"... self-defense must be exercised in a necessary and proportionate manner. Since there is no evidence implicating the Lebanese Government in Hezbollah's attacks, Israel should have restricted its air-strikes to Hezbollah targets. Instead, Israel bombed Beirut's international airport, striking at the heart of Lebanon's economy. It bombed roads, bridges, power and petrol stations, and imposed an air and sea blockade. It promised, in the words of the Israeli Army chief of staff, that "the clock will be turned back 20 years for the Lebanese people".
"Israel's reasoning must be questioned, since the destruction of infrastructure will actually make it more difficult for the Lebanese Government to exert control. The difficulty will only be exacerbated if - as has been reported - anger about Israel's disproportionate response causes support for Hezbollah to rise."
"Israel's actions indicate some disregard for the lives of innocents. ...Under the laws of war, civilians may be placed at risk only for reasons of military necessity. They must never be targeted to create political pressure, or for reasons of revenge."
This is in line with what I wrote earlier. It's worth keeping in mind that "proportionate" is not simply a matter of adding up dead bodies on either side. Rather, the overall evils caused by the military response (not just civilian deaths, but also factors such as destroying the Lebanese economy, targeting the whole of Lebanon for the crimes of a militia that is not supported by the majority, weakening a nascent democracy, and giving a boost to to Hezbollah and its patrons in Syria and Iran) must be weighed against the good of ending terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens, including the future threat of Hezbollah. In the words of the Catechism (#2309): "The use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition." It doesn't get much clearer than that.
Michael Walzer in the New Republic makes a valiant attempt to argue that the response may be proportional given that
"...Israel's goal is to prevent future raids, as well as to rescue the soldiers, so proportionality must be measured not only against what Hamas and Hezbollah have already done, but also against what they are (and what they say they are) trying to do."He's right to take a broad comprehensive approach. But I still find it really hard to see how this is not disproportionate, given the scale of Israel's actions. Of course, as I noted before, most defender's of Israel's actions eschew traditional just war theory. The normally reasonable Jonathan Chait, again at the New Republic, said it bluntly:
"The real question, then, is not whether Israel's counteroffensive is disproportionate but whether it's working."Hmm, end justifies the means, eh? This is why we need consistent principles of justice that are universal!