Law and War; on Israel's Side

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 25, 2006 | Go to article overview

Law and War; on Israel's Side


Byline: Louis Rene Beres, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

International law is not a suicide pact. When Iran's president calls repeatedly for Israel's annihilation "Israel must be wiped off the map" he demands nothing less than genocide. In clear violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call is quite literally illegal. Not surprisingly, in view of Iran's support of Hezbollah and its unwillingness to abide by its codified obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it is also a stark affront to the U.N. Charter.

Iran is now finalizing construction of nuclear weapons. Iran openly views nuclear weapons as acceptable implements to create "a world without Zionism." As for any sort of reconciliation with Israel, Iran's president has declared menacingly, "Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury; any Islamic leader who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world."

Israel's leaders will soon have to make vitally important decisions on launching defensive first strikes. Faced with an unambiguously genocidal regime in Tehran, these Israeli leaders cannot be expected to sit back and wait for Tehran to fire lethal volleys of atomic weapons. Less than half the size of a county in California, Israel's wiggle room in matters of strategic survival is less than limited.

Although Israel has never threatened Iran with pre-emption, the Islamic republic has somehow managed to extrapolate such a threat from an awareness of its own aggressive intentions. Knowing that Israel has much to fear from Iran's dangerous nuclear program, Iran's leaders now merely assert that the "Zionist entity" is preparing for a pre-emptive strike. Despite the complete absence of any threats from Israel, Iran now openly states its intention to strike first. Iran now threatens, somewhat caricaturely, to pre-empt an unplanned pre-emption.

Soon, Israel could have little choice but to strike first itself. Such a preemption, assuredly non-nuclear, would be mandated by an Iranian-induced escalatory spiral of strategic ambiguities. Although it is likely that Israel's impressive Arrow ballistic missile defense would afford some substantial protection from incoming nuclear warheads, this system would also have some leakage. But when dealing with nuclear weapons, no leakage could ever be tolerable.

The Jewish state, facing full-blown Arab attacks in June 1967, correctly opted to strike first itself. From the standpoint of international law, this preemption against military targets was a textbook example of "anticipatory self-defense." What about the future?

"International custom" is one of several sources of international law listed at Article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Where it is understood as "anticipatory self-defense," the customary right to preempt has its modern origins in "the Caroline incident." During the unsuccessful rebellion against British rule in 1837 in Upper Canada, it was established that the serious threat of armed attack may justify militarily defensive action.

In an exchange of diplomatic notes between the governments of the United States and Great Britain, U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Webster outlined a framework for self-defense which did not require a prior attack. Military response to a threat was judged permissible so long as the danger posed was "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment of deliberation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Law and War; on Israel's Side
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.