The Disproportionate Defenses of Israel and the Palestinian Authority

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) produced a report in the spring of 2015 about the war between Israel and the Palestinians in the summer of 2014. The UNHRC continued with a debate in June 2015 in which several “delegations strongly condemned Israel’s excessive and disproportionate military aggression against the Palestinians” including from: Egypt; Tunisia; Maldives; Iraq; South Africa; Indonesia; Ireland and Cuba.

This analysis does not directly review “disproportionate force” but disproportionate defense employed by the two sides.

Obligation to Defend

The foremost responsibility of any governmental leadership is to protect its population.  Such defense can be implemented in a variety of ways: a police force or army to maintain order; infrastructure to ensure safety; and intelligence which can guide the appropriate use of manpower and equipment.  The United Nations has been developing a framework for “The Responsibility to Protect” over the past several years.

In the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, only one side proactively protects its citizens, while the other side uses reactive defenses. One side assumes responsibility via using its own resources and capabilities, while the other side relies completely on outside agents.



Protecting Against Incoming Missiles and Armaments

Bunkers and Bomb Shelters: Israel is unique in the Middle East in establishing a policy of bomb shelters throughout the country. In response to being surrounded to hostile neighbors that have attacked and shelled its people and lands since its inception, houses, schools, hotels, hospitals and even playgrounds are built with bomb shelters.

The Palestinians have not built shelters. Instead, they used their cement to build tunnels with which to attack Israel.

Playground shelter in Israel
(photo: Kate Simmons)

Iron Dome. Israel developed a new missile defense system called the Iron Dome, and continues to build new air defense systems to protect the country from incoming missiles.

The Palestinians have neither developed nor imported defensive systems. They have only imported offensive weaponry.

Israeli developed “Iron Dome” Defense System

Blockade of Gaza. Israel imposed a naval blockade around Gaza after the terrorist group Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of Israel, seized the land. The blockade has successfully kept out many missiles and other arms from reaching Hamas and ultimately causing death and destruction in Israel.

Protection Against Killers

Security Barrier. In September 2000, the Palestinians began multi-year riots which killed over a thousand Israelis through hundreds of attacks. In response, the Israeli government began to construct a security barrier in 2002 to keep out terrorists who mostly emanated from cities in Judea and Samaria/ east of the Green Line (EGL).

The Palestinians have not built any security barriers from the Israelis. There have been no suicide bombers going from Israel into Gaza or EGL blowing up civilians.

Stretch of Security Barrier along highway
(photo: FirstOneThrough)

Airport Security. Well before the world became attuned to airport security after the attacks on the United States on 9/11/01, Israel established an extensive airport security system. The screening of passengers, x-rays of baggage and other methods were in response to a series of airplane hijackings in the 1970s (a method of terrorism created by the Palestinian Arabs).

The Palestinians do not have an airport and therefore no such security concerns.

plane blowup 1970
Palestinians blow up plane, 1970

Protection Against Lethal Plans

Intelligence. Israelis utilize a wide variety of information sources to uncover plans to attack its country. Whether through a network of Israeli spies, Palestinian informants, money tracking, wiretapping and other means, the Israelis gather information and make assessments on potential Palestinian Arab attacks. It is then able to take preventative action before such attacks occur.



Relying on Israeli Sensitivities and Sensibilities

Civilians. As detailed above, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have not instituted proactive tangible means of defending its people. One of the ways it attempts to defend the population is by making it nearly impossible to distinguish between fighters and civilians.

  • The fighters do not typically wear uniforms and can therefore not be distinguished from civilians
  • Men, women and children are all enlisted in the war against Israel
  • Militants fire at Israel from mosques, schools and civilian neighborhoods

Palestinian Arabs hope that Israel will not indiscriminately fire upon everyone. By forcing Israel to take time and extra precautions to target the right attackers, it slows down Israeli defenses during battles.


Destroying its Own Infrastructure. Hamas built an extensive offensive network of tunnels into Israel which originated in many private homes. By relying on Israelis sensitivities to minimize destruction in civilian neighborhoods, Hamas was able to protect many tunnel openings.

Further, Hamas and other Palestinian Arab groups often booby-trapped homes from which they attacked Israel. While the Palestinian Arabs destroyed their own infrastructure, they slowed down and killed many Israelis who looked to root out the attackers.

Relying on Global Bodies like the United Nations

United Nations. One of the principal methods that the Palestinian Authority uses to defend its population is through global bodies AFTER a war. The United Nations includes 57 Islamic countries (in the OIC) and 22 Arab countries (in the Arab League) which align themselves with the Palestinian Arab cause. Many of those countries do not even recognize the State of Israel. They were instrumental in passing the “Zionism is Racism” resolution in 1975 and creating several committees devoted only to Palestinian causes.

The Palestinians turn to the UN to highlight the damage that Israel inflicts on its intentionally defenseless population. It uses deliberate attacks on Israel to provoke premeditated casualties to show the world.

This same UN has not condemned the Palestinian Authority for not properly defending its population. Instead, it recommended the incredulous idea that Israel must give the Arabs the defensive systems like Iron Dome that it developed.

The latest forum that the Palestinian Authority has pursued is the International Criminal Court, the ICC. While it is evident that the Palestinians Arabs definitely committed war crimes in the 2014 War against Israel, it would still sue Israel in the hopes that such action will hurt Israel, further its cause and protect the Palestinian Arabs.


As detailed above the two sides in the Israel-Palestinian Authority conflict have disproportionate defenses.

  • The Israelis use several proactive approaches; the Palestinians use reactive methods
  • The Israelis rely upon ingenuity and preparedness; the Palestinians rely on Israeli sensitivities and global sympathy
  • The Israelis principally depend on themselves; the Palestinians depend on the world

A discussion of “disproportionate force” cannot be made in a vacuum without discussing “disproportionate defenses”. The global community cannot continue to sanction the acts of a leadership that deliberately deals in its own premeditated casualties.

Related FirstOneThrough articles:

Israel: Security in a Small Country

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The International Criminal Court for Palestinians and Israelis

The United Nations Audit of Israel

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