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Mainstream Media Not Reporting Israel Follows International Law; Hamas Does Not
The Bulletin ^ | January 5, 2009 | Herb Denenberg

Posted on 01/05/2009 8:47:53 AM PST by jazusamo

The easiest way for anyone in the media to get a scoop is to write anything that is fair and balanced and with respect for the truth on the conflict in the Middle East. That’s because the mainstream media, such as The New York Times, NBC, Philadelphia Inquirer, etc., take the usual anti-Israel line, and fail to report on anything that might put Israel in a good light. So this is my scoop for today.

You may have encountered “The Brave New World,” but now you better brace yourself for “The Crazy New World.” Even George Orwell would be shocked by what is going on now, with what might be called triple Orwellian inversions.

If someone was writing a memo to the nations on conducting foreign policy, it might look like what follows:

If you want the support of the United Nations, most of the world, and the Western media, the formula is quite simple. All you have to do is as follows:

1. Start by having a founding document that has as its central purpose the perpetration of genocide.

2. Then attack your neighboring country by firing rockets at the civilian population, in violation of international law.

3. Hide your rockets and other terrorist equipment in homes and other location where there are many civilians, to maximize the death and injury count when lawful and necessary defensive measures are taken to neutralize your illegal activity, another violation of international law. When your own people are thus murdered by your own acts, you can use it for propaganda purposes.

You can be sure the Western media will run as many pictures of the dead and injured (for which you are responsible) in a fashion designed to generate sympathy for your position, and that same Western media will be largely uninterested in the civilian casualties caused in the neighboring country by your terrorism.

4. Exaggerate and lie at every opportunity to inflate the number of civilian casualties in your own land (for which you are responsible by hiding military facilities in civilian locations). That’s for the benefit of the Western media, which will of course publish and eat up any exaggeration or fabrication you care to pass along. Even if you have a long history of exaggerating and lying on such matters as civilian casualties, the Western media will continue to take your claims at face value.

5. When your neighbor responds to your illegal, genocidal attacks, appeal to the U.N. and world opinion for a cease-fire so you can rearm and get ready to slaughter and murder civilians in new ways and with greater ferocity, as soon as you want to end the cease-fire.

6. Instead of building your own economy and helping your own people, put all your resources into terrorist attacks against your neighbor and divert the humanitarian aid that flows into your land to your own program for genocide, aggression and terror.

7. When your economy turns sour — which it will do inevitably because your first priority is war and terror and not nation building, which is your last priority — and when it is further damaged by the measures of self-defense taken by your neighbor, claim there is a “humanitarian crisis” and a cease fire and more aid is urgently required.

8. Continue your endless attempts to slaughter and butcher civilians, including those of your neighbor and even those of your own people for propaganda purposes, and then claim any self-defense measures taken by your neighbor are “disproportionate.”

9. Continue to violate every international law on the books, making a mockery not only of law but also of the most basic precepts of humanity and civilization, and then claim your neighbor, who is compelled to act in self-defense, is committing “war crimes.”

By now, I’m sure you know this memo was a precise description of Hamas and its genocidal campaign against Israel, and the reaction of the United Nations, of much of world opinion and of the nations of the world, and of the Western media. To say what is happening is outrageous is a gross understatement, and stronger terms must be resorted to, such as an outbreak of international insanity. The world and the media seem to be on the side of genocide and terrorism.

The mainstream media, as is its custom, is going out of the way to team with the U.N. and many of the nations of the world, in condemning Israel, attempting to deny Israel its inherent right of self-defense, in calling for a cease fire, claiming a humanitarian crisis, and in doing everything else it can to deny Israel its right to exist.

Among the many deficiencies of the reporting are the almost complete failure to discuss the international law that is applicable, how Hamas is in violation of countless international conventions and other provisions of international law and how Israel’s response to the terrorism of Hamas is totally justified and supported by international law.

Here are some of the provisions of international law that make a compelling case against Hamas, the position of most nations, and the position of the United Nations. They are of interest because the mainstream media are not interested in reporting on the international law controlling the conflict, as it does not fit their anti-Israel agenda.

I am indebted to Justus Reid Weiner and Professor Avi Bell for their excellent paper on the subject titled “International Law and the Fighting in Gaza.” Mr. Weiner is a human rights lawyer; Mr. Bell is a professor at Bar Ilan University in Israel and a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut Law School.

Rule Of Distinction

A basic humanitarian rule of international law is the rule of distinction. That rule requires that combatants aim their attacks at military targets, which include enemy combatants or objects that contribute to military actions. All attacks deliberately aimed at civilians are illegal under international law and are considered war crimes.

