In places such as France, Poland, the UK, Canada, Italy, the US, Australia, and many more, people are already demonstrating against Israel’s legitimate acts of self-defense. Yet even more disturbing, non-governmental organizations that proclaim to care about human rights are also very vocal against Israel. For example, according to Gerald Steinberg, head of NGO Monitor, “Within six hours of Jabari’s death, and in the face of massive rocket attacks from Gaza, Amnesty International blamed Israel alone for putting civilians […] at grave risk by re-igniting the armed conflict.” Oxfam International even dared to imply that Israel violated international law by defending herself.

Yet, any basic understanding of international law would bring one to the contrary understanding. UN Security Council Resolutions and international treaties define crimes against humanity as “the participation in, and knowledge of, a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.” This implies that Hamas and other Islamist groups in Gaza, by indiscriminately targeting civilian population centers within Israel, are actively committing war crimes. International law does not discriminate against civilian populations, implying that the lives of the people in places like Sderot, Be’ersheva and Ashkelon should not be worth less than the lives of Gazans.

Thus, given this, Israel, like any other nation-state whose civilian population is under attack, is obliged to defend her citizens who are victims of such atrocities. This is guaranteed in Article 51 of the UN Charter, which asserts “nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.” Furthermore, as Judge Schwebel, the former President of the International Court of Justice is quoted as saying, “In the case of action taken for the specific purpose of halting and repelling an armed attack, this does not mean that the action should be more or less commensurate with the attack.”

Yet the reality of international law has not prevented non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International and Oxfam International from criticizing Israel, while they remained virtually silent as over 800 rockets were fired into Israeli civilian areas this past year prior to Operation Pillar of Defense. Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor, asserted that these NGOs pay little attention or outright ignore Israeli human rights and causalities.

Reported by Rachel Avraham for United With Israel

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