Since the beginning of May 2019, violence has increased between Israel and militants in Gaza.
Latest in Gaza
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.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently released a report accusing both Hamas and the Israeli government of committing war crimes regarding an incident in May 2019. During these hostilities, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) struck 350 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza after those groups launched roughly 690 rocket attacks into Israel. HRW’s report claims that both sides unlawfully attacked civilians during the hostilities.
Politicians, trial lawyers and drafters of reports learn early on that framing an argument is central to the task of persuasion. And so it goes for the report by the U.N. Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the border confrontation that occurred last spring between Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and the tens of thousands of Gaza residents who sought to force their way into Israel by breaching the security barrier.
U.S. Shifts Support for Saudi Intervention in Yemen, Gaza Clashes Spark Political Crisis in Israel, Trump Administration Eases Pressure over Khashoggi Murder
Fighting in Hodeidah Closes in on Strategic Port
“No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” This axiom informs compliance with the law of armed conflict (LOAC) in combined arms maneuver: combat operations involving ground forces employing a range of capabilities to achieve an overarching “commander’s intent.” Ground maneuver combat is decentralized and dynamic, especially when dealing with an agile and adaptable enemy. LOAC’s application will often turn on factors such as available capabilities, the enemy’s strength and tactics, time for deliberation, and the speed of maneuver.
Israel’s Military Advocate General Terminates ‘Black Friday’ and Other Investigations: Initial Observations
Since 2014, the IDF has been conducting investigations into incidents that took place in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge (July-August 2014) and raised concerns about Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) compliance with Israeli law and international law of armed conflict. In the course of the investigation, the office of the Military Advocate General (MAG)—Israel’s chief military legal officer—has reviewed some 360 incidents, referring 24 of them for criminal investigation. These have led so far to the conviction of three soldiers for the crime of looting.
The latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is only the most recent exchange that the Israeli military and other observers worry could escalate into war.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Israel dismissed a petition against the rules of engagement governing use of force by the Israeli security forces in the violent clashes in Gaza (HCJ 3003/18 Yesh Din v. IDF Chief of General Staff). The clashes began on March 30, 2018, around mass Palestinian protests held in various points along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel.