i’ve had a blast tonight catching up on all the spin from the apologists and rabid Zionists from Team Apartheid; to be sure, it was all just as expected as it was sniveling and farcical.
“Oh, it won’t change anything on the ground (sniffle).”
“The only way for Palestine to achieve statehood is through direct negotiations with Israel (whimper).”
“This vote was merely symbolic (smacking gums).”
Here’s what redneck South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham had to say: “The biggest fear I have is that (if) the Palestinians achieve this status it won’t be very long before the Palestinians use the United Nations as a club against Israel.”
HA! Just priceless!
Or, how about that bitch, Hillary, lamenting that this historic, landslide vote was “unfortunate and counterproductive”?
i believe what she really meant was that it was unfortunate and counterproductive for the US and Israel. Perhaps this all wouldn’t have been quite so embarrassing if the US and Israel didn’t practically beg the world not to support the vote, in between the trash-talking and arm-twisting.
Too bad we haven’t yet seen the shot of Susan Rice’s bitchass storming out of the UN assembly hall – like she always does. i’m sure it will surface soon enough.
Journalists worldwide have already covered the gamut on the possible ramifications of the vote, including the childish, tyrannical, and likely chance that the US will pull more funds from the UN – just like they did after the UNESCO vote last year, or the equally as likely chance of Israel’s illegal transgression to withhold collected Palestinian taxes as well as international aid. i’m simply going to reiterate a couple of points that bear bringing home:
The latest smackdown of Gaza had nothing – nothing to do with grad rockets and they laughable “right of Israel to defend itself”. It had everything to do with intimidation and the classic strategy of tyrants, which is to divide and rule – in this case, Israel was desperately hoping against hope to sow more discord and faction between Fatah and Hamas. They failed, and they failed miserably. Lest we forget, none other than Haniyah himself has repeatedly said that, while he may not agree with a two-state solution or reconciliation with Fatah, if the Palestinian people support these things, he will support them as well. For, as any rational observer well knows, and despite western media appearances to the contrary, Hamas is a genuine political movement; while indeed, at times, Fatah has appeared to acquiesce to global opinion, and Hamas is more of “the peoples’ choice”, neither group is so at odds with the other so as to sabotage the movement with acrimony.
The most recent, gruesome, and brutal aerial invasion was designed to disrupt the Palestinian political structure, plain and simple; while Netanyahu knew damn well that he could not deter Hamas from their undying opposition, he was hedging a small wager that he just might be able to scare Abbas and Fatah back to the stacked and loaded “negotiation table”. Of course, this is the same table that produced the worthless Clinton Camp David Agreement as well as the Oslo Accords – neither of which has ended the brutal oppression, kidnappings, torture, and assassination; the perpetual invasions and bombings along with the foregone conclusion of massive civilian casualties; or the illegal control of movement and goods, the illegal settlements, the illegal occupation, or the illegal naval blockade, for the matter. This tired carrot-and-stick approach has run its sorry course. Palestine actually and erroneously tried playing their game for awhile – the corner suicide bombings virtually ceased; long periods without a single (retaliatory) grad rocket prevailed, and Fatah carried on with their tails between their legs, desperately and ignorantly hoping that things would change for the better. And what did they get in return?
More invasions, more bombings, more death and destruction, more dead women, children, and babies, less arable land, less water, and an exponential increase of encroaching settlement.
Will today’s historic vote have any immediate effect – other than withholding of mandated funds and aid? Probably not. On this, the Zionist Israelis, their US stooges, and the Diaspora apologists are all correct. However – they’re missing the point completely.
What they don’t fully understand or appreciate, as tyrants and superpowers, is the strategy of guerrilla warfare.
You don’t take a tyrant head-on when he’s carrying a club and you’re left with your fists – and you’re half his size. Or, for a more relevant analogy, you don’t take an IDF soldier head-on when he’s got an M-4 carbine and you have a rock – well, unless you have 20 other friends with rocks and adequate cover, anyway.
You lurk. You strike, then take cover. You come out at night. You exploit his weaknesses. You make him fight on your terms, not his. You fight asymmetrically.
And when all else fails – you garner as much media coverage and fight for as much global sympathy as you can. For, as we all know, all wars are political, and, conversely, all politics really is – is war without arms.
You’d think that by now, Israel would learn; that they’d do everything they could not to further inflame the ever-growing global outrage and disgust. You’d think that, in today’s age of the 24-hour newscast, the internet, Twitter, and the like, they would avoid civilian casualties at all costs, that they would only resort to force when absolutely necessary – actually adhering to the false premise of “their right to defend themselves”.
And this, dear reader, belies one of the top two most arrogant nations on the face of the planet.
(The other one is the one that’s supplying those pesky fighter-bombers, military technology, and massive handouts.)
Every time that Israel flagrantly bombs Gaza, they lose international support; every time an image of a dead Palestinian child actually makes it to CNN, they lose international support; and every time they flagrantly violate international law, they lose international support.
This was clearly demonstrated today in spades. Israel was trumped, they were undone, and they were humiliated on the world stage.
THIS is the change.
The facade has fallen, the curtain lifted, the veneer stripped away.
The only ones who still don’t get it are the US and Israel. The rest of the world is no longer fooled. And this is a far cry from only a decade ago. Just think –
With a few more bombings and another invasion or two –
1) Where will their standing be in another decade?
2) Could they find themselves isolated internationally – not only in spirit, as they are now, but actually in practice?
3) Might they possibly lose the little credibility they have left in the world?
4) Is it possible – that they may even lose the unequivocal support of the US – say, if Netanyahu’s relationship with the next couple US presidents is anything like that of his with Obama? And if they keep up their official policy of apartheid?
The answers: question one: in the shitter; question two: likely; question three: likely; question four: they may already be there.
“What’s the change?”
THIS IS THE CHANGE.
So, to all the naysayers, the apologists, and the merely ignorant – spin the ramifications all you want, just as i have done so myself –
You still can’t spin 138-9.
Descriptions of the Likud Party in Israeli politics as “conservative” are simply too kind to conservatism.
Calling the Likud “conservative” is the understatement of the year; they make true conservatives – say, the “old school Republican” – look as liberal as a gay black man at a women’s rights march on a southern California university campus. Bibi Netanyahu and today’s Likud is starkly reminiscent of the George W. Bush administration – they like to torture, they like to attack and invade sovereign territory, and they could care less if they wreck their own nations in the process.
What’s even worse (yeah, it gets worse) – is that not only do you have a terrorist, flagrantly illegal outfit running the nation – but it’s also been co-opted by a bunch of messianic-minded rabbis. It would be similar to Dubbya’s cabinet – if he also assigned John Hagee, Fred Phelps, and Terry Jones to cabinet positions or gave them the coveted nod of official advisor. Let us not forget – Israel is no democracy, as falsely advertised; it is a merely a modern theocracy – but a theocracy, nonetheless. Near East scholars such as Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk have repeatedly stated that even that other theocracy, Iran, is more democratic than Israel. On the exterior, yes, you have a technocratic facade, built around universities, guided missile factories, and tech companies. Underneath the transparent veneer, however, lies the equally or more powerful architecture of rabbis that remind the culturally-inclined American of popular “end times” hucksters found in megachurches; militant zealots who make no bones about their preference for bloody hell over giving up one single settlement; and like-minded neocons, who, like their American counterparts, are experts in the Machiavellian art of deceiving the public – the devil in disguise, if you will. And, just like the Devil, they are professional liars of the highest order, with unparalleled skill at mixing a few horrible lies among a sea of more palatable truths.
One more obvious parallel that nonetheless must be noted: Israel, while always having been the terrorist aggressors in the region, have long maintained the illusion of still being the victims. Until now. This historically documented trend of a socially imploding and recklessly militant superpower should be all too apparent to wide-awake Americans, especially after Dubbya’s fascist march to internal combustion. Or Rome. Or – Nazi Germany, while we’re at it.