A corollary of the rule of distinction is the outlawing of weapons that are incapable of being aimed at legitimate targets. The rockets and projectile weapons used by the Palestinians are so primitive they can’t be aimed at specific targets and are therefore merely fired into urban areas with the hope they will kill some civilians.

So the very use of these weapons is a violation of international law. Therefore for starters, every one of the 6,000 rocket attacks on Israel is a war crime. Under international law the terror squads as well as all their commanders, all the way up in the chain of command, have criminal responsibility for these acts.

International Convention For The Suppression Of The Financing Of Terrorism

The Palestinian attacks are clearly intended to kill or injure civilians in order to intimidate them. That means they are also terrorist act s within the scope of this convention on suppression of the financing of terrorism. The liability extends to all those who:

• Attempt to commit;

• Participate as accomplices;

• Direct or organize terrorist acts; or

• Contribute to acts by terrorist groups with the knowledge of the groups’ intent to commit terror or with the aim of furthering their goals.

This means there is criminal liability not only on the terror squads but also all those who help them with organization or financing.

International Convention For The Suppression Of Terrorist Bombings

This makes it a crime to bomb public places with the intent to kill civilians. Also under the convention, the bombers are considered international terrorists and Israel is required to assume criminal jurisdiction over them. Furthermore, other states that are parties to the convention must help in combating such terrorist acts. Other parties to the convention include the U.S., Russia, Turkey and France. They seem to be ignoring their responsibility under this convention.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1566

This provision binding on all states requires that safe haven be denied to anyone who is involved in any way with terrorist acts. This means the Palestinian authorities in charge of Gaza are considered criminal terrorists for providing safe haven to the terrorists who are rocketing and bombing Israel. This is so even if they aren’t participating in the rocketing and bombing. The provision of safe haven for terrorists makes them in violation of the convention.

International Law Rule Against Perfidy

This rule prohibits combatants from disguising themselves as civilians. The Palestinians are in clear violation of this rule of international law.

International Law Dealing With Prisoners Of War

A consortium of Palestinian terrorist groups have held Israeli soldier Gilad Shait incommunicado and out of reach of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in clear violation of international law controlling prisoners of war.

Convention On The Prevention And Punishment Of Genocide

The Hamas covenant calls for the killing of Jews and the destruction of Israel. That founding document coupled with the attacks on Israeli Jews create a violation of the convention on genocide.

Under Article 1 of the Genocide Convention, signatories are required to “prevent and punish” not only those who carry out genocidal acts but also those who conspire with them or incite them to kill. So this requires Israel to prevent and punish the terrorists as well as those that have supported the Palestinian attacks. All the many signatories of the convention have a duty to “prevent and punish” the Hamas genocide, a duty that is being neglected on a grand scale.

Article 2 of the Genocide Convention defines any killing with intent “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such” as an a ct of genocide.

The Hamas attacks fall within this definition of genocide. The Hamas covenant demonstrates its murderous and genocidal intent.  It not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but also expressly calls for the slaughter of Jews: “The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdula, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” The covenant forecasts, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

Messers. Weiner and Bell summarize the international law case against Hamas:

“The murderous intent of Hamas has been translated into a political program openly aimed at obliterating the Jewish state, as well as a constant stream of terrorist murders. During the three and a half years of fighting from September 2000 until March 2004, Hamas perpetrated 425 terrorist attacks.

“From those attacks, 377 Israelis were murdered and 2,076 civilians and soldiers were wounded. Among the most infamous of these atrocities were the June 1, 2001, suicide bombing of a Tel Aviv discotheque, in which 21 people were murdered and 120 were wounded, and the March 27, 2002, suicide bombing of a hotel in Netanya on the first night of Passover, in which 30 people were murdered and 140 wounded. In this context it is not surprising that Hamas has failed to prevent projectile attacks during the six-month period of calm (Tahadiya).”

Hamas, the terrorist organization, is doing what its founding document says it planned to do, and that is carry out a genocidal attack against Israel. So you don’t have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out it is in violation of international law, but as documented above it is.

And you don’t have to be a hay-maker-of-a-genius lawyer to figure out that Israel’s act of self-defense are illegal under international law, but to clear up any questions that have been raised, pro and con, here are the four bodies of law that control:

1. The laws of initiating hostilities (jus ad bellum);

2. International humanitarian law, which governs the conduct of military actions;

3. The laws of occupied territory, which some have argued applies to Israeli actions; and

4. Human rights law.

Laws Of Initiating Hostilities (Jus Ad Bellum)

Article 1 grants any nation the inherent right of self-defense. If there is any criticism of Israel, it is that it waited too long to exercise that inherent right of self-defense.

