web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Fighting Palestinian Terrorism In Gaza The View According To International Law


Beres-Louis-Rene

It is easy to feel sorry for the Palestinians in Gaza. Televised and print images of their apparently unrelieved misery would appear to suggest Israeli cruelty in the use of armed force. Exactly the opposite is true. By deliberately placing elderly women and young children in areas from which lethal rockets are launched into Israeli homes and schools, it is only the Palestinian leaders who openly violate the law of war. Their insidious practice of “human shields” – the same practice recently practiced in Hizbullah-controlled areas of Lebanon – is far more than an expression of cowardice. It also represents a specific crime under international law that is called “perfidy.”

My readers already know that several Palestinian terror groups including both Hamas and the “moderate” Palestinian Authority are now actively planning for mega-terror attacks upon Israel. These unprecedented attacks, probably in close cooperation with elements of al-Qaeda, would use chemical and/or biological weapons of mass destruction. Over time, if Iran should begin to transfer portions of its growing inventory of nuclear materials to terror groups, Israel could also face Palestinian-directed nuclear terrorism. Thanks to former Prime Minister Sharon’s policy of “disengagement,” these insidious preparations are already underway in Gaza.

What government on earth could be expected to sit back passively and render its population vulnerable to unprecedented levels of instantaneous mass-slaughter? Would we, in the United States, sit quietly by as rockets rained down upon American cities from terrorist sanctuaries somewhere on our northern or southern borders? Would we allow such carnage to continue with impunity? Would capitulation and surrender be the proper or excusable reaction of a sovereign state sworn to protect its population?

Quite remarkably, although always unrecognized and unacknowledged, Israel has been willing to keep its essential counterterrorism operations in Gaza consistent with the established standards of humanitarian international law. Palestinian violence, however, is persistently in violation of all civilized rules and principles of engagement. And all this after Israel very painfully “disengaged” from Gaza on the presumption that the Palestinians – finally – would put an end to their relentless barrage of terror.

Terrorism is more than just bad behavior. Terrorism is a distinct and codified crime under international law. When terrorists represent populations that enthusiastically support such attacks, which is certainly well documented among the Palestinian community, and where these terrorists also find easy refuge among hospitable populations, full responsibility for all ensuing counterterrorist harms lies exclusively with the criminals. Understood in terms of still-ongoing Palestinian terrorism and Israeli self-defense, this means that the Palestinian side alone must now bear legal responsibility for Arab civilian casualties in Gaza.

International law is not a suicide pact. Rather, it correctly offers an authoritative body of rules and procedures that always permits states to express their “inherent right of self-defense.” When terrorist organizations openly celebrate the explosive “martyrdom” of Palestinian children, and when Palestinian leaders unashamedly seek religious redemption through the mass-murder of Jewish children, the terrorists have absolutely no legal right to demand sanctuary. Anywhere. Under international law they are Hostes humani generis, “Common enemies of humankind.” Such murderers must be punished severely wherever they are found. For their arrest and prosecution, jurisdiction is incontestably “universal.”

Palestinian terrorism, even during occasional “slow” periods, has become all-too familiar. Using bombs filled with nails, razor blades and screws dipped in rat poison, the killers proceed to maim and burn Israeli civilians with only cheers and blessings from the leading Islamic clergy. As for those “commanders” who control the suicide bombers’ mayhem, they cower in their towns and cities, always taking care to find personal safety amidst densely-packed Arab populations. Special IDF counterterrorism and commando units then attempt to identify and target only the terrorist leaders and to minimize collateral harms. Sometimes, however, such harms simply can’t be avoided, even by the IDF, which follows its code of “Purity of Arms” far more stringently than any other nation’s army.

Deception can be legally acceptable in armed conflict, but the Hague Regulations unambiguously disallow placement of military assets or personnel in heavily populated civilian areas. Further prohibition of perfidy is found at Protocol I of 1977 additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. It is widely recognized that these rules are also binding on the basis of customary international law. Perfidy represents an especially serious violation of the Law of War, one identified as a “grave breach” at Article 147 of Geneva Convention IV. The critical legal effect of perfidy committed by Palestinian terrorist leaders is to immunize Israel from any responsibility for inadvertent counterterrorist harms done to Arab civilians. Even if Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and their sister terror groups did not deliberately engage in perfidy, any Palestinian-created link between civilians and terrorist activities would always give Israel full legal justification for defensive military action.

International law is not a suicide pact. All combatants – including Palestinian terrorists – are bound to conform to the Law of War of international law. This requirement is found at Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, and at the two protocols to these Conventions. Protocol I applies Humanitarian International Law to all conflicts fought for “self-determination,” the stated objective of all Palestinian fighters. A product of the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable in Armed Conflicts (1977), this protocol brings all irregular forces within the full scope of international law. In this connection, the terms “fighter” and “irregular” are generous in describing Palestinian terrorists, fanatical criminals who normally target only civilians and whose characteristic mode of “battle” is not military engagement, but primal religious sacrifice.

Israel has both the right and the obligation under international law to protect its citizens from criminal acts of terrorism. Should it ever decide to yield to Palestinian perfidy in its indispensable war against escalating terror violence, Israel would surrender this important right and undermine this fundamental obligation. The clear effect of such capitulation would be to make potential victims of us all.

Copyright: The Jewish Press, Nov. 17, 2006. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is the author of many books and articles dealing with terrorism and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Fighting Palestinian Terrorism In Gaza The View According To International Law”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Captain Or Cohen
IDF Selects First Female Commander of Navy Ship
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

Cries of justice for Michael Brown drowned out any call for justice for Police Officer Daryl Wilson.

Cloistered captain Obama, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt Bibi,his besieged ally

Former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly said, “the fate of Netzarim (Gush Katif) is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

“What’s a line between friends?”

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Louis Rene Beres

President Obama’s core argument on a Middle East peace process is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Once upon a time in America, every adult could recite at least some Spenglerian theory of decline.

President Obama’s core argument is still founded on incorrect assumptions.

Specific strategic lessons from the Bar Kokhba rebellion.

Still facing an effectively unhindered nuclear threat from Iran, Israel will soon need to choose between two strategic options.

For states, as for individuals, fear and reality go together naturally.

So much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs continues to concern space.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/fighting-palestinian-terrorism-in-gaza-the-view-according-to-international-law/2006/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: