BY H. Marcos C. Mordeno
MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews) – Is Israel violating International Law, in particular International Humanitarian Law, which governs the conduct of warfare, with the way it’s prosecuting the war in Gaza Strip? From all angles, that appears to be the case, and the end is nowhere in sight.
The following are some of the basic provisions of International Humanitarian Law. See what’s happening in Gaza and judge for yourself whether Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:
Civilians and civilian objects shall not be objects of attacks; Combatants rendered hors de combat (out of action due to capture or injury) assume civilian status; Civilians shall be treated as such unless they take a direct part in hostilities; The wounded and the sick, including captured enemy personnel, shall be cared for and given medical attention; It is prohibited to order that there shall be no survivors;
Places of worship shall not be the objects of attack; Hospitals, sources of water supply, and other objects and installations indispensable to the survival of the civilian population shall not be the object of attack.
Israel has ratified/acceded to the four Geneva Conventions as well as the Genocide Convention. But whether it has observed these tenets in the ongoing conflict in Gaza is another matter.
That Hamas is deemed by the West as a terrorist organization doesn’t justify the Israeli military’s actions that have killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children and journalists. That Hamas’ attacks last October 7 killed hundreds of civilians in Israel doesn’t make Israel’s indiscriminate attacks right either.
Hamas fighters mix themselves with the civilians? Granting that’s true – and that’s an expected scenario – what can the civilians do? Hamas has become the de facto government in Gaza, although the group’s leaders are not based there.
Unfortunately, Israel only defers to Moses’ injunction of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” as contained in Exodus and Leviticus. I don’t mean to engage in an argument over religious doctrines, but may I just point out that such a decree was meant as a guide for lawmakers and judges not as a tool to exact vengeance.
Besides, Israel’s actions have gone beyond lex talionis (exact retribution). See the statistics on both sides and you’ll understand what I’m saying. It’s not just for self-defense, it’s not just a war against Hamas. Israel is using the October 7 attacks by the group as an excuse to complete the destruction of Palestine, its people, and all. And from the ashes of the dead shall rise Zion.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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