International Law: Valid Justification or Threat Mechanism?

 

“International law” has become a term commonly used by anti-Israel organizations. “In violation of international law” is what we hear in the media, in parliaments, and even in Israel’s Supreme Court. These words, which seem to require no further explanation or justification, have become employed to suggest, or downright assert, that the conduct of the IDF is illegal. But is this really the case?

In recent weeks, the State of Israel has been facing a new threat, in the form of a massive mob marching from Gaza toward the border fences and attempting to cross them, with cries of hate and calls for murder emanating from loudspeakers used by the march’s organizer, Hamas. Terrorists trying to breach the fence with bombs and attempting to harm, destroy and murder are carrying out their attacks daily, using a variety of methods, including flammable kites.

Hamas’s strategy, however, is not built on these terrorist tactics alone. Another, and perhaps even more significant aspect of the campaign is carried out in the public sphere and media by those that promote misinformation about Israel and its delegitimization around the world.

In a manner that proved itself very effective for terrorist campaigns in the past, several radical organizations recently petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice against the State of Israel and against the IDF’s protocols. Similar to the arguments made by various international voices on the events taking place on the Gaza border in recent weeks, “international law,” of course, was a significant part of their claims.

Given that “international law” seems to be the current motto used by anti-Israeli organizations to attack the IDF’s conduct, let us examine together some of the principles of international law relevant to this context.

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