International Humanitarian Law

Once hostilities are underway, they are regulated by international humanitarian law. It has two basic principles, the rule of distinction and the rule of proportionality. But other rules come into play, some of which are discussed here:

1. Rule Of Distinction: This rule has already been discussed in judging the conduct of Hamas; here the focus is on the conduct of Israel. This rule requires attacks be limited to military targets. This doesn’t mean all civilian casualties indicate violations of international law. Attacks are permitted, even if they may cause some civilian casualties and even if in retrospect, the attack was a mistake based on faulty intelligence. There were complaints of violations when Israel attacked the Interior Ministry Buildings. That was legitimate as some military operations were directed from those buildings and they made a contribution to Hamas’ military actions. So those buildings, even though they have some civilian functions, were legitimate targets.

2. Rule Of Proportionality: The rule of distinction permits collateral damage, but the rule of proportionality forbids excessive collateral damage in view of the military need. There is no evidence that Israel’s attacks have caused excessive collateral damage. This rule requires reasonable use of force in view of likely collateral damage and the evil sought to be eliminated. It does not mean the victim of aggression must respond only in like kind and only with the same casualty count on the other side that it experienced. That is a misuse of the rule to claim Israel is in violation. Quite to the contrary, Israel goes far beyond what international law requires in attempting to limit civilian casualties.

3. Perfidy And Civilian Shields: Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention makes it clear that the presence of civilians “may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations. The article also makes the Palestinian use of civilian shields unlawful. The rule relating to perfidy forbids combatants posing as civilians.

The Palestinian use of this ploy is illegal, but when civilians get killed as a result, the crime is that of the Palestinians, not the Israelis. Almost all of the civilian deaths among the Palestinians occur because of the illegal use of civilian shields by Hamas.

4. Retorsion And Collective Punishment: Retorsion is the use of economic or other non-military sanctions as a means of disciplining international actors for misbehavior. It is generally agreed that any country may engage in retorsion, and there are almost endless precedents. This means Israel can withhold fuel or other supplies to Gaza and be on perfectly legal grounds. Israel may also close its border with Gaza, as it is under no legal obligation to engage in trade or anything else with Gaza.

Israel’s actions also do not involve collective punishment. Collective punishment is the imposition of criminal-type penalties on individuals or groups based on another’s guilt, or the commission of acts that would otherwise violate the rules of distinction and/or proportionality. None of Israel’s actions violate any of these rules.

5. Closed Border And Blockades: Israel has been accused of collective punishment for refusing to admit to the state of Israel people from Gaza. This is ridiculous as there is no requirement of international law that a state be required to admit anyone. Israel would not ordinarily be able to blockade Gaza as that is considered an act of war. However, in view of the organized attack on Israel by Gaza, Israel has a right to blockade those that attack it.

The Law Of Occupation

Some argue that as Gaza is “occupied” the Israelis have an obligation to provide food and medical supplies to the population there. The occupier acts as the governing body of the “occupied” place. It is clear Hamas and not Israel is that governing body, so Israel has no duties arising under the law of occupation.

Israeli Duties Regarding Supplies To Gaza

Although Israel has no legal duty to supply Gaza, due to rulings of its Supreme Court and for political reasons, it has kept open the flow of humanitarian supplies.

International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights

Under this covenant, Israel is required to assure certain rights, including the right to life, to all those “within its territory.” But Gaza is no longer the territory of Israel, and despite claims to the contrary, Israel has no obligations to Gaza under this covenant.

This review of international law means Israel is doing exactly what it is supposed to do under international law, while Hamas is in total violation of that law. But Israel should not have to act alone in fighting genocide and terrorism. Messers. Weiner and Bell stress the duties of other nations to act on these violations:

“These duties do not fall solely upon Is rael. Other states also are required to prevent and punish Palestinian acts of genocide, and pursuant to Resolution 1373, to ‘cooperate particularly through bilateral and multilateral arrangements and agreement, to prevent and suppress terrorist attacks and take action against perpetrators of such acts.’”

Israel not only obeys international law, but also goes far beyond the requirements of international law in protecting civilians. For example, it drops warning leaflets and actually phones some people to warn them to evacuate before an attack. What does it get for its extraordinary respect for law and life? It gets world condemnation. Hamas goes out of its way to violate international laws and every rule of decency and humanity. What does it get? The support of the U.N., most of Europe and many other nations, and the Western media. I’ll explain all that in a future column … if and when I can figure out the causes of such international insanity.

Herb Denenberg is a former Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner, and professor at the Wharton School. He is a longtime Philadelphia journalist and  consumer advocate. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of the Sciences. His column appears daily in The Bulletin. You can reach him at

TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: denenberg; enemedia; hamas; internationallaw; israel; msm; unitednations
The Bulletin is a small but growing Conservative newspaper and has other good articles, try checking it out at link.
1 posted on 01/05/2009 8:47:54 AM PST by jazusamo
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To: jazusamo

I’m stunned!

