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by David Parkes

It seems that the catchcry in regard to Israel's actions in Gaza and Lebanon is that they are "disproportionate".

But disproportionate to what? Proportionality must be judged by a State's responsibility to protect its integrity and its people, by what has already happened and by the likely future threat.

A clear analogy is the responsibility of leaders to protect their citizens against a flu pandemic. A proportionate response to one person entering a country with avian flu might be to quarantine only that person. But a government must also deal with the imminent future threat, which is the infection and death of the populace at large. Thus, the response would be to quarantine all the people who flew on the same plane and possibly the airport, ban all flights and trade from the country of origin and put all airports and seaports on high alert.

This might be considered a disproportionate reaction to one case of illness, but to most people it would be a responsible course of action.

So, is Israel's reaction responsible in terms of protecting its people and avoiding the pandemic of terrorism and the undermining of democratic institutions - both within its borders and in the rest of the world?

David Parkes, Greensborough

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