Israel: Guilty of War Crimes?
Manal Tellawi makes the case, but others say Hamas is to blame
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2014 6:00 PM CDT
An Israeli army officer gives journalists a tour, Friday, July 25, 2014, of a tunnel allegedly used by Palestinian militants for cross-border attacks, at the Israel-Gaza Border.   (AP Photo/Jack Guez, Pool)

(Newser) – Israel's attack on Gaza—which has reportedly killed more than 1,500 civilians—was indeed a war crime that flagrantly violated rules of international law, writes Manal Tellawi at Salon. Three of his main arguments:

  • While Article 51 of the UN Charter allows for self-defense, Israel can't make that case regarding an occupied territory. Israel's supporters say the country doesn't occupy Gaza—it pulled out 8,000 settlers in 2005—but Tellawi notes that Israel "maintains control over its borders, water sources, electricity, [and] population registry."
  • A protocol of International Humanitarian Law states that a military can only fire on military targets, or occasionally civilian establishments being used by the military. "In violation of this article," Israel has attacked churches, mosques, homes, and residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, "one of the most densely populated places on Earth."
  • As per a Geneva Convention protocol, warnings to civilians "must be clear, credible and allow [a] reasonable amount of time," writes Tellawi, but witnesses to one Gaza attack say people who fled were at times arrested or blocked by IDF tanks.

Among those who disagree are Israel's former UN ambassador Dore Gold, who argues in the LA Times that the Shajaiya neighborhood targeted by the IDF is full of underground bunkers and tunnels that "allow Hamas to cross under the border fence and penetrate Israeli territory to carry out attacks on civilians." Meanwhile, human-rights defenders are gathering information in Gaza for a possible war-crimes case at the International Criminal Court—but the US and Israel will oppose such a move, and the AP notes that if Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas makes the case, he could "expose Hamas ... to the same charges."

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Chuck Roast
Aug 10, 2014 1:36 AM CDT
Think of this: your family is blown up in front of you, you live in a small area that borders the sea on one side and all other sides are fenced or have walls with barbed wire, soldiers with automatic weapons guard the fence 24/7. You grow up maybe if your lucky with what's left of your family or alone. You live in a war zone, but live to voting age, a group named Hamas is running to be elected, they promise you, they will eliminate the people who killed your mother and father. Answer this, how many people would not take the chance to eliminate the people that killed they're family?,.that's how Hamas was elected! ???The people who indirectly elected Hamas are the same people who are killing the Palestinians today!???
Aug 9, 2014 12:40 PM CDT
No mention of the barbaric practices of Hamas like child sacrifice to shield rockets and tunnels? They have even murdered their own people just to blame it on the Israelis. Hamas is evil and immoral and to defend them is to enable them. Those that deliberately enable them are just as guilty and immoral. Like little kids they act out to gain attention and those that give them sympathy give them a sense of legitimacy. Hamas, the elected leadership is at war with Israel and Israels response is at least a 1000 less than the conflict of WWII and the bombing of Dresden etc. This is an obvious double standard perpetrated by those who hate Jews for absolutely no justifiable reason. The history these people use for justification is propaganda but that does not matter as those that blame Israel blame them with sheer malice. Israel is our friend and ally against the Islamist's. We do not abandon our friends. It is dishonorable.
Aug 6, 2014 2:08 PM CDT
I think a bigger question is , why does the world sanction Russia, and Israel gets a pass. I am hearing rumblings that the UN wants to press war crime charges against Israel, but the coverage of it in the English speaking news is really scarce and sparse. I am worried the Israel is going to get away with wholesale murder. The people in out government have their eyes open, but they are not seeing the genocide. It is like the are hypnotized and Israel is the 51 state. In the link below, take a look at the way these congresspeople will not let any contrary opinion about Israel even enter their personal space. I think it is frightening'