The Guardian’s Seumas Milne defends Palestinians’ right to kill Israelis

Guardian Associate Editor Seumas Milne just published an essay at ‘Comment is Free’ brimming with anger at Israel, and crowing about the glory of Hamas “resistance”.

In ‘Palestinians have the right to defend themselves‘, Nov. 20, Milne lashes out at Western leaders who have dared to proclaim that Israel has every “right to defend itself”, mocks reports by the “western media echo[ing] Israel’s claim that its assault is in retaliation for Hamas rocket attacks”, and condemns Netanyahu for “unleash[ing] a new round of bloodletting” which he attributes, naturally, to the upcoming Israeli elections.

Milne vilifies those who “portray Israel as some kind of victim with every right to ‘defend itself’ from attack from outside its borders” as engaging in “a grotesque inversion of reality”.

Declaring Gaza still “occupied”, Milne defends Hamas “resistance”, thus:

“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

Even if Israel had genuinely ended its occupation in 2005, Gaza’s people are Palestinians, and their territory part of the 22% of historic Palestine earmarked for a Palestinian state that depends on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. Across their land, Palestinians have the right to defend and arm themselves, whether they choose to exercise it or not.”

Seumas Milne is arguing that Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and ‘East Jerusalem’ have the right to murder Israelis.

And, if you’re wondering about the one qualification in Milne’s essay – that civilians can’t be intentionally targeted – a subsequent passage seems to clarify his meaning.

“Emboldened by the wave of change and growing support across the region, Hamas has also regained credibility as a resistance force, which had faded since 2009, and strengthened its hand against an increasingly discredited Palestinian Authority leadership in Ramallah in Ramallah. The deployment of longer-range rockets that have now been shown to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is also beginning to shift what has been an overwhelmingly one-sided balance of deterrence. [emphasis added]

The Hamas rocket attacks he’s so proud of – ‘operations’ he’s hopeful may change the balance of power in the region – seem to fall outside of his definition of prohibited acts (which target civilians) and thus consistent with the overall Palestinian right of armed “resistance”.

Based on his text it seems the following is definitely justifiable:

  • Suicide bombings and other armed attacks which target the hundreds of thousands of Israelis serving in the IDF

And, the following is most likely justifiable:

  • Rockets launched indiscriminately at Israelis cities

While Milne’s justification, under the Guardian’s imprimatur, for the intentional killing of citizens of the Jewish state is not surprising in light of his history of praising anti-imperialist “resistance movements” across the globe, the mere fact that his latest argument is derivative - consistent with his broader political orientation – doesn’t make it any less repulsive.