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Israel and international war crimes.

2023-10-23 (#027)

Natasha Hausdorff, a barrister and an international law expert, is asked how governments go about negotiating the release of hostages. The negotiations, she says, are separate from the legal position. International efforts are being made with regard to the abduction of over 200 hostages. The crimes of Hamas have led to a humanitarian crisis not only in Gaza but also in Israel where the families of the hostages know that the orders to the terrorists were to kidnap and torture. International law is very important and the myths about Israel's conduct have played a significant role in the coverage of it. From an international legal perspective, Israel not only has the right to respond, but under the convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide, Israel also has an affirmative obligation like the rest of the signatories of the convention to ensure that never again means never again. The interviewer claims that there are rules of war and engagement and the question is how Israel defends itself and also what should be the plight of Palestinian civilians under siege with no water, food and medical supplies as well as aerial bombardments day and night. Natasha Hausdorff replies that the laws require the sides to minimize civilian casualties and Israel is attempting to do so by issuing warnings before it strikes and telling people to leave. There has also been a mass evacuation of Israeli civilians away from the borders because of the terrorist organizations. But there is another myth: that Israel has the obligation to supply Hamas terrorists with electricity and other commodities. That is without basis in international law. Nonetheless, after the violent takeover of Gaza by Hamas in 2007, Israel continued to supply the needs of the Gazan civilians that Hamas neglects and abuses. This is not viable during a military campaign where Hamas steals those supplies and uses them to continue firing missiles at Israel. There is no requirement in international law to continue providing resources, only that Israel facilitate the passage of food and medicine by third parties if they can be delivered without diversion to Hamas, which is not the case because Hamas controls Gaza. The basic rules of the Geneva and Hague conventions are that sieges are lawful unless they are deliberately aimed at starving the population. Israel has been absolutely clear that its objective is to defeat Hamas and create a new reality in Gaza by ensuring it will no longer be run by a genocidal terrorist organization, and of course to rescue hostages. Israel weighs up every single of its strikes on Gaza to make sure that any collateral damage is proportionate to the aims of the strike, that the strike is necessary and that the targets are legitimate in tha they consist of terrorist infrastructure.

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