Monday, April 1, 2024

Professor Louis Rene Beres' Insights About Applying International Law Principles to Israel's War Against Hamas

Hamas' October 7, 2023 mass casualty attack in Israel displayed the barbarism at the heart of radical Islam. Any attempt to assert a moral equivalency between Hamas' war crimes/crimes against humanity, and Israel's restrained, lawful, and justified military response is obscene and unfounded. Unfortunately, self-proclaimed "progressives" continue to prove their moral bankruptcy by asserting this false equivalency, in the process demonstrating that their true agenda is not "peace and love" but rather the overthrow of Western civilization.

Professor Louis Rene Beres often uses the apt phrase, "International law is not a suicide pact," which in this context means that Israel does not have to consent to being destroyed merely because other parties do not approve of her methods of dealing with Hamas' depravity and violence. More specifically, Professor Beres explains why Israel's response--including the recent targeted assassination of Hamas commander Marwan Issa--is fully justified under the principles of international law.

The entire article is well worth reading. Here are several of Professor Beres' key points, in his own words:

1) "Under international law which is binding upon all sovereign states, terrorism represents a crime that should be prevented and must be punished. As was learned originally from Roman law and Jewish law (Torah), a universal rule exists. This 'peremptory' rule affirms the core principle of 'No crime without a punishment,' or Nullum crimen sine poena. It can be discovered, among other sources, at the London Charter of August 8, 1945. This is the founding document of the post-war Nuremberg Tribunal."

2) "In formal jurisprudence, terrorists are known as hostes humani generis or 'common enemies of humankind.' While the world legal system allows or even encourages certain insurgencies in matters of 'self-determination,' there is nothing about these matters that can ever justify deliberate attacks on civilians. In this connection, it is important to remember that an integral part of all criminal law is the underlying presence of mens rea or 'criminal intent.'

On this point, there can be no reasonable comparison of Marwan Issa's deliberate mass murder of Israeli noncombatants and the unintended civilian harms now being suffered in Gaza. As a matter of law, responsibility for such ongoing harms falls entirely upon the 'perfidious' behavior (i.e., 'human shields') of Hamas and Iran, and not on Israeli forces acting on behalf of legitimate self-defense."

3) "Under the law of war, even where an insurgent use of force has supportable 'just cause,' it must still fight with 'just means.' Accordingly, the vapid phrase 'One man's terrorist is another’s freedom fighter' is never more than an empty witticism."

4) "The willfully indiscriminate nature of jihadist terrorist operations (not just Hamas) is well documented. Such intentional blurring of the lines between lawful and unlawful targets is rooted in certain generic principles of 'holy war.' Several years ago, an oft-repeated remark by Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, then a prominent Muslim cleric in London, explained core doctrinal linkages between Islamic terror and 'holy war:'

Said the Sheikh, 'We don't make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever (a Jew or Christian) has no value. It has no sanctity.'

International law is not a suicide pact, especially when an adversary remains indifferent to its unassailable claims. As was learned yet again on October 7, 2023, jihadist attackers add gratuitously barbarous effects to their corrosive primal ideologies. At 'bottom line,' these are belief systems that gleefully embrace the sacrificial slaughter of 'unbelievers.' To wit, for Hamas and related terror groups, 'military objectives' have 'normally' included elementary schools, bomb shelters, ice-cream parlors, civilian bus stops and elderly pedestrians. In law, these perpetrators ought never to be called 'militants.' Whatever their alleged cause, they are criminals of the irredeemably worst sort."

Professor Beres concludes his analysis by pointing out that the nations of the world should be helping Israel instead of condemning her:

William Blackstone's 18th century Commentaries, the foundation of United States jurisprudence, explain that because international law is an integral part of each individual state's "common law," all states are "expected to aid and enforce the law of nations." This must be accomplished "by inflicting an adequate punishment upon the offenses against that universal law." Derivatively, by its precisely targeted removal of Hamas terrorist leader Marwan Issa, Israel acted not in violation of the law of nations, but in its indispensable enforcement. Presently, this neglected clarification of global justice should not be undervalued or overlooked.

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