This falls under the rubric of “Extreme Obamite Cleverness” (EOC).
For many years, Israel had a policy of demolishing the homes of individual Palestinians who had engaged in terrorist acts against Israel. This policy was quite controversial, and about ten years ago, Israel had largely abandoned it. But because of the increasing violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered its full reinstatement. (h/t Weasel Zippers)
Mind you, we are talking about demolishing individual homes of individuals who were proved to have engaged in terrorist acts, for instance Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis, who had stolen an excavator on August 4, 2014, ran over pedestrians with it, injuring several and killing one, before ramming it into a public bus, overturning the bus and then hitting it repeatedly with the scoop.
Not good, says Jen Psaki, the spokeswoman of the U.S. State Department. In fact, very bad. According to her, targeting of individual proven perpetrators of terrorist attacks is “collective punishment.” She also bemoans the fact that the demolitions “would only heighten tensions in the region.”
One has to assume that, because she is spokeswoman for the Obama State Department, this is in fact the official position of the Obama administration.
Newsflash, Miss Psaki. Collective punishment refers to taking action against a group of people, not individuals, hence the use of the word “collective.” But given the Obamite track record vis-à-vis the Jewish state, my impression is that the term was used deliberately because the 1949 Geneva Convention defines collective punishment as a war crime. The underlying formula is pretty simple: Israel + any act of self-defense against Palestinian terror = war crime.
I have the impression that far too many people accept this at face value. However, if one digs a little deeper, one finds out that, under some circumstances, the Geneva Convention actually permits reprisals. The definition of a reprisal is pretty clear, at least to me: “Reprisals refer to acts which are illegal if taken alone, but become legal when adopted by one state in retaliation for the commission of an earlier illegal act by another state.”
In my view, this definition fits the situation perfectly, to wit:
- Earlier illegal act: Muhammed Naif El-Ja’abis carried out a terror attack with a stolen excavator, killing at least one Israeli and wounding several.
- Reprisal, made legal by the initial illegal act: the Israelis demolish his home.
Psaki’s use of the term collective punishment instead of reprisal, especially without mentioning the earlier terror attack, continues the long Obamite tradition of demonizing Israel and giving the Palestinians a free pass. And that attitude, not the Israelis’ reprisals against individual terrorists, “heighten tensions in the region.”