What are the limits of self-defense?

By bombing Qana, Israel appears to have made a fatal mistake. It’s fatal in two ways: firstly as regards the future of civilians in Lebanon and secondly as regards the outcome of this war, one which has no political goals and has been planned from an exclusively military outlook with no regard for the value of human life. Perhaps this stance can be attributed to the deterioration Israel has suffered as a state due to the constant presence of a mighty and arrogant military organization in its public life. The next few days will be critical in determining the outcome of the war. But it is clear even now that Israel has lost the most critical battle, the one of impressions. Any justification, any argument simply crumbles opposite the images of lifeless and maimed children in Qana. Even the right to survival – inalienable and respected by all nations – collapses when accompanied by a provocative indifference to the survival of others. It is clear that a lot more blood will be shed in this war unless there is an immediate and unconditional ceasefire. Israel’s political and military leadership will want to regain its influence, to respond to the international outcry with an even more widespread show of force, intensifying its attacks against Hezbollah and Hamas – in practice, against the Lebanese and Palestinians. In previous commentaries, I remarked that Israel has the right to exist and operate as a sovereign and independent state as its neighbors dispute this right. But this right of Israel’s to exist and defend itself exists in parallel to the right of the Palestinians and other people in the region. It remains for Israel to prove that it is capable of operating as a state, not as a parastate, as is the case with Hezbollah and Hamas.

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