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A Gazan man reads a leaflet dropped by the IDF giving instructions on how to evacuate ahead of military operations against Hamas. Image: video.

Israel is actually waging a just and humane war: Here’s why

Some people are saying that Israel’s war against Hamas is not a “just war” as they would describe World War II.

I believe Israel is in a “just war” and I’ll explain why. I do hate the term “just war” and use it sparingly. Questions arise as to who makes it just? It is often used in religious context. But war is always decided by political and military considerations, not a reading of Matthew 18:15.

Dwight Widaman, Editor

But let’s get some actual history about WWII first.

The U.S. and Japan actually had a treaty before Pearl Harbor. It was called the Commerce and Navigation Treaty of 1911. In fact, the US had sided with Japan in its war with Russia, and Japan had sided with the US and Britain in World War 1. But still, we were tenuous friends in the sense we were polite and could get along along when needed.  But Japan broke that treaty with the bombing of Pearl Harbor after it perceived the U.S. threatened its oil trade routes in the Pacific.

After Pearl Harbor, the US declared war on Japan. And… declared war on Germany after it declared war on us, but before we traded shots. Germany, too,  had a peace treaty with America and Britain until Germany declared war.

station holocaust

Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Public Domain

So, what makes WWII a just war?  Is it the Holocaust? The atrocities of the concentration camps were not the driving force for our entry into a world war.  The US never used ending the Holocaust as a pretext for destroying Germany. Today, we think of WWII as a “just war” because the US and its allies were fighting against the Axis which was invading other nations at will and purposely targeting their civilians and, of course, slaughtering Jews. All good reasons to fight Germany. But still, the US bombed and leveled Dresden which was a cultural center of Germany and had no military significance, while at the same time, choosing not to bomb railroad tracks that led to the gas chambers. Was that just? Six million dead Jews might question our priorities.

That brings us to the present. Yes, Israel is waging a “Just War.”

Hamas leadership says given the chance, they will invade again and slaughter every Israeli. In fact, documents discovered by Israeli forces reveal Hamas was going to push deep into Israel on Oct. 7, even going to Jerusalem if they were not stopped.

A blood-soaked child’s bed in Kibbutz Kfar Aza seen in a photo shared by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 11, 2023 in the aftermath of the Hamas assault on Israel on Oct. 7. (X/Netanyahu)

Like the US and Japan, Israel had a treaty with Hamas on Oct. 6. But on Oct. 7, Hamas broke that ceasefire treaty and invaded Israel, a sovereign state, slaughtered babies in their cribs, piled up bound children in playgrounds and burned them alive, and raped women, men and children, including their corpses. The rapes were so violent that the pelvises of babies and even women were broken in half. Civilians were targeted by Hamas. Israelis were not “collateral” damage, they were the targets. 360 concertgoers were murdered. Holocaust survivors with dementia and their caregivers were dragged from their homes and shot in their gardens. Some old people were beheaded with garden shovels. 240 were taken hostage into Gaza.

These atrocities were not only carried out by Hamas. Video evidence shows that ordinary Gazans spilled across the border and wreaked as much, or more, death and violence as did the actual Hamas fighters. And, of course, we’ve all seen the mass celebrations of Gazan civilians in the streets as the hostages are brought in.

I remind you of this because those atrocities are lost in the debate over Israel’s response to Hamas. It is being heightened by the deaths of 7 aid workers in the combat zone of Gaza. While tragic, the bigger picture is that Israel is fighting for its existence against an armed military that says it will do it all again. The answer is not to condemn Israel but to condemn Hamas and the Gazans who started this current war. Yes, the Gazans voted Hamas into power. They are partly responsible for the events of Oct. 7.

A detailed Hamas plan of attack on Kibbutz Kfar Sa’ad recovered from the bodies of Hamas militants by Israeli first responders. Photo: IDF.

After Israel was invaded and its civilians murdered, Israel launched its war against Hamas. And, contrary to what you have read, Israel’s war is considered by many military experts as the most “humane” in history for a conflict this size or larger. Yes, humane.

As of this week, Israel estimates 13,000 Hamas fighters have been eliminated with a corresponding loss of 18,000 civilians. But some say perhaps more Hamas fighters have been killed.  That is a 1/1.5 ratio of Hamas combatant deaths to civilian deaths. Given Hamas typically inflates its civilian casualties and under reports its dead fighters, that could really be 1/1.

While all civilian deaths in any war are regrettable, this ratio is unmatched in modern conflicts. Maybe conflicts since the beginning of time.

In the “Just War” of WWII, the combatant civilian death toll was conservatively 1 combatant for 2 civilians killed. 70 million civilians died.

The US Parks Service says that Civil War civilian deaths in southern states exceeded “that of any country in World War I.”

In the Mexican Civil war in the early 20th Century it was 1 combatant for every 4 Mexican civilians dead.

In the Korean war 3 civilians died for every 1 combatant.

In Vietnam, 3 civilians dead for 1 combatant.

In the modern era within memory of each of us, NATO’s 1999 “humane” war on Yugoslavia, 4 civilians dead for 1 combatant.

In the US Middle East wars since 9/11, it’s pretty bad. In Iraq alone it was 1 combatant per 3 civilians killed. Human rights groups say there have been more than 425,00 direct civilian deaths from combat and up to 4.5 million from secondary causes like starvation, disease etc).

For more recent US drone strikes in Pakistan under Clinton and Obama, it was 1 combatant per 10 civilians. Did you hear that? 10 civilians per 1 combatant. In the latest February drone strike by President Biden, it is estimated at 2 combatants per 14 civilians.

The Biden administration was responsible for the death of this Iraqi aid worker and his entire family from a drone strike in 2021. US nonprofit worker Zamarai Ahmadi, third from left, was applying for a visa to the US for himself, his wife Anisa, and their children Zamir, Zamira, Faisal and Farzad. Courtesy Nutrition & Education International

And now to Israel. The UN states that since the year 2000, in the Israel-Palestinian conflict 69% of Israelis killed were civilians, while 59% of Palestinians deaths were civilians. Palestinian casualties are at a lower rate than Israeli casualties in the conflict. You’ve most likely never heard that? Israeli civilians have died at a higher rate in the conflict with Palestinians than have Palestinians. That’s from the UN – an outfit not prone to ever put Israel in a good light.

To be clear about the Israel-Hamas war. Even at the higher rate of 1.5 civilians per 1 Hamas combatant, Israel is waging the most civilized war in modern history. And in doing so, Israel is paying a heavy price in terms of its own military personnel.

I mean, have you ever heard of a nation that was attacked evacuating civilians in the aggressor nation? Most nations have just bombed the hell out of another country without any care for the civilian casualties.

Secondly, in what war has a nation been required to feed all the people living in the nation that attacked it?  Waiting.  Only on Israel has the world put such a heavy burden.  Yet Israel is feeding Gazans and even the Hamas terrorists.

So, yes, Israel is waging a just war, and regardless of what you’ve been told, or read, or heard, or think, Israel is doing so with a regard to reducing civilian deaths that few, if any, nations have ever been able to accomplish in the history of humanity.

Facts don’t lie.



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