Israel’s Actions: Entirely Lawful


While the international community has, once again, ganged up on Israel, one thing is for certain: the legality of Israel’s actions in stopping the Gaza flotilla is not open to question. What Israel did was entirely consistent with both international and domestic law. In order to understand why Israel acted within its rights, the complex events at sea must be deconstructed:

First, there is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which included a naval blockade. Recall that when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, it did not impose a blockade. Indeed it left behind agricultural facilities in the hope that the newly liberated Gaza Strip would become a peaceful and productive area. Instead Hamas seized control over Gaza and engaged in acts of warfare against Israel. These acts of warfare featured anti-personnel rockets, nearly 10,000 of them, directed at Israeli civilians. This was not only an act of warfare, it was a war crime. Israel responded to the rockets by declaring a blockade, the purpose of which was to assure that no rockets, or other material that could be used for making war against Israeli civilians, was permitted into Gaza. Israel allowed humanitarian aid through its checkpoints. Egypt as well participated in the blockade. There was never a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, merely a shortage of certain goods that would end if the rocket attacks ended.

The legality of blockades as a response to acts of war is not subject to serious doubt. When the United States blockaded Cuba during the missile crisis, the State Department issued an opinion declaring the blockade to be lawful. This, despite the fact that Cuba had not engaged in any act of belligerency against the United States. Other nations have similarly enforced naval blockades to assure their own security.

The second issue is whether it is lawful to enforce a legal blockade in international waters. Again, law and practice are clear. If there is no doubt that the offending ships have made a firm determination to break the blockade, then the blockade may be enforced before the offending ships cross the line into domestic waters. Again the United States and other western countries have frequently boarded ships at high sea in order to assure their security.

Third, were those on board the flotilla innocent non-combatants or did they lose that status once they agreed to engage in the military act of breaking the blockade? Let there be no mistake about the purpose of this flotilla. It was decidedly not to provide humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza, but rather the break the entirely lawful Israeli military blockade. The proof lies in the fact that both Israel and Egypt offered to have all the food, medicine and other humanitarian goods sent to Gaza, if the boats agreed to land in an Israeli or Egyptian port. That humanitarian offer was soundly rejected by the leaders of the flotilla who publicly announced:

“This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege on 1.5 million Palestinians.” (AFP May 27, 2010.)

The act of breaking a military siege is itself a military act, and those knowingly participating in such military action put in doubt their status as non-combatants.

It is a close question whether “civilians” who agree too participate in the breaking of a military blockade have become combatants. They are certainly something different than pure, innocent civilians, and perhaps they are also somewhat different from pure armed combatants. They fit uncomfortably onto the continuum of civilianality that has come to characterize asymmetrical warfare.

Finally, we come to the issue of the right of self defense engaged in by Israeli soldiers who were attacked by activists on the boat. There can be little doubt that the moment any person on the boat picked up a weapon and began to attack Israeli soldiers boarding the vessel, they lost their status as innocent civilians. Even if that were not the case, under ordinary civilian rules of self defense, every Israeli soldier had the right to protect himself and his colleagues from attack by knife and pipe wielding assailants. Less there be any doubt that Israeli soldiers were under attack, simply view the accompanying video and watch, as so-called peaceful “activists” repeatedly pummel Israeli soldiers with metal rods. (http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk) Every individual has the right to repel such attacks by the use of lethal force, especially when the soldiers were so outnumbered on the deck of the ship. Recall that Israel’s rules of engