Jesus told his disciples the world would know they were his if they loved one another. Regardless of faith or core beliefs, this is the social contract that allows us to live closely with others and provide mutual security - the reason we don't all spread out and live miles from neighbors. That is, the golden rule is the glue of societies everywhere.
In the spirit of the golden rule we make and support additional rules that help us define how we best express brotherly love or transgress it. We define the unloving behaviors that are unacceptable within the social contract.
If I deprive you of property, liberty or life, I have voided our social contract. I have created a state of war, under natural law, which is jungle law or survival of the fittest. I am not only in a state of war with you, all social laws suspended, I am at war with all those with whom you remain in social contract - typically family, friends and neighbors. All of you are fair game for my subsequent attacks, be it theft, confinement or murder.
But what if I only threaten your life, liberty or property in some clear and unmistakable way? Then I have created the same war condition and removed us both from the social contract. We are at war, hot or cold. That is, whether or not I act on my threat I have attacked you preemptively.
When I threaten you, I have declared my refusal to live by the social contract. I am not treating you as I wish to be treated because I believe I am stronger or smarter than you and your friends and can do with you whatever I am able. My threat is a warning to you and society.
Our modern law likes to put degrees of difference between the nature of attack. One for theft, one for armed theft, one for kidnapping, one for assault, one for armed assault and another for homicide or murder. Threats are generally treated as a lesser offense and not likely to be acted upon but the fact remains, an open threat is a preemptive attack on another's liberty.
When I threaten your peace and happiness, I declare I do not love or care about you or your friends and family. You must drop what you are doing and assess my threat. Based on your assessment, you might dismiss my threat, prepare some defense against it, such as warning friends and family, or counter attack at a time and place of your choosing because we are now in a state of war and jungle law, regardless of the attitudes and rules of the social community.
One might think a threat or theft cannot be considered such a serious matter as to create this state of war. One would be wrong and could end up dead wrong. When I deprive you of property or peace of mind, I neither respect your natural rights, nor the social contract under which we had both been living. At this point, you must assume that I would as readily deprive you of life or liberty whenever it is in my physical power and desire to do so. Because I have expressed my contempt for your welfare and the rules we live by, you have the moral authority to dispatch my threat by taking my life, not by a preemptive attack but by a counter attack against my preemptive attack on you. Just as in childhood, I started it. You now have every moral, if not legal right to finish it in any manner of your choosing. Of course, you also have some obligation to forgive my attack and dismiss it, which is the course most people choose, most of the time.
My point is that a threat creates a state of war the threatener or the victim seldom considers when such threats are made. Society owes no moral obligation to the threatener and the threat itself is a serious crime which is too seldom properly punished by the society at large. It is my belief that if any threatener was counseled on the seriousness of threat and the possible consequences of ostracism, fines, public service, etc., there would be much less of it in the world.
What is true of individuals is equally true of nation states. When the people of Palestine vote for the destruction of Israel and its people, they have created this state of war. Israel has a moral right to destroy all the Palestinians who represent this threat. It also now has this right with Iran. Like the playground bullies we all grew up with, we know what it is to live with this constant threat from a war declared but not fully engaged. We know it can become violent at any time because the bully has declared his intention and the one involuntarily placed in the state of war can and should choose the time, place and manner to dispense with the threat. Because threateners are only dimly aware they have created this state of war and the threatened has the moral authority to deal with it in any manner, the threatener has no idea of his own vulnerability to counter attack. Hence, threateners are generally ignorant fools who do not understand their behavior has effectively put their own existence at risk. This is obviously the state of affairs both in Palestine and Iran. Since Israel is within the social community with Europe and the United States, Palestinians and Iranians can have no illusions that should either attempt to destroy Israel, so shall they be destroyed. Their mistake is in thinking Israel or any ally does not dare to eliminate these threats at a time of their choosing. The three actors are in an ongoing state of war and now it is cold but anything can trigger a hot war.and Israel has the moral right to strike next and conclude these wars. So do the other members in Israel's social community. Social gang wars as it were.
It is no different with Sudan and many other nations who have stepped outside the social contract and created an unloving, uncaring state of war, declared or not, hot or cold, on the rest of global society. It is a matter for those who wish to end war and restore the social contract to resolve each war by any means possible or convenient, including violent conclusion. Threatening bullies cannot be tolerated by global societies and it is way past time to make that clear to those considering the creation of war and survival conditions, wherever they may be found. The loving thing is to end every state of war with the least violence to the perpetrators and their victims. Back during the 04 Presidential campaign, candidate Dennis Kucinich had introduced a bill to create a Department of Peace in the Capitol. That is the kind of thing most needed for global peace. I wonder what ever happened to the bill and the idea. This would tell us a great deal about the nature of U.S. leadership. The fact we have no such department two years later may say it all. Why would war mongers spend a dollar on peace? You can't fight or win a war you haven't created or agreed to.