA delegation was dispatched to the collapsed 8-storey university building where cries could be heard from the trapped students. After hours of work around the clock and working with rescue equipment provided by the Mexican military, the ZAKA volunteers succeeded in pulling eight students alive from the rubble, 38 hours after the building collapsed in the earthquake. ...

Amid the stench and chaos, the ZAKA delegation took time out to recite Shabbat prayers - a surreal sight of ultra-orthodox men wrapped in prayer shawls standing on the collapsed buildings. Many locals sat quietly in the rubble, staring at the men as they prayed facing Jerusalem. At the end of the prayers, they crowded around the delegation and kissed the prayer shawls."

In other words the ZAKA haredim took time out from saving lives to daven. And there were lives to be saved, ZAKA had already rescued people alive in the rubble.

Is that not hillul hashem? or is it because the saving of non-Jewish lives on shabbat is not an absolute requirement?

Anonymous said...

I think taking time out to recalibrate/to focus/to concentrate in the midst of a presumably chaotic and distressing and extremely trying surrounding is conducive to wise and efficient action.
If this taking time out is done in the form of prayer rather than as proposed by techniques used by athletes I can't see anything wrong with it.

Anonymous said...

Backseat blogger

The insinuations are nasty. I believe the talmud speaks of all life, not Jewish life.

Probably hilul hashem, but I am too secular to know the difference.


Richard Pearce said...

Dear Annie,

Surely you are aware that there was a 26 week ceasefire between Israel and Hamas which was in place prior to the massacre in Gaza? In fact only 19 rockets were fired from Gaza between June 18th 2008 and the end of October 2008. A further 125 rockets were fired from Gaza during November 2008 in retaliation to incursions by the Israeli army. Hardly thousands and certainly no justification for murdering hundreds of innocent civilians.

I have looked at the list of names that the Elder of Ziyon has published and it does not include Ali Eyad Fayez Musbah al-Dayah (aged 10), Khitam Eyad Fayez Musbah al-Dayah (aged 9), Alaa’ Eyad Fayez al-Dayah (aged 7), Raba’a Eyad Fayez al-Dayah (aged 6), Amani Mohammed Fayez al-Dayah (aged 6), Sharaf Al-Din Eyad Fayez al-Dayah (aged 5), Qamar Mohammed Fayez al-Dayah (aged 5), Arij Mohammed Fayez al-Dayah (aged 3), Yousef Mohammed Fayez al-Dayah (aged 2), Baraa’ Ramez Fayez al-Dayah (aged 1.5), Mohammed Eyad Fayez al-Dayah (aged 7 months) or Salsabil Ramez Fayez al-Dayah (aged 5 months). 21 members of the al-Dayah family including 12 children and a pregnant woman were killed in cold blood when the Israeli Air Force dropped a bomb on their house causing it to collapse on top of them. There are many, many more children but I do not have the time to list them all but I will if you want me to. I also noticed that the Elder of Ziyon has the following quote at the bottom of his page : “Morality is not an outdated concept”; what a joke that is. I suggest you tell him to update his research, I will happily provide him with a list of children’s names, addresses and ages for him to investigate further.

I know what it's like to be under threat from terrorist attack; in the UK we spent many years suffering at the hands of the IRA with many more deaths on home soil than the homemade rockets from Gaza have caused in Israel. I do appreciate that thousands of these homemade rockets have been fired indiscriminately into Israel since 2001 and although many of them exploded harmlessly without hitting a populated area, they do cause terror and every effort (within the boundaries of International Law) should be made to stop them. I am also aware that unlike the IRA who generally targeted military or political institutions with their bombs, the rockets from Gaza are fired without being targeted (homemade rockets tend not to have that sort of technology) and most Israeli deaths have been civilian so I understand the underlying fear that the Israeli public uses to justify it’s support for the Israeli Government’s actions. Unfortunately, however severe your fear is, it does not justify the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians.

