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The explicit application of codified restrictions of the laws of war to noninternational-armed conflicts dates back only as far as the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Recalling, however, that more than treaties and conventions comprise the laws of war, it is also clear that the obligations of jus in bello (justice in war) comprise part of "the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations," and bind all categories of belligerents. Indeed, the Hague Convention IV of 1907 declares, in broad terms, that in the absence of a precisely published set of guidelines in humanitarian international law concerning "unforeseen cases," the preconventional sources of international law govern all belligerency.
The explicit application of codified restrictions of the laws of war to non-international armed conflicts dates back only as far as the four Geneva Conventions of 1949.
We Jews know a terrorist when we see one. Surely we don't need the elegant refinements of international law to help us distinguish a suicide bomber from a freedom fighter. If it looks like a duck Nothing could possibly be easier to understand.
Humanitarian international law continues to correctly require that every use of force by an army or insurgent force meet the test of "proportionality." Going back to the basic legal principle that "the means that can be used to injure an enemy are not unlimited," proportionality stipulates (among other things) that every exercise of armed force be limited to the minimum application needed for operational success. More specifically, this ancient principle of customary international law applies to all judgments of military advantage and to all planned reprisals.
Televised images of Israel's recent defensive operation in Gaza suggest cruelty and indiscriminacy. In fact, exactly the opposite is true. By deliberately placing young Arab children in the front lines of armed mobs that march with lethal intent upon Israeli soldiers, it is Palestinian leaders who openly commit violations of the law of war.