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Israel and Gaza 2014

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Israel and Gaza 2014

Old 16th Dec 2015, 10:50
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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Israel and Gaza 2014

All reports linked too in original article.

The High Level Military Group’s Assessment of the 2014 Gaza Conflict

The High Level Military Group (HLMG) is an initiative comprising 12 former generals and high-ranking officials from 9 NATO and allied democracies. Formed in early 2015, the HLMG tasked itself with producing an analysis of the war on terror and the challenges faced by nations engaged in asymmetric warfare with terror organisations and hybrid state/non-state actors who do not adhere to the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC).

The HLMG’s first report, released on 11 December, is a detailed analysis of last year’s 50 day conflict between Hamas and the State of Israel – a case study upon which subsequent reports will build a broader analysis of the strategic and tactical challenges faced by democracies. The report begins by summarising the conflict’s background and the strategic aims of its principle actors. Responsibility for the conflict, the authors conclude, “must be squarely ascribed to Hamas”.........

The HLMG’s conclusions accord with a 2015 study of Israel’s targeting practices and application of the LOAC conducted by two American military experts, Michael Schmitt & John Merriam. The results of their investigations were published in two essays in April: Israeli Targeting, A Legal Appraisal (published in a military policy journal) and a longer, more detailed analysis, The Tyranny of Context: Israeli Targeting Practices, a Legal Perpective (published in a journal of academic law).......

The HLMG report is at once an important corrective to widely-held misperceptions about Israeli conduct, and also a valuable contribution to the debate about whether current legal guidelines constrain democracies as they attempt to defend their societies and citizens from ruthlessly cynical adversaries with no regard for the norms of international law.

The full report can be downloaded HERE.......
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 12:29
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Thanks ORAC. Wish more publicity was given to reports such as these.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 12:46
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Great post, ORAC.

The people who need to take this in, probably won't. But at least the information is out there.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 12:52
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Copyright © 2015 by Friends of Israel Initiative


Independant?
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 13:55
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It only took a quick skim to find the paragraph where the adherence of Israel to LOAC is just stated as a fact, with zero underpinning analysis:

Israel’s adheres to the accepted norms and rules that make up the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC)
Although if you have your own unique definitions on LOAC I guess you can make any military action fit:

Where civilians or civilian locations are involved in hostilities they can lose their protected status, and subject to the concept of proportionality, become legitimate military targets or, where such persons or objects are not legitimate targets according to the law, become accepted collateral damage. Adherence to these rules cannot be determined by considering the effects of an attack or relative casualty figures between belligerents in a conflict.
Meanwhile, back in the real world the actual LOAC states:

You must always clearly distinguish between combatants and civilians or the civilian population as such. Combatants may of course be attacked unless they are out of action, i.e. they are hors de combat. Civilians are protected from attack but lose that protection whenever they take a direct part in hostilities for the time of their participation. Similarly, you must always distinguish between military objectives which can be attacked and civilian objects which must be respected.
When military objectives are attacked, civilians and civilian objects must be spared from incidental or collateral damage to the maximum extent possible. Incidental damage must not be excessive in relation to the direct and concrete military advantage you anticipate from your operations. Excessive use of force quite clearly violates the law of armed conflict.
I suspect the authors are on mind-bending drugs. At no stage do civilian locations become 'hostile' and in any case hostile civilian personnel only become targets for their time of participation. The idea that you can claim lawful 'proportionality' when you have absolved yourself from considering the effects of an attack is utterly preposterous.

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Old 16th Dec 2015, 14:33
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Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
I suspect the authors are on mind-bending drugs. At no stage do civilian locations become 'hostile' and in any case hostile civilian personnel only become targets for their time of participation. The idea that you can claim lawful 'proportionality' when you have absolved yourself from considering the effects of an attack is utterly preposterous.
The authors are military professionals. (or were).

It does not help attempts at polemical analysis when the LOAC themselves have modifying and vague language, in detail.
When military objectives are attacked, civilians and civilian objects must be spared from incidental or collateral damage to the maximum extent possible. Incidental damage must not be excessive in relation to the direct and concrete military advantage you anticipate from your operations. Excessive use of force quite clearly violates the law of armed conflict.
Excessive is a subjective quantity. To be blunt, these words are ascribed quantities, qualities and meanings AFTER THE FACT with some vigor, while offering little in situ practical or quantitative constraint.

More to the point, the history of warfare has shown that overwhelming force applied tends to shorten a conflict. What extends a conflict is any and all pretense to turning it into a balanced or fair "match" which is what SPORTING EVENTS are, not war.

One could accuse the LOAC of being an attempt to create the infamous self licking ice cream cone: structure your operations such that war lasts as long as it could do, as we want to give each side a fair go.

(Being more than passing familiar with LOAC, I am being a bit tongue in cheek with the above).

Getting the war over sooner is a better idea. 1914-1918 hopefully taught the world something, didn't it?

If this study was funded by the Friends of Israel Initiative, per just another jocky's point, can it be accepted as objective?
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 14:42
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I am no miltary strategist, but it has always seemed to me that Israel's policy of putting up with a certain number of Hamas rockets, then retaliating by a single massive air attack on Gaza, was a mistake in that in this way it attracted the maximum of obloquy on itself.

Far better to have made a public offer to Hamas: five rockets incoming Monday, you will get five 155mm howitzer rounds back into Gaza Tuesday. Two incoming Tuesday, two rounds back Wednesday, Nil incoming Wednesday, nil back Thursday.....and so on.

Besides fulfilling the Biblical injunction of "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth", it would be a perfect example of a "measured response" and put Hamas on the back foot.

