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Israel’s blurred red line of self-defense

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses the excuse of self-defense to target other regimes and to make a mockery of decisions by the international community.
Israeli soldiers patrol near a burning field on the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Gaza, May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1FB2222060
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Following his May 9 Kremlin meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters he had explained to his host that “it is the right of every state, certainly it is Israel's right, to take such steps as are necessary to defend itself against this aggression.” At almost the same time, Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz was explaining, “Only offensives now, today, can prevent violence and war tomorrow.” Education Minister and defense Cabinet member Naftali Bennett bolstered their remarks, telling a gathering of young Israelis, “If I had to summarize the policies of the Israeli government and the security establishment in this era, I would say, 'If one rises up to kill you, kill him first.'”

Obviously, Iran did not deploy missile launchers throughout Syria out of any peaceful goals. However, where is the famous “red line’’ — those hostile military actions unacceptable by Israel? What turns a series of (allegedly Israeli) strikes in the sovereign territory of a neighboring state into “self-defense”? If, as Katz argued, offensives today can avert war tomorrow, a responsible (Israeli) government must also bomb the missiles deployed by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon. And what about the long-range missiles Iran can launch from the outskirts of Tehran at Israel’s nuclear facility near the town of Dimona?

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