Ted Belman – 2/28/2008
The Assault on Israel’s Right to Self-Defense was described by Abraham Bell in his article onInternational Law and Gaza. Dr. Avi Bell is a member of the Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University, Visiting Professor at Fordham University Law School, and Director of the International Law Forum at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He clearly advised that Israel has the right of self defense and described the law as it pertains.
But I was left with some nagging questions. What do the principles and rules he set out mean in practice. I wanted to know if Israel had no choice but to invade or whether it could just use artillery and bombs even unintelligent inexpensive bombs. I fully understood that the siege was legal and so were targeted killings though our “international friends” disagree.
I asked Bruce Tucker Smith, JD, LL.M. (International Law), Lt Col USAFR (ret), the Co-author “Seventh Psalm”.
Here is his considered opinion.
- 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 response 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. Answer these questions honestly and you will have taken a long step toward resolving the endless criticism of Israel’s military response to the endless stream of rockets cascading into Israel from the west. (In fact, more than 5000 since Israel ceased her occupation of the Gaza.)
- Gaza is not a formally-defined, internationally-recognized state. It is, at best, a protectorate or a territory…but certainly it does NOT enjoy the status of international “statehood” that would entitle such an entity to claim sovereignty over her national borders and the land within.
- Hamas, of course, is the Islamic Resistance Movement, which became active in the early stages of the intafada. It operates primarily in the Gaza (and also in Judea and Samaria). Its stated goal: the eradication of the Israeli people and the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel. Hamas, of course, has the outright backing of Iran in its genocidal efforts to murder Israelis.
- What Hamas is NOT, is a recognized armed force operating under the aegis of a duly-elected state; it is not a signatory to any of the Geneva Conventions; it is not a member of either the United Nations or the Security Council; it does campaign openly under a national flag and it’s
- operatives don’t wear recognized badges