Saturday, October 31, 2009

Legal analysis of Israeli war crimes

"On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a 22-day military offensive against Gaza called “Operation Cast Lead.”1 Israeli forces killed some 1,300 Palestinians, including 280 children, and injured approximately 4,300 others, including 1,100 children.2 Civilians comprised nearly 70 percent of the Palestinian death toll.3 The aerial and ground offensive also destroyed 2,400 homes, 29 schools, 121 commercial and industrial workshops, 60 police stations, and 30 mosques.4 During the Operation, thirteen Israelis were killed including three civilians and four soldiers killed by friendly fire.5...Israel’s November 4th raid into Gaza marked the first significant breach of the ceasefire, which was then met by renewed Hamas cross-border attacks and ultimately Israel’s 22-day offensive against Gaza. Nothing in international law sanctions the provocation of an attack to justify the use of force in self-defense, which Israel attempts to do here. While Israel may be justified in its exercise of force in an existing or continuing conflict, that justification is not equivalent to the right to initiate force. The laws of armed conflict, jus in bello, govern the former category. The laws justifying the use of force, jus ad bellum, namely those acts characterized as self-defense, govern the latter and constitute the scope of this article. Israel professed that its initial attack was intended to prevent a threat of an attack, indicating the absence of a requisite armed attack necessary to meet the threshold of self-defense under a narrow reading in the modern Charter system. For the sake of argument, even if we were to accept that Israel’s provocation was of no consequence and therefore it was indeed responding to an armed attack, its response would still have to meet the threshold requirements of necessity and proportionality." (thanks Bassam--her husband)