Sunday, June 02, 2024

  • Sunday, June 02, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon
Reuters reported last week:
French President Emmanuel Macron voiced outrage on Monday over Israeli strikes on a tented camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah that Gaza officials said killed at least 45 people and demanded an "immediate ceasefire."

"These operations must stop. There are no safe areas in Rafah for Palestinian civilians," Macron said on X in English.

"I call for full respect for international law and an immediate ceasefire."
Let's look at the relevant sections of France's main source for interpreting the laws of war, the 2022 edition of Manuel de droit des opérations militaires.Manuel de droit des opérations militaires.

Under the section on the Principle of Distinction:
The destruction, capture, or neutralization of the property must offer, in the circumstances of time and place, a specific military advantage. It is contrary to IHL to launch an attack which offers only indeterminate or possible advantages.
A successful targeting of two major Hamas leaders certainly qualifies as providing a specific military advantage.
From the principle of distinction comes the prohibition of carrying out indiscriminate attacks. Here are three [examples] of these: attacks which are not directed against a specific military objective, such as example a soldier who fires in all directions without aiming at a specific military objective; attacks in which combat methods or means are used which cannot be directed against a specific military objective, such as for example long-range missiles which cannot be directed at their target with precision; and attacks in which combat methods or means are used whose effects cannot be limited, such as the use of a bomb of particularly high power in relation to the limited military gain expected to destroy a building in an urban area and heavily populated.  
Notice "particularly high power" ("puissance particulièrement élevée.") Israel used the smallest bomb possible for an airstrike, the GBU-39, which was designed to give as little collateral damage as possible. 

And what about proportionality?
The principle of proportionality targets the incidental effects of attacks on civilians and civilian objects. These incidental (collateral) effects can be linked to multiple factors: proximity to a military objective, precision of the weapons used, nature of the military objective targeted, etc. All these factors must be taken into consideration before each attack. Thus, collateral effects on civilians must be taken into account, whether direct or indirect (or cascading), provided that they are predictable.
The proportionality of an attack is assessed on a case-by-case basis, by comparing the foreseeable damage of the attack and the concrete and direct military advantage expected from this attack, in light of the information available at the time of the decision-making. The ICTY held that to determine whether an attack was proportionate, it was necessary to assess whether the person had sufficient knowledge of the situation and whether he judiciously used the information available to him at the time of the attack, so that he could have predicted that the attack would cause excessive losses among the civilian population.

No one in any army in the world, current or future, could possibly have predicted that the target was near a secret weapons cache that would explode and spark a fire that would kill civilians. 

This isn't only for France - similar language is in every single Western military manual worldwide. Nobody can point to a single international law that Israel is violating in Gaza unless they lie about the facts, as South Africa has at the ICJ

The conclusion is that the world - including the United States - is publicly applying standards to Israel that no one expects any other nation, and certainly their own nations, to reach. 

For example, France killed dozens in Mali during  Operation Barkhane, including a strike on a wedding party that probably killed more than the incident in Rafah (Hamas typically exaggerates death tolls in major incidents by a factor of 3 or 4; none of the videos of the camp fire showed more than 12 bodies.) Even today, years later, France has not admitted to any wrongdoing and claims that all the people killed were terrorists. The world demands Israel publish instant, accurate and transparent investigations; every other Western power routinely covers up their own incidents. And even when Israel provides tons of evidence that it was right in these investigations, the world assumes that it is lying - an antisemitic trope that has been around for centuries

But it is even worse than double standards. The fictional international law that the world is demanding that Israel adheres to would ensure that no army in the world could ever win a war where civilians are remotely nearby. Real international law does not reward combatants who deliberately use human shields, but the supposedly enlightened West has  created a framework where every two-bit terror group can protect itself by hiding among civilians - if they apply the standards they insist upon for Israel uniformly.

Which means that the antisemitism that underlies the outrage over Israel acting within the bounds of international law may paradoxically result in the erosion of those laws altogether, which puts the entire free world at risk. 

(h/t UR)

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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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