The world has heard Israel cry wolf for decade after decade – yet, just as the internet has been an integral and invaluable asset in slowly shedding light upon September Morning in the US, it has also been a critical asset in the expose of Israel’s policy of apartheid.
Without further ado, please have a look at the terrific article attached below. While this blog is primarily a platform for the Editor’s own words and thoughts, there will occasionally be posts primarily dedicated to other works; Editor wishes to not to start yet one more, unoriginal blog out in the vast expanse of the digital universe that primarily copies and pastes other writers’ works (much less, without properly assigning credit). Having said all this, Noam Sheifaz’s piece deserves a look.
Here’s are two short excerpts:
“All the so-called Likud “moderates,” except for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, were pushed out of the top seed and will probably be out of the Knesset; that includes ministers Benny Begin, Michael Eitan and Dan Meridor. The most vocal backbenchers – those behind attacks on the left, Arabs and human rights NGOs – won the day. The Likud looks right now like the Tea Party’s dream team…”
“One final note: More than anything, this list is the result of the occupation. The longer it lasts, the crazier this country gets. And it’s happening faster than people think.”
Sheifaz, N. “The Likud presents: the craziest, most radical list ever expected to win elections.” 11/26/12. +972 Magazine.
ISRAEL AND THE US CLAIM that they will vote “no” in tomorrow’s Palestinian UN bid for observer state status because Palestine refuses to directly negotiate with Israel.
i’ve already told you why the terrorist states, the US and Israel, are attempting (in vein) to thwart this all-but-guaranteed, successful motion; in a nutshell, it gives Palestine access to the International Criminal Court, and generally speaking, lends Palestine more international visibility, legitimacy, and clout. It’s also quite embarrassing for the US and Israel. As with so many motions at the UN, the US, Israel, Canada, and perhaps the UK – will be represent virtually the only “no” votes out of about 190 – though this time – the UK may either vote “yes” or abstain. Tomorrow, France will represent another break from tradition if they vote as pledged, and Australia will likely abstain, though it’s scantly possible to see a “yes” vote from the land down under.
As i’ve tirelessly said – the cracks have appeared. And ignoring them won’t help.
But back to this fallacious and farcical reasoning of denying Palestine one more step towards statehood and/or international recognition –
i think it’s pretty clear, even to the casual observer, that the Camp David Accords (and Oslo, and the rest) –
Have been none too effective.
The White House photo-ops with Clinton, Arafat, and Barak (no, that as in former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, dumbass) were cute.
The accord itself was for shit. i’d like to pose a few questions to help clear up this matter of “negotiations”, regarding the Camp David Accord:
Did it stop the routine invasions and bombings of Gaza (and Lebanon)?
Did it end the periodic mass slaughters of refugees in Gaza, Jordan, and Lebanon?
Of course not.
Did it end the illegal 45 year-old brutal military occupation of the territories?
Did it cease the illegal practices of population transfer or movement of life-sustaining goods and services (Geneva, Article 53)?
Did it curtail the regular kidnappings, indefinite detention (even of minors, many of whom ended up raped), or torture of Palestinians?
Did it bring an end to the exponential growth of the ultra-militant settlements?
Did it bring to a close the protocol of collective punishment or use of excessive, unwarranted, and disproportionate force?
Has Israel adhered to the agreed UN Security Council Resolution 242 that calls for withdrawal from the territories altogether?
A lotta good Camp David was.
For the US and Israel to practically beg the Palestinians not to finally mobilize the support of the international community and resort to inclusion at the UN – which is long overdue – is pathetic.
This is just like the schoolyard bully offering the poor kid he just ripped off or beat up a candy bar, so that the aggrieved won’t run off and tell the principal.
Israel: “Oh, please, please, please, don’t go to the UN! We’ll even curtail settlement-building (a promise to soon be reneged upon)! Come, on, let’s just talk this out amongst ourselves – we can be reasonable. We don’t need to involve the international community!”
“No? Fine. Then run for cover bitches, ’cause we’re about to bomb your asses, level your cities, and kill your innocents – AGAIN.”
This is “democracy” and “negotiation”, Israeli-style.
All directly supported by you, the good American taxpayer.
The blood isn’t just on the US President’s hands – it’s on yours, too.
Palestine will be victorious tomorrow. And, you know what’s so ironic about all of this? Aside from the obvious fact that a once-persecuted people has subjugated their next-door neighbors – all of them – to intimidation, at the least, and at worst, brutal apartheid and a lighter version of genocide?
They brought this on themselves, totally and unequivocally.
By way of their knee-jerk reaction and hypersensitivity to external hostility, Israel has created a host of enemies, an undying network of resistance groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, not to mention, because of its policy of unabated aggression and its status as a warfare state, it is on the verge of social implosion.
And perhaps even worse – it has lost a tremendous amount of international support that was once unquestioned and unwavering; this, they once had in the palm of their hand. Not anymore. Their transparent effort of “democracy” by way of invasion, mass killing, brutal occupation, and apartheid, has become all too clear to the rest of the world. Netanyahu and the Likud Party, as well as past leaders and their policies, are running their own nation straight into the ground; they represent over sixty years of continuous George W. Bush administrations. They have lost what the Chinese call the “Mandate of Heaven”, they have lost international sympathy, and their experiment has failed miserably –
As tomorrow will clearly demonstrate.
If the small handful of Israel-Palestine watchers noticed, i didn’t post anything on the recent bus bombing.
i didn’t post it for a reason – i knew immediately it reeked like a rotten egg.
We will likely never be told who the real culprits were.
But if you are simply willing to take Israel’s statements on the incident at face value –
With no physical or forensic evidence –
You’re either an apologist or you’re an idiot, or perhaps both.
Anyone who knows the first thing about terrorism is that all explosives leave residual traces that reveal the chemical makeup of the detonated device. Think about it – how could anything blow up that did not leave this “fingerprint”? This holds true if the detonated explosive is somewhat complex or rare, such as nanothermite, or if it is very simple and straightforward, such as an easy-to-make compound of sulfur and aluminum. As for all of the favored compounds: RDX, PETN, Semtex (RDX+PETN), TNT, or the classic ANFO, or “fertilizer bomb” – all leave a telltale “fingerprint” that is very easy for forensic analysts of explosives to discern.
Let me pause here and make the point that if you’re not even aware of these most common explosives, you certainly have no business pointing a finger in anyone’s direction at all, in this case nor in any other.
The point is that this easily-obtainable forensic evidence has yet to surface. Even if it did surface – and if this was not a run-of-the-mill false flag operation on behalf of Shin Bet –
Just as in a nearly identical incident in last August 2011 –
What is even more likely of this type of attack, again, if genuinely from the outside, was perpetrated by Islamic Jihad (Brotherhood extremist) ruffians from Sinai.
Oh yes – it is also in accordance with international law that retaliation to violent attack, insofar as it is proportional, is not only legal, but it is just. The tired and farcical notion of “Israel’s right to defend itself”, in the land called Reality, really applies to Palestine, not Israel. But hey, you tell me –
Is it proportional that Israel bombs entire cities full of civilians due to a stray grad rocket that falls in the desert?
Or is it proportional that an entity (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, whoever) lobbies a poor, unguided rocket at Israel in retaliation for massive kidnappings, political assassinations, the starving of its people, the bombing of its cities and massive killing of its civilian population, or the indiscriminate spraying of white phosphorus over what is essentially a restricted, militarily-occupied, open-air prison?
Neither Hamas, nor any other group, be it a resistance movement, a fundamentalist political offshoot, or a genuine terrorist group, has perpetrated a genuine market street-style suicide bombing on a crowded Israeli street in so many years, most authoritative terrorism experts nearly consider it to be a thing of the past. Hamas all but ended their terrorist campaign in 2003; there were two isolated, retaliatory events since, one in 2004, and one in 2005. Since 2006 – when Hamas was democratically elected by the Palestinian people as a political group, they have not taken credit for a single attack.
Since then, Israel has made a few claims over the years, as to be expected – yet the proof, or claim of credit, is always absent.
No proof? No forensic analysis? No credit taken?
Which way did he go…
At least the US officials offered the gesture of goodwill after the OKC bombing to offer an investigation and give us a chemical culprit.
Though, it must be said that ANFO was a horrible and pathetic excuse of an offering. Not only would a Ryder van with a few tanks of the stuff be grossly insufficient to nearly level such a massive structure as the Murrah Building, but even an entire tractor trailer full from top to bottom likely wouldn’t be enough – and even then, the “terrorist” would have to actually mix the ingredients within an hour or so of the execution. Given that, even in the case of the Ryder van scenario, this would be far too great a task for one or even two men, this begs credulity and flies in the face of chemistry and human ability. But, i digress – this is certainly way over your head.
The point is, US officials, at the least, gave us a mockery of an investigation. Not that knowledgeable analysts were fooled.
While i’m on the subject of false flag operations and explosives –
Don’t you think it odd that, in the show trial of September Morning, all of the evidence was hauled out of “Ground Zero”?
Did you ever stop to scratch your head at the fact that not only was the evidence removed – a criminal act, to be sure, but, moreover –
That US officials were so intent on removing the evidence that they employed our armed forces to guard the entire crime scene until the last truck full of debris and wildly bent h-beams were carted off – to be sold as scrap metal or otherwise disposed of?
Again, this was removing evidence from a crime scene.
Nothing to hide, i’m sure.
“Nothing to see here, people. Hey, you! Get back from that gate! Put that camera away before i break it over your face!”
In the most mundane and routine homicide investigations – of brown-skinned people in the inner cities, people that most Americans could give two shits about –
They still perform better investigations. They still analyze bullet casings, gunpowder residue, blood, fibers, etcetera.
And yet, in “terrorism cases” ranging from the recent bus bombing in Tel Aviv, to September Morning –
No evidence was availed and no credit was taken.
Mind you –
The intellect required to arrive at rational conclusions regarding these false-flag operations is not immense. It’s not rocket science.
All you have to do is to actually perform this curious and rare act called “thinking”.
Eh, and a little research won’t kill you, either.
On the recent false flag operation in Tel Aviv –
Did you ever notice the timing of Israeli acts of aggression, the bombing campaigns, or invasions directed toward Palestinian territories?
Just in the past year alone – let me explain the correlation of political events and acts of aggression. For, as we all know, war rarely occurs without politics.
Q: When did Cast Lead occur?
A: Right before Barack Obama took office.
Operation: Cast Lead, one of Israel’s most brutal campaigns, one in which between 1,200 and 1,300 Palestinians were killed – with civilians accounting for at least 844 of these death casualties, of these, 281 being children. Around 200 were killed and another 700 wounded in the first few days alone. This war on Palestine only lasted three weeks. That’s approximately 400 killed per week. Cast Lead was also the first verified case of Israel using chemical weapons – showers of white phosphorus, raining down on densely populated civilian areas like roman candles – against the defenseless open-air prison, though earlier use may likely have occurred.
In the summer of 2011, Israeli air strikes against the territories accelerated yet again. The reason? Funny you should ask.
It was another bus bombing – nearly identical to the one that happened this November. As with the most recent incident, last year’s bombing led to no investigation, produced no forensic evidence, and all Israel had to do was to simply wag their finger and proclaim that “Hamas did it.” In less sensational news about Israel, government officials actually admitted that they had no clear evidence that could implicate Hamas. The incident occurred in southern Israel – and the enemy fire was reported to have come from Sinai. Ha’aretz reported that IDF forces killed five of the attackers, and Egyptian officials reported that they killed two others; however, the IDF also estimated that between 15-20 terrorists participated in the attack. Not that any of this mattered. Meanwhile, Egyptian officials had discovered a bombmaking outfit on their own soil, and a handful of grad rockets were reportedly fired upon southern Israel, as well – from Sinai. So, if this is all true, what we are left with is Egyptian aggression directed towards Israel, who then takes it out on the relatively defenseless population of Gaza. If this is all true.
Getting closer to the truth – this was also upon the looming Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN – one that obviously failed, though of course, Palestine would indeed become a member of UNESCO. Naturally, the result of this, aside from further acts of Israeli belligerence and petulance, was their withholding of internationally-mandated relief, withholding of the very taxes that they routinely collect from Palestine, as well as the United States’ defunding of millions of dollars to UNESCO, almost causing it to fold altogether.
The irony, of course, is that the US is always urging democracy upon Palestine instead of resorting to violent measures. Yet, when they make any concrete move for diplomacy – aside from “talks”, which is simply doublespeak for getting fucked under the table and out of view of the international community – the US, just like its counterpart, acts with petulance and defiance. Defunding UNESCO – really? What’s next? Hey, maybe if we see one more inner city school shooting, the US will respond by actually feeding the city youth ketchup and relish for lunch – just like Reagan suggested!
Collective punishment – Israel and the United States’ weapon of choice.
“What’s this, a lone, retaliatory grad rocket fired by Hamas (or Islamic Jihad)? Fuck THAT! Time for another 100 Palestinian civilians to kiss their brown asses goodbye!”
What is terribly convenient, however – for Netanyahu, that is – is that all of these attacks, whether actual or not, or in some combination thereof – came right on the heels of Israel’s largest civil demonstrations in history. At least 500,000 Israelis stormed Tel Aviv and other cities en masse, in protest over many socioeconomic issues, with the lack of affordable housing taking center stage; this domestic uprising became known as the July 17th Movement. Many Israelis with 4-year degrees, and still more with even graduate degrees, could not find affordable housing; those that actually were able to afford housing in the cities at all were left with nothing at the end of the month. Despite the glaring contrast with their Arab minority, those in the territories being evicted upon encroaching settlements (with no compensation) and the poverty-stricken majority living in Palestine in general, it was a genuine peoples’ movement – one that immediately set its sights on Netanyahu. All of a sudden, the masses were chanting, “Mubarak, Assad, Bibi Netanyahu!”, and demanding the Israeli Prime Minister’s immediate resignation.
What was Netanyahu’s response? Aside from token gestures and empty promises?
He sent hordes of American-made F-16s to bomb the shit out of innocent Palestinian civilians. The bombing was so intense that many feared, just as in the most recent example of November 2012, that (another) invasion of Gaza was imminent.
As for the most recent Israeli bombing spree of Gaza this November, the modus operandi could not be more clear. In similar fashion to Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Bibi’s trying desperately to show Obama that he will wear the pants in their relationship (though it has become pretty clear that this is not the case). He is shaking his rattle in his dismay at the recent US presidential election results. He is facing another election; while it is nearly certain that he will keep his throne, it is very peculiar that his newly-acquired running mate and longtime thug, Ehud Barak, has suddenly dropped out of not only Bibi’s circle, but politics altogether. Furthermore, Netanyahu is, as he has been since the July 17th Movement, still facing a restless populace, a contracting economy, and even a minor exodus, all due to his fundamentalist, war-crazed tenure. And yet, as stated on this blog countless times, the biggest reason for the current smackdown of Gaza could not be clearer –
It’s the UN vote, stupid.
Every analyst, despite their political leanings, nationality, or their bias toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – has given Palestine very favorable odds regarding the upcoming “observer status” bid. Even France has indicated its support.
And as noted, among other minor perks, the real kick in Israel’s ass is that Palestine would then be able to lodge formal charges of war crimes and other crimes against humanity against Israel, in a very visible and international forum.
Of course, any charges against Israel would ultimately be vetoed by the US. Yet, observer status would take Palestine one step closer toward one of its primary objectives, that of legitimacy. While this would of course not make it impossible for the US to deny the atrocities against Palestine, it would make it harder, and increase transparency – something that desperately needs to be leveled against a nation with some very transparent motives.
Timing, timing, timing…
Just to review, kids:
US election = bombing of Palestine
Israeli election = bombing of Palestine
Massive social unrest in Israel = bombing of Palestine
Democratic Palestinian vote = bombing of Palestine
Palestinian push for international legitimacy = bombing of Palestine
Two great videos:
One great article:
What’s this, then? Grad rockets from – Sinai?
By the way, i didn’t mention this in the main text, but the above article is just hilarious. IDF claimed something to the effect of: “The grad rockets came from Sinai on the order of Hamas – at the behest of the Muslim Brotherhood. This is just precious. Reminds me of Pakistan’s runaround on the US: “The attackers were radical Afghani militiamen, working for US-backed “al-Qaeda”, but they’re hiding in Waziristan.” Whatever. Those who ardently track the intelligence agencies and their Frankenstein creations know who’s puppeteering who. Furthermore – the last time i checked, Hamas is not located in the Sinai.
Collective punishment’s a motherfucker.
International law on the conduct of hostilities regulates and limits the methods and means of warfare used by parties to an armed conflict. It aims to strike a balance between legitimate military action and the humanitarian objective of reducing human suffering, particularly among civilians.
Limits on the way wars are waged have existed for centuries. It was often a matter of unwritten understandings on how to behave, sometimes a reciprocal recognition of the reality of potential retaliation if certain limits were overstepped. On occasions, common humanity limited the impact of war.
Efforts by the international community to introduce effective legal limits on the conduct of war began seriously in the 19th century. Through a series of treaties such as the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, and the growth of customary law, there is now an extensive body of law regulating the conduct of hostilities.
The general principles are enshrined in the Hague Convention of 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols of 1977. But there are a series of other treaties covering specific issues, particularly in the field of weapons. In 2005 the ICRC published a major study on the extensive body of customary international humanitarian law, which is binding on all States.
The central principle of distinction runs through all the law relating to the conduct of hostilities. Indiscriminate military action is prohibited. All sides in a conflict must distinguish between legitimate military targets on the one hand and civilians and civilian objects on the other.
Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime. All sides must take measures to separate as far as possible military targets from population centres. While it is accepted that civilian casualties may be sustained in situations where military targets are attacked, both sides are required to take whatever measures possible to minimize injury and death among civilians, and damage to civilian objects. If an attack is expected to cause “collateral civilian damages” that are excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated, it must be cancelled or suspended.
IHL forbids the terrorizing of civilian population and the destruction of their means of survival by attacks on crops, water supplies, medical facilities, housing and non-military transport. Hostage taking and the use of human shields are likewise prohibited.
The methods and means used in military action must be proportionate to the military objective. Tactics or the excessive use of power or force that cause unnecessary death or destruction among civilians is prohibited. So too are methods and means that cause unnecessary suffering to enemy combatants.
The wounded and sick and those no longer taking part in hostilities must be respected. Medical facilities and personnel must not be attacked. All parties to a conflict must respect the use of the protective emblems enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, namely the red cross, the red crescent and the red crystal.
Limits on the conduct of hostilities under IHL also cover cultural property and the environment. Targeting cultural property or using it for military purposes is prohibited. Military action must not unnecessarily destroy the natural environment or create environmental problems for the future. Special references are also made to naval and air warfare and the role of civil defence during armed conflict.
Regulations pertaining to the choice of weapons clearly constitute a major part of the law on the conduct of hostilities. Under IHL, this choice is not unlimited. In addition to the principles of distinction and proportionality, IHL has outlawed specific types of weapons through a series of international treaties, in particular biological and chemical weapons, blinding laser weapons and anti-personnel landmines. Most recently, in 2008 the Convention on Cluster Munitions was adopted.
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