karl_lembke (karl_lembke) wrote,

Gaza, Isreal, and International Law

David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy has posted a link to a document, scholarly analysis of international law as it applies to Israel and Gaza.

One major conclusion running through the document is that the people who are declaring Israel absolutely guilty of war crimes are, at best, concentrating on the answers they like best.

For instance, the claim that Israel provoked the missile attacks from Gaza by illegally blockading the borders may not be as unambiguous as presented by those making it:
Israel’s imposition of economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip, such as withholding fuel supplies and electricity, does not involve the use of military force and is therefore a perfectly legal means of responding to Palestinian attacks, despite the effects on innocent Palestinian civilians. The use of economic and other non-military sanctions as a means of disciplining other international actors for their misbehavior is a practice known as “retorsion.”78 It is generally acknowledged that any country may engage in retorsion.79 Indeed, it is acknowledged that states may even go beyond retorsion to carry out non-belligerent reprisals, non-military acts that would otherwise be illegal (such as suspending flight agreements) as counter-measures.80 Since Israel is under no legal obligation to engage in trade of fuel or anything else with the Gaza Strip, or to maintain open borders with the Gaza Strip, it may withhold commercial items and seal its borders at its discretion, even if intended as “punishment” for Palestinian terrorism.

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