web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Israel, ‘Palestine,’ And The Law Of War (Second of Two Parts)


Beres-Louis-Rene

Share Button

Historically, viewed against the background of extensive and unapologetic terrorist perfidy in both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel has been innocent of any alleged disproportionality. All combatants, including all insurgents in Gaza and Lebanon, are bound to comply with the law of war of international law.

This firm requirement derives not only from what is known as the “Martens Clause,” a paragraph that makes its first appearance in the Preamble to the 1899 Hague Convention No. II on land warfare, but additionally from Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of August 12,1949. It is also found in the two Protocols to these Conventions.

In world politics, reason is often trumped by passion. It has always been easy to condemn Israel with rhythmic chants of “disproportionality.” Yet, competent legal scholars, if honest about their jurisprudential obligations, will acknowledge the illegitimacy of such contrived charges.

Until now, any seemingly disproportionate uses of force by Israel have actually been the permissible outcome of antecedent and perfidious crimes committed by its enemies.

What about charges, over the years, that Israel had committed “aggression” in its Lebanon operations? At Lebanon’s insistence, not Israel’s, a formal state of war has existed between the two tiny countries since the Jewish state first came into existence in May 1948. Only an armistice agreement exists between Israel and Lebanon. Signed on March 23,1949, this was not a war-terminating agreement, but a codified pledge to “cease fire.”

Legally, it is not possible for Israel to commit aggression against Lebanon. This is because the latter already considers itself in a formal condition of belligerency with the Jewish state. Israel cannot commit aggression against another state with which it is already at war.

Faced with multiple and sometimes cooperating enemies on several fronts, who often make no secret of their explicitly genocidal intentions, Israel has adhered faithfully to the law of war. In starkly marked contrast to the conscious indiscriminacy of its terrorist foes in Gaza, Judea/Samaria (West Bank) and Lebanon, Jerusalem has struggled mightily to respect and honor this set of rules – significantly, a set with origins in the Hebrew Bible (Deuteronomy).

The core legal issue in recurrent Middle East conflict is not about Israeli “disproportionality,” or “aggression,” but rather a persistent Arab resort to terrorism and perfidy. Neither principal Palestinian faction has any effective reason to refrain from future terrorism against Israel. Already engaged in far-reaching diplomatic end-runs around Jerusalem, neither Fatah nor Hamas will ever require Prime Minister Netanyahu’s negotiated approval to proceed toward complete Palestinian sovereignty.

The UN could again take up the issue of membership for “Palestine.” Almost certainly, though any such consideration would likely not meet the more stringent requirements of statehood that were established at the 1934 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (Montevideo Convention), a generally recognized and totally militarized Palestinian state would then become a reality. Should this UN conferral of sovereignty be implemented, Israel’s more limited future will be discoverable in Article 12 of the PA (Fatah) Charter, which calls for “the liberation of Palestine completely….” and in Article 19: “The struggle will not end until the elimination of the Zionist entity and the liberation of Palestine.”

As for the “less moderate” Hamas Covenant (Charter of the Islamic Resistance Movement), it begins with Israel’s annihilation: “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it….” Worth noting, especially in view of what is happening in Egypt, the Covenant refers to Hamas as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.”

In the Middle East, wishful thinking is always perilous. Over time, Israel’s Arab enemies have generally not demonstrated any observable regard for compliance with the law of war. Once a new Arab state is carved out of Israel’s still-living body, “Palestine” would seize upon now vastly enlarged opportunities for inflicting war and terrorism. It follows that Jerusalem must do whatever it can to prevent Palestinian statehood. It can do this legally.

Share Button

About the Author: Louis René Beres, strategic and military affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, is professor of Political Science at Purdue University. Educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971), he lectures and publishes widely on international relations and international law and is the author of ten major books in the field. In Israel, Professor Beres was chair of Project Daniel.


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.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Israel, ‘Palestine,’ And The Law Of War (Second of Two Parts)”

  1. Amos Avitan says:

    How absolutely true. Your dissertation is clear and concise and I do hope many read it. especially the left wing in Israel. and by the way, that idiot in the White House.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Louis Rene Beres
Louis Rene Beres

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

Louis Rene Beres

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.

An undifferentiated or across-the-board commitment to nuclear ambiguity could prove harmful to Israel’s's overall security.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/israel-palestine-and-the-law-of-war-second-of-two-parts/2012/10/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: