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Why Israel's Response to Hamas Was Justified by Natasha Hausdorff

2024-01-24 (276)

Natasha Hausdorff on what is a proportional response to a terrorist attack?‎
What does genocide involve?‎
And is South Africa's case at the International Court of Justice justified?‎

Presenters: Mark Oppenheimer and Jason Werbeloff
Editor and Producer: Jimmy Mullen and Porter Kaufman

Credits: UKLFI Charitable Trust

Video Transcription:

welcome to Brin and evat we are

absolutely delighted to be joined by

Natasha Hof who is an expert at

international law and a UK barister and

we're going to be talking about the

current conflict between Israel and Hamas

Natasha would you like to start with the

events of October 7 the circumstances

that that cause us to uh come together

uh now three months after the 7th of

October uh are unfortunate to say the

least uh it was in the early hours of

the 7th of October that Israel

experienced an attack uh planned as we

now know for at least two years by the

internationally prescribed Terror

organization Hamas uh an attack that

began of course with uh the firing of

rockets and air raid sirens and that now

appears to have been a cover for Mass

infiltrations through the border on a

scale uh which overwhelmed uh The

Limited Security Forces which were that

time uh on a religious holiday um

stationed around the Border area and we

all know now of the atrocities that were

committed by Hamas and other Palestinian

terrorist organizations and by all

accounts also by ordinary civilians who

followed through those border

breaches when I say this had been

planned for a number of years it's

important to understand that many people

in Israel uh while they would have been

shocked that such truly horrific events

uh could have happened the nature of

what happened uh may not have come as a

surprise to many and that is because if

you have followed uh the media uh and

literature and educational

resources uh specifically of of the

Hamas controlled Gaza Strip but also

across the palestin authority and and

the West Bank um the nature of what was

perpetrated was not surprising in fact

uh it has been part of the um stated

agenda certainly of Hamas but also of

other Palestinian terrorist

organizations uh and it is part and

parcel unfortunately of an education

system instituted 30 years ago through

the Oslo Accords under the control of

the Palestinian Authority in which uh

suddenly the terrorists that crossed the

border on the 7th of October had been

educated from a very young age that the

highest calling in life was martyrdom

and uh that their their highest uh aim

ought to be to slaughter as many Jews as

possible 3,000 terrorists don't wake up

one morning and decide that it's a good

day to slaughter Jews and you do not

create thousands of people who can

perpetrate the kind of atrocities that

we saw on the 7th of October

cutting the uh belly open of a pregnant

woman burning and beheading children

maming them in front of their families

Mass rape and

Slaughter um and uh the mutilation of

people uh both dead and alive that is

not um conduct that I believe is natural

in human beings and it has to be taught

and instilled in a very uh concentrated

Manner and and with a concerted effort

and according to un statistics if we

look at the number of children who are

educated who have grown up in the unra

school system un run schools three out

of four of the terrorists who crossed

the border on the 7th of October were

educated in that school system were

educated to commit those sorts of Terror

atrocities there are also other factors

uh that led to the ability of uh Hamas

and other terrorist organizations to

infiltrate into Israel to commit the

atrocities of the 7th of October and

when I say other Palestinian Terror

organizations amongst the terrorists

that committed those atrocities were

pflp members uh the filiates of fata the

so-called moderates in the West Bank

that run the Palestinian Authority uh

and there were Palestinian Islamic Jihad

and it's important to remember that all

of those terrorists who had previously

been convicted and and some of those

that planned the attack of the 7th of

October were released in the gilad

Shalit deal members of of Hamas and the

N Force um they had been paid salaries

continuously by the Palestine Authority

the so-called moderates in this equation

these Terror salaries under the pay for

slay program which is enshrined in

Palestinian law uh are paid to

terrorists irrespective of what Banner

they coales under and they are paid on

the basis of the severity of their

crimes how many many Jews they have

managed to slaughter and the length of

their sentences and so the

incentivization of Terror and the

education and indoctrination towards

Terror that we have seen for a number of

decades both contributed significantly

to the 7th of October atrocities there

is another factor that needs to be taken

into account to understand the context

uh of those events and that is

international pressure for security

concessions because was between uh

January and August

2023 there were over

400,000 entrances from Gaza into

Southern Israel mostly work permits uh

permitting people from Gaza to come and

work in the communities that lived in

the South along the border with Gaza and

we now know that these um entrances uh

the workers that came over on these

permits were Central to the planning of

this attack

an attack that involved uh units of

terrorists spreading out across the

southern communities uh with clear

instructions uh paperwork that was found

on them with maps detailed information

house by house on a on a household by

household basis how many people how many

children whether there was a dog whether

