Meanwhile, over at ABC News…

Meanwhile, over at ABC News…

BsJXdWkCYAEhdi_Diane Sawyer had a hard-hitting report tonight at ABC News on the recent hostilities between Israel and Palestine. The segment opens with her saying, “We take you overseas now to the rockets raining down on Israel today as Israel tried to shoot them out of the sky.” As she speaks, a video box next to her shows explosions on an urban landscape. Sawyer then shows a still photo of two haggard men carrying clothes in front of a destroyed building and says, “here is an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can.”

There’s only one problem with Sawyer’s report: the explosions are in Gaza, the result of IDF airstrikes, and the men are Palestinian, not Israeli.

Welcome to the mainstream media’s even-handed coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Topics
Foreign Relations Law, International Criminal Law, International Human Rights Law, Middle East, National Security Law
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Eugene Kontorovich

If you liked that, you’ll appreciate this:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-28198622
(BBC website using pictures from Syria to illustrate Gaza).

RJ
RJ

no worries, over here in Europe, it’s exactly the other way round…

Pnina Sharvit Baruch
Pnina Sharvit Baruch

Kevin – ABC indeed got in wrong. At the moment there are IDF airstrikes in the Gaza Strip and unfortunately there are casualties in Gaza, including civilians. However in order to be fair and “even handed” you should also mention that Israal is under a constant barrage of hundreds of rockets and misslies fired by the Hamas from Gaza all day long, including towards Tel-Aviv and central Israel. The only reason there are no Israeli casulaties is our defense systems and shelters, from which my kids and I have just come out after another alert. What would the UK/France/Norway etc. do if this was happening in Londond/Paris/Oslo? Israel offered the Hamas “calm for calm” – they responded with rockets and missiles. We want peace but we are not ready to be sitting ducks. Would you?

Dan
Dan

…except Europe doesn’t matter at the end of the day. To think… you depend on the US for your own defense then consider yourselves capable of influencing foreign conflicts. Absurd.

Dan
Dan

To quote Baruch up there, “What would the UK/France/Norway etc. do if this was happening in Londond/Paris/Oslo?” Indeed, what would they do if their well-protected military superpower occupier decided to go through a new round of cleansing? What would they do if 3 children were used as scapegoats for this mission?

Mister
Mister

Dan you are delusional. The Isrealis do not “depend” on anyone other than themselves. There are no US troops or bases in Isreal. In contrast, there are tens of thousands of American troops in many other nations – UK, Korea, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Qatar, etc.
As for reference to scapegoats – these teens were murdered in cold blood and if you hear the phone call, the terrorists are laughing and celebrating in arabic that they killed them.
To be honest, I think Ms Pnina is way too liberal in her usage of terms and “offers of peace”. The people of gaza are deliberately sending rockets and it is their duly elected government that is doing so. You people should just carpet bomb away gaza just like Putin would do. Heck even Obama would send in the B52s if mexico started firing rockets. Dont worry about civilian damage – no other nation would care.

carl meyer
carl meyer

Pnina I agree with you. However in order to be fair and “even handed” you should also mention that the UK/France/Norway etc. are not keeping millions of people in a little strip of land forbidding them to exploit their natural resources, including their see. These terrible conditions are inflicted on a population composed mainly by refugees expelled from al-Jura, Najd and Majdal (present-day Or HaNer, Sderot and Ashkelon) and transferred by bus to Gaza. The comparison with Londond/Paris/Oslo is not only misleading but also morally reprehensible. “We want peace but we are not ready to be sitting ducks”: action speak louder than words and Israel is far from staying idle and “sitting”. And I don’t speak only about the exploitation of the Palestinian territories and the conditions in Gaza but also on the many other forms that violence can assume. This fellowing report can help you to see that also the “others” exist and complain (and have children that cannot hide in shelters): According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, of the 642 cases of settler violence Palestinians reported to Israeli police between 2005 and 2012, 90% were closed after authorities failed to mount a proper investigation. Between September… Read more »

shmuel
shmuel

Response…”no other nation would care”, you are right Mister, we should praise Israel for being so human. I don’t think the US ethnically cleansed mexicans from it’s borders when calif, arizona, new mexico and texas became part of the US. i’m not sure how applicable your analogy is to israel. I understand that the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo, which transferred huge stretches of Mexican territory to the United States, specifically permitted existing Mexican residents to remain as US citizens, not as disfranchised persons or as persons subjected to an occupying regime. The point is not that Israel should cede territories to neighbouring states as that it should enfranchise all those subject to its sovereignty, which the United States, for all its faults, has done. On a more general level, today native americans or americans of mexican heritage can move anywhere they want in the US, they are not restricted to reservations or certain neighborhoods. they have the same rights in the courts as i do and the same citizenship as me. it’s not a perfect set up, but i don’t think it can be compared to israel. israel is still in the process of taking more land. there’s a lot… Read more »

