According to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, there has been a steady rise in the number of rocket attacks since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead. In 2010, there were 103 rocket attacks; in 2011, there were 375 rocket attacks, and in 2012 prior to Operation Pillar of Defense, there were 797 rocket attacks, of which 217 of them occurred between November 10 and 14, 2012. Article 51 of the UN Charter gives Israel the right to defend herself against such incessant rocket attacks!

Furthermore, it is important to note that Hamas has routinely violated international humanitarian law. Sigall Horowitz, who formerly worked as legal adviser to the President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, mentioned that Hamas is guilty of 1) failing to distinguish between civilians and combatants in Israel; 2) initiating or threatening violence in order to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population; 3) utilizing indiscriminate weapons; 4) not removing Palestinian civilians from areas in the vicinity of military attacks; 5) attacking from densely populated areas; etc. These are all war crimes!

To the contrary, the State of Israel is fully committed to international law in general and the Laws of Armed Conflict in particular. Israel works to the best of her ability to differentiate between the civilian population in Gaza and Hamas, hence why Israel continues to allow humanitarian aid to cross through the borders of Israel into Gaza even when she striked Hamas targets. Furthermore, the IDF Code of Ethics embodies principles ingrained in international law and the IDF constantly receives ongoing legal advice as she plans battles, to ensure compliance with international law.

Unlike Hamas, who wantonly attacks civilian centers of Israel, Israel limits her attacks to areas that launch rockets, store rockets, and house Hamas terrorists. Even on the battlefield, Israel works to limit civilian causalities. For example, Israel utilizes precision guided missiles, in order to minimize the risk to the civilian population. The IDF also makes use of intelligence reports, so that she has the ability to abort operations if too many civilians would be endangered from an attack. And if circumstances permit, Israel even tries to warn the civilian population of an imminent attack, so they can take cover. All of these steps are in compliance with international law!

By Rachel Avraham

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