was a gun and what they were instructed

to do to each family and when one takes

into consideration that the people that

lived in these Southern communities were

amongst uh the most vocal proponents for

coexistence for cooperation for

initiatives uh for water supply uh in

Gaza and uh economic initiatives uh

driving Palestinian civilians of the

Gaza Strip uh to hospital uh in Israel

across the border when they were coming

for treatment these are the people that

were attacked uh these are the people

that had done more than anyone else in

Israel to seek to Foster positive

relations with their neighbors uh and

they paid for uh that with their blood

uh and the security concessions one of

which I've highlighted in the context of

the permits that permitted people from

the Gaza Strip to come into Israel on a

regular basis were also unfortunately a

very significant factor in the planning

and the ability of Hamas to execute

about what was the bloodiest day uh in

Jewish history since the Holocaust

thank you Natasha this it's a a

difficult topic especially on a

philosophy show because something that

we do with all of our guests uh even if

we agree with our guests which in this

case I do is to present objections um

that would be offered on the other side

um so I'm going to try and do that even

though I don't hold these objections U I

don't normally have to give a caveat

like that normally in flos we can play

with positions but here this is a really

serious topic um so one of the

objections given and there's many but

one of the objections given um is that

the empirical data is wrong so these

terrible things didn't happen or there's

a minimizing so they'll so so objectives

will say well there weren't any rapes

there weren't um and then it's difficult

to it's difficult to to argue against

false accusations or false false news

being propagated how false denials the

case maybe false denials yeah so so so

how do you go about trying to defend

empirical claims um against people who

try to minimize the horrors of of what

happened very early in this process uh I

was invited to um a debate at University

College Dublin in Ireland and the very

first uh contribution from the floor in

terms of questions uh was where is your

evidence to the 7th of October um and

while it may have been surprising at the

start of uh this process that

immediately after those atrocities were

committed um in a way we've got used to

these false denials and of course that

the straightforward answer to that is

look at the material that Hamas

themselves put out if you don't want to

take the word of Israeli survivors

Witnesses of the zaka team that

collected these bodies and documented

and gave interviews explaining uh the

aftermaths of these victims of grotesque

sexual assaults of gang rapes of broken

pelvises of teenage girls uh that were

simply left shot in the head after these

violent sexual assaults had taken place

if you're not prepared to take into

account all of that overwhelming

evidence and in the context of you know

believing victims and uh the modern

movement especially in relation to

violence against women uh that is

extraordinary in and of itself but put

all over that aside and look at what

Hamas have put out themselves because

they haven't hidden their crimes and

their atrocities on the contr they have

celebrated them they have circulated

footage of their atrocities with Glee

and they have promised to do the 7th of

October over and over again the fact

that we also see schizophrenic uh

changes to this you know on the one hand

they say the 7th of October didn't

happen and these are all Israeli lies or

the atrocities were not committed or

they only targeted combatants and not

civilians I mean we know that's not the

case because by the same token they also

celebrate their

crimes so um I I find that uh when

dealing with false denials one really

has to pick one's battle if people are

not willing to engage uh with the

obvious and the evidence uh that has

been uh transmitted around the world and

also compiled uh by the Israeli

authorities uh in the sort of 42 minute

long uh video of some of the atrocities

captured on Hamas GoPros uh and the like

um then uh then I think these are

conversations that are probably not

going to be

productive so the Israeli response has

been that in order to secure the safety

of its citizens um to secure Jewish life

not just in Israel but really around the

world because Israel is a safe haven for

all Jews that it is now imperative to

eradicate amas now engaging in its War

um there have been some horrible

civilian casualties as I think you would

find in any War can you tell us a bit

about what are the requirements to fight

a war that meets the international law

standards of a just

War uh so just War Theory and and I

appreciate it on a philosophy show this

is something uh that people will wish to

engage in perhaps more so than any

practicalities of it um is is very

interesting from an academic standpoint

um so far as Israel's response is

concerned one doesn't need to go uh any

further than a very very basic and

fundamental uh aspect of customary

international law if you will which is

self-defense um it is not bestowed on

any state this right of self-defense it

is an inherent right of self-defense it

is considered so fundamental it is

recognized in article 51 of the UN

Charter as being inherent uh and no one

can take that away uh no circumstances

can stop a state defending itself and

critically defending its citizens that

is of course any uh Democratic uh

government's primary responsibility and

in the context of exercising one's

self-defense the rules of armed conflict

govern what is lawful and what is not

lawful in uh International humanitarian

law the laws of war there are three key

principles that govern a state's

behavior in armed conflict the rule of

military necessity means that a state

can only undertake action which is

militarily necessary to advance its

military aims uh a second rule of

international uh humanitarian law is the

rule of Distinction which means that

law- abiding states are required to

distinguish between combatants and

civilians and only combatants and

Military objects may be targeted by

strikes um and civilians and civilian

objects are not permitted to be targeted

uh but they may unfortunately come into

a calculation of uh proportionality and

the proportionality role is the third

key rule in the law of armed conflict

and that requires that a strike that is

militarily necessary and that targets

military infrastructure military targets

must nonetheless also be proportionate

which means that the anticipated

military advantage of a strike uh must

be balanced against the anticip ated

likely civilian collateral damage the

international law uh as a framework in

armed conflict works on the Assumption

the basis that civilians uh will

unfortunately be killed uh in the that

is a a gruesome uh deadly uh context

that war is and that is perhaps the most

misrepresented uh rule of customary

international law and the law of armed

conflict uh it's frequently suggested

that proportionality is about balancing

casualty figures on both sides I mean

that is um grotesque it is plainly

incorrect as a matter of law but also as

a matter of of Common Sense uh I'd say

it's objectionable uh that there needs

to be a uh comparison of casualty

figures it leads to the um uh ultimate

conclusion that you not enough Jews have

died to uh justify Israel's response and

taking out uh Hamas that that is not how

how uh Common Sense uh operates but it's

also not how international law operates

um the rule of proportionality as I was

describing uh requires uh a balance

between the military uh Advantage sought

to be gained and the anticipated

collateral damage and that is conducted

uh on the basis of the information that

is known to a military commander in real

time it's an intention based uh Rule and

Analysis it's not based on on the

effects and mistakes are sometimes made

especially in the in the dangerous

circumstances and the fog of War but uh

the real critical thing to assess is how

an army uh operates how it goes about

selecting strikes and applying the laws

of armed conflict and in Israel's case

the military Advocate General core uh

which is the legal department of the IDF

sits outside of the chain of command it

is answerable to the Attorney General so

that those officers in the mag Corp are

able to tell more senior officers in the

IDF chain of command yes or no with

respect to uh the Striking decisions and

what law says and that's critical it

tells us that Israel puts adherence to

international law extremely highly but I

would also uh warrant that uh in

Israel's case it goes above the

requirements of the laws of armed

conflict especially with respect to the

principle of precaution which is another

aspect of the laws of armed conflict but

requires law abiding armies to take

precautions to minimize civilian

casualties Israel in fact goes over and

above uh both requirements of

international law and standard practice

of modern uh law-abiding armies in the

warnings that it issues to civilians in

uh the text messages that it sends to

individual householders the phone calls

that it makes uh the efforts that the

IDF have uh undertaken in this Exchange

in Gaza as in previous rounds of

conflict in the Gaza Strip are

unparalleled in the history of warfare

uh and uh that is I think also Testament

not just to the legal adherence but also

the morality the code of ethics that the

IDF operates

to so one of the arguments put forward

is that there isn't proper

proportionality here um that too many

Palestinian civilians have died

specifically children I think the number

that's floated is 4,000 Palestinian

children have died um in the conflict

and the question is how do you do the

calculation so suppose there's a famous

terrorist or there's a bunch of class

terrorist in an area where there's a

whole lot of children that's it's in a


um what is the what is the calculation

in in in pressing the fire button on on

that missile you know at what at what

point a different way to phrase the

question is at what point is it is it

not okay um how many children would you

need in the vicinity for it not to be

okay and once you reach that answer

let's say it's 10 children for everyone

from a spider or 100 children for

everyone from the sper can't you work

your way back and say well you know if

it's not okay to kill 100 children

surely it's not okay to kill one child

so one of the arguments put forward is

well ifas has embeded themselves in a

civilian ation which it seems is very

much a part of their their ethic or lack

of Ethics um doesn't doesn't that put

further constraints on Israel to do

anything at all um that involves

Southern in

casualties if that were the case it

would give Kamas and other uh likeminded

terrorist organizations uh

immunity so I would say that cannot be

the case and it certainly isn't the case

in international law when we come to the

calcul ations that you've described we

are hamstrung in this instance because

we do not have reliable numbers of

casualty figures coming out of the Gaza

Strip what Hamas have been putting out

through the Ministry of Health that they

control in the Gaza Strip uh are figures

that cannot be trusted and critically

they do not make um a distinction

between civilians and combatants they

also do not uh identify how it is that

uh these reported casualty figures uh

have come about their demise it's

important to remember that Hamas have

been shooting uh fleeing civilians the

United States have confirmed amongst

others that this is the case bombing

also civilian convoys in the first few

weeks of this conflict uh this began uh

because they are so desperate to hang on

to uh their human shields uh because uh

from Hamas this is a win-win situation

uh if it drives up casualty figures uh

purported casualty figures or real ones

then there is international pressure on

Israel uh to cease its lawful um

objectives of uh of of annihilating

Hamas and making sure that the threat

against Israeli civilians is taken away

uh and if it succeeds in uh dispelling

Israeli attacks as it has done in many

cases where Israel has had to call off

proposed strikes because there were too

many civilians in the vicinity then it

also succeeds in um uh in its immunity

uh from uh from the law otherwise lawful

attack on a military uh installation

Hamas stronghold or a rocket launch site

um the numbers here are are as I say uh

very difficult to navigate but it's

important to do so in the proper context

um even going according to Hamas figes

uh and the Israeli figure of 9,000

combatants which it is confirmed it has

killed 9,000 terrorists that is

identified through intelligence that it

knows that it is taken out then we are

even according to the K casualty figures

that we cannot trust we're looking at a

potential civilian to combatant ratio

that Israel has estimated of 2 to one

now that sounds awful that two civilians

are killed to every one combatant and it

needs to be seen in its proper context

because all war is awful and according

to the United Nations the global average

for urban Warfare such as this is a

staggering nine to one civilians killed

so nine civilians to one combatant sorry

uh in terms of casualty ratios according

uh to the Americans um their statistics

for Iraq and Afghanistan are between uh

1 to three and 1 to five 5 to1 3: one so

three civilians killed for every one

combatant and five civilians for every

one combatant respectively so in all of

those respects in all of those contexts

despite the Hamas tactics here despite

the unparalleled and unprecedented

challenges that Israel is encountering

of Hamas embedding themselves in schools

and Hospitals and Clinics and using

ambulances to transport weapons and um

and fighter

and uh it seems now that the tactic that

has been uh well documented is that

Hamas Fighters dressed in civilian

clothes move from house to house every

second uh civilian residential house in

Gaza it would seem has a weapons caching

in it uh Hamas Fighters move between

houses and civilian clothing go into a

house fire from it and then leave and go

on to the next weapons Casher in the

next house uh thereby seeking to uh


um uh attack by pretending to be

civilians as well as embedding

themselves of course amongst real

civilians women and children the sick

and the elderly and of course we also

know amongst Israeli hostages um Israel

has said it knows where yya Sina uh is

and it has him in its sights but he has

surrounded himself with Israeli hostages

seeking to render himself immune from


in the context of these tactics the

civilian to combatant ratio is

remarkable that Israel has been able to

achieve but it is Testament to the

length that Israel goes to protect the

civilians in the Gaza Strip uh not just

from Israeli uh strikes but also from

attack from Kat themselves now we're

speaking on the 15th of janary and uh a

couple of days ago the sou African

government um put forward its case

before for the international court of

justice and Israel was able to respond

the following day um the afrian

government provided Israel with very

scant opportunity to put in a defense

their papers were filed on the 29th of

December and they wanted a hearing

within days um which is what they really

got um what do you make of the case made

by South Africa the South African

government claims that Israel is

committing genocide a particularly uh

egregious thing to say about the only

Jewish Nation where people really did

endure a genocide

um and then what do you make of Israel's

response to that

case well the reason that South Africa

has levied this particular Canard of

genocide against the Jewish state is

because it provides a hook for

jurisdiction at the international court

of justice um let me be clear there is

no validity No Merit neither the facts

or the law as South Africa are seeking

to advance it in its case against Israel

uh and its victory in uh the application

that it made uh against Israel the

international court of justice as you

say on Thursday last week uh was as a as

a public relations exercise this was a

set of submissions made the

international media and in that respect

uh they have um certainly been uh able

to achieve a margin of success because

the discussion now is as uh as

Preposterous as uh as it would uh as as

Preposterous as it is uh the discussion

is about whether or not Israel is

committing a genocide the irony of this

should not be lost uh ironic because the

term genocide was coined by Raphael lkin

in the aftermath of the second world war

to give a legal uh lexicon to the

annihilation of substantial part of the

Jewish people who were exterminated

because of their race and so the crime

of genocide is about intending to

destroy a people in whole or in part

because of who they are now I've talked

about some of the measures that Israel

has taken to protect the Palestinian

civilians in Gaza much of the submission

that Israel put forward on Friday of

last week also evidenced the

unparalleled humanitarian efforts and

initiatives that Israel has been

conducting in the Gaza Strip and that uh

coupled with the precautions that are

being taken by the IDF uh ultimately put

the lie to what the South Africans were

seeking to advance in terms of intention

um in the context of the 84-page

application that South Africa Advanced

the intention aspects were covered by a

series of misrepresentations of quotes

of Israeli officials um where they were

talking about Kamas and the South

African uh legal team uh presented these

quotations as though uh the Israelis

were seeking to um eliminate the

Palestinian people as opposed to Hamas

well the intention is clear from the

context of the quotations but it's also

clear from the actions on the ground uh

that Israel has gone above and beyond to

protect the Palestinian people even

though Hamas continues to subjugate

abuse and uh seek to uh offer them up as

um as as civilian uh sacrifices to their

war effort um whether or not uh South

Africa will be successful in uh what it

seeks to achieve even in the immediate

term which are provisional measures and

this is this is why the case was heard

so quickly um when you say that it

didn't give Israel a chance to respond

I'm afraid it's even worse than that it

transpired from uh Israel's submissions

on the Friday that the usual course uh

which is that one state um interacts

corresponds with another to establish uh

whether there is a dispute if so what

the nature of that dispute between the

two states is before an application is

brought to the Court of uh the

international court of justice it

transpires that that that wasn't done

and it also uh was part of Israel's case

that South Africa has in fact misled the

court as to the correspondence that took

place Between the States before uh the

application was made and the reason this

is significant uh is because South

Africa has by all accounts jumped the

gun has made this application but

without following through the proper

processes the accepted procedure of

engaging with the state of Israel before

going to the court which would mean that

the court has no jurisdiction to even

hear the matter um so we'll have to see

what the international court of justice

determines but it is of critical

importance not just to Israel but to all

law-abiding states upholders of the rule

of law because the international court

of justice is currently being abused by

South Africa South Africa that seems to

be championing the terrorists Hamas the

internationally prescribed terrorist

organization and Hamas came out to

formerly thank South Africa for their

good work at the international court of

justice in the wake of their submissions

um so the fact that uh the South African

seek to promote the cause of Hamas are

seeking an order or an indication from

the court that Israel should immediately

cease its operation in Gaza against

Hamas its lawful self-defense um means

that uh in very many respects I think

there can be arguments that the South

Africans are themselves now complicit in

the genocide that Hamas began on the 7th

of October and is seeking to continue

and here we're talking about real

genocide acts that a couple with the

intent to eradicate Jews and Hamas

leadership has been clear about that so

in this Topsy Turvy uh World in which we

live and this grotesque inversion of

hamas's application um the danger of

this is is not necessarily strictly for

for Israel I mean if if the court um

orders Israel to cease it its

self-defense that is of course contrary

to its inherent rights under

international law and I cannot see a

situation in which Israel would be able

to sit on its hands while its civilians

are continuing uh to be subject to

bombardment by Hamas and while uh Hamas

are continuing to to seek to replicate

the 7th of October and while they hold

over a hundred hostages that they are

are doubtless continuing um to abuse so

in those circumstances I cannot uh see

what practical impact provisional

measures ordered by the court would have

other than to utterly undermine The

credibility of the court and I think

this much has been recognized by the

United States by the United Kingdom by

Germany who have all come out to condemn

what they consider to be a meritless

case and Germany in particular has said

that it will be making submissions on

Israel's behalf if this matter moves

past the preliminary stage to the

substantive hearings uh the reason we

need to watch this space as I think

lawyers uh is is not just because of uh

potential ramifications for for Israel

in international legal discourse but

critically also for where the

international court of justice is

heading because if it has now also

become a casualty of lawfare which is an

abuse of legal processes and an abuse of

legal institutions to promote a

political agenda then that is a very sad

day for international law and

order L return to the humanitarian

question um I think think your point is

very well put that Israel has aided in

humanitarian um efforts one of the

objections put forward uh by the pro

Palestinian side is that Israel has

generated a humanitarian nightmare um by

moving large parts of Gaza to other

parts of Gaza by um undermining um their

productive rights because Hospital

facilities that allow for wom to to give

birth safety have been

undermined um how do you how do you uh

weigh up those sort of claims um against

against Israel's objective to to


Kamas well I think the first thing is

that these claims need to be called out

for being false uh in terms of uh the

hospitals allegation uh it's clear and

there is mounting evidence of Hamas

systematically using hospital and

medical facilities as Terror command and

control centers and as critical parts of

its Terror infrastructure this is not

just a a violation of the laws of armed

conflict it is a grotesque violation

when one considers that hospitals in

particular are the most protected um

buildings in the context of the laws of

AR conflict even a military hospital is

protected uh if it is being used solely

for the purpose of of treating uh

military wounded and here Hamas is is

abusing the laws of AR conflict uh to

further these aims and quite the

contrary Israel has been very careful

with respect to uh dealing with the

terror infrastructure embedded in these

hospitals uh in Al sheifer of course

rather than bombarding the hospital it

went in uh at Great danger and threat to

uh to the um soldiers themselves but

they went into the hospital with medics

with Arabic speakers in order to try and

distinguish the uh terrorist combatants

from uh the legitimate sick uh and

medical star and this I stress was after

repeated warnings uh and requests that

people Evacuate the hospital uh and that

leads me on to the the first point that

you uh raised which is to do with the

movement of of civilians uh in Gaza let

me be clear Israel cannot uh and

certainly at the start of this process

when it gave the civilian population 3

weeks to evacuate the north of Gaza

before it began its operations there

against Hamas Israel had no control or

power to force civilian movements

anywhere it sought to create safe

corridors and safe areas humanitarian

zones which in fact Hamas specifically

fired at Israel from again uh abusing uh

the the the very essence of of the laws

of armed conflict and the principle of


of separating between civilians and

combatants Hamas does not do that um but

quite apart from Israel having any

ability to uh to force civilians to move

anywhere what it did was was seek to uh

provide safe routes for evacuation and

encourage civilians to leave the central

terrorist infrastructure in the north of

uh the Gaza Strip in order to save their

lives and for that to be so utterly

inverted and used again Israel in this

fashion uh is Kafkaesque uh it is um I

think also probably unparalleled in in

the history of international law that

one has such a grotesque inversion of

reality and the truth uh and uh it being

used to ground allegations of of that

nature so that's the first thing that we

need to do is call out the falsehoods

here and when it comes to balancing well

you know that's all to do with the

proportionality exercise uh that Israel

is required to uh conduct uh and it does

so and and we see the results of that um

many of of the casualties uh that the

IDF have suffered uh as a result of

going house to house are because Israel

is trying to conduct this conflict in a

surgical fashion and ensure that it

targets the Hamas terrorists in amongst

the civilian uh population that has uh

refused to comply uh that has refused to

uh evacuate um and uh we're seeing on a

daily basis uh the result of that

unfortunate um the unfortunate

consequences of that but it is a

decision that Israel takes because uh it

holds so highly the preservation of all


life so one move that's often made in

these discussions is to claim that

Israel has been uh unfairly targeted

that the number of resolutions at the

United Nations that Target Israel I

think far exceeds those against all

other countries in the world

uh that many of those that sit on human

rights councils those states are

involved in horrendous human rights

trusties that uh in South Africa you

find that there's very little

condemnation of the treatment of Muslims

around the world that no one talks about

the weers no one talks about who were

being killed in Sudan in fact the South

African government provided a safe

passage to um someone who was charged

with genocide Omar Al Basher um that he

was um um allowed to escape um from

South Africa despite South Africa

signing the Rome statute which would

have obliged it to hand a share off to


ICC so there's that claim and the other

claim is that whenever any of these

examples are brought up the claim is

that it's a whataboutism that you're

changing the topic in an unfair manner

so how do we distinguish between those

two things whether one is to provide a

context and the other is to unfairly

change the

topic um the issue here is that it's not

simply what about um it's not that you

know Israel is a uh violator of

international law but so are loads of

others and everyone's focusing on Israel

it's that um actors like the South

Africans but they're certainly not alone

and the references that you made to un

resolutions are a case in point um they

attribute to Israel uh breaches of

international law which are simply not

true while at the same time ignoring the

real real violations of international

law and the real abuses of Human Rights

the disproportionate focus on Israel um

would be terrible uh if Israel was just

as much of a human rights violator as

all of the others that were lacking in

in a lens being placed upon them uh but

the reason that it is uh so much worse

than that is because of the

Fabrications around Israel uh and the uh

the human rights situation

um this I think uh ultimately can only

be explained by uh what has been

referred to as a as an evolution of

anti-Semitism um a mutating virus that

anti-Semitism is it it takes on

different forms in throughout the ages

in fact uh the late great Rabbi Lord

Jonathan Sachs um the former Chief Rabbi

of of the United Kingdom uh talked about

this mutating virus that began in in the

Middle Ages uh with a focus on Jews as a

religion and one had the ancient blood

liables of Jews killing Christian

children to use their blood to make M

for religious rituals he explained that

when science took over from religion as

the order of the day the hatred of the

Jews mutated into a hatred of the Jewish

race and so the Cudo science of eugenics

was used by the Nazis to justify their

hatred of the Jewish race

and Lord sax explained that in uh the

