Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam


By Rhonda Spivak, December 20, 2010

When Israel disengaged form the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas destroyed all of the greenhouses that had been built by the Israelis who lived there.
"There was a long debate [on the Israeli side] whether to destroy the greenhouses or not. Ariel Sharon, [then Israeli's Prime Minister] left them in the expectation that they would continue to serve as an economic opportunity for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," said Amos Guiora, an Israeli expert in operational counterterrorism who spoke at the Berney Theatre on November 29.

Guiora, gave two possible answers as to why Hamas destroyed them.
"They were a vestige of Israeli occupation, and so Hamas destroyed them," he said, noting that "we could understand that." However, a possible yet more sinister explanation, which can not be discounted, could be that Hamas wanted to "destroy places of work for Gazans because this makes them [Gazans] more dependent on Hamas", said Guiora. If and when Hamas provides them money to live, Gazans are more  likely to adhere to Hamas ideology, even  to become  shahids - martyrs - who will die for the Hamas cause of liberating Israel from Israelis.
Why this talk about Hamas and Gaza during a presentation on lawfare? Because lawfare is precisely that asymmetric type of strategic warfare waged by non-state actors. Hamas  is a non-state actor that has used its power to achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the world by claiming human rights abuses and using the legal system to further its goals. Lawfare seeks to deligitimize the sovereignty of legal states, nation states like Israel, and is used to impede the battle against terrorism.
In his talk, entitled "LawFare: Whose Rights Should Be Protected," Guiora evoked the Goldstone Report, a piece that has played into the hands of "lawfare" and is, in fact, a highly flawed document from more than the legal point of view. Take for example the process used by Goldstone. His "sources", were "were [only] those authorized by Hamas" adding that Israel's decision not to cooperate with the Commission was controversial and possibly, not self-serving as it prevented Israel from making its case before the Commission.
'No one met with him [Goldstone] alone," said Guiora." A Hamas guy was always there and people from the community were there," which served to pressure anyone who spoke to Goldstone. "This is not objective fact-finding”, Guiora said.
The Goldstone Report has been and is being used to give legitimacy to political goals. Further, it is being used to legitimize the deligitimization of Israel. For example, Goldstone never seriously investigated the reasons that prompted Operation Cast Lead. "What precipitated it? …Why did the State of Israel launch Operation Cast Lead?"  More than 750,000 Israelis live in a zone within striking range of missiles and mortars from Gaza. In 2008 alone, 1,750 rockets and 1,528 mortar bombs were fired from the Gaza Strip and struck southern Israel whose citizens have been tormented by the sirens of the early warning system that forced them to leap into bomb shelters within 10-15 seconds' notice. SO, if Israel can be accused of anything, according to Guiora, it is not of using disproportionate force but of using disproportionate restraint. Thus, the Goldstone Report effectively "limits a state's right to engage in self-defense," to protect its borders and its citizens.

So, the question is determining what actors are legitimate targets in the context of lawful, pre-emptive self-defense. Guiora said that until Operation Cast Lead, the person “who actually shot the rocket” or the mastermind off a terrorist attack were considered legitimate targets. However, in his view, in light of Operation Cast Lead----in the context of self-defense--- the categories of legitimate targets should be expanded to include two additional categories: those knowingly part of the tunnel building infrastructure including the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip, as well as those involved in building missiles and financiers of terrorism.  In the same vein, those   “who [consent to] give land from which the missiles are being fired” can also be considered legitimate targets provided they do so willingly which requires assessment of intelligence information.

Guiora applauded the efforts of  prominent lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who has made it clear that in light of the  Goldstone Report and lawfare, "we must re-articulate the notion of self-defense", since "lawfare creates immunity for non-state actors [like Hamas].” So, whose rights should be protected? The non-state actors, like Hamas, who act with impunity and are increasingly using lawfare to gain legitimacy? Or the nation state and its citizens? Guiora is of the view that "Nation States must, at a minimum, have a right to protect and proactively protect its citizens."
Guiora, who has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on handling terrorism detainees, and before a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, is a former I.D.F. military prosecutor in the West Bank Military Court,  a former Judge in the Gaza Strip Military Court, and a former legal advisor  to the Gaza Strip Military Commander.
His visit to Winnipeg was coordinated by  Shelley Faintuch, Director of Community Relations of the Jewish Federation of  Winnipeg. His visit included a number of presentations and meetings,  and was supported by the  Combined Jewish Appeal, Canada-Israel Committee, Hillel Wpg, Jewish National Fund, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, The David Project, Hasbara Fellowships, Birthright Next, and Herzlia Adas-Yeshurun Synagogue.

<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Royal Bank
  • Fillmore Riley
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • JNF Manitoba / Saskatchewan
  • JCFS
  • JCFS Winnipeg
  • Orthodox Union
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Sobey's
  • Coughlin Insurance
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • Safeway Tuxedo
  • Daniel Friedman and Rob Dalgleish
  • Lipkin Family
  • Booke + Partners
  • Red River Coop
  • Gislason Targownik
  • Janice Morley-Lecomte
  • James Teitsma
  • Obby Khan
  • Jon Reyes
  • James Bezan
  • Markus Chambers
  • Ross Eadie
  • Ted Falk
  • Artista Homes
  • Fetching Style
  • Chisick Family
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Bob and Shirley Freedman
  • Shinewald Family
  • MLT Aikins
  • MLT Aikins
  • Myers LLP
  • Levene Tadman Golub
  • Charach Family
  • Munroe Dental Centre
  • MCW Consultants Ltd.
  • Preventative Health First
  • Lanny Silver
  • Josef Ryan
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Holiday Inn Polo Park
  • Bruce Shefrin Interior Design
  • PFK Lawyers
  • Commercial Pool
  • Simmonds and Associates
  • CVA Systems
  • CdnVISA Immigration Consultants
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Dr. Brent Schachter and Sora Ludwig
  • Clear Care Periodontal
  • Shindico
  • Doheny Securities Limited
  • Lazar Family
  • Superlite
  • Chochy's
  • Nick's Inn
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Global Philanthropic
  • Abe and Toni Berenhaut
  • Peerless Garments
  • Cavalier Candies
  • Roseman Corp
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • kristinas-greek
  • Broadway Law Group
  • West Kildonan Auto Service
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.