Sunday, February 05, 2023

Since the Jenin "massacre" story started fading from the headlines, CNN has a story about the family whose apartment was used by the IDF as a firing position against the group of Jenin terrorists planning a major attack.

No doubt the family was severely affected by being invaded by IDF troops. But the story says this:
Representatives of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) visited Jenin in the days after the incident and spoke to al-Hayja and his family. "Their children were noticeably traumatized," Adam Bouloukos, director of UNRWA Affairs in the West Bank told CNN. "This kind of invasion violates not only international law but common decency."
The UNRWA official is lying about international law and, as usual, the media doesn't bother to fact check.

The main relevant section of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, Article 53, says:
Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.    

 The occupying forces may ...undertake the total or partial destruction of certain private or public property in the occupied territory when imperative military requirements so demand.

Furthermore, it will be for the Occupying Power to judge the importance of such military requirements. It is therefore to be feared that bad faith in the application of the reservation may render the proposed safeguard valueless; for unscrupulous recourse to the clause concerning military necessity would allow the Occupying Power to circumvent the prohibition set forth in the Convention. The Occupying Power must therefore try to interpret the clause in a reasonable manner: whenever it is felt essential to resort to destruction, the occupying authorities must try to keep a sense of proportion in comparing the military advantages to be gained with the damage done. 

Israel's right to attack military targets under international law is undisputed. It must minimize damage to civilian property as much as possible while protecting its own troops. And, in this case, it did: the only alternative would have been to bomb the targeted building from the air, which would have killed far more civilians. 

What about the IDF forcing the family who lived there to stay sheltered in one room while the bullets were flying? At first glance, it appears to be a violation of Article 31 of the Conventions:
No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties.
The ICRC commentary shows that it is not a blanket prohibition, because otherwise it contradicts other articles of the Convention:
[T]here is no question of absolute prohibition, as might be thought at first sight. The prohibition only applies in so far as the other provisions of the Convention do not implicitly or explicitly authorize a resort to coercion. Thus, Article 31 is subject to the unspoken reservation that force is permitted whenever it is necessary to use it in the application of measures taken under the Convention. ....Thus, a party to the conflict would be entitled to use coercion with regard to protected persons in order to compel respect for his right to requisition services Articles 40 , 51 ), to ensure the supply of foodstuffs, etc. to which he is entitled (Article 55, para. 2 , Article 57 ), to carry out the necessary evacuation measures (Article 49, para. 2 ), to remove public officials in occupied territories from their posts (Article 54, para. 2 ) and in regard to everything connected with internment (Articles 79 et sqq.).

Occupying powers can force civilians to do far more than stay in one place for several hours if needed for military purposes. And whie most articles about the Jenin operation try to airbrush the facts, no one has seriously argued that there was no military necessity behind it. 

CNN has every right to report on how Palestinians feel about their homes being invaded. But it does not have the right to report that Israel violated international law in doing so when it didn't.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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