Israel Doesn’t Follow International Law to Be Popular, but Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

Jan. 19 2022

For the past eleven years, Bashar al-Assad has waged a bloody war on his own people, not simply ignoring the laws of war but actively flouting them—yet he is about to be welcomed back into the community of nations. Russia, which assisted in this war with equal unscrupulousness, has been rewarded by Europe with gas pipelines and other economic benefits. Meanwhile, Israel has gone to unprecedented lengths to limit civilian casualties in a decades-long war with Palestinian terrorists happy to hide missile launchers in kindergartens, and is subject to constant condemnation from European and sometimes American leaders—not to mention from self-styled human-rights groups. A cynic might conclude that the Jewish state would be better served exploiting the tactical advantages of brutality, since it will be the object of censure no matter what. Not so, writes Yossi Kuperwasser:

The IDF is careful to uphold the principles [of just warfare], not only because doing so anchors its ability to defend itself against lawsuits in the International Criminal Court and other foreign courts, and not only because of the need for international legitimacy to use force, which directly affects the country’s ability to import appropriate weapons. The IDF upholds them, first and foremost, because the laws of war align with [Israel’s] own moral codes, which obligate the IDF, as an army in a democratic state, to the rule of law.

It could be argued that in a specific situation, not adhering to the laws of war could lead to greater success in the war on terrorism and in securing deterrence, and reduce the danger to Israel in the short term, but the cost of doing so would be insufferably high. It would harm uninvolved persons, as well as our ability as a people to face ourselves. The moral advantage actually increases Israel’s power in the long run.

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Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Bashar al-Assad, IDF, International Law, Laws of war

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia