by Eli E. Hertz
Who is the Aggressor and Who is the Victim?
To finance, recruit, train, house, feed, transport, kidnap and murder innocent Jews, is a collective Palestinian Arab effort that demands a collectively responsible response from the international community.
It is a denial of reality to assume that only a small "armed group" of terrorists could be involved in thousands of documented acts of terror in the past 12 years by Palestinian Arabs from all walks of life. It would be reckless to assume that these acts of terror are isolated, undertaken independently, without the direct involvement of the Palestinian Arab populace and the leadership they opt to elect.
In fact, poll after poll shows widespread collective support among the majority of the Palestinian Arab population for the destruction of
Ironically, Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention  that deals with prohibition of imposing collective punishment on civilian population under occupation, should have been applied by the Goldstone Mission to protect over 1,000,000 innocent men, women, and children in the Israeli towns of Sderot, Ashkelon, and hundreds of smaller communities that are collectively punished day-in and day-out for offences they never personally committed.
Interestingly, the British in 1929 thought that collective punishment was a perfectly legitimate measure when inhabitants of Arab villages attacked the Jews. This collective punishment was not merely a single necessary step, but actually an existing ordinance of the British Mandate supported by the
"The Collective Punishments Ordinances were applied to the [Arab] towns and villages whose inhabitants were guilty of participation in the concerted attacks on Jews at
Throughout history, Jews have been law-abiding, peaceful people defending themselves against Arab aggression. In a 1946 Report, the Anglo-American Committee described its observation regarding Jews living in the
"The Jew had to train himself for self-defence, and to accustom himself to the life of a pioneer in an armed stockade. Throughout the Arab rising, the Jews in the National Home, despite every provocation, obeyed the orders of their leaders and exercised a remarkable self-discipline. They shot, but only in self-defence; they rarely took reprisals on the Arab." 
Palestinian Arabs, by their first use of armed force against Israeli civilians and non-combatant Jews in contravention of the United Nations Charter, constituted prima facie [Latin: on its face] evidence of an act of aggression - aggression being defined by international law as "the most serious and dangerous form of illegal use of force." 
The rule of proportionality in this case of continuous Hamas aggression, needs to be met by Israeli acts that will 'induce' the wrongdoing aggressors to comply with its international obligations. A countermeasure need not be the exact equivalent of the breaching act.  Judge Schwebel, the former president of the International Court of Justice is quoted saying:
"In the case of action taken for the specific purpose of halting and repelling an armed attack, this does not mean that the action should be more or less commensurate with the attack." 
The perception among Palestinian Arabs that politically motivated violence is legitimate and effective - is nothing new. From a broader perspective, if the Palestinians are rewarded with political gains following their acts of aggression, it can be expected that other radical groups will also make use of the rockets and suicide bomber model.
Eli E. Hertz
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
 JMCC Poll no. 59 on Palestinian attitudes towards the abduction of the Israeli soldier and Firing of Rockets, 9 July 2006. See: http://www.jmcc.org/publicpoll/results/2006/no59.pdf.
 See: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/c525816bde96b7fd41256739003e636a/72728b6de56c7a68c12563cd0051bc40?OpenDocument
 From the report by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Council of the League of Nations on the Administration of Palestine and
 Report of the Anglo-American Committee of Enquiry regarding the problem of European Jewry and
 See Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy; 3/22/2002; Beard, Jack M.
 See UN GA Resolution 3314.
 United States Department of State, Draft Articles on State Responsibility, Comments of the Government of the
March 1, 2001. See: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/28993.pdf.