modern era international law and human

rights even had taken over uh from

science as the order of the day and so

the hatred of the Jews manifested itself

as a hatred of the Jewish State and the

modern blood lables are those that we

see being AED against Israel at

institutions like the United Nations

ethnic cleansing colonialism occupation

oppression apartheid illegality human

rights violations War CRI crimes these

are the modern blood lials and so it's

important not just to point out where

the real violation of The Happening

which I appreciate as what you refer to

as water Bouy but to call out the

untruths against the only Jewish State

because the blood liable in the Middle

Ages was widely believed and these

modern blood libl have gained traction

because of this process of lawfare which

has been decades in the making and

because of armies of NOS that

manufacture these allegations and and

pseudo evidence that they uh seek to put

before uh International legal

organizations and uh the application

that was Advanced by South Africa cited

chapter and verse much of uh that false

material seeking uh through its

application in fact and through the

consideration of the court of these

reports to to receive the the judicial

stamp of approval on these falsehoods

that is an integral part of the lawfare

process that South Africa have adopted

and another important parallel track and

aim uh that is uh being sought to be

achieved through the through the case at

the international court of justice and

it's important that we we call that out

not just say there is disproportionate

focus on Israel but also there is

utterly wrongful focus on Israel on the

basis of false

allegations you mentioned occupation and

that seems to be one of the the the feat

in this argument um that's been used

since the beginning um what what is the


um that's been put forward for Israel's

occupation of Gaza that it is an

occupation and has been for decades and

and why is it a poor

argument well the argument that's

Advanced and I don't think it's taken

seriously by any um International

lawyers wor worth their salt is that um

because uh there is a an argument that

Israel control again it's it's based on

F premises so it runs like this Israel

controls uh the Gaza Strip because it

controls the uh borders it controls the

airspace it controls shipping and what

goes in um now that is factually

incorrect of course because if anyone

looked at a map they would see that Gaza

also borders Egypt as well as Israel uh

but the reason that it's also uh even if

that were the case it would be legally

incorrect is because that is not how the

occupation uh framework operates uh and

that is why the the term occupation here

is being used as a as a political term

it is without legal basis it is an abuse

of international law um under the ha

regulations occupation requires

effective control well you can see that

Israel has not had any control over the

Gaza Strip because over the last 16

years Hamas has turned it into a terror

base and since Israel withdrew in 2005

and then subsequently there were

elections in 2006 and Hamas uh launched

a violent takeover a coup in 2007 uh

Israel has not had any control of what

goes on in the Gaza Strip uh and in

excess of its International legal

obligations it has however continued to

supply um the Palestinians in Gaza uh

with uh with supplies with humanitarian

supplies with a portion of of its water

and a portion of its electricity by no

means all of it there was a great deal

of factual misrepresentation that is uh

that is at issue here but when we look

at the concept of occupation I think we

need to look at you know where it has

come from and what international law

says about the legal status of the

territory and here where faced with a

with another massive misrepresentation

and and misapplication of international

law there is a universal rule uh that

tells us the borders of a state when it

comes into existence it is a matter of

customary international law it is called

ostis Urus and it seems to be applied

absolutely everywhere except with

respect to the Jewish States so this is

a rule that developed uh in the 18th

19th century it was applied in South

America the withdrawal of the the

Spanish it was applied in Asia in Africa

uh the dissolution of the former

communist federations and it was applied

to all the states that emerged from

mandates um the international court of

justice recognized the development of

this rule oset Urus in the bino Mal uh

in the bikin Faso Mali case in the 1980s

and it talked about why this rule had

come into existence um this rule

dictated that uh dictates still that a

new state when it comes into existence

inherit the pre-existing administrative

lines that preceded it um so whatever

entity was there before if a state comes

in it declares itself within that

territory then the lines absent any

agreement to the contrary so this is a

default rule those administrative lines

become the new State's International

borders and when the court analyzed the

emergence of this rule it talked about

the reasons that it had developed to

provide stability and certainty and to

prevent fractu cdal struggles uh and to

provide clean lines well in Israel's

case after uh the severance by the

British of the uh trans Jordan part of

the Mandate which later became the

hashimite kingdom uh the eastern

boundary of the British mandate in 1948

ran along the Jordan River and all the

way south to the red to to the Red Sea

uh so when Israel declares independence

in 1948 it's the only state the only

state to come into

existence the Declaration of

Independence doesn't make any mention of

Borders or boundaries it simply refers

to Israel the land of


