Amidst the chaos of U.S. and Israeli politics, it may be difficult to remember that less than four weeks ago President Trump tweeted that he had reached an agreement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss a mutual defense treaty between the United States and Israel. The idea of such a treaty has come up time and again over the years. The U.S.
Col. (res.) Liron A. Libman is a researcher in the Amnon Lipkin-Shahak Program on National Security and Democracy at the Israel Democracy Institute and the former Chief Military Prosecutor and Head of the International Law Department in the Israel Defense Forces. Following Operation Cast Lead and the Goldstone Report, Libman participated in the international legal campaign about the potential ramifications of these developments. Libman took part both in legal advice in advance, and in presenting the Israeli case following, the Marmara Affair (Gaza Flotilla) before the Israeli public commission (the Turkel commission) and international fora. Libman has a master’s degree in law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is a graduate of the IDF's Commander and General Staff College.
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Escalations in the armed conflict between Israel, Hamas and other armed groups in the Gaza Strip tend to follow a familiar pattern. Often, following the shooting of rockets or the launching of incendiary balloons from Gaza to Israel, the Israeli government will constrain the space available for fishing next to Gaza’s shores. When matters become calmer, the fishing zone is extended.
At the peak of a wave of stabbing attacks by Palestinian youth, mainly in Jerusalem, in October 2015, 17-year-old Mustafa al-Khatib stabbed a member of the Israeli Border Police. The officer was slightly wounded, and security forces killed the assailant during the incident. But the ramifications of the teenager’s attack continue to affect his family.
On April 6, for the third weekend in a row, Palestinians residents of Gaza confronted the Israeli Defense Forces near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel. According to Palestinian sources, overall more than 30 Palestinians have died and hundreds have been wounded, since the beginning of the clashes.
Israel has confronted terrorist attacks for many decades, but in all of those years, the Knesset and the public have not seriously considered whether the justice system should sentence convicted terrorists to death. Instead, despite allowing punishment by death for a narrow range of crimes that might plausibly be applied to terrorism offenses, Israel has continued to apply a de facto moratorium on the death penalty.