Being a democracy here in the UK, there would have been a public outcry if the British army had laid siege to towns that contained a majority of Irish civilians regardless of whether or not those towns were home to some dissidents as well. How the “most moral army” in the world can get away with not allowing aid to enter Gaza to assist the civilians there is beyond me. Did you know that even crayons are not permitted into Gaza? What are the Palestinian children going to do, draw you to death? And God forbid if the British army had ever launched an assault on Northern Ireland of the scale that the Israeli armed forces unleashed on the mainly unarmed and civilian population in Gaza, you can be sure that if they did, the perpetrators would be held to account (just like we are currently doing here over the legality of the Iraq war) and charged with murder if they were found guilty. Again, how the “most moral army” in the world can get away with killing 31,000 chickens (10% of Gaza’s egg production) in the name of defence against homemade rockets is completely beyond me. What were the chickens going to do? Have you ever seen a chicken fire, let alone make a homemade rocket? Perhaps the IDF were afraid of being pecked to death by an onslaught of extremist terror-foul?

Richard Pearce said...

The Israeli Government’s treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza and the territories that are occupied by the Israeli army is nothing less than barbaric racism bordering on the nationalist genocide of another people. Fortunately with the rise of new media, the world is watching more closely and can see exactly what the Israeli Government and it’s armed forces are doing to the Palestinians (and also to Arab Israelis). Just as global news raised the public awareness of Apartheid in South Africa, leading to it’s ultimate failure, the days of Israel’s policy of Hafrada are numbered.

Once BDS starts to bite and American public support (which includes the Jewish community) for Israel and it’s policies dwindles, the tide will turn against you. I do hope that it will not completely destroy the Jewish State but I am fearful that that may happen. Perhaps you should spend more time using your intelligence to take a step back and look at what your Government is doing through the eyes of a Palestinian child or those of an International observer? I’m sure it will be very difficult to see past your indoctrination, however, it is people like you that must do this if Israel is to have a chance of survival before International sanctions are introduced.

I thought about Israel’s status on the world stage and without American support your nation would be a joke, can you imagine Israel ever hosting the Football World Cup, the Olympics or any other event for the world stage? Your bloodthirsty lust for “security” prevents that on it’s own, let alone the boycotts and sanctions which are bound to come from the International community; just like the ones that brought South Africa to it’s knees.

Anonymous said...

isn't it a bit rich for a Brit to preach highest high ethics, morals or whatever to others who are acting in self-defence?

If my memory is half-way in working order the record of the armed forces in Ireland is anything but lily-white and prosecutions have been scarce.
Mind you my intent is not to accuse the British of anything or to judge them applying any standards of the tabloid versions of International Law*) I only want to remind you of the saying that whoever sits in a glass-house should refrain from throwing stones.

and you haven't answered my questions as to what age limit applies to your cited number of 400 children. Listing the name and ages of children unfortunately killed in ONE particular incident which in all likelihood was a mishap is polemics not information.

and btw pure logic and a little bit of taking human nature being what it is into consideration speaks against the assumption the IDF did it on purpose. Even if Israelis were as evil as you accuse them of being I think they are way to wise to the ways the world judges them that they do not try to avoid terrible accidents like the one you harp about by all possible means. That said I strongly believe that they are as careful as they are because they believe in acting ethical is the right thing to do.

*) isn't it a miracle how everybody seems to know everything about International Law these days. In my working days I had to dig deep into the intricacies of what counts as a vacation under German law. Just to stay fit and up to date in that tiny area meant devoting to it several hours of reading per week but International Law is judging by the number of people knowing all about it a lot more simple ;-)

Thomas Lowinger said...

Mr. Pearce; without the Americans, England would long be a vassal state of Germany. You might have been writing your comments in German. Israel is a small country, relatively speaking it has contributed more to science, culture in the last 50 years then many far bigger countries. Incidentally, have you ever heard of Dresden ? bombed by the Brits among others.

