Israel's critics often accuse it of the disproportionate use of force. They note that the undeclared nuclear power, with the region's most powerful military, is waging war on a militant group armed with little beyond long-range rockets, the majority of which are intercepted by Israel's anti-missile defenses. As in the past, the toll in the current conflict is dramatically lopsided, with at least 200 killed in Gaza, nearly half of them women and children, and 10 in Israel, all but one of them civilians. Israel argues it has the right to eliminate the threat from rockets, including command infrastructure connected to it. It says it makes every effort to avoid harming civilians, including by warning them ahead of some strikes.
But Sassoli said that in past conflicts, Israel had a “quite large concept of what is a legitimate military objective.” Proportionality in international law also applies to individual attacks, but experts say proving a specific attack is disproportionate is extremely difficult. One would need to know what was targeted, what military advantage was gained, and whether it exceeded the harm inflicted on civilians and civilian property. That means that in practice, only the most extreme cases are likely to be prosecuted.