- Having friends in high places in Washington lets Israel
get away with murder.
- On October 31, Ma'an News said continued Israeli air
strikes so far killed 12 Gazans. Others were wounded, some severely.
- Overnight Sunday, the IDF confirmed additional air strikes.
Another ceasefire took effect at 10:00PM. Nonetheless, early Monday attacks
continued, targeting Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. Israel overflights continue.
- Given its propensity for violence, expect more attacks
any time for any reason or none at all. On Sunday, Netanyahu relished having
- "There is no ceasefire." Israeli forces will
"protect the residents of the south and wipe out the rocket launchers.
I promise that the other side will pay an even heavier price than it has
up to now until it stops firing."
- No matter that Gazans respond defensively to premeditated
Israeli attacks. Netanyahu inverted truth, blaming victims of IDF crimes.
Since Cast Lead ended in January 2009, Hamas rigorously observed ceasefire
terms. So do other resistance forces except when attacked.
- Israel violated Egypt's brokered truce. Islamic Jihad
(IJ) and other resistance groups said ending violence depends on stopping
Israeli attacks. IJ's Sunday statement said:
- "Islamic Jihad is committed to the truce as long
as the occupation commits to it."
- However, if Israeli attacks continue, further comments
said resistance will respond defensively.
- Premeditated Israeli attacks initiated conflict. Militants
were falsely blamed. Gazan resistance responds defensively. Israel calls
it terrorism. International law clearly legitimizes defensive responses
to external attacks.
- On October 31, the International Middle East Media Center
said Sunday Israel air and ground attacks killed Islamic Jihad and National
Resistance Brigades members.
- On October 30, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights
(PCHR) said Israel escalated attacks on Gaza. Nine deaths were reported.
As of midday Monday Gaza time, it's at least 12, including civilians.
- "Resistance training sites and a police station
were destroyed. Other buildings also sustained damage. PCHR "warn(ed)
of further escalation of such attacks, and expresse(d) concern for the
lives of Palestinian civilians, especially because the Gaza Strip is one
of the most densely populated areas in the world."
- Gazans killed included:
- Ahmed Khalil al-Sheikh Khalil in Rafah;
- Mohammed Ahmed 'Aashour in Khan Yunis;
- Abdul Karim Mousa Shatat in Khan Yunis;
- Bassem Mohammed Abu al-'Ata in Gaza City;
- Hassan Mohammed al-Khudari in Gaza City;
- Suleiman Mahrous Abu Fatma in Rafah;
- Sami Hamad Abu Sabt in Rafah;
- Mardi Nahidh Mohammed Hajjaj in Gaza City; and
- Suhail Ibrahim Jundiya in Gaza City.
- Three others were killed after PCHR's report. Palestinians
near attack sites are terrified, especially children.
- All Israeli attacks violate Israeli and international
law. Besieged Gazans live in the world's largest open air prison. Israel
maliciously makes it a war zone. Human lives and welfare are non-starters.
State terror defines Israeli policy.
- On Sunday, MK Shaul Mofaz, Knesset chairman of the Foreign
Affairs and Defense Committee, said Israel must commit itself to targeted
assassinations. Press TV reported that he stressed targeting Gaza-based
"high-ranking figures within the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement
- Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and other
MKs share his view. Targeted assassinations is longstanding Israeli policy.
Others call it cold-blooded murder. Under international law, it's a war
crime. More on that below.
- Israel remains unaccountable. Washington and other Quartet
members stay silent. Fundamental international law principles are ignored,
including obligations under Fourth Geneva's Article 146 stating:
- "The High Contracting Parties undertake to enact
any legislation to provide effective penal sanctions for persons committing,
or ordering to be committed, any of the grave breaches of the present Convention."
- Fourth Geneva guarantees protection of civilians in time
of war. Israel, Washington, Britain, France, and other Western belligerents
systematically spurn all international law. Rogue violence defines their
agenda. Mass deaths, injuries and destruction are military objectives.
They all get away with murder.
- Targeted Killing
- Geneva's Common Article 3 prohibits:
- "(a) violence to life and person, in particular
to murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;"
- "(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out
of executions with previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted
court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable
by civilized peoples."
- Under Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR):
- "Every human being has the inherent right to life.
This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived
of his life."
- Other international laws are also relevant, including
provisions of the 1907 Hague Convention.
- Nils Melzer's book, titled "Targeted Killing in
International Law" discussed the practice. His definition includes
lethal force against anyone not in custody with premeditated intent to
- He used two normative paradigms:
- the "hostilities paradigm" against combatants,
including civilians directly participating in hostilities; and
- the "law enforcement paradigm" against noncombatant
civilians, including during armed conflict.
- He believes "law enforcement paradigm" targeted
killings must conform to domestic law, be preventative, not punitive, and
have protecting human life from lawless attacks its sole purpose.
- Under the "hostilities paradigm," combatants
are legitimate targets to achieve specific military objectives, provided
civilian lives and property are protected from harm.
- Distinction and proportionality principles apply to distinguish
between combatants and military targets v. civilians and non-military ones.
Attacking latter ones are war crimes except when civilians take direct
part in hostilities.
- Proportionality prohibits disproportionate, indiscriminate
force likely to cause damage to or loss of lives and objects.
- Fourth Geneva also requires giving "effective advance
warning" and "neutralized zones" so noncombatants can be
as protected as possible.
- Washington, its NATO partners, and Israel violate these
and other international law principles with impunity.
- International laws protect human life. Killing is always
a last resort, never against noncombatants. Premeditated killing is lawless.
Meltzer says it's impermissible when non-lethal alternatives exist.
- In "The Public Committee against Torture in Israel
v. Gov't of Israel et al (2005)," Israel's High Court ruled that "a
civilian taking a direct part in hostilities cannot be attacked....if a
less harmful means can be employed."
- In paragraph 40 it added:
- "(I)f a belligerent were allowed to fire at enemy
civilians simply suspected of somehow planning or conspiring to plan military
attacks, or of having planned or directed hostile actions, the basic foundations
of international humanitarian law would be seriously undermined."
- "The basic distinction between civilians and combatants
would be called into question and the whole body of law relating to armed
conflict would eventually be eroded."
- It entirely eroded in all Israeli conflicts since 1948.
Its own standard holds human life inconsequential to achieve military objectives.
- Moreover, its "Dahiya Doctrine" targets civilians
as official policy. Named after a Beirut suburb attacked in 2006, Israel's
then Northern Commander Gabi Eisenkot said:
- "What happened in Dahiya....will happen in every
village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force
at the heart of the enemy's weak spot (civilians) and cause great damage
- "From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages
(towns or cities). They are military bases. This is not a recommendation.
This is a plan. And it has been approved."
- It prioritizes damaging or destroying assets, economic
interests, and centers of civilian power. Israel wages all wars and armed
interventions this way, no matter how in violation of fundamental international
- Israel's High Court called it illegal. Israel notoriously
ignores its own highest legal authority with impunity. As a result, Palestinians
most of all suffer, largely out of sight and mind from Western media.
- A Final Comment
- On October 31, UNESCO admitted Palestine as a full member,
despite intense Washington and Israeli opposition.
- UNESCO member states voted 107 in favor, 14 against,
and 52 abstaining.
- Israel called it a "tragedy." Ahead of the
vote, Washington called admitting Palestine "counterproductive (and)
premature." Retaliatory measures followed, America's usual response.
- Its UNESCO funding was suspended. The organization will
get along fine without its blood money. The UN would greatly improve without
- Palestinians hope theirs in UNESCO will boost their full
UN recognition chances. At best, call it a baby step forward.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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