in WorldAffairs

Who Pays?

Israel launched hostilities against Hezbollah in Lebanon, destroyed homes, infrastructure and brought human devastation.

Who paid to rebuild shattered buildings?
Who paid to rebuild shattered lives?

Then Israel had a lock-in in Gaza. It cordoned it off from the outside world (mostly, though al-jazeera still got real reports from their on the ground teams). Then they went to work, in the name of stopping Hamas missiles from being launched against civilian targets within Israel.

Neither of these are wars. They are brutal acts of aggression by a recognised State against non-state actors. Nevertheless, Israel is accountable to international humanitariand and human rights law to behave properly. This means they must avoid harming civilans and they must ultimately pay for the damage.

War or not , Israel must be held accountable for the scale of destruction of life and property in these attacks.

I’m not naive enough to think that Hamas is saintly or bears no responsibility for at least part of this mess – any group that launches missiles from within civilian populations, effectively using innocents as human shields are immoral and criminal. Their actions make them complicit in the ensuing crimes against humanity that occur. Both sides are to blame in this tragedy. That is not the same as condemning them as out and out terrorists without a cause. Which is a topic for another piece.

For either side to then claim any kind of victory against the background of babies and infants on fire and children trapped under collapsed building, is both obscene and chilling.

My primary concern in this piece is who bears the costs of rebuilding broken buildings and infrastructure, of compensating fathers for the murder of their children, of mothers for the death of their breadwinners (though with 80% unemployment in Gaza, not much bread is being won!).

The EU emissary to Gaza said European taxpayers are tired of paying for buildings to be rebuilt only for Israel to blow them up again. Why must the rebuilding costs be borne by anyone else but those who knocked it down?

Why isn’t the United Nations drawing up resolutions forcing Israel to pay for the devastation is has wracked – perhaps knowing that they will have to pay the rebuilding costs and compensate for the human carnage will encourage them to negotiate a peace?

My questions resound within the emptiness of the international community’s resolve to hold Israel to account. It is the State entity here after all and must be made to play by the rules of Statehood, which must include bearing the financial consequences of the military policy.

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