Yaacov said...

Anon -

You're right of course. 18-19 centuries, not 22 of them. My bad. But the point remains.

Backseat - on the one hand, the blog post you've dug up is pathetic. On the other hand, it does remind us that anti-Jewish spite and invective can be found in all sorts of corners, even from (seemingly) knowledgeable Jews. This isn't new, of course, but being reminded from time to time is healthy.

Richard -

Welcome to this blog and its comments section. You don't expect me to respond to all your comments today, of course, but if you stick around long enough you'll find that while I don't respond to all comments, not even to most, from time to time I do; if you raise interesting points I'll respond to them in a serious manner. In the meantime, feel free to use the archive on the left to see what I was writing during the Gaza operation, or if you wish you might be interested in my reading of the Goldstone report, which I carefully read from cover to cover.

One comment I will make here is about what the UK would or wouldn't do. The last time the UK was faced by an existential enemy it bombed its cities to rubble, killing hundreds of thousands of civilians. More recently, in 2009 it participated in ISAF, which by all accounts killed more civilians than Israel did, with less immediate provocation; actually, with no immediate provocation at all. Also with less to show for it, since Israel's war in Gaza achieved the goal it set out to achieve.

Anonymous said...

In order to get near to ‘400 children’, you have to include 16 and 17 year olds; so 18 an up would be adults. It is at about 16 years of age that there is a bulge in male deaths, this bulge continues throughout the years of ‘military age’ in males. There are of course two opposite explanations for the bulge, but a bulge there is.
Btselem’s count for the number of people killed who ‘did not take part in hostilities’ is 762. “Of these, 318 were minors under age 18.”
(earlier numbers and methodology here
To get to ‘900’, I believe one needs to include the most of the ‘police’ as civilians. Although Btselem argues that the ‘police’ killed at the police stations did not ‘take part in hostilities’, they at least provide them a separate entry in the accounting. You can read the reports to see if you agree with Btselem’s definition of ‘not taking part in hostilities’.

Othewise, Btselem’s analysis seems to assume that all people listed as killed during Cast Lead were killed by Israeli action. We know 2 Gazan children died before the start of the operation from a Qassam dropping short on their house, but I’ve yet to see any reference to Palestinian friendly fire deaths during the war.

If anyone has a list of the Gazans who died a natural death during Cast Lead (the monthly rate is around 200-300 people) I’d like to see it, there is an argument that these people have been rolled into the overall casualty count.

Anonymous said...

Richard said:

In fact only 19 rockets were fired from Gaza between June 18th 2008 and the end of October 2008.

Richard, only 19? Screw you.


Anonymous said...

Having been a toddler in heavily bombed Nuremberg (city of the Reichsparteitag after all) during the war I have read and thought a lot about whether the bombings served their purpose or not.

I have come to the conclusion that all the military pundits who say they were useless or almost useless judge on too short a time scale.

Here's why
- even though the bombings did not produce the immediately wanted results they tired out the civilian urbanites - all they wanted, when the Americans finally entered was quiet and a regular life - no more nightly runs to the bunkers - I am convinced had the city dwellers been left in peace there would have been acts of "resistence" which would have cost a lot of lives of those who conquered my country and thus gave me free speech and a beautiful life in a prosperous country.
Even though these early terrors have left me with some awkward "PTSDs" I find those a small price to pay for the gift of a life in a Western style democracy and rescue from the madness of my forebears so whoever accuses the Allies of having bombed me will get this in their defence.

Richard Pearce said...

Dear Silke,

I am aware that there has been some confusion over what age constitutes the difference between an adult and a child in relation to the statistics released on Gaza by different parties on all sides.

Under UK law, any person under the age of 18 is considered to be a juvenile, so that would be my personal point of reference. I understand that the IDF believes that a child is any person under the age of 16 so for your sake I will reduce the number of children murdered to 313, the break down of which is as follows; 46 murdered children under the age of 5 years, 73 murdered children between the age of 5 and 10 years, 89 murdered children between the age of 11and 14 years and 105 murdered children between the age of 15 to 16 years.

