CoS and officers
CoS and officersIDF Spokesperson

Farley Weiss and Leonard Grunsteinare authors of the new book Because It’s Just and Right: The Untold Back-Story of the U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

(JNS) “Despite the unique challenges Israel faces in its war against Hamas, it has implemented more measures to prevent civilian casualties than any other military in history,” wrote John W. Spencer, the chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point in New York.

Israel is conducting a just and legal defensive war in response to Hamas’s Oct. 7 invasion of southern Israel and murder of 1,200 people, including the attackers committing unspeakable atrocities and kidnapping Israelis, Americans and others.

The law of war recognizes that collateral damage is an unavoidable consequence of war.

Still, Israel has made extraordinary efforts to avoid collateral damage. It has made massive use of phone calls to civilians in combat areas to leave 19,734, SMS texts (64,399) and almost 6 million prerecorded calls. Israel also dropped more than 520,000 fliers, and has distributed military maps and urban warfare graphics to assist civilians as to where it was safe. As Spencer noted, “No military in history has ever done this.”

He also described how difficult the fight is against Hamas. Spencer elaborated, saying that “no military in modern history has faced over 30,000 urban defenders in more than seven cities using human shields and hiding in hundreds of miles of underground networks purposely built under civilian sites while holding hundreds of hostages.”

In addition, Hamas has fired approximately 15,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel and continues to do so.

Despite this, as Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, has pointed out, Israel has the lowest civilian-to-military death ratio in urban war in history.

Israel is not only complying with international law but is doing more than required, even endangering its own soldiers to greater risks of harm in combat than might otherwise be the case. Instead of being commended for its efforts, some can’t help but expose their underlying hatred of Jews by applying double standards to Israel not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation. This insidious form of antisemitism, covered by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism, is just another form of blood libel.

Yet, 13 Democratic legislators—led by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)—apparently to pander to their Hamasnik constituency and in order to justify putting conditions on U.S. aid to Israel, have invoked this blood libel by falsely claiming Israel is conducting its war against Hamas in contravention of international law. This is absurd and abhorrent.

The absurd and baseless assertions by South Africa against Israel in the International Court of Justice that somehow Israel violated the Genocide Convention in its legal defensive war against Hamas are also just another form of antisemitic blood libel.

Thankfully, the court did not grant South Africa’s demand for an immediate ceasefire, which would have only benefited Hamas, and instead actually called for a release of the hostages. We are also most grateful to Judge Julia Sebutinde, who was born in Entebbe, Uganda. She displayed amazing courage in seeking truth, even if it did not comport with the political wishes of the Ugandan government. She clearly understood the incongruity of the allegation against Israel and rejected it out of hand.

Moreover, Sebutinde properly pointed out that the majority incorrectly took Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s comments out of context, as well as those of Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant. She said they were clearly referring to destroying Hamas and not all Palestinian Arabs.

The majority opinion not only has kept the case pending and is requiring Israel to do a report in a month, but also disappointingly falsely maligned Herzog and Galant. The majority’s reliance on merely innuendo and hearsay, instead of demanding real and credible evidence is also disturbing.

Furthermore, how could the ICJ accord any credence to UNRWA-sourced statements, when the U.N. relief agency to aid Palestinian Arabs is not only affiliated with Hamas, but a dozen of its staff and employees actually participated in the horrible murders, atrocities and kidnappings on Oct. 7?

The participation by IJC president Joan E. Donoghue, an American and former foreign-policy adviser in the Obama administration, in the majority decision is particularly disheartening. She should have known better than to allow a miscarriage of justice and moral inversion.

The ICJ recognized that Hamas was the wrongdoer. It was Hamas that intended to commit genocide. It appears that through South Africa, Hamas was doing a classic Nazi Goebbels propaganda maneuver of accusing Israel, the victim, of actions perpetrated by the criminal, Hamas. The ICJ is not supposed to be just another diplomatic forum; she should have joined Sebutinde in her courageous dissenting opinion.

The ICJ did call for an immediate release of all hostages still being held captive in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has failed to do so. Given this lack of compliance, it is submitted the ICJ proceedings should be dismissed.

There is no more morally justifiable war than the one Israel is now fighting in Gaza to rescue the hostages, protect its cities from more missile attacks and prevent future attacks on its people.

Shortly after Oct. 7, U.S. President Joe Biden properly called it a fight of good versus evil. It is still a fight of good versus evil, and we may not falter. It takes guts to prosecute this just war, as is legally and morally required, to its conclusion, but that is exactly what’s needed.