The legal justification for the operation
Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip have been waging an ongoing armed conflict against Israel, which has included incessant barrages of rockets and mortars towards the Israeli civilian population and other terror activities.
Israel has the right under international law, and a moral obligation, to act in self-defense, to defend its population and to protect its territory when under attack, as well as to take military action against the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Violations of international law on the part of the Hamas and the other terror organizations
Hamas’ actions are in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law, including the principle of distinction, which requires Hamas and other terrorist organizations not only to refrain from directing its attacks at Israeli civilians, but also to clearly distinguish itself from its own civilian population.
These terrorist organizations consciously and deliberately violate these principles in a repeated manner, by deploying weapons and command centers in densely populated areas, operating from residential areas, and exploiting the civilian population by exposing them to serious harm. By doing so, Hamas and the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip are committing war crimes.
The commitment of the State of Israel and the IDF to international law
Israel and the IDF are fully committed to international law in general, and to the Laws of Armed Conflict in particular.
Israeli commanders and soldiers are guided by international law in their actions. The IDF strives to imbue the principles of international law in IDF training, the IDF Code of Ethics and rules of engagement.
The IDF receives ongoing legal advice on a wide range of operational issues at various levels of the command chain (for example, regarding targeting decisions, the use of weaponry and issues regarding humanitarian efforts towards the civilian population).
The legality of the IDF’s attacks
IDF attacks in the Gaza Strip are solely targeted against military targets and terrorist operatives. Civilian objects such as residential buildings may constitute legitimate targets if used by terrorist operatives for military purposes.
The IDF makes great efforts to minimize the incidental harm that may be caused to civilians or civilian objects as a result of an attack on a military target. For example:
A short while ago, on Monday afternoon, the Israeli Air Force targeted a media building in Gaza that housed a serious of terrorist leaders from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
The senior PIJ cadre was operating in a media building. They weren’t there to be interviewed. They were using reporters as human shields. However, Israel targeted only the 2nd floor, which is where the senior terrorists were. The rest of the building was unharmed.
We know that Hamas and other terror groups target Israeli civilians, using Palestinians as human shields. So who was Israel targeting when it decided to strike this building?
Baha Abu al-Ata, commander of PIJ Gaza City Brigade, who is involved in planning attacks against Israel, arms manufacturing, and the types of long-range rockets that are terrorizing millions of Israeli citizens.
Also targeted while hiding in the media building was Tyseer Abu AlAta a senior Islamic Jihad member in charge of the operations against Israel.
Islamic Jihad is claiming that Ramez Harb, responsible for propaganda for head Islamic Jihad’s their armed wing Saraya al Quds was killed in the operation, a clear admission of terrorists attempting to use journalists as human shields. However, the IDF is focusing on pinpoint, surgical strikes to eliminate terrorists and avoid civilian casualties