Edward S. Herman’s article published in Zmag on Israel-Palestine, the ‘right to self-defense’ and the double standards to which the crimes of official allies and enemies are held.
The U.S. political class and those of the EU and the new “hope” and “change” leader of the United States, Barack Obama, justify Israel’s attack on Gaza as based on its “right of self-defense.” There is, of course, the question of whether it is acceptable to defend yourself by a massive attack on a civilian population when this is not the only route to self defense—the Israelis could withdraw from an illegal occupation, they could stop starving the Gaza population, and they could abide by negotiated ceasefires (in this case, effectively and almost surely deliberately ended by their November 6 killing of six Gaza Palestinians). There is also the problem that the Israeli action violated the UN Charter. Article 51, the self-defense exception, requires immediate notification of the Security Council and, after any immediate attack is contained, giving over remedial action to the Security Council. There is also the problem that this “self-defense” operation was planned six months in advance and is widely believed in Israel to be linked to Israeli politics, with the two ruling parties seeking an improved standing—which they achieved—by military action.