Israel’s “right to defend itself” – an exchange with Sarah Honig

Hi Sarah,
Hope you are well.  I wondered if you could help me with something…On the radio yesterday, I heard an Israeli official describe the current military action against Gaza as an act of “self defence”.
This seemed slightly confusing to me, since – as far as I understand matters – Gaza is still considered, by the UN (and, it would seem, the British government), to be occupied.  Thus, by corollary, the official appeared to be asserting the “right” of an occupying power to “defend itself” against those it occupies.
This seems a strange “right”, wouldn’t you agree?  Not least because, if applied universally, it leads to obviously silly conclusions, e.g.  that Iraq had the “right” to crush resistance to its occupation of Kuwait, or that Nazi Germany had the “right” to crush resistance to its occupation of, say, France.
I’d be grateful for your comments.
Many thanks,
The claim that Gaza is occupied is an obscene falsehood!!!
Seems an entirely reasonably interpretation to me, based on the degree of control Israel exercises over Gaza’s borders, airspace and territorial waters.  Hell, even the (pro-Israeli) UK government agrees.
Thus, on the face of it, Israel has about as much right to “defend itself” against Gaza as Iraq had to “defend itself” against Kuwait, or Nazi Germany had to “defend itself” against France.
Or am I being unfair?
Yes, you are being unfair!
Why?  Have you spotted a logical flaw?
[no further response from Sarah]
Note:  Sarah Honig is an Israeli journalist at the Jerusalem Post.  I had some brief correspondence with her back in 2009 regards Israel’s “apartheid wall”, which went like this…
Hi Sarah,
If Israel’s security fence was “erected to hamper suicide-bombers” (as you claim here:, why was it not built on the Green Line? 
Topography, dear Joe, topography!
So it’s “topography” that explains why the wall encloses most of the major settlement blocs, the aquifers and the fertile land of the West Bank, right?
Get a life, Joe – The wall mostly adheres to the Green Line, except where topography mades it impossibe. The settlers are OUTSIDE the wall!
Getting your facts staright might be a wee bit of a help, you know.
Thanks, Sarah.  In fact, as you well know, only about 20 percent of the wall is on the Green Line – the rest cuts into the West Bank in order to annex major settlements and resources to Israel.  The maps don’t lie.  And as for the settlers, here’s an excerpt from the ICJ’s ruling on the wall:
“The Court notes that the route of the wall as fixed by the Israeli Government includes within the “Closed Area” (i.e. the part of the West Bank lying between the Green Line and the wall) some 80 per cent of the settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and has been traced in such away as to include within that area the great majority of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem).”
Case closed? 

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