I understand your scepticism regarding the deaths of the children that I mentioned, as I said, there are many, many more examples I can provide. I also smiled when I read your disingenuous reference to International Law, here are a few more examples for you together with an explanation of the legal implications which you may be able to understand;

The Olwaiwa's, murdered in their home in Shijaiyeh by an artillery shell that entered the house through a bedroom window and exploded in the kitchen. Under customary International Humanitarian Law, all feasible care must be taken to spare civilians (yes, a child is considered to be a civilian) from the effects of hostilities. Artillery bombardment is indiscriminate, and therefore violates the principle of distinction when used in a civilian area. This attack constitutes two counts of war crimes, as defined in Articles 8(2)(b)(ii) and (iv) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

- Mo’tassem Olaiwa, age 14
- Mo’men Olaiwa, age 13
- Lana Olaiwa, age 9
- Isma’il Olaiwa, age 7

The al-Battran's, murdered in their home in al-Bureij refugee camp by a Hellfire missile fired from an Israeli Air Force plane. This attack was intentional and disproportionate. As such, the attack was indiscriminate, and therefore is a war crime, as defined in Article 8(2)(b)(iv) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

- Islam al-Battran, age 15
- Eman al-Battran, age 9
- Ehsan al-Battran, age 9 (twin sister of Eman)
- Bilal al-Battran, age 6
- Izziddin al-Battran, age 3

The Salha's, murdered in their home in Jabaliya town by 3 bombs dropped from an Israeli Air Force plane. This direct attack on a civilian object, at a time when civilians were forced to shelter in their homes due to the intensity of the Israeli armed forces offensive, constitutes a wilful killing, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions. As it could also be reasonably expected that the complete destruction of a house would result in extensive civilian death and injury, this attack also constitutes two counts of war crimes, as defined in Articles 8(2)(b)(ii) and (iv) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

- Diaa’ al-Din Salha, age 14
- Rana Salha, age 12
- Bahaa’ Salha, age 5
- Rula Salha, age 1 year and 3 months

Shahd Hijji, age 2 and a half years, murdered outside her home in Zaytoun after being shot in the chest by the IDF (after the IDF had ordered the Hijji family to leave their home for their own safety). This attack constitutes a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and two counts of war crimes, as defined in Articles 8(2)(a)(i) and 8(2)(b)(i) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. The direct targeting of civilians is a clear violation of customary International Humanitarian Law, as it violates the principle of distinction, and the requirement that civilians be spared the effects of hostilities. Customary International Humanitarian Law is explicit in this regard: attacks may not be intentionally directed against civilians.

As I have stated before, there are many, many more examples if you need them.

Anonymous said...


thank you -

this child-definition-question is really confusing - recently I heard a lecture about child soldiers and the law - there the age limit is 15, after that age they become accountable soldiers
it seems all quite arbitrary to me - from what I know of German peasants' and Greek fishermen's kids they tend to start to act like responsible adults around 14/15.


Richard Pearce said...

Dear Thomas,

I am of course aware of the way the British, Russians and Americans (remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki?) behaved during the Second World War. I could also mention the history of the Tnuat Haherut and the terrorist acts they committed against the British, Palestinians, representatives of the United Nations and indeed other Jews in Palestine before the State of Israel came into being. It is due to those military and terrorist actions (and the actions of the Nazi regime, including in relation to the Holocaust) that the Geneva Conventions, and multiple other United Nations Conventions have been written into International Law.

I am also very aware of and full of admiration for the innovation and benefits that the Jewish people (including some Israeli Jews) have bought to this planet. In fact one of my personal idols is Albert Einstein who I might add said this in 1938;

"I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state. Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain - especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state."

