Gaza case studies: Weapons use
24-Feb-2009 (2 comments)

Human rights investigators have been trawling through the rubble in Gaza and gathering testimonies in an attempt to piece together a picture of the way both sides fought and the weapons they used.

International law demands that a distinction is made between combatants and non-combatants, and civilian casualties proportionate to the military gains from the attack in which they occurred.

But Amnesty International has concluded that some Israeli attacks "were directed at civilians or civilian buildings", while "others were disproportionate or indiscriminate".

recommended by Darius Kadivar


Darius Kadivar

Abarmard, Nope I wasn't !

by Darius Kadivar on

No on the contrary I have always said that I would welcome an impartial investigation on the incidents in Gaza.

I am just not certain that there is enough serenity surrounding these investigations because people understandably seem to be blinded by the tragic nature of the conflict that led irrefutably to the unfortunate human casualties of civilians.

Also I'm afraid that most people hardly look at the results of such an investigation but have for the most already cast their definitive judgment based on their initial emotional reactions to the conflict rather than their reasoning.

To condemn a War or Military Action is Only human. But the Gaza conflict leads to an essential and important debate on the lack of application and Respect of the GENEVA CONVENTION which normally has an unambiguous legal terminology aimed at avoiding such situations as displayed in Gaza ... Why is the Geneva Convention disregarded so often ?

In Legal Terms

How does one define a "War Crime" ? ... 

What is considered as a "Crime" or "Not a Crime" in a War when after all people are killed by definition ?

Where is the borderline that separates "Acts of War" and "War Crimes" ?

What is an act of Genocide and what is a massacre ?

I'm not a specialist in this field nor a Lawyer but all I can say is that WORDS DO MATTER When wanting to qualify such incidents or event however tragic or shocking. 

For instance:

A Genocide IS a War Crime, BUT  A War Crime is NOT Necessarily a Genocide! 

A Genocide however is defined by a clear intention of wiping out a people, or a race. And in most cases like in Nazi Germany or the Red Kmers in Combodia they were conducted in secrecy because of the particularly outrageous nature of such an extensive crime.

The case of Sabra and Chatilla in Lebanon two decades ago for instance was a War Crime. I do not know if there was an international investigation that was conducted to its end or if it was halted due to Israelian government pressure but it did leave a deep scar in the minds of the Israelis who till then believed that they were conducting a Just War for their own survival and were respecting the Laws of War so to speak. It even led to movies and debates on the subject in Israel like recently with the film Waltz With Bashir:

WALTZ WITH BASHIR: Israel's Guilt and Oscar Bid ! By DK

As far as I am concerned ( and I say this as an outsider to the conflict) what happened in Gaza was NOT a Holocaust nor a military operation aimed at commiting a Genocide as defined by the Geneva Convention. It was however an Act of War and I would also add A FOOLISH ACT OF WAR that led to the Violation of the Geneva Convention.

As such I don't think that during the Iran Iraq War for instance that what we saw in Gaza was any different to what happened during that 8 year long war. Why then is there no demand for an investigation of all the battles that took place during that War ?

After all cities are bombed during a War and civilians get killed as a result but no one necessarily speaks of War Crimes in these cases ...

The Gazing of the Kurds by Saddam however did lead to such an investigation for it corresponded to what can be considered as a deliberate act of Genocide.

Were there cases of incidents in Gaza during this disastrous military operation that could be qualified as War Crimes ? I think so given the images we saw but also The bombing of Civilian buildings like schools or Mosques which normally should not be considered as military targets. But that is not enough to qualify it as a War Crime for the Army can always claim ( which they did) that they had to bomb them because they were receiving missiles from that direction. It may be hypocritical but it can serve as an argument in a court.

The Use of some weapons like Phospherous Bombs seem to also be disturbing given that apparently they are not allowed by the Geneve Convention to be used in areas with Civilian inhabitants. So the Israeli government and Military have to respond to these accusations. What will be their answer or justifications ? Time will say... 

On the otherhand the fact that Gaza is a small strip of land and inevitably highly populated the Israeli Military perfectly knew the risks of such an operation for the civilians and Yet conducted this retaliation with no reserves or serious warnings to the civilians in the area even if they claimed they warned the population by dropping letters Warning them of such an attack. CLEARLY THAT WAS RIDICULOUSLY INSUFFICIANT PRECAUTION on behalf of the Israelian Army to avoid civilian casualties.

So Yes I believe that the Israeli Army and government should be held accountable if an impartial international court was to investigate and provide irrefutable evidence of actions that could be qualified of being a War Crime and not just an Act of War.

But In that case I think that the HAMAS  should ALSO be investigated in turn for their have been reports of covert assassinations and torture By HAMAS of Gazaouis who were forced to silence in order to hide evidence of HAMAS using Human Targets to defend themselves so as to discourage military retaliation by the Israelians who had spotted them as military targets.

"Hamas Cheated on Some Victim Tolls in Gaza" say's French TV

So in summary, yes I believe that the Gaza Conflict should rightly serve as a case study but lets hope also a serious investigations on if not redefining the Geneva Convention but making sure that it will be applied to all involved in this conflict and eventually even bring to trial those suspected of War Crime in this particular Conflict.

But then it should not be used as a pretext to judge the Israelian Nation as a Whole or its existence but to judge eventually a government like was the case for those involved in the Watergate Scandal during the Nixon Era ( even if in this case it was not about War Crimes or assassinations) .

So yes alas Even Democracies can  commit crimes in the name of the people ( as the French in Algeria, The British in India) but that should not be an argument to question the principles of Democratic ideals that define and sustain their institutions. 

But again I am to yet see an impartial investigation conducted to the end on this particular conflict before casting a definitive judgment.

Will that take place ? I don't know.

My Humble Opinion.



Are you surprised?

by Abarmard on

I am not.