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They are also binding upon all combatants by virtue of broader customary and conventional international law, including Article 1 of the Preamble to the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907. This rule, called the “Martens Clause,” makes all persons responsible for the “laws of humanity” and for the “dictates of public conscience.”
Under international law, the ends can never justify the means. As in the case of war between states, every use of force by insurgents must be judged twice, once with regard to the justness of the objective (in this case, a Palestinian state ultimately to be built upon the charred ruins of a dismembered Israel), and once with regard to the justness of the particular means used toward achieving that objective.
Enthusiastic murderers of young children are never “freedom fighters.” If, in fact, they were ever entitled to such a designation, we would then have to concede that international law itself was nothing more than a mannerly-veneered authorization for inflicting consummate evil in world affairs.
UN supporters of a Palestinian state continue to presume that “Palestine” will somehow be part of a two-state solution. For these naive believers in “peace,” a new and 23rd Arab state will cheerfully exist side-by-side with the extant Jewish state. Significantly, this kindly presumption is dismissed everywhere in the Arab/Islamic world.
Consider cartography. The official map of Palestine at the PA website includes all of Israel. There is only one state on this map; it is not the state of Israel.
In law, terrorist crimes mandate universal cooperation in both apprehension and punishment. As punishers of “grave breaches” under international law, all states are required to search out and prosecute, or extradite, individual terrorist perpetrators. In absolutely no circumstances are states permitted to characterize terrorists as freedom fighters.
This is emphatically true for the United States, which incorporates all international law as the “supreme law of the land” at Article 6 of the Constitution, and which was formed by the founding fathers according to the timeless principles of Blackstone’s Commentaries and antecedent Natural Law.
As Americans, we have an obligation to avoid expressly specious manipulations of law. Authentic freedom fighters do not make war against office workers, nursery schools, buses, flower markets, or mothers in ice-cream parlors. Until we can accept this most elementary human understanding for the Islamic Middle East, we will run the growing risk of further transforming ghoulish Palestinian gangs into a UN-supported government.
Today, the Palestinian Authority is allowed to call itself a nonmember observer state. Soon, leaders of Hamas will join with their enemies in the PA to make common “national” cause against Israel. When, predictably, they resort yet again to waves of expanding violence against the innocent, they will still be acting as terrorists. Despite their newly dignifying formal status at the UN they will remain, situated and unpunished, at the very outermost margins of civilized international relations.
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.
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