He was one of the most intelligent Jews ever known, but what did he know eh?

Anonymous said...

@ Richard
as you are so good on International Law (btw you just quote the law - in my world there is for every sentence of law shelves and shelves of commentary which one should know also, if one wants to rise above tabloid level - do you?)

maybe you'll enjoy this - I've also linked a a PDF by the guy which I haven't read - this Mark A. Drumbl from Yale said during the lecture that INTERNATIONAL LAW draws the line at 15.
rgds, Silke

Always Innocent?
Child Soldiers, Justice, and the International Legal Imagination

Richard Pearce said...

Dear Yaacov,

Thank you for your welcome message, I look forward to your response to my comments if you feel they merit one. I have been following your blog for some time and although I don't agree with you often, I appreciate your balance and insight into matters that are of importance to me.

I haven't read your blog regarding Goldstone, however, I will take the time to read it over the next day or so.

Kind regards,


Richard Pearce said...

Dear Asaf,

Thank you for your kind words, I find them most constructive.

Kind regards,


Zach said...

Richard Pearce,

My response to your accusation that the IDF "murdered children" comes courtesy of Fathi Hammad, Hamas legislator:

"[The enemies of Allah] do not know that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land. The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children. This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine. It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: 'We desire death like you desire life.'"

Victor said...


Your postmortem numerical assessment has absolutely no bearing on the legality of military actions in the course of hostilities.

The principle of proportionality, for example, which you bring up, is tied to perceptions of what is proportionate relative to military necessity as seen from the standpoint of a soldier engaged in combat, not a hindsight review.

On true International Law you and yours don't have a leg to stand on. Your criticism is based on a propaganda driven version of international lawfare - based not in legal doctrine, but in rage.

Surely you will not allow me to cloud your judgment with my Zionist subterfuge and manipulations. Perhaps, then, Colonel Richard Kemp, of the British Army, will open your eyes, doubtful as that may be.

Anonymous said...

Richard Pearce said:
"Surely you are aware that there was a 26 week ceasefire between Israel and Hamas which was in place prior to the massacre in Gaza? In fact only 19 rockets were fired from Gaza between June 18th 2008 and the end of October 2008."

"Only 19"? Is this your definition of "ceasefire"?

"I know what it's like to be under threat from terrorist attack"

I am tempted to ask "do you". Instead I would like to ask whether you needed to fortify your school buses, kindergardens and schools? Did you need to build shelters in the streets and safe rooms in your houses? Did your toddlers need to learn how to find cover within 15 seconds after the alarm, anywhere, any time? Because that's why those "home made rockets" from Gaza do not kill more people in Israel.


Shalom, NJ said...

To Backseat Blogger,

For someone sitting comfortably at home as you and Failed Messiah (and I) are to question whether the people who travelled thousands of miles to do the difficult work of rescuing those people are committing a Chillul Hashem by taking a break to pray is an incredible low of chutzpah, hubris, and stupidity. I add the 'stupidity' as the quoted passage tells us that the onlookers kissed the tzitzit when they finished praying, so clearly they didn't see anything wrong with the prayers.

Backseat Blogger said...

yikes. i didn't mean to imply that i agreed with false messeah. i was just pointing to his post.

false messiah did point out that there are hierachies in the saving of people on shabbat. that had me concerned , is all.

As far as I'm concerned, I couldn't care less what the members of ZAKA do or do not do on their 'down time'.

i think ZAKA does great work both inside and outside of israel and are to be commended.

Yaakov, you really have acquired yourself a major troll in the form of "Richard Pearce"

I know it's too much to ask but if "Richard Pearce" could actually stay on point and comment on the post itself rather than engage in the usual horseshit invective, it would be appreciated.

Yaacov said...

