to not understand how you can fire missiles targeting civilians and it not be a war crime

(540 Posts)
Itsaboatjack Thu 15-Nov-12 23:46:53

now I'm not especially knowledgable about the problems in the middle east but surely firing missiles into a city intentionally killing civilians is some kind of war crime?

FreudiansSlipper Fri 16-Nov-12 08:05:11

so speaking out against how Israel have treatd the Palestinians have kicked them out of their homes robbed them of their land and livelihoods crushed their communitis forced them to live as refudgees is anti Semitic no it is about not criticising a governments horrendous treatment of people

There are plent of Jewish people who speak out against Israel's actions

PoppyAmex Fri 16-Nov-12 08:34:34

Denying/ignoring the fact that Palestine's very public agenda is to "destroy the state of Israel" and justifying why Israel "deserve" to be the target of terrorism is shocking.

Ignoring the fact that Hezbollah destroys their own community by closing schools so children can be susceptible to fall prey to brainwashing martyr propaganda is reductive.

The Israel is a country, not a religion argument is naive at best, but even ignoring that, they have the right to defend themselves. YOU would too and as someone posted up thread, you HAVE in the past.

Latara Fri 16-Nov-12 08:37:11

I agree with all that Poppy says.

Latara Fri 16-Nov-12 08:41:21

Plus people forget why & how Israel came into existence - as a result of the Holocaust.
The U.S. refused to take in many persecuted Jews in 1933 - 1950; so they are hardly trustworthy friends of Israel anyway.
The surrounding Arabic states rarely help the Palestinians.
Many Jews & Israelis hate the treatment of the Palestinians; but are still vilified.

crescentmoon Fri 16-Nov-12 08:51:55

But why should the Palestinians have to pay for what the Europeans did to the Jews latara? Why didn't they give them a chunk of Germany to build their state seeing as how It was they who committed the holocaust?wouldnt that have been more just? they kill 6million Jews and the US gave them aid and money to rebuild after world war 2 but the Palestinians lost their homeland and turfed out to be perpetual refugees.

It'd be nice if people could be critical of Israel without automatically being accused of being anti-Semitic. Personally I feel sorry for the innocent civilians being killed on both sides of the conflict, those leading Israel and Hamas are as bad as each other.

maddening Fri 16-Nov-12 09:04:44

I don't think Israel should have been created - I don't know what the allies thought would happen when they did it. I am not anti-Semitic but I can see that taking a portion of another country is not going to create a good neighborly atmosphere.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 16-Nov-12 09:05:26

I think the whole situation is tragic. I have close family members who are Israeli and they are disgusted at their government's actions. They dud a leaflet drop before the campaign started hmm So where are the civilians supposed to flee to then, the sea? Bombing Gaza is like shooting fish in a barrel.

MoreBeta Fri 16-Nov-12 09:05:53

Isreal has an enormous and extremely well equipped military. If it wished it could invade and crush any Gaza uprising in a day and run it under military rule. It doesnt though - because it is not in its interest to do so. In that sense it does show restraint.

Remember also that the leadership in Gaza have a strong interest in keeping the conflict going as their source of power. Remember also that there is a similar group of people in Israel who also want to keep the conflict going as it provides a pretext for taking land for settlements from the Palestinians. There are extremists and parties who are seeking money and power on both sides who are at fault and drag the rest of their respecxtive populations on both sides into an unecessary conflict.

One of the main sources of conflict is the right to use water from The River Jordan. It is well known that if that could be resolved equitably under an international UN controlled water rights treaty it would be a big step to resolving a constant grievance.

FreudiansSlipper Fri 16-Nov-12 09:14:09

Isreal however it came about is there now but the continued growth of the country with high immigration and the palistinians removed by force out of their own homes to is what has caused this problem that is out of control now. There would have been hostility anyway as this goes back before WW2 but how can you expect people to be kicked out of their home, have their rights taken away for them, have no control over their lives and an enforced state have power over them how can we really expect people not to retaliate

crescentmoon Fri 16-Nov-12 09:32:35

I think a peaceful one state solution is better- let all te Palestinians b citizens of Israel and in 2 generations demographics will make tem the majority anyway. Better than being herded under the biggest open prison on earth

Absy Fri 16-Nov-12 09:41:41

Hamas has fired around 840 (I think it's more now) rockets into the south of Israel since the beginning of the year, at civilians. They've been firing them at cities/towns like Sderot, Ashdod, Beersheva. Then, on Sunday it escalated (for no apparent reason) to around 120 rockets over three days, at the same time, there were rockets fired over the border from Syria into the Golan heights. This has been going on for ten years now.

At the moment, the Palestinian Authority (under Fatah) is under a lot of pressure, and is looking very weak. There are lot of elements at play here:
- Hamas could be (and that's what some of the press sources are thinking) trying to usurp power/legitimacy from the PA. The PA is the recognised "representative" of the Palestinians in bodies like the UN, and Hamas hates this - they're still considered to be a terrorist body by many authorities (including the UN) which is why they can't represent the Palestinians. What they're trying to do is show that they're strong, Fatah is weak and THEY should be in control and be the representative.
- they're also testing relations with Egypt. Egypt is signed to a Peace Treaty with Israel, but the current government is trying to prove to its people and the Arab world that it is not a "patsy" of the west and Israel like Mubarak's government was. The PM is visiting Gaza today to show solidarity, but the test is whether or not they break the peace Treaty with Israel
- Syria's obviously subject to a lot of criticism at the moment, and Assad's government is also trying to prove their legitimacy as well. Sabre rattling at Israel is always a popular move (with their own population and with other middle eastern countries). Likewise Iran.

The IDF has said that their might be a ground offensive as well. On the one hand, this is better because it's more "targeted" and their is less danger that civilians get caught in the cross fire. BUT, it is much much more dangerous for IDF soldiers. After the Gilad Shalit incident, Hamas knows that if they kidnap Israeli soldiers it puts them in a very strong bargaining position - they managed to exchange over a thousand of their soldiers for him. So, they booby trap houses and if Israeli soldiers are killed or injured, they try to get and keep the bodies so that they can trade them later. They have been known to fire at a soldier to as to injure him enough so he can't walk, knowing that his team members will come back to try and get him, which means more soldiers=more bargaining chips.

I see a lot of people think that as long as you target military targets, it's not a war crime. This is not true.

Attacking a military target and killing civilians is also a war crime if the attack is indiscriminate or disproportionate -- i.e., if you do not take enough care to distinguish between militants and civilians, or if the harm to civilians outweighs the military benefits.

International law also doesn't let you violate the laws of war just because the other guy does -- for example, if militants hide in civilian neighbourhoods and use civilians as human shields, which is against the laws of war, it doesn't mean that their adversary can still bomb those civilians.

I don't quite understand arguing that Israel isn't committing war crimes, by arguing that the Palestinians are. It seems to me both sides are, which is usually what happens in war anyway.

MoreBeta, you do realise that until 2005 Israel did militarily occupy Gaza? And in 2009, invaded it, killing hundreds of civilians? And continues to subject its citizens to a virtual siege?

There is plenty of blame on both sides, but to say that Israel operates restraint against Gaza is really stretching it.

Absy Fri 16-Nov-12 10:15:26

What do you recommend the Israeli government does, given that these hundreds of rockets have been fired into their country?

Sallyingforth Fri 16-Nov-12 10:16:41

The Jewish people have always been persecuted, and suffered appalling crimes under Germany.
And yet, in spite of knowing what it's like to be victimised in this way they have turned Gaza into a concentration camp.
They were given their own Israeli state, but that apparently wasn't enough for them and they have pushed the Palestinians off their land and into a city with inadequate resources to feed or water them. Not content with this they have blocked the port from the sea to prevent supplies getting in - another illegal act.

I have great sympathy for the historical sufferings of the Jewish people, but that does not excuse their almost genocidal treatment of the Palestinians. That is the real war crime.

PoppyAmex Fri 16-Nov-12 10:19:57

I have no words.

weegiemum Fri 16-Nov-12 10:20:22

My husbands aunt (his fathers sister) was born in an air raid shelter during the allied forces (led by britain) Firebombing of Dresden.

So what's a warcrime?

anything like this (and slightly demented omi, aunt Barbara and dfil agree).

What's different here?

Anonymumous Fri 16-Nov-12 10:23:39

Didn't Israel occupy Gaza after being attacked by the Arabs in 1967? They were attacked, defended themselves and won the Six Day War. In my book that's a conquest, not merely "occupying" another country's territory. I never understood why anyone thought they should relinquish that land. They didn't start the war, and if the Arabs didn't like the consequences of losing it then tough!

