Someone sent me Ted Belman's post, Bomb Gaza. Win the War. I thought maybe my parking lot idea was taking off, but it turns out that other people have had similar thoughts on their own. The difference is that they've gone to the trouble of actually finding out about it, while I have only spewed my frustration to no avail.
Belman links to a article called International Law and Gaza: The Assault on Israel's Right to Self-Defense by Avi Bell. Now Avi (Abraham) Bell is not a housewife blogging in her pajamas; he teaches law at Fordham University and Bar-Ilan University and directs the International Law Forum at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. But let's listen to what he has to say anyway.
Here's the money quote:
International law requires states to take measures to bring Palestinian war criminals and terrorists to justice, to prevent and punish Palestinian genocidal efforts, and to block the funding of Palestinian terrorist groups and those complicit with them.
Bell makes clear that Israeli self-defense is legal, regardless of the legal status of the Gaza strip:
If Gaza should be seen as having independent sovereignty, Israel's use of force is permissible on the grounds of self-defense. On the other hand, if Gaza is properly seen as lacking any independent sovereignty, Israel's use of military force is permissible as in other non-international conflicts.
You want to talk international humanitarian law> Then get conversant in its two most basic principles, the rules of distinction and proportionality.
The rule of distinction requires aiming attacks only at legitimate (e.g., military and support) targets. The rule of distinction includes elements of intent and expected result: so long as one aims at legitimate targets, the rule of distinction permits the attack, even if there will be collateral damage to civilians.... By contrast, the Palestinian attacks are aimed at Israeli civilians and therefore violate the rule of distinction. Moreover, one of the corollaries of the rule of distinction is a ban on the use of weapons that are incapable, under the circumstances, of being properly aimed at legitimate targets....Here's another legal truth, amazing to behold:
The rule of proportionality places limits on collateral damage. While collateral damage to civilian and other protected targets is permitted, collateral damage is forbidden if it is expected to be excessive in relation to the military need. All reported Israeli strikes in the latest round of fighting have been aimed at legitimate targets and none has caused excessive collateral damage. Legal advisors attached to Israeli military units review proposed military actions and apply an extremely restrictive standard of both distinction and proportionality, in accordance with expansive Israeli Supreme Court rulings....
Moreover, like distinction, the rule of proportionality relies upon intent. If Israel plans a strike without expecting excessive collateral damage, the rule of proportionality permits it, even if, in retrospect, Israel turns out to have erred in its damage estimates.
... Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade of fuel or anything else with the Gaza Strip, or to maintain open borders with the Gaza Strip ... it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion...
A favorite criticism of Israel is that it commits "collective punishment." Bell explains why "none of Israel's combat actions and retorsion may be considered collective punishment," as that distinction is dependent upon the nature of the penalties imposed. The legalese here could put you to sleep, but this example will help us a great deal:
Numerous states suspended trade and diplomatic relations with South Africa as punishment for apartheid practices.Did the Israel-bashers complain that that was unfair collective punishment? No, they favored and promoted it. [Holding Israel to a different standard, or the opposite end of the same standard, is, to my way of thinking, both hypocritical and antisemitic. -Yael]
As for the biggest of all anti-Israel BUZZwords, OCCUPATION, Bell teaches us that legally, occupation entails exercising the functions of government. Obviously,
Israel does not exercise the functions of government in Gaza, and ... has not substituted its authority for the de facto Hamas government.Another money quote (is it legal to assert more than one?):
Military superiority over a neighbor, and the ability to conquer a neighbor in an extensive military operation, does not itself constitute occupation.So there's no reason to feel guilty. The goyim allow military superiority! Now, NOTA BENE:
If Israel were indeed properly considered an occupier, under Article 43 of the regulations attached to the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907, it would be required to take "all the measures in [its] power to restore, and ensure, as far as possible, public order and safety."
Thus, those who contend that Israel is in legal occupation of Gaza must also support and even demand Israeli military operations in order to disarm Palestinian terror groups and militias.
And finally, here's something I think we all knew, but need to be reminded:
Under ... the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, it is a crime to bomb public places (such as city streets) with the intent to kill civilians, by persons who are non-nationals of the state of which the victims are nationals.
There's more, but I think you get the gist of it now and have many more tools of convincement than you did before. You may now proceed to Belman's post and the considered opinion of Bruce Tucker Smith, JD, LL.M (International Law):
Criticism leveled at Israel for her response to terrorist attacks by Hamas in the Gaza says more about those who criticize Israel than it does about the legality of the reprisals.
Can Israel respond to Hamas’ attacks? In what strength? By what means? These questions are traditionally answered in the salons of international legal debate, by an examination of the status of the combatants.
We therefore ask: What is Gaza? What is Hamas? Answer these questions honestly, and there is little room for discussion or debate about the legality or legitimacy of Israel’s military responses to date… or her options in the future....
Israel may use her army in large or small measure to attack any place or person that attacks Israel. [Write it on your hand if you think you might forget again. -Yael] That means Israel can bombard Hamas targets as militarily necessary to render it impotent against a subsequent wave of Israeli soldiers. Although politically preferable, nothing in international law absolutely requires Israel to use “smart” munitions in its operations against Hamas.
If Hamas attempts to shield its operations with truly innocent civilians or children — it is Hamas and not Israel, who has committed an atrocity –an actionable war crime – of the most heinous proportion!”.
In sum: Israel is free to employ ALL munitions, tactics, equipment and personnel in her arsenal to defend herself against the outlaw Hamas terrorist organization. Short of the intentional targeting and murder of truly uninvolved and innocent civilians, Israel can (and should) operate as freely as she desires to protect her territorial sovereignty and the lives of her citizens.
Amen. And let it be so.
Israel is and always has been in the right -- rationally, morally, historically and legally [with the one exception being ethnic cleansing disguised as "Disengagement"]. The big problem we have is a lack of national self-confidence. And by "national" I don't mean just the State of Israel; I mean Am Yisrael, the nation of the Jewish People.
All we need is some Yes-We-Can attitude (you may have noticed lately how very effective that can be). So dig deep, boys and girls. I know you can. We can. Yes we can.