Let's be clear, Richard: There is nothing in International Law or even in International Humanitarian Law that says that killing small children in their beds during war is a crime, and certainly not murder. For that there have to be a whole series of additional conditions, and none of them apply to the war in Gaza last year. Even the Goldstone Report, for all its outlandish claims, didn't have the legal standing to say otherwise, as Richard Goldstone has admitted clearly.

The event in November which you feel proves the Israelis broke a cease fire was initiated by Hamas. True, once it was over six of their fighters were dead and no Israelis were even wounded, but that has everything to do with training, and nothing to do with intention. The intention to destroy the ceasefire was of Hamas, not Israel.

Barry Meislin said...

The anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish catechism has become The New Religion.

The more it is reported, the more it is repeated, the more it is disputed, the falser it is, the truer it becomes.

Finally, thank the (um, er, well) powers that be, something to believe in.

O! Glorious Hatred! O! Glorious Love!

Anonymous said...

just a little reminder of the glorious days when the Brits still were unabashed fallible human beings and imperialists who knew how everybody should behave (reading Richard Pearce convinced me that they seem to haven't changed much except for a decline in endearing eccentricity)

re Cricket:
"a team of one-legged men play a side who were one-armed. (The one-legged team won, by 103 runs; five wooden legs were broken during the game.) "

for those who distrust "Flashman" I have added a "serious" link

rgds, Silke

Morey Altman said...

Had long discussions on pikuach nefesh with Jewish colleagues as we prepared to go to Haiti (I was in Jamaica when the quake hit) a few days ago. We were prevented from violating Shabbat by forces I cannot go into right now, but I have a good story. Which means a long blog post in a few days ;)

Richard Pearce said...

I find the whataboutism (anyone remember "U nich negrov linchuyut"?) and the argumentum ad hominem here rather tiresome, however, I will respond to those of you who attempted to say something.

Silke - I suggest you read the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict

Zach - If I took everything the fanatics say about Britain and the West literally, I would be so paranoid I might even believe everything my own Government tells me. Extreme viewpoints tend to be supported by a minority but they do make good sound bites, however, I do like a good quote such as; "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished". Do you have any idea who said that? Here's a clue; unlike Yitzhak Rabin, they are trying to send this one to prison.

Victor - If you can find someone who can explain the proportionality of the bombing and shelling of 60,000 homes (I'll leave the schools, hospitals and civil infrastructure out of this one), with a total outcome of 1400 people dead, including 313 innocent children under the age of 16 years old, I would appreciate it. While you’re at it, perhaps you can find someone who can explain the military necessity for killing 31,000 chickens?

Judith - IRA terrorism was targeted and therefore almost unmanageable, but it was terror all the same. I do hope that the defensive dome that Israel is developing for defence against the rockets works and for that matter, works well. While I appreciate the terror that these homemade rockets bring to the innocent people that live within their range (it's 25 miles isn't it?), I fail to see the existential threat to Israel that these rockets present as a whole and I can't rationalise the deaths of 29 Israeli's over 9 years with the wanton destruction that the Israeli armed forces unleashed on Gaza within 22 days. Fortunately for me, the British Government did not lay siege on Northern Ireland and then proceed to systematically destroy it’s civilian and civil infrastructure nor did it cantonise the Irish territories or oppress the Irish people. As a result, we still have democracy here and more importantly, we have peace.

Backseat Blogger - I refer you to my first comment.

Yaacov - A layman can interpret any law in any manner they see fit, I personally look forward to the day when these matters are dealt with either in the International Court of Justice or by the United Nations in an International Criminal Tribunal. Allow me to quote Albert Einstein again as I believe he was rather more intelligent than I am; "It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder". Have you ever wondered why Einstein declined the offer of becoming the second President of the State of Israel?

Barry - It is a shame that some people view criticism of the Government and armed forces of the State of Israel as general anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist or even anti-Jewish (to coin a phrase) "horseshit invective". Fortunately for me, not all Jewish people that I know are in the "Israel are right and require my support regardless of whatever they do" camp. Your statement reminded me of something that Gandhi once said; "First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win". I do hope that this becomes the case for the Palestinian people and the Israeli and Jewish people around the world that support them.