butus works as a default rule it works

in the absence of any agreement to the

country and according to the application

of this Universal rule of customary

international law Israel inherited the

pre-existing administrative lines of the

Mandate as as its International borders

now in the context of uh the eastern

boundary that included the West Bank and

East Jerusalem in the context of of the

western boundary with Egypt that

included Gaza that was part of the

British mandate territory now in 1948

Israel is attacked immediately at its

Declaration of Independence and Jordan

occupies uh the West Bank and East

Jerusalem and Egypt occupies Gaza what

happens in 1967 Israel recovers that

territory in in Jordan uh from Jordan uh

the east east Jerusalem and West Bank

that had been ethnically cleansed by the

jordanians of their Jews Israel recovers

that territory so what is the status of

that territory if it was originally

Israeli Sovereign territory and then

under Jordanian occupation what happens

when Israel takes it back we have a

parallel example a modern one in the

context of Russ Russia and Ukraine so

Ukraine's borders were formed according

to the rule of oset Urus and that is why

it is uh generally accepted that Crimea

is part of Ukraine and Russia has

occupied Crimea from Ukraine in the same

way that Jordan occupied the West Bank

and East Jerusalem from Israel and if

Ukraine were to recover Crimea in the

context of this war that Russia has

waged against it would anyone accuse

Ukraine of occupying Crimea from Russia

of course not and yet we have an

inversion of international law when it

comes to Israel now it's critical to be

clear that we're talking about the

underlying status of the territory this

doesn't presuppose what any political

settlement ought to look like uh and

plainly when Israel recovered that

territory in the West Bank in 1967 it it

instituted a temporary Administration it

did not apply its law administration and

sovereignty in full in the same way that

it did in Jerusalem because it

anticipated under the land for peace

formula that it would uh inevitably

provide a portion of that land to Jordan

as part of the peace agreement when that

peace agreement finally came around in

1994 uh the jordanians didn't want any

part of it so that ship sailed and

subsequently Israel has consistently

sought to negotiate under that land for

peace formula uh with the Palestinians

and Oslo was the Oslo process was a

critical part of that but that's all the

politics of this if we're talking about

the law and being honest about the

application of international law to the

status of the territory then this term

occupation has no place here it is a

political term it has no legal uh

basis if it's the case Israel is able to

eradicate Hamas what obligations does it

have to the Palestinians who reside

there what obligations does it have to

its own citizens so what should be done


forward that's a big question um when I

talked about uh the absence of

occupation as a as a legitimate

framework in international law um of

course that is the case as of uh the 6th

of October the 7th of October and

suddenly through the the early period

uh of Israel's war in Gaza um the

situation on the ground is changing all

of the time and if and when it gets to a

point where Israel does in fact have

effective control over some of the

territory uh then the legal framework

and that position will change um so

that's something to be mindful of but in

the context of you know what happens

essentially the day after this war the

day after Israel is able to successfully

eradicate Hamas um that is a big

question and I think the best uh

proposals that I have seen uh that have

been muted so far rely on uh Going Back

to Basics in terms of the uh culture and

the society and the societal building

blocks in the Gaza Strip and ensuring

that uh rather than a uh terrorist

organization an extremist um prescribed

group like Hamas uh which is essentially

a proxy for the Iranian regime rather


importing the Palestinian Authority who

support terrorism through their pay for

slay program and their indoctrination

program um there ought to be

self-governance in the Gaza Strip and

security uh and a a provision to make

sure that nothing like hamas's takeover

of the Gaza Strip can ever happen again

there are proposals for uh if you will a

formulation along the lines of the

Marshall Plan uh to rebuild uh German

after the second world war that are

being muted also uh but they have to be

seen in parallel and alongside a


process a process that grapples with uh

the rotten education system the UN rum

unra schools that are promoting

terrorism and indoctrinating child abuse

indoctrinating kindergarten children uh

to want to grow up to become terrorists

that has to be grappled with because

there will never be a solution in which

uh the Gaza Strip ceases to pose a

threat to Israel while that

indoctrination continues and the

International Community have to take

responsibility for it because it is with

International funding of these textbooks

and these schools and these un run

programs that they have been fueling the

conflict and that is something that the

world needs to stand up and take

responsibility for and make sure that

going forward the same mistakes are not

repeated well Natasha I want to thank

you for an absolutely incredible

conversation um you've provided so much

light at a time of darkness and I just

applaud the work that you continue to do

um to ensure that everybody finds out

what is really happening in Israel um

happening with the law and uh I just

wish you all of the best thank you so

much it's very good to be with you and I

very much hope for better times for all of us

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