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February 22, 2009

Israel's Actions Legal & Restrained

Too many in the media fail to note Hamas' real war crimes, yet they condemn Israel for military actions that are actually quite restrained and entirely legal. Below is a summary (from of an INSS report rebutting the most serious and erroneous allegations against Israel.

Israel's Gaza Operation and International Law - Robbie Sabel (Strategic Assessment-Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

* International law and the UN Charter recognize the inherent right of states to use force in self-defense against an armed attack. The right applies even if the attack is by irregular forces.

Hamas has not denied that its attacks were targeted at Israeli towns; such attacks are a violation of the laws of war. The IDF correctly saw itself as being bound by the laws of war in its conduct, notwithstanding the total disregard of these rules by its opponents.

* The IDF repeatedly warned civilians of impending attacks, using leaflets and mass telephone messages. It does not appear that any other military has ever taken such steps to minimize civilian casualties, nor is there any other similar conflict on record in a built-up area where the percentage of civilian casualties in relation to combatant casualties was lower.

* Israel uses phosphorous shells in flares and smoke shells. Such shells are standard equipment in all NATO militaries as well as the Arab states' armed forces. They are of course dangerous to handle when burning but absolutely legal. The International Committee of the Red Cross has confirmed that there was no evidence that these shells were used in Gaza in any irregular way.

* Once an armed conflict develops, international law does not require proportionality of response. A state defending itself may indeed strive to cause disproportionate damage to its enemy's military targets and military capabilities. Let the attacking state or organization beware.

Dr. Robbie Sabel, a former legal adviser to the Israel Foreign Ministry, teaches international law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

[ hat tip: ]

Posted by LG at February 22, 2009 04:22 PM


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