Victor said...

Richard, I'll let others respond to comments you directed at them, and I will respond to comments you directed at me.

If you can find someone who can explain the proportionality...

Again, proportionality (in the legal sense) has nothing to do with the numbers you cite. Proportionality refers to the use of force deemed necessary in the course of hostilities, from the perspective of the soldier directing that force, based on the information available, to achieve a military objective. The objective of Cast Lead was to end rocket fire from Gaza.

While you’re at it, perhaps you can find someone who can explain the military necessity for killing 31,000 chickens?

Again, the numbers you cite have nothing to do with proportionality and military necessity. It could be a million chickens or five chickens. If there was a military necessity to eliminate a target, and the employed use of force was considered at that time by the unit commander or pilot proportional to the target set, they have the legal right to use that force.

I was not at the chicken farm to know if Hamas had concealed weapons inside, or if the farm grounds were being used to launch attacks against Israeli civilians or IDF forces. Neither were you. You don't know the circumstances, as you yourself admit, yet you allow yourself to make terrible denunciations. You have no legal or moral basis to do so.

War is hell and innocent people and chickens die, but to accuse Israeli soldiers of acting in a manner contrary to established principles of war and proportionality is legally and morally unfounded. Now you know why we call it "lawfare".

In the conduct of hostilities in Gaza, with limited information, with imperfect weapons, in populated areas and against an enemy that sought maximum collateral damage and loss of life on all sides as a principle war aim, "the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare".

That's not me talking, but a respected, high ranking British military professional with decades of experience in counter-terrorism, conventional and guerrilla warfare.

Here is a man who has fought, and continues to fight the kind of war the IDF fought in Gaza. He is telling you that no other army has done more than the IDF to preserve innocent lives. Do his experience and judgement matter?

Anonymous said...

why am I about to swallow Richard's bait again? All it will lead to is that he gets another occasion to write more confusionals - probably I can't resist a temptation

So Richard,
because I respect and admire Einstein very much, he wasn't a lawyer and I have always found that laywers have very very peculiar mindsets why I thank you very much for your advice to read this convention or that statute but I will not follow it and will continue to have myself educated by legally trained minds from all nooks and crannies who interpret it for me instead of by tabloid readings of the law or by my own without a doubt almost super-human abilities of reading and interpreting it. (are you aware that those reading the bible for themselves are convinced that the earth is 6000 years old? - I find that an insult to the bible which is a text so gorgeous it doesn't deserve this)

Once again - the most simple sentences looked at closely may reveal layers upon layers of intricacies - that is btw one of the reasons I enjoy Yaacov's reports from his studies so much. Those old Jewish scholars seem to have had exactly the kind of mindset I find so intriguing and quite often outright fascinating and enlightening to boot in lawyers and they possibly even went deeper than any living lawyer I ever came close to.

So whenever you keep throwing around your law quotes that strikes me as an attempt at presuming a competence you do not have i.e. like bragging.

and to Victor:

what Richard tries to wage is not "Lawfare" it is just plain polemics jumping from one point to the next thus securing that he gets a chance of posting as many seemingly terrible facts as possible. Unfortunately the people who try to wage real Lawfare are a lot smarter and more savvy than Richard, they make my spine crawl.


Yaacov said...


Now you've quite lost me. You say that

A layman can interpret any law in any manner they see fit,

I've never heard this concept, and it seems to undermine the entire idea of law, namely that it applies to everyone in the jurisdiction. If, as you say, it's merely "an opinion", why would your opinion have any meaning for the rest of us?

Perhaps you ought to think that one through again.

Anonymous said...

Please don't reward Hamas for its hatred and bigotry. If BDS were to suceed the results would be nothing like as benign as ANC-run South Africa. Why support a terror organization by simply repeating it's one-sided allegations?