2 posted on 01/05/2009 8:48:52 AM PST by Howie66 (To the RAT Party: How can I question your patriotism? You have none, so what's your point?)
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To: jazusamo

Better get used to the FACT that the anti-American, anti-Israel MSM is going to run interference for EVERY AMERICAN ENEMY.

Filthy scum.

3 posted on 01/05/2009 8:52:37 AM PST by EagleUSA
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To: jazusamo
Obamah: "After conferring with my foreign policy expert, I demand Israel stop its aggression!"

4 posted on 01/05/2009 8:53:04 AM PST by TexasCajun
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To: jazusamo

The best I’ve read on this topic, thank you for posting.

5 posted on 01/05/2009 8:55:40 AM PST by Made In The USA (Liberalism is a sign of stupidity.)
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To: EagleUSA

Yes, and they don’t miss reporting on a single group protesting to support Hamas within our borders.

6 posted on 01/05/2009 8:56:59 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad

7 posted on 01/05/2009 8:57:57 AM PST by Former Fetus
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To: jazusamo

It’s amazing how the entire MSM is tooled by Muslim propaganda, it doesn’t matter how many times they’ve been fooled, they go right back to reporting it.

8 posted on 01/05/2009 8:59:44 AM PST by Brett66 (Where government advances, and it advances relentlessly , freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: TexasCajun

Sad but probably true. I’d bet BHO is praying this is over before he’s inaugurated.

9 posted on 01/05/2009 9:00:56 AM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Well there’s a shocker. Not.

10 posted on 01/05/2009 9:03:34 AM PST by StarCMC (Sometimes you need a Jimmy Carter to get a Ronald Reagan.)
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To: jazusamo
1. Start by having a founding document that has as its central purpose the perpetration of genocide.
Actually, step one should be:

1. Be Muslim, so no matter how outrageous, uncivilized and downright evil you are, the press will always write glowing reports about your good intentions and/or your status as a victim.

11 posted on 01/05/2009 9:11:02 AM PST by samtheman
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To: jazusamo
The MSM is using the same old lines about Israel causing humanitarian suffering.

Here is a quote from a Sky News article:

"Save the Children has warned that basic humanitarian supplies are running out with much of the city left without electricity and water. It has called for aid to be let in - and said that 50,000 children were already suffering from chronic malnutrition."
At least they are admitting that the children were already starving....but you don't hear a word about Hamas taking billions of dollars and feeding the children...'cause they aren't. They take billions of dollars in aid and arming themselves to attack Israel.

12 posted on 01/05/2009 9:12:39 AM PST by RouxStir (No peein' allowed in the gene pool.)
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To: Brett66
it doesn’t matter how many times [the MSM] have been fooled,

They have not been fooled. They don't care what the truth is. There is a template in the media that Israel is the aggressor and Palestinians the poor innocent victims, and all news will be reported in a manner to fit that template.

13 posted on 01/05/2009 9:40:08 AM PST by libh8er
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To: jazusamo
Israel not only obeys international law, but also goes far beyond the requirements of international law in protecting civilians. For example, it drops warning leaflets and actually phones some people to warn them to evacuate before an attack. What does it get for its extraordinary respect for law and life? It gets world condemnation. Hamas goes out of its way to violate international laws and every rule of decency and humanity. What does it get? The support of the U.N., most of Europe and many other nations, and the Western media. I’ll explain all that in a future column … if and when I can figure out the causes of such international insanity.

I'll entertain this question. The Left has automatic sympathy for anything that is anti-Western, even if they oppress women, homosexuals, etc. They truly believe that the West is cursed with some sort of Original Sin borne of industrialization -- that is itself a product of freedom.

But beyond that, their hatred for Israel is racial. I had previously been skeptical when someone would equate any criticism of Israel to be prima facie evidence of anti-semitism.

But then as I learned more about Israels history, the motivations became more clear. In the 19th century, the Jews in Europe realized that if they continued in the diaspora living at the pleasure of their hosts, they would die off as a people. A homeland of their own was essential to prevent that, so they quietly began buying land from the effendi within the Ottoman province of Palestine.

Ever after WWII and the Holocaust became widely known, Europeans and Americans imposed strict limits upon how many Jews would be allowed there. The survivors of Hitler's attempted genocide literally had no place else to go.

Knowing this, many Westerners, still opposed the founding of the Jewish State, and I am convinced that they did so because deep down they lament that the NAZIs were not successful in taking care of the Jewish problem once and for all. There is no doubt in my mind that many -- including in the media -- think that the world without Jews would be a better place and are going to be against anything that thwarts HAMAS' goals.
14 posted on 01/05/2009 11:54:06 AM PST by walford (
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