Experts: Concerns over Gaza op prosecutions justified
Daniel Edelson
Published: 22.01.09, 15:16
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51 Talkbacks for this article
curious ,   Tel Aviv   (01.22.09)
HALLELUJJAH!! I Hope these people get what they deserve...
32. #7david, they were well prepared to receive us with bunkers
r.f.   (01.22.09)
under cevilian houses, machine guns in their mosks, they were firing at our soldiers from rooftops and balconies, and they boobytrapped schools and even their zoo (someone mentioned a suicide donkey, which would be funny if it weren't so sad). they knew war was coming to their neighbourhood. if they cared about their civilians so much, they could have asked civilians to leave areas from which they were shooting at soldiers, or launching rockets, but instead, the hamas left it for israel to warn the population they are harboring active terrorists in their midst, and therefore should clear the area only hamas leaders had proper hiding places, while hamas was arming they didn't bother about protection for their citizens. not for lack of funding, or lack of buiding skills (their kids made the tunnels for smuggling) but INTENTIONALY, TO HAVE HUMAN SHIELDS, should a war break. in israel, civilians get shelters built by government, commanders fight front lines, and the heads of state get flashed out to take blows of criticism .
33. @ #32
daveza ,   za   (01.22.09)
You may remember that it was the IDF who appealed a court-ruling prohibiting them from using human shields. Too late for them to cry over the other side doing the same thing isn't it.
34. gross misunderstandings
jj   (01.22.09)
the majority of comments here dont actually grasp the issues. for example, perhaps the most common talkback - "hamas fired lots of rockets at civilian areas etc. therefore we can do what we like/they are at fault for the suffering in gaza". you really dont seem to understand this, but when another party commits a war crime, this isnt a "commit a war crime for free!" card. while you might enjoy saying this and having other like mided people back you up with much of the same on these pages, the same response wont be had in any court. second, the "war is war" comment might be great for chest beating etc. but for those of you who dont get it, it's not a defence. if it was, you wouldnt have any reason to complain about suicide attacks, indiscriminate rocket fire etc. in case you dont notice, that particular one is a swinging door. remember, hamas say that they are at war with the "zionist state". finally, the "israel has the right to self-defence" one. something like this: "What was Israel supposed to do, accept years of rockets, launched purely to generate terror? Let's face it, the pressure for legal action against Israel is driven by moral cowardice. It's much easier to go after Israel since its small." this one is particularly deceiving. it seems to imply that the charges being brought against israel are for defending herself, which they arent. if any of you take any time to look at the cases from the ICTY (although i have a feeling you will prefer conjecture and arguments from emotion) you will see that many of the legal actions revolve around specific incidents, such as the shelling of the merkale market and individual sniping incidents in sarajevo (to name but a few). i would imagine that any case brought against any israelis would be the same and would specifically mention incidents in the course of the operation that rose to the level of war crimes, rather than the operation as a whole. finally, for some reason, people seem to be commenting a lot on sudan. if any of you took any time to check it out, you would see that an arrest warrant for al-Bashir has been requested by the prosecutor at the international criminal court and is pending. while it may take a while to actually get him into custody, it shows that these claims of hypocrisy that have been espoused by many here are simply hot air. sure, there are many more that deserve charges and hopefully they will pay too, but a complaint of hypocrisy is a hollow one. i hear al-bashir likes tennis. that might give barak a chance to lose some weight.
35. justin, canada
jj   (01.22.09)
the laws of war under the geneva convention were post world war 2. the laws being talked about here simply didnt exist before then. the only international armed conflict in europe after that was in the former yugoslavia. for which we have the ICTY for judgment on war crimes.
36. To David the legal scholar
Cynic ,   USA   (01.22.09)
First, before Israel even dropped a single bomb, Hamas was already guilty of thousands of counts of attempted murder, since they "intended" to murder each time a rocket was fired. Second, every civilized country in the world, especially including your country, recognizes the right to use deadly force to defend against another's use of deadly force. So come up with a better argument to justify your love for Hamas.
