Friday, March 26, 2004

Fisking the Armchair Experts. From NRO:

Moreover, Sheik Yassin was not merely the founder of this group and its continuing inspiration; according to Condoleezza Rice, the United States believes that Yassin was personally involved in terrorist planning. He was, in short, a Hamas operative, fully within the chain of command. Under international law, specifically the laws and customs of war, that makes him a combatant and a legitimate target for attack by the Israeli armed forces.

Ironically, for years, European leaders — along with various non-governmental organizations — have demanded that Israel apply the Geneva Conventions to its fight against the Palestinians and its so-called occupation of Gaza and the West Bank. This suggests that Europe and the NGOs fully accept that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is an armed conflict to which the laws and customs of war apply. Of course, if Israel is engaged in an armed conflict with Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, as it surely is, then the Israeli military is legally entitled to target and attack any Hamas combatant, high or low, at any time — so long as the attack does not result in disproportionate damage to civilians or civilian objects.

In condemning Yassin's killing, then, Europe contradicts itself. It has made clear that Israel must apply the laws of armed conflict vis-à-vis the Palestinians. Now, however, it says that individual militants cannot lawfully be targeted. Indeed Europe's outrage over the Yassin assassination is far more troubling than a little Israel- (and by implication America-) bashing. It reveals, once again, the ever-widening canyon that separates the United States, and Israel, from its NATO allies on the question of fighting terror and on the laws of war themselves.

As per usual, those who claim to be newly annointed experts in international law whenever Israel gets involved reveal themselves to be either a) lying, or b) wholly ignorant of the subject upon which they presume to pontificate. Of course, the Euro-suicidist-Vichyites don't really care whether what Israel did was illegal or not, since they do not accept Israel's right to exist and therefore any form of self-defense it undertakes is considered fundamentally illigitimate. There's some fascinating history of the Geneva Conventions later on in the piece. The bottom line is that the parts of the Accords which Israel is constantly accused of violating are, in fact, parts which Israel (and the US) never acceded to in the first place.


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