Since Wednesday when Israel declared Gaza a “hostile territory, there has been talk of the legal ramifications of such a move. Tundra Tabloids contributor Daniel, sends the following J’Lem Post article which states that “the term “hostile territory”, was not a legal concept but rather the description of a practical fact.”
Tundraman draws our attention to the last portion to the article that, for all pratical purposes, depicts what kind of dilemma Jerusalem faces in its classification of “Hamastan” (Gaza) as a “hostile territory”.
“from a legal view, one of Israel’s major problems with the international community regarding Gaza is that international law does not address the war of a sovereign country against terrorists. The laws of war deal almost exclusively with regular armies fighting one another. There are no international rules of the game for a war against terrorism. Unless and until that changes, Israel essentially has not choice but to create its own laws, for better or for worse.”
In other words: Israel is breaking new ground on how a state fighting a war against a terrorist entity can manage its own security, while safe guarding against a humanitarian crisis as it restricts/manages the flow of gas and electricity to an area that uses the resouces to wage war against the Jewish state.
Israel is now mulling over the prospect of turning over full responsibility of Gaza to the Egyptians. The thinking behind it is that, regardless of whether Hamas manages to open its airport and sea port, the flow of weapons and ammunition in the Strip has continued unabated, so any increase of the same via the opened ports will be marginal.
There will be no longer any weight to the charge that Gaza is being controlled/occupied by Israel, in spite of the fact that Israel withdrew all of its military and settlements from Gaza in 2005. The border crossings at Karni, Erez and Kerem Shalom would be closed and all humanitarian traffic as well as imports and exports would go through Egypt.
The continued shellings of the crossings by Hamas controlled terrorists have put Israelis at risk, and the removal of them would remove a serious headache, by placing the brunt of the burden and responsibility squarely on the shoulders of the Hamas regime. They would now be now forced to deal exclusively with their Muslim neighbor, being fully divorced from the Israeli state.
Mark Regev, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Israel, was recently stating the Israeli case in a couple of interviews with both the BBC and CNN. Here are some excerpts from interview with BBC Television, 19 September 2007:
MR. REGEV: The cabinet met today in special session. We had a whole series of meeting about what to do about the situation in the south of Israel. As you know and you’ve reported, we’ve had over the last weeks, months and even years, a situation whereby, despite the fact that Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip – that we pulled out all our forces, we took down all our settlements, we redeployed behind the international frontier – despite the fact that we ended the military occupation, extremists in Gaza continued to shell, to shoot rockets into Israeli’s communities trying to kill innocent people. We had attacks over the last few weeks on a kindergarten, on a shopping center. These things can’t go on, and it’s incumbent upon the government to act to protect our people.
INTERVIEWER: What does an “enemy entity” mean? What is this the precursor for in your legal language for security operations in Israel?
MR. REGEV: Well, to be correct, the term used in the cabinet’s decision is a “hostile territory,” not an “enemy entity.” That would have a different significance. But there’s no doubt that Hamas – which has violently seized power in Gaza – is a hostile organization — it’s a terrorist organization not just under Israeli law but under European law, Canadian law, Australian law, Japanese law. This is an extremist organization and it’s not just their words; it’s the fact that we have these daily barrages of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Once again, despite the fact that we pulled back totally to our side of the frontier, and this just can’t go on. We have to act to defend our people.
INTERVIEWER: What does calling it a “hostile entity” mean that you are preparing for?
MR. REGEV: I think we are looking at different options to put pressure on the regime. I’ll give you an example: fuel enters the Gaza Strip unfettered. Now, part of that fuel goes to the vehicles of the Hamas security apparatus. Surely, if we could find a way to prevent fuel going to the Hamas security apparatus, that’s the thing that would help put pressure on the regime. There no reason why we should be helping the regime to attack us.
You know, the rockets from Gaza have targeted the same power station that provides electricity to the civil population of Gaza and it’s just unsustainable.
Interview with CNN, 19 September, 2007:
INTERVIEWER: Does Israel believe that a cabinet decision would decrease the number of rocket attacks given that Hamas has called the move “a declaration of war.”
MR. REGEV: That’s our plan. We have to protect our citizens. I mean, ultimately, we’ve had, over the last few months, rocket after rocket, missile after missile. We’ve had a situation where a rocket has fallen right near a daycare center threatening the lives of infants. I don’t think any democratic society would sit by and see its civilians targeted in this ongoing way. And if you think about it, there’s no reason for this.
INTERVIEWER: But it would seem to appear from Hamas saying it’s a declaration of war that the rocket attacks are going to end any time soon.
MR. REGEV: And that’s precisely the problem. Hamas is behind these attacks; they’re allowing them to happen. And the political context is just so ridiculous. Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip two years ago. We took down all the settlements. We pulled back behind the international frontier. We took out all our forces. We ended the military occupation. There’s no reason for these rocket attacks into Israel. It’s simply nihilism. There’s no positive agenda here whatsoever.
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you, what does, meaning, Gaza mean in that it’s a hostile entity in Israel’s eyes mean in terms of supplies? What does it mean on the ground, practically?
MR. REGEV: We will do nothing to prevent humanitarian supplies going into the Gaza Strip. We have no interest — we have no desire to see the Palestinian people suffer. But supplies that go in for the Palestinian government, there’s no reason that Israel should be providing gasoline for the vehicles of the Hamas security services. There’s no reason why we should be providing electricity for the Hamas military establishment.
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you then about electricity because — could I ask you just to clarify what you mean by “electricity supplies” because, of course, when Israel says it doesn’t mean to target innocent Palestinian civilians, the fact is that there are Palestinians in hospitals that will be affected by a lack of electricity supply.
MR. REGEV: And our policy is to be as surgical as is possible. We don’t want to hurt the civilian Palestinian population. We don’t want to hurt anyone. Our goal is to defend our citizens. No society would be sitting by idly and see its civilian population targeted the way our population has been in the south. And the truth is, I think Hamas is holding hostage the people of Gaza and the people of southern Israel. Their extremist agenda — they are against reconciliation and they’re holding us all hostage to their hateful extremism.
There needs to be an added emphasis by the leaders of the free world to force the international community to redefine the rules of law, so that terrorist groups working out of clearly defined territory are included. The current “gray area” in international law that allows terrorst entities to operate outside the rule of law….needs to addressed. Hamastan and the Palestinian Authority are classic case studies for it. *L* KGS