37. Mazuz, one thing...
The Slient voice ,   UK   (01.22.09)
"There is no immunity in cases of war crimes and I personally know of elements in London that are gathering every possible evidence in order to build such cases. " London is on the verse of being one of the main muslim shelters... the Islam is taking over Europe and the tolerant polite British are going to find out that they accept populations that does not accept them back... Israel will be the first to go, but Europe is next.
38. Why not just nuke Gaza...
Joe ,   Ramat Gan   (01.22.09)
... if we're going to get charged with war crimes anyway? I mean, come on, if we're going to pay for a falafel, we might as well eat the durn thing, right?
39. War does not justify all civilian deaths
Josh ,   Sacramento, USA   (01.22.09)
I agree that war is not pretty. War is not clean. Civilian deaths can be expected during a war. But war in and of itself does not justify ALL civilian deaths. When war between two or more combatant inadvertently results in civilian deaths, it is not a war crime. But knowingly killing civilians during a war is a war crime. The evidence that Israel has allowed outsiders access to shows strong evidence of war crimes. The fact that Russia, U.S., France, Nigeria or any other country has not been prosecuted for what appeared to be war crimes does not excuse Iraeli misconduct.
40. Nuke 'em
Bill ,   Cleveland, USA   (01.22.09)
Why not? Summarizing some of the talkbacks posted on this site, Palestinians hide weapons in mosques, hospitals and schools, have hidden bunkers under their homes to hide weapons and terrorists, have kids digging tunnels for smuggling and even armed a suicide donkey. All Palestinians are either terrorists or shielding terrorists. Why waste time trying to starve them to death or killing them a few thousand at a time? Nuke ‘em. Sadly, even if all of the above is true, this right wing Israeli mentality will not ask why Palestinians live the way they do. That is only important if honest negotiation takes place. To hell with the world. I say Nuke’m.
41. #39 - Josh, Tell me where...
Joe ,   Ramat Gan   (01.22.09)
Tell me where "knowingly killing civilians" is, in and of itself, a "War Crime". From my knowledge of the pertinent laws, the issue here is not "knowingly killing civilians", but rather the context in which these civilians were killed. Specifically targeting civilians for slaughter (like Hamas cynically does against both Jews and Arabs) is without a War Crime. On the other hand, targeting buildings where there are both militants and civilians is questionable in the context of a "War Crime". So, if you are willing and able, please tell me where the deaths of civilians in an attack targeted at both militants and civilians is a "War Crime". My ears are burning...
42. JJ
Justin ,   Canada   (01.22.09)
JJ, Save it. You are self righteous and think you are morally superior. This international body is a joke.
43. David, #7: You're one lousy lawyer [sic]
Dennis ,   NYC, US   (01.22.09)
David's citation of one aspect of law that contradicts the key international codes on war that bear upon Gaza is incompetence at best, more likely evidence of a less-than-honest intellect, and/or deliberately dishonest at worst. International war codes, such as Geneva Codes, clearly justify Israel's prosecution of war against HAMAS and its minions in response to terror, and clearly allow Israel to engage in war that causes civilian deaths, as long as force used is proportionate to legitimate military aims. Anything that targets HAMAS or its minions or terrorists HAMAS protects is a legitimate military aim. Proportionality, under laws of war refers neither to ratios comparing civilians of one side killed to the others' -- else the Allies would be "guilty" for kicking the Axis's ass, wouldnt they? -- nor to ratio of civilian to military deaths -- there are no "guidelines" whatsoever -- except (by inference) in the extreme. That is, if Israel targets a HAMAS missile launcher or HAMAS big who has civilians (i.e., his "extended" family) around, the fact of having a reasonable chance of a good military result, i.e., killing the HAMAS big or taking out the launcher, means the actiion is justified under international war law. THAT'S THE LAW SPEAKING, NOT ME; READ IT, DAVID, BEFORE YOU LECTURE US ON THE LAW. Further, war codes explicitly prohibit HAMAS's M.O. of embedding itself within and using civilians, and hold the embedder responsible for such losses. AGAIN, READ THE LAW. Hence, no responsible, unbiased, unjaundiced interpretiation of the relevant codes could possibly hold Israel responsible for Gaza war crimes (except possibly for exceptional instances, not for the thrust of the war). Of course, that won't stop it from happening -- as Israel- and Jew-hatred drives such twisted "prosecution" forward. David's specious, uninformed reasoning exemplifies the twistedness that is already much in evidence.
44. #41 I'll answer it for you.
john   (01.22.09)
its about the buzz-word of the moment: a "proportionate" response. a sniper in a civilian building shouldnt be taken out with a cluster bomb to put it very simply (its a little more complicated and is always a subjective question, but you get the gist). attached to that, there is the question of military necessity. the destruction of a legitimate target that is located in a civilian area when there will be definite civilian casualties must have an over riding military advantage attached to its destruction. the harm caused to civilians or civilian property must be proportional and not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated so yes, knowingly killing civilians isnt of itself a war crime, it depends on the context in which they are killed. so heres the homework: an attack using white phosphorous on a crowded school (bear in mind that WP, while not illegal in itself is illegal when used in this manner)... war crime or not? (by the way, spare the "hamas fired rockets into civilian areas" thing. obviously a war crime, thats not what youre being asked.) i hope that clears things up. im sure youll learn a bit more about this in the coming months.
45. #42
jj   (01.22.09)
do you think that that will be the type of defence israel will use against the charges?... hopefully! self-righteous? morally superior? theyre just the laws, im helping you understand them. youre going to need to.
46. JJ
Justin ,   Canada   (01.22.09)
The UN and Europeans were silent when Hamas was launching rockets, but they were quite vocal with "international law" and "human rights" when Israel fought back. Since the people quoting "international law" are quiet when Israelis are being killed, but get outraged when palestinians are killed I can draw these conclusions: The International community has taken sides, does not care about Israeli lives, therefore is not impartial, therefore loses it's credibility, and is really a tool for self-serving countries with their own agendas and enemies of Israel. You're too clueless to even realize that.
47. justin
jj   (01.23.09)
theyre just the laws and the facts. your opinions matter not. the lawyers are right, israelis involved in this "offensive" have good reason to fear the law. hamas and IDF are as guilty as each other. pots and kettles. i would love nothing more than to see haniyeh, maashal et al. in the same prison as ashkenazi, barak, livni and olmert. nothing more. wipe the smiles of everybodys face down that part of the world.
48. War & Legal acrobatics
J.K. ,   Brooklyn USA   (01.23.09)
can anybody tell me,why wasn't general Eizenhower arrested?his army killed 20,000 civilians during the invasion of Europe 1944,Is it because there was no CNN,at the time,and the BBC was singing a different tune,The notion to put Israeli Military officers on trial is ridiculous,imagine,Germany,suing Russia,for losses it suffered during the German attack on Russia June 22 1941.The legitimate government of Gaza attacked Israel with missiles and mortars.Israel has every right to defend itself as it sees fit,the Palestinians who are the aggressors can not claim victimhood.
49. Anti-Semetic Europe?
True Brit ,   United Kingdom   (01.26.09)
Re Cynic's comments about the USA 'respecting' the fight against terrorism. Would this be the same USA which funded the IRA terror campaign in my country for 30 years? The same USA which sent millions of dollars to the IRA for weapons and bombs - bombs which killed hundreds and wounded thousands? Respect for that? Try telling the people of Omagh that the Yanks don't support terrorism - that explosion was funded by their dollars. As for anti-semitic, some are, some aren't - same as most places around the world. Don't confuse criticism of Israel with ant-semitism!
50. #49 has a point, I hate to pop your Bubble
Observer ,   World   (02.02.09)
but if Israel starts supporting War Crimes as it has, it will lose all support from the West. And that will leave Israel and a couple of Arab countries against the rest of US.
51. # 48 here's why, Eizenhower had the
Observer ,   World   (02.02.09)
blessings of the whole world, were as Israel has the blessings of Israel. If Israel had not blockaded Gaza perhaps things would be different.
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