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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

October 03, 2002

Israel and the Laws of Armed Conflict

Take a look at this report from the Federalist Society, A Legal Analysis of the Attacks on Civilians and Infliction of Collateral Damage in the Middle East Conflict.

It's a good primer on the basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and shows how Israel has respected them--trying to minimize civilian deaths--while the Palestinians have violated them--i.e., intentionally attacking civilians. It points out that there is no justification in international law for distinguishing the validity of attacking civilians based on the alleged justness of the cause, a claim that the Palestinians and their supporters have made, such as saying that the Palestinians have no other way of "resisting occupation" except deliberately killing civilians. It also points out that Israel has applied the basic principles of distinction (attacking only military targets intentionally) and proportionality (try to avoid killing more civilians unintentionally than the military target is worth), even in the case of Shahedah, the HAMAS terrorist whose apartment was hit by a heavy bomb dropped by an IAF F-16. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it establishes that Israel's targetted killings are entirely legal under international law b/c any military target is fair game at all times during a war, and, in fact, targetted killings are far more discriminate and proportional than any other action.

Also, along the way, the report gets in a few good digs at NGOs such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch for presenting "international law" as what they want it to be, not what it actually is.

A must read.