Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5762 - June 5, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Palestinian Attacks are Immoral and Illegal

It is surprising that none of the press, and none of the many critics of the press, makes mention of the fact that many of the actions of the Palestinians are in violation of international law.

The truth is that most of the Palestinian actions are far worse than illegal. They are morally disgusting and reprehensible. Though the moral position should be more powerful, yet since the area of morality is much more open to interpretation and manipulation, claims in that area are easily disputed and the masses -- who are not vitally interested in the situation in Israel and not willing to make the considerable effort to fully clarify the facts and arguments -- are easily confused. The legal claims are simpler and less open to alternate points of view.

One of the most obvious and worst violations of international law is the targeting of civilians. According to all legal standards, targeting civilians in any attack is illegal. Thus virtually all Palestinian terror attacks, including the suicide bombers and many shooting incidents, are completely illegal and all those who engage in them, or are in any way involved with enabling them, are in violation of international law. This includes most of the institutions of the Palestinian Authority and of course Arafat himself.

In addition there are legal limits to the weapons and methods that may be used in warfare. Even if there is a good basis to take up arms (and the Palestinians do not have a just or reasonable basis) some arms and techniques are banned by international law. Putting screws, nails and other metal shrapnel with explosives in order to magnify their destructive effects is simply illegal, under all circumstances. Suicide bombing is not a legal means of attack.

Moreover, the use of children as bombers or snipers or in any way in an armed conflict of any nature is illegal. Almost nine years ago the Palestinian Authority signed agreements giving up the use of violence in general and agreeing not to use specific weapons in particular. They break these agreements daily and these violations have no justification and are thus illegal.

Israel has a legal division attached to its army that is charged with ensuring that it "only acts in a manner which is in compliance with the principles and practice of armed conflict." Its actions are reviewed by its own court system. The Palestinians have no such institutions and are acting illegally.

The Palestinians cannot claim that they have a just cause to go to war. Israel was negotiating and implementing agreements made, had given the Authority control of 97 percent of the Palestinian population and had made a comprehensive offer for a viable permanent solution, to which the Palestinians responded with terror and violence.

As the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains, the situation in Israel today is best defined as an armed conflict initiated by the Palestinians. This is seen clearly from the fact that if the Palestinians will now put down their arms, they can expect to get peace, prosperity and a state, as they were on the way to doing before they started the current Terror Intifadah in September 2000. If Israel lays down its arms, it will be slaughtered.

There are many efforts to have the media term Palestinian actions as "terror." Perhaps insisting that such actions are illegal, though less powerful a condemnation, would meet with less resistance but ultimately prove just as effective.

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