Tuesday, January 22, 2008



The people of Gaza elected Hamas.  Hamas has called for the destruction of Israel and declared war upon her by launching rockets into civilian areas.  What victim of such aggression has ever been asked, let alone volunteered, to provide fuel and provisions to an enemy actively pursuing its eradication on a daily basis?  Oh, and did I mention that Hamas has been smuggling explosives into Gaza in "Humanitarian Aid" shipments?

Israel Eases Gaza Blockade - Ibrahim Barzak
Israel Tuesday eased a blockade of Gaza imposed in retaliation for militant rocket attacks, allowing in some food and fuel. Israel pumped cooking oil and fuel for Gaza's power plant through the Nahal Oz crossing, and was expected to allow a shipment of fuel, food and medicine through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Prime Minister Olmert said Monday he will not allow a humanitarian crisis to develop. But he said Gaza's residents won't be able to live a "pleasant and comfortable life" as long as southern Israel is under rocket attack. "As far as I'm concerned, Gaza residents will walk, without gas for their cars, because they have a murderous, terrorist regime that doesn't let people in southern Israel live in peace," Olmert said.

"We think Hamas got the message," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel. "As we have seen in the past couple of days, when they want to stop the rockets, they can." But Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror said a reduction in rocket attacks was not enough for Israel to ease the closure. "If we open the crossings again tomorrow, there will be rockets that fall again on Israel," Dror said. "They don't want to recognize Israel and want to destroy Israel - that's their problem. They shouldn't expect that we will help them destroy us." The power outage mainly affected Gaza City, while electricity in other areas of Gaza was not interrupted. (AP/Washington Post)

The Gaza "Blackout" and the Laws of War - J. Peter Pham (National Review)
  • Although the so-called "Gaza blackout" was instigated by the Hamas terrorists who run the enclave as a sort of cynical publicity stunt, it has drawn the usual dire warnings of impending humanitarian crisis and protests from neighboring Arab countries and the EU. What tends to be forgotten in moments like this is that even if Israel, which supplies more than 75% of the terrorist enclave's power, did cut off the flow, it would not only be morally but also legally justified in doing so.
  • As Prof. Michael Krauss of George Mason University Law School and I pointed out last year when Gaza was designated "hostile territory" by the Israeli cabinet: If Gaza is territory under the control of the enemy - as it manifestly is under Hamas - then the Israeli government is both within its rights and arguably obliged by its responsibilities to its citizens to treat the strip as "hostile territory."
  • Siege and blockade of a hostile territory is a legitimate tactic of war, used in declared and undeclared (e.g., Cuban) conflicts and explicitly recognized by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The Conventions' sole limitation is that there be "free passage of all consignments of food-stuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases" (Fourth Convention, art. 23).
  • Even this exception was conditioned on there being "no reasons for fearing... that a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy" (for example, if resources destined for humanitarian aid will be commandeered by the enemy). Israel has carefully respected this requirement.
  • Notwithstanding the outraged howls from the external enablers of Hamas, there is no basis in international humanitarian law for claiming any belligerent is obliged to supply energy to territory occupied by the enemy, conventional or otherwise.
See also Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Shmulik Hadad
Palestinians in Gaza fired four Kassam rockets at Sderot Tuesday morning. Nine Kassam rockets and 13 mortar shells were fired at Israeli communities on Monday afternoon. (Ynet News)

See also: Palestinian Gunmen Open Fire on Israeli Troops Near Gaza Border
Palestinian gunmen opened fire on IDF troops near the southern Gaza border fence in two separate incidents on Tuesday morning. (Jerusalem Post)

See also Palestinians in Gaza Open Fire at Israeli Farmers - Shmulik Hadad
Palestinians in Gaza opened fire Tuesday morning at farmers working near Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in southern Israel. An Ecuadorian volunteer was murdered by a Palestinian sniper in the same area last week. (Ynet News)

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