The war crimes in Gaza

My view is that the current Israeli regime may be committing war crimes, or better put, Crimes against Humanity in Gaza in the way that they are currently bombing Gaza. (I shall henceforth refer to it as War Crimes.)

I shall, in what follows, endeavour to point out why I believe that they could be successfully prosecuted for War Crimes.

Before I proceed, I think it is necessary to place my views regarding morality, religion and race on record because for some people the Gaza conflict is a war about religion and race and there are some fanatics out there.

This article is not about who has a right to which portion of land, as I want to deal with War Crimes.

Religious arguments by any party as justification for the Israeli bombings are stupid:

I view myself as a reasonable, moderate, middle class and middle aged man with a passion for righteousness and who hates bullies.

Although I am firmly of the view that Israel are committing war crimes, Muslims should not think I am taking their side nor am I defending Hamas. Sorry good people, I think your human rights record stinks.

I am a Christian but I view myself as a moderate Christian and I find it stupid beyond belief that some Christians can blindly say the Israelis are “Gods People” and thus have a right to conduct themselves as they are doing in Gaza. Bollocks. I cannot stand religious and naïve fanatics, sorry for you too my Christian brethren.

I am also not anti-semetic, on the contrary, I  admire the business skills of Jewish people in general. I am mad About Jonathan Shapiro [Zapiro] although I know that he does not have a particular affinity for Afrikaners. (I am proud to call myself an Afrikaner.)

Strange as it may sound, my political views were largely influenced by two atheists – not because of their atheist’s beliefs as I disagree with them -  but because of the way that they think and evaluate politics. The fact that they are atheists may be totally coincidental but I have to acknowledge that these gentlemen were always brutally honest and emotionally detached when evaluating politics and similar scenarios. They do not as a rule  have any holy cows – a very important quality if you want to evaluate politics and morality objectively.

I do not believe in holy cows, they are not sacred to me. Facts are facts and the truth is the truth even though it may hurt.

Reasonable people should be against the bombing of innocent people by the Israelis in Gaza

Let me make it clear: There is no question that Hamas and others committed war crimes both in firing on Israeli civilian population, and in firing from within civilian population. However, according to International Humanitarian Law, the fact that one side to the conflict carries out violations does not legitimise violations by the other side.

So, what then is my gripe with the Israelis specifically?

I believe that they are waging a war on the basis of The Dahiya doctrine which is a military strategy put forth by the Israeli general Eizenkot that pertains to asymmetric warfare in an urban setting, in which the army deliberately targets civilian infrastructure, as a means of inducing suffering for the civilian population, thereby establishing deterrence. Even if I am wrong in the latter assessment, then their de facto actions are still unlawful.

That, to me, is unacceptable and barbaric.

Morally, and speaking for myself, I believe the right to self-defence is a God given right. I will defend myself and my family against any attack but I will not kill and shoot an attacker after the attack through his child or 60 year old mother if he uses them as a shield.

Also, I would not kill his neighbour, his innocent baby and destroy his house if he hides in their home.

But, that's me. I respect the sanctity of life. I think of myself as a reasonable and kind man. Not a murderer.

What follows are principles of International Law and the views of reasonable thinking Jews and their views on the Gaza wars (past) and is in effect similar of even worse than the atrocities that the Israeli government is committing currently. One organization is The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) and it is based in Israel.

I align myself with the views of these brave JEWS of PCATI.

The  Principles of International Humanitarian Law (“IHL”)

The current Israeli regime argues that it is forced into acting against targets in very densely populated areas, including rocket launchers in the streets and weapons caches in civilian buildings. They have invented the phrase “human shields”. However, the fact that Hamas committed violations and acted from within residential areas does not provide justification for unlimited military actions. Israel must act in accordance with IHL. If a shoplifter breaks the law, I cannot break the law by killing him.

 Since the beginning of human history the stronger side has used the amount of force it deems necessary against its enemy. Since the middle of the 20th century, in reaction to the horrors of World War II, there has been an attempt to moderate the nature of military actions in general and specifically those which affect civilians. Various treaties were drawn up in an effort to regulate the conduct of war, so as to provide protection for civilians.

Two important principles were established regarding civilians, especially in civilian centres:

1. The principle of distinction, which distinguishes between combatants and civilians and strictly prohibits targeting the latter.

2. The principle of proportionality, which requires that all possible effort must be taken to prevent harm to civilians or civilian objects when attacking a legitimate military target and that the incidental damage caused to uninvolved civilians must not be greater to the concrete and direct military advantage achieved.

 In my opinion, in bombing indiscriminately the current Israeli government is contravening International Humanitarian Law as set out above.

That is international law, but what is the Israeli domestic law in this regard?

The law is very interesting and may shock many militant Jews.

Israeli Law:

Believe it or not, the domestic Israeli law is the same as international law and furthermore supports my  view that the Israeli Government is guilty of War Crimes.

It pleases me to see that there are reasonable Jews because the Israeli Court High Court of Justice provided a good example of what is allowed and prohibited when it addressed a similar issue of indiscriminate bombings in 2006. The court said:

"Take the usual case of a combatant, or of a terrorist sniper shooting at soldiers or civilians from his porch. Shooting at him is proportional even if as a result, an innocent civilian neighbour or passer-by is harmed. That is not the case if the building is bombed from the air and scores of its residents and passersby are harmed."[ My emphasis]

[See Israeli Supreme Court, HCJ 769/02, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v. The Government of Israel, December 2006, art. 46: ]

 Jews in South Africa:

Other right minded Jews like Zapiro and others (SA Jews against Israeli Attacks) drafted a petition to our Government stating:

We, as South Africans of Jewish descent, strongly condemn the Israeli bombing of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

Israeli attacks, with the stated objective of halting Palestinian rocket fire and destroying the military infrastructure of Hamas, have included heavy aerial, navy and tank bombardment of Gaza.

This aggression is in the context of a seven-year Israeli blockade of Gaza which has severely damaged health and sanitary infrastructure, destroyed employment opportunities and led to a severe shortage of basic necessities.

Israel justifies the operations using the deaths of three young Israelis in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, whose brutal murders we deplore, but which cannot be a justification for state-sanctioned civilian punishment.

We deplore the continuing rocket fire aimed at Israel.

However, there is virtual unanimity that the scale of the Israeli assault is completely disproportionate.

The impunity with which Israel behaves cannot be tolerated any longer. We believe the time has come for the South African government to sever all links with Israel.”

For the reasons stated above I conclude that Israel’s conduct is morally and lawfully indefensible. I especially believe that this current Israeli regime is a law onto itself - a runaway train. They should be hauled before a war crimes tribunal.

The current regime does not comply with principles of International law and its OWN laws.

It is a disgrace that some Jewish people are trying to justify this action here on NEWS24, forgetting their own laws, but one should never forget that a runaway government makes uses of agents provocateur in its propaganda wars.

Wehr Wulf 2014-07-30 05:14:04 PM
Here’s why Hamas acts the way it does, as stated in its charter: “So-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” And furthermore: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.” So how exactly does Hamas act? For one, they use human shields to draw international criticism of Israel, despite Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that, “the presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.” Not only does Hamas explicitly target Israeli civilians, they also use their own population centers as launching pads for their indiscriminate missiles. In fact, Hamas’ own rockets have fallen back into Gazan population centers. That just goes to show how little they value human life, even that of their own people. [quoted]
Wehr Wulf 2014-07-30 05:23:08 PM
The Palestinian attacks violate one of the most basic rules of international humanitarian law, the rule of distinction, which requires combatants to aim all their attacks at legitimate targets – enemy combatants or objects that contribute to enemy military actions. Violations of the rule of distinction – attacks deliberately aimed at civilians or protected objects as such – are war crimes, exactly what Hamas has been committing with its relentless rocket assaults. Hamas militants not only commit a war crime each time they lob a rocket or mortar into Israel from Gaza by virtue of the fact that the targets of those attacks are specifically and purposely civilian, not military, assets—a violation of the “distinction” rule—but also, in not wearing military uniforms and often posing as civilians, Hamas terrorists are also committing another crime, that of perfidy. Article 48 of Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions of 1949 is very clear about this prohibited behavior of combatants, stating that “[i]n order to ensure respect for and protection of the civilian population and civilian objects, the Parties to the conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives and accordingly shall direct their operations only against military objectives.” Since the rockets Hamas aims at southern Israeli towns are launched randomly into civilian enclaves, and lack the technical sophistication to reliably be aimed at military targets even if that was Hamas’s actual intention, each of the 12,000 or so rockets that have come into Israel from Gaza since 2005 (including over 1000 this month alone) represents both an causis belli and a war crime.
Vincent Van G 2014-07-30 05:37:25 PM
Like all pro-Hamas supporters, you tend to forget that Hamas is actually playing the bullying bit by setting up their attacking stations in residential areas, using the resident Palistinians who do not want war as human shields, which is also a war crime or crime against humanity. Hamas has even built tunnels right into Israel, and has only one vision, namely to wipe the Israeli state off the map. They are not interested in peace, and they do not mind the fact that thousands of civilians die for their cause so that they can illicit internatiobal, if not global, sympathy.
Ennio Morricone 2014-07-30 05:37:31 PM
Yes Brollocks, very true its USA tht runs this regime, the torture of Palestians.
G 2014-07-30 05:38:13 PM
Guilty as charged. They have broken UN resolution 242, they have invaded Palestinian territory on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip exceeding the 1967 borders, tearing down houses, destroying olive groves and invading Palestinian lands. They are now committing human rights abuses and atrocities on a horrific scale that is basically genocide and a holocaust and the Israeli leadership should be arrested, tried and convicted in a Nuremberg style court.
G 2014-07-30 06:00:39 PM
Brolloks En Bittergal, keep in mind that you are up against the "Flat Earth Society " here. These people think Reuters is the Bible and CNN is NOT Hollywood. Let's put it this way , they have never seen the movie "They Live!" or "The Matrix." One day maybe, they will zip open the sky.
George Michaelides 2014-07-30 06:16:23 PM
Hey Bollocks, your avatar says it go away
Kevin Moxham 2014-07-30 06:40:36 PM
not suprprised that you ignore what Hammas does especially with the use of human shields and i believe you lie when you say you will not defend yourself if your attackers 'use children or old people' to advance thier deeds.
Jack Thomas 2014-07-30 06:43:16 PM
i believe that every person is allowed to voice there own oppinion but i do have to inform you that your facts are misleading. As a "christian you should know this" as many verses in the Bible so states that Jews ARE Gods chosen people and that they were spread out over the earth due to there disobedience to God. Land was given them by God and not the patch allocated by men. Me and my house will serve Father YHWY and we pray and stand by Israel! Zechariah 12:2-3 Amen!
Owen Walker 2014-07-30 07:01:51 PM
200 hundred years ago this war would have been over in days. The advancing army would have forced all to flee and the land would be empty. Today we just have way too many lawyers involved. War used to be so simple and uncomplicated. This whole war on civilians would have had the USA guilty of war crimes after Hiroshima. The only reason Hammas launch rockets is that they can hide behind international law. War should be about the guy with biggest muscle and brains wins.