Thursday, January 15, 2009

I guess I have to row back

Today's Irish Times seems to have no anti-Israel column and, in fact, has one that is outright supportive of Israel. A second column by Irshad Manji is not so much pro-Israeli as anti-Hamas.

Then there's Tom Clonan's analysis on the behavior of both the IDF and Hamas. I have to admit that I often find Clonan annoying, but that's because I generally have no answer to some of the the things he writes that make me uncomfortable.

For example:
It appears that the IDF is using the full spectrum of its conventional combat capabilities indiscriminately. Under the terms of the Geneva Conventions, the use of such weapons systems in this manner among civilian population centres is interpreted as "indiscriminate". In other words, the IDF can legitimately be accused of "wanton destruction" and "wilful killing" within Gaza.

Specifically, IDF attacks in recent days are in direct contravention of protocol one, article 51, sections four and 5a of the Geneva Conventions. They prohibit the use of weapons systems, or a "method of attack that cannot be directed at or limited to a specific military objective" or "where there is a concentration of civilians or civilian objects".

The Geneva Conventions proscribe such attacks in urban environments where civilians reside and state that, when an attack "could cause incidental loss of civilian life or damage to civilian objects, then the attack must be called off".

Given the ongoing loss of civilian life in Gaza, the IDF and Israeli government would appear to be legally bound to heed immediately the UN Security Council resolution requirement to halt the offensive.
I've often wondered if the Geneva Conventions have any real application against an enemy that will deliberately endanger his own children – "Hamas has also been shown to be launching rockets from the environs of schools, mosques and other civilian locales" – but such actions make me uncomfortable, as I said.

How much easier it is to live in Ireland rather than Israel.