But then, what do I know ?

D.
 
Old 16th Dec 2015, 15:51
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Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
The authors are military professionals. (or were).
I have no doubt that at least some of the authors know exactly what the real laws actually state, so this selective manipulation suggests a measure of dishonesty.

I note the text throws in some references to justify their point, but without footnoting or directly quoting them. For example they wrote:

The protection of civilians inherent in the concept of distinction is not absolute - where civilians or civilian locations are directly involved in hostilities they lose their protected status, as per Article 51...
Meanwhile Article 51 includes the following:

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules, which are additional to other applicable rules of international law, shall be observed in all circumstances.

2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:

(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;

(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or

(c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.

5. Among others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

(a) an attack by bombardment by any methods or means which treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a similar concentration of civilians or civilian objects; and

(b) an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

6. Attacks against the civilian population or civilians by way of reprisals are prohibited.
Lacking objectivity is one thing; being liberal with the actuality is somewhat reprehensible.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 16:31
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For balance and perspective:
Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Gaza Conflict
and
https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries...n-territories/
and
Police: Israel dropped 'equivalent of 6 nuclear bombs' on Gaza
and
Why Israel?s bombardment of Gaza neighborhood left US officers ?stunned? | Al Jazeera America
and
http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/och...03_english.pdf
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 16:46
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(b) an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.
Imprecise language, at best, and an amazing conceit that demands a crystal ball for the average company commander. It's a wonder anyone bothers (though I am glad that so many do).

If you want to create a loophole for someone to jump in to, that's a lovely thing right there.

What the LOAC provides, beyond a general guideline, is a post hoc hammer to smack people with. Ya know, sorta like Nuremberg: Victor's Justice

Eclectic:
Bomb disposal experts in Gaza on Friday said that Israel had dropped the equivalent of six nuclear bombs on the tiny coastal enclave over the course of it's six-week assault
A dishonest bit of rhetoric, well poisoning I think it's called, but nowadays par for the course. As ever, the truth is the first casualty of war, but it appears that the bleeding never stops.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 17:11
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JTO, I don't see the discrepancy.

They say:
The protection of civilians inherent in the concept of distinction is not absolute - where civilians or civilian locations are directly involved in hostilities they lose their protected status, as per Article 51...
Which seems to accurately echo clause 3 which states:
3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this Section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 17:23
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Not really as the narrative added the 'civilian locations' bit, removed the temporal aspect and avoided the other relevant sections.

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Old 16th Dec 2015, 18:54
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Originally Posted by Just This Once... View Post
Not really as the narrative added the 'civilian locations' bit, removed the temporal aspect and avoided the other relevant sections.

As soon as a location becomes a fighting position, regardless of who is in it, it is a target. Please remember that as well.

Example to illustrate:
You and I and fifty civilian tourists are in a building having a piss up. We went to this out of the way building to avoid the shooting that was going on in the nearby city, which is 20 miles away.

We are getting nicely wet when things go badly for us.

One faction's motorized infantry platoon is on the run from another factions mechanized infantry platoon+. They spot this building and decide to use it as a fulcrum for a defend in place, and maybe a counter attack if things go well. A few guys on the roof, some on the bottom floor, we get shooed into a back room at gunpoint and told to not interfere. They commandeer our three vans and five Range Rovers for their withdrawal plan since the fight may not go well and their vehicles are much shot up/in bad shape.

Mechanized unit arrives and shooting commences.

Half of our number end up dead. (And whomever organized this is gonna feel like crap if he survived).

On the one side, no crime has been committed, but you can argue that the group who took over the building should have run us off, not just herded us into a corner and told us to stay out of the way.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 20:47
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More to the point, the history of warfare has shown that overwhelming force applied tends to shorten a conflict. What extends a conflict is any and all pretense to turning it into a balanced or fair "match" which is what SPORTING EVENTS are, not war.
I agree! Being the good guys gets you an Afghanistan-type conflict that goes on for over 14 years and it's still not over and isn't going to be over until next year. So, 15 years.

More people will die, which includes civilians. It's better to go nuclear (a figure of speech) on them to get it done ASAP. It saves lives.

The problem I have with Israel is that Israel is only a free society if you're Jewish. The fact that a state has been established to cater for just one religious group (where's the cultural diversity?) is loathsome at best.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 21:25
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Originally Posted by JointShiteFighter View Post
More people will die, which includes civilians. It's better to go nuclear (a figure of speech) on them to get it done ASAP. It saves lives.
There's a lot of room between fighting with one hand tied behind one's back and nukes. You know that, I know that, the wise remark is not worth the time you spent typing it.

I choose not to get involved in pros and cons of Israel, though my objective analysis of that nation, since it's founding, is that they are an interesting model of the warfare state: something that was really bad for the Soviet Union and has had a less than wonderful effect on my own country.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 22:08
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LW, it is a figure of speech most commonly used in the UK. Google it - I was not suggesting the use of nuclear weapons.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 22:16
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"Go nuclear: Taking things to the absolute extreme in order to avoid a series of small escalations. This can be a way of winning a fight you might not otherwise win, but has the potential to destroy both people involved."

That's from the Urban dictionary. I'm sure there's some phrases used in the States that we'd be confused about across the pond.
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Old 16th Dec 2015, 23:14
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Originally Posted by JointShiteFighter View Post
"Go nuclear: Taking things to the absolute extreme in order to avoid a series of small escalations. This can be a way of winning a fight you might not otherwise win, but has the potential to destroy both people involved."

That's from the Urban dictionary. I'm sure there's some phrases used in the States that we'd be confused about across the pond.
Sorry, I took you literally, my bad.
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