With recent comments made by a US presidential candidate and others in the media, this American, who completed his service as a lone solder in the IDF, says it is time to revisit the facts.

We have all heard it over and over. From the media, world leaders, and now presidential candidates. “Israel responds to terror with disproportionate force.” “Israel needs to show restraint.” There are two common themes that apply to all who believe Israel acts disproportionately. One, they do not know the rules of war according to international law. Or two, they are simply anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. Let me explain why.

According to the laws of war and terror, proportionate or disproportionate response has NOTHING to do with the number of lives lost on either side. Two-thousand Palestinians killed and “only” 70 Israelis is not part of the equation. It also has NOTHING to do with images that the media decides to show the public. It does look and feel awful when CNN shows you images of death and destruction in Gaza. Israel would look the same way if it weren’t for the brilliant invention of the Iron Dome defense system. Law, however, has nothing to do with feelings, and only has to do with facts.

One major rule of war is that you must make a distinction between combatants and non-combatants. You have Hamas on one side – which goes out of its way to kill as many civilians as possible. They even use their own civilians as human shields. You then have Israel on the other side, which goes out of its way to keep the innocent out of harm’s way. They even go as far as putting their own lives at risk for innocent Palestinians. Every civilian killed by the IDF is considered an operational failure. Period. Every civilian killed by Hamas is a greater operational success. So you tell me – who committed the war crime?

Let’s look at another rule of war. If you place rockets and weapons in a school or mosque, the people there become legitimate military targets. If you put a command center in a hospital, the hospital becomes a legitimate military target. Not to mention that those actions alone are war crimes. Why is there more outcry about Israel’s response than there is about Hamas using civilian areas to launch terror attacks? Think about it.

Once a target is acquired, what does make a strike disproportionate? If there are two rockets in a school of 500 children, that school cannot be destroyed because those two rockets cannot kill 500 children on the other side. However, If there are 500 rockets in a house where a family of two lives – by international law, that house may be destroyed because the lives being saved on the other side is greater. Even at that point, Israel does all is can to warn the civilians in the area of an upcoming strike, dropping leaflets and “roof knocking” first.

Hamas terrorists in Gaza

Hamas terrorists in Gaza. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Every IDF soldier is required to carry on him/her at all time a pamphlet of the IDF code of ethics. In this code of ethics it states that he/she will do everything to preserve human life and dignity, regardless of race and religion. The Hamas “code of ethics” says they will not stop until they have murdered every Jew around the world. The line between good and evil is crystal clear.

Why has no country in the history of the world ever been held to the standard that Israel is held to when it comes to war? If you don’t hold yourself to the same standard that you require from Israel – you are simply anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. There is no other explanation.

No one is perfect. No country is perfect. No military is perfect. In combat, mistakes do happen. Every loss of life innocent life is tragic. We do all we can to prevent that, while they do all they can to promote it. As Prime Minister Golda Meir once said – “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

There is NOT, and there will NEVER be any moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. The next time someone mentions disproportionate response with regard to Israel – teach them the rules of war, expose their hypocrisy, and put an end to their lies.

Article by Leibel Mangel

Leibel A Mangel, 23, is from Cincinnati, Ohio. His grandfather is a Holocaust survivor who was in Auschwitz. Mangel “knew I had to do my part to make sure it never happened again.” In 2013, he moved to Israel to enlist in the IDF. He served as a lone soldier (machine gunner) in the 96th regiment of the Kfir Brigade. Since returning to Cincinnati, he teaches Krav Maga defense and speaks about Israel and the IDF.