Concerning the current conflict between Israel and Gaza, many politicians and correspondents have lambasted Israel for violating some mythical “law of proportionality” because the human and material
damage in Gaza is much greater than those inflicted on Israel.
For many Israel supporters, it can be infuriating to hear these charges. However, according to Luis Moreno- Ocampo, former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, international law says only that the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must not be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated by an attack on a military objective.
This definition makes no reference to the ratio of casualties on either side. And Israel is clearly not guilty of using excessive force under this correct definition of “proportionality.” So the next time you see some talking head or EU official claiming Israel is not “fighting fair,” feel free to remind them that they are wrong.
Sheldon R. Waxman