Kevin Jon Heller

Pnina,

So because Palestinians launch rockets at Israel, ABC News is entitled to misdescribe the results of IDF airstrikes as the results of Palestinian rockets? That’s a very strange understanding of fairness.

That said, I have no doubt that you and many Israelis genuinely want peace. But your government doesn’t. If you really want peace, get rid of Netanyahu and stop responding to rocket attacks — which are despicable, indefensible war crimes, as I’ve said dozens of times on this blog — by collectively punishing Palestinians and killing innocent Palestinian civilians.

Edward Brynes
Edward Brynes

This is an international law site. What does anyone have to say about pushing civilians at a site to act as human shields AFTER Israel has sent a warning to the specific site?

http://www.thetower.org/0673-in-ongoing-war-crime-hamas-pushes-civilians-to-act-as-human-shields/

Kevin Jon Heller

Urging civilians to act as human shields is abhorrent. But Palestinians do not become human shields simply by returning to their homes — even if Israel wants to bomb them.

Note also that Israel has made clear that it intends to bomb the homes of Hamas officials. Those officials do not qualify as combatants, so they cannot be deliberately attacked. Any such attacks are war crimes.

c.
c.

Edward, what about bombing houses and killing civilians that are inside. Btselem’s report of today: Bombing family homes of activists in armed Palestinian groups violates international humanitarian law Since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the early hours of 8 July 2014, the IDF Spokesperson and media sources have reported deliberate attacks against the homes of senior activists in armed Palestinian groups. The IDF Spokesperson reported that 11 such homes were attacked. According to media reports, the defense establishment intends to continue attacking the homes of senior Hamas activists. The reports state that the bombings are being carried out with the “knock on the roof” procedure, whereby the military fires a small missile at the house it intends to bomb as warning, expecting inhabitants to leave the premises, and then bombs the house to destruction. In some cases, military representative call the family and instruct them to evacuate the house. Even if uninvolved civilians are not injured, these houses are not legitimate military targets, and attacking them is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. The gravity of the violation is compounded when uninvolved civilians are injured. Until now, B’Tselem has documented one case in which civilians were… Read more »

Edward Brynes
Edward Brynes

So a Hamas “official” or “senior activist” does not qualify as a combatant in an ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. How do you know whether or not their job functions included combat? It is clear that they were at least involved in combat by virtue of the role they were playing. The civilians who were herded onto the roof as compulsory human shields were also combatants although forced into that role.

As you know, the use of human shields is illegal by nations that are parties to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Geneva Conventions. Presumably your claim is based on the idea that the house of a “senior activist” is not a military site so it is exempt. How do you know that the activist’s house is not used to plan military operations? If you perform some professional work at home, is it not true that your house is to some degree a place of business?

Yael Naggan
Yael Naggan

Kevin, in what way does specifically targeting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) military targets, using pin-pointed missiles and no more than the necessary payload of munitions constitute “collectively punishing Palestinians and killing innocent Palestinian civilians.”? Attacking legitimate military targets is completely lawful, insofar as the attack is proportionate. Can you point to one specific incident in which the a military objective was attacked by the IDF and the damage to civilians was excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage? No one in Israel is intentionally targeting civilians, and even though there are munitions storages and Hamas command posts in civilian homes when these are attacked, this is done in line with art. 57 of AP-I, and warnings are given. How many military strikes do you know of outside of the Israeli/Palestinian context in which the target was pre-warned by text message/ phone call that a strike is about to take place? How is targeting Hamas officials’ homes a considered a war crime? Insofar as their homes are being used for planning and carrying out their military attacks? The head of Hamas’s “political” wing Khaled Mashal said only yesterday: “The resistance has fulfilled it’s promise with the bombing of… Read more »

john
john

I read this sentence by Yael: “No one in Israel is intentionally targeting civilians”. How can you be so blind? Which huge state-machine can push a person to be so blind? How can you justify Everything? I was reading this little article from al-monitor just a few minutes ago. This journalist was intentionally killed, like him many others: Israeli strike hits media vehicle, kills driver GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Since the start of the Israeli aggression on Gaza on the morning of July 8, I have been working from the headquarters of Media24, a local news agency, in Burj al-Ghafari, in western Gaza City. It provides electricity, cars and logistical equipment to ensure that nothing delays my writing and sending of reports. In the mornings, I go to areas that have been targeted to conduct interviews, and then I return to the office, where I am confident that such services as electricity and Internet access will be available. The office driver, Hamid Shehab, prepares us coffee in the evening and distributes the cups in silence, but also with a friendliness. Rarely do we go home to rest, because news is rapidly streaming in as events unfold and pressure grows,… Read more »

Douglas Levene
Douglas Levene

Shame on ABC. Factual accuracy is important. “Fake but true” is for liberals.

Anytime Hamas wants peace it can have it. Hell, it can even have a cease fire if it wants one. All it has to do is stop firing rockets. That’s it. If Hamas stops, Israel stops. If Hamas doesn’t stop, Israel keeps bombing. I guess the only logical conclusion is that Hamas wants to be bombed.

That, of course, fits with Hamas’s use of human shields to multiply civilian casualties. Israel gives warnings of bombings of civilian houses – forgoing tactical surprise – and Hamas uses the warning to place civilians on the roof. I wonder, Prof. Heller, is that a war crime?

Yael Naggan
Yael Naggan

Hi john, I didn’t write that civilians weren’t being hit. Unfortunately, “zero casualty warfare” in Gaza isn’t realistic due to the urban infrastructure from which Hamas is fighting, and namely it’s extensive use of human shields. Civilians have been killed in this operation. This fact alone does not mean that they were *intentionally* targeted, which, as you very well know, is a requirement for concluding that a war *crime* has been committed. In the story you brought- do you have any information to support the claim that the journalist was intentionally targeted? I read the entire snip you posted and did not see any indication to that effect. Everyone is free to hold whichever political beliefs they wish. This is an international law blog, and I merely stated that international humanitarian law and international criminal law have standards, tests and requirements. We can keep on throwing around accusations, that doesn’t make them true. The question is whether international humanitarian law is being upheld. If you, or anyone else for that matter, think not, and think that this amounts to a criminal level (the use of the term “war crimes” implies as much), please provide information to that effect, and conduct… Read more »

Kevin Jon Heller

Here is a video of Israel “warning” a house it is about to be attacked — and then destroying it 57 seconds later:

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/seconds-warning-destroys.html

Israel’s warnings are great PR, but that’s about it.

Brandon
Brandon

And here’s another video of Israel warning the occupants of another house.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTArVIHDelg

First, it is clear from the video that the Hamas spokesperson calling for Gazans to act as voluntary human shields is working brilliantly (without doubt a war crime). What is also readily apparent is that the IDF is clearly able to ascertain if people leave the house (or other structure) after the warning shot was delivered. The video uploaded to Mondoweiss does not offer the military perspective whereby the IDF would decide to continue with the strike or not based on the number of civilians evacuating the building (if any).

Not only does Israel and the IDF go to great length to protect civilians, it is also, as Kevin aptly noted, great PR against those who intentionally distort the facts, leave out crucial facts, or just don’t know what they are talking about.

For more videos (and great PR), please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCawNWlihdgaycQpO3zi-jYg

I pray that the rockets stop falling so the fighting can end as soon as possible.

Kevin Jon Heller

I would love to see the IDF explanation for why 57 seconds is long enough to effectively warn civilians to leave their homes. Maybe we can find the answer on the IDF’s propaganda channel, to which Brandon links above.

Kevin Jon Heller

We should ask the dozens of civilians killed in Gaza about the “great lengths” to which the IDF goes to avoid killing them — such as giving them 57 seconds from the time they hear a loud “boom” on their roof to the time the IDF obliterates their house. But hey, a dead sprint will work. If they have babies sleeping in another room or on a different floor, they’ll just have to cut their losses.

Kevin Jon Heller

You also have to love Israel’s definition of ” being a human shield,” which includes “being in one’s family home” and “eating a family dinner.”

Seth Edenbaum

“First, it is clear from the video that the Hamas spokesperson calling for Gazans to act as voluntary human shields is working brilliantly (without doubt a war crime).” A debate with HRW on human shields http://justworldnews.org/?p=1761 —In Sarah Leah’s emails to me she has stressed two points: (1) The point, also made in the press release, that ““Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.” And (2) that for Palestinian military commanders, in particular, to ask civilians to act as “human shields” in this way represented an unlawful attempt to pur civilians at potential risk. I have pointed out to her that by these lights, for Mandela (who was a military commander, much more than Ismail Haniyeh– who was quoted in the HRW release– ever was) to call for South Africa’s non-whites to engage in nonviolent mass actions against the apartheid regime, which were often very risky indeed, would also likewise have been considered “unlawful” or even– as HRW grandiosely terms the situation in Gaza “a war crime.”— Today a group of foreign volunteers acted as as human shields outside a hospital in Gaza. And here are some… Read more »

Seth Edenbaum

I have a comment with links in moderation, or the spam filter

Brandon
Brandon

It takes me about 15 seconds – from the moment the sirens start blaring in Tel Aviv to put on shorts, yell to my dog, unlock the door, run down stairs two floors, grab my neighbors 5-year-old son in my arms (he’s got his 3 year old in his arms) and run across the street to a bomb shelter. So 57 seconds is a long time in the middle of a war.

And here’s the link to the Hamas spokesperson encouraging Palestinians to act as human shields. Yes, they ask their own people to get in the way. What do you have to say about this video Kevin?

http://youtu.be/eQ6S0-o3uFI

Seth Edenbaum

I’ll try again with most of the links stripped in a way that’s obvious. Brandon Weinstock’s Hasbara is obscene, given so much death. From 2000 to 2013, the average was one Palestinian minor every 3 days. From 2009-May 31st of this year, B’Tselem had the score in murdered kids as 84-0 “First, it is clear from the video that the Hamas spokesperson calling for Gazans to act as voluntary human shields is working brilliantly (without doubt a war crime).” A debate with HRW on human shields justworldnews.org/?p=1761 —In Sarah Leah’s emails to me she has stressed two points: (1) The point, also made in the press release, that ““Whether or not the home is a legitimate military target, knowingly asking civilians to stand in harm’s way is unlawful.” And (2) that for Palestinian military commanders, in particular, to ask civilians to act as “human shields” in this way represented an unlawful attempt to pur civilians at potential risk. I have pointed out to her that by these lights, for Mandela (who was a military commander, much more than Ismail Haniyeh– who was quoted in the HRW release– ever was) to call for South Africa’s non-whites to engage in nonviolent mass… Read more »

Edward Brynes

Hope this is near to the last word for now:

“PA Official Admits: Israel Follows International Law, We Don’t.

Palestinian envoy to UN Human Rights Council says Hamas rockets are ‘crimes against humanity’, while Israeli strikes are legal.”

See below:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/182837#.U8KHSfldUjF

s.e.
s.e.

“What an orgasm to see the IDF bomb buildings in Gaza with children and families at the same time. Boom boom.”

http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/bombing-gaza-children-gives-me-orgasm-israelis-celebrate-slaughter-facebook

Edward Brynes

There is a difference between nonviolent resistance and acting as a human shield.

Seth Edenbaum

“There is a difference between nonviolent resistance and acting as a human shield” In this case there is not. And today the UN acknoeledged that Israel is targeting civilians, though it’s been obvious for days. But there’s a whole history of Palestinian non-violent resistance. Today see Sheikh Jarrah. In 1987 Israel deported a Christian pacifist, Mubarak Awad, while letting the founder of Hamas speak on. Shin Bet chief Yaakov Peri, asked about Hamas: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.” NYT 1989- “An Alternative to the PLO- Fundamentalists” https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BshdVhTCcAE26kX.jpg:large Still Hamas has matured and that’s gotten them nowhere. And at this point I’d really like to know what Israel wants the Palestinians to do Protests get nowhere. The settlements expand regardless. Gaza is in lockdown, a walled prison. Half the population is either under Apartheid or within the the 67 borders, Jim Crow. What do you want? You want them just to crawl on their knees and beg forgiveness for living on their land. Israel keeps pushing because that’s all it knows how to do. I found this on twitter and I can’t think of a good reason why its not appropriate: “Blaming Hamas for… Read more »

SE
SE

Watch this and hear every standard colonialist trope repeated within about 4 minutes. Amazing that Orin could get away with such language in the 21st century