17 July 2014

Israel and Gaza ignore the rules of war

Today, after more than a week of trading missile fire, Israel launched a ground offensive on Gaza.

No good can come of this.

The history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is legendary for its huge numbers of civilian casualties. Calling them "collateral damage" doesn't make these deaths any easier to dismiss. We're talking about dead babies here. And, under international law, civilians are supposed to be off-limits in armed conflict.

According to the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts:

"The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations."


"The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited."

and, especially applicable to this particular conflict:

"Attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals are prohibited."

But neither party in this conflict seems to care much about all that. Does no one have a conscience here? Does no one have compassion?

Each side continues to point fingers at the other side and pass blame accordingly. As long as that continues, there will be no peace.

And, until each side can recognize the humanity on the other side, there will be no peace.

Today, I posted on Facebook a condemnation of this latest Israeli move. A reader pushed back by pointing out that Gaza has been bombing Israel, as if it justifies this escalation of violence.

As I then pointed out to her, two wrongs don't make a right.

And, as I pointed out to her:

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind."
-- Mohandas Gandhi

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