It seems to me that everyone is quite happy for Israel to be attacked by the Palestinians time and time again, but a fuss is only made when they decide to retaliate - then Israel are painted as the aggressors and everyone says, "Oooh, how awful, the poor Palestinians." It's what happened in 2009, it's what's happened now. Israel could raze Gaza to the ground if they felt so inclined. They haven't. Do you suppose that if Hamas would be so restrained if they had anything like the military capabilities of Israel?

PoppyAmex Fri 16-Nov-12 10:28:32

More than 200 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip in a sustained attack for the past 10 days. THE TARGETS WERE CIVILIAN.

South Israel has been under fire since then, a MN'etter had a bomb fall behind her house yesterday but it's really only news when Israel retaliates.

I too would like to see Absy's question answered:
What do you recommend the Israeli government does, given that these hundreds of rockets have been fired into their country?

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Fri 16-Nov-12 10:30:11

Both sides are wrong and the whole situation is desperately sad.

It would help if the authorities on both sides stopped brainwashing children to hate the other side and glorify their own. The propaganda pushed out by both Israel and Hamas is disgusting.

Whoever mentioned Dresden, I agree. Some things in war are just so horrifying that they can never be right. That doesn't mean that I don't respect the bravery of the aircrews in Bomber Command but the politicians calling that shot must have lost all perspective of reasonable force by then.

Those hundreds of rockets kill very, very few people, as they are very primitive. Of course every death is a tragedy, and a war crime, but for example in the last Gaza war those rockets killed I think 5 Israelis, whereas the Israeli counter-response killed over 1,000 Palestinians.

If Israel wants to stop the rocket attacks, they need to think strategically and long-term, not just tactically and short-term. That means making a serious effort to resolve the conflict politically. There are reports that a long-term truce with Hamas had been in the works when this all started up.

Israel's response here has nothing to do with military necessity and everything to do with the upcoming Israeli elections, the ongoing confrontation with Iran, and Israeli insecurity thanks to all the Arab Spring instability. All my Israeli friends say "Of course Bibi has started a new conflict, there's elections coming up."

Anyway, the OP was about war crimes. Israel may well find its offensive neutralises the rocket attacks, but that doesn't mean it doesn't violate international law.

Madmum24 Fri 16-Nov-12 10:40:49

It is an absolute disgrace what is happening. The Palestinians have had their land and homes illegaly confiscated; can you imagine sitting in your home (which may have been in the family for many years) and a bulldozer suddenly bashing through the wall??? Those who refuse to leave (and why the hell should they!) are seiged in, usually with a wall built around so that no food or supplies can be brought in, and either eventually surrender their properties or die from starvation. And the worst thing is, THEY HAVE THE BACKING FROM USA AND UK. If I were them, I'd have no qualms about firing 2000 missiles a day, fgs what choice do they have? Leave and come to UK and seek asylum and be treated like a beggar???

There is no such thing as a civilian in what is known as Israel, from the age of 7 children are trained as soldiers, and all people from the jewish diaspora who apply to live there are aware of what they are going into.

I have first hand experience of this myself and have no sympathy whatsoever with those who feel they can steel peoples land, livelihood, homes and land and claim it is their God given right.

Sallyingforth Fri 16-Nov-12 10:45:43

What should happen is that Israel returns to its former borders. The recognition of the Israeli and Palestinian nations, and the security of the border between them, would then be enforced and guaranteed by the UN.

This won't happen of course because the UN is fundamentally flawed, and any significant plan is blocked by one or the other of the major powers that use it for their own interests.

So the Palestian issue will continue indefinitely, at least until the inevitable war between Iran and Israel. Then anything could happen.

Anonymumous Fri 16-Nov-12 10:51:22

For Dresden, read Coventry or London. What exactly constitutes "reasonable force" in an all-out, desperate, apocalyptic World War scenario anyway? Neville Chamberlain popping over the Channel to rap Mr. Hitler on the knuckles perhaps? Maybe a short spell on the Naughty Step? Or maybe we should have got really tough and confiscated his moustache.

I don't think the World War compares with a bunch of crackpots firing indiscriminate rockets over the border into Israel as if they were fireworks, and then occasionally getting a taste of their own medicine. It's nothing more than posturing on both sides - it doesn't even begin to compare with WW2.

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