At last the BBC has published an article that is sober and balanced in its opinion on the Gaza conflict. It is a legal analysis by Guglielmo Verdirame Department of War Studies, King’s College London.
Although, in my opinion, it misses one vital point.
Israel is well aware of its legal obligations. Every major military order is scrutinised by lawyers before final approval is reached.
But also, within Israel there are queues from within the legal profession of those who would be willing to represent any who feel that an action by the IDF has broken some law.
This is not to mention the political opposition to the government, whose scrutiny of all actions is constant and precise. Inquiries into wars have been instigated before, and those responsible for errors have accepted that responsibility. Such is the nature of a democratic state and particularly the democratic State of Israel.
And this is before one takes into consideration the State of Israel’s obligations with respect to International law.
But this is not the case for Hamas.
Hamas’s attitude to the law is at best arbitrary and at worst Hamas has demonstrated a total disregard for law within Gaza e.g Hamas’s use of political assassination in order to gain power in Gaza and Hamas’s summary public executions of those accused of collaboration with Israel in the last few days.
There are no lawyers (or even a court) let alone a political opposition in Gaza who would dare call Hamas to account for:
- Storing weapons in private houses
- Establishing military command posts under hospitals
- Bringing children with rocket launch teams etc.
This difference in legal responsibilities is in fact the core of Hamas’s strategy.
Every act of aggression, every military manoeuvre, and every hidden cache of missiles, every command bunker, and every rocket launch site is specifically chosen in order to create a legal dilemma. Thus giving free propaganda for Hamas’s apologists who have no hesitation in parading on the high horse of moral superiority.
Whatever reasons these apologist might have for their condemnation of Israel, it most certainly is not based upon any respect for the accepted “separation of powers” within a democracy or an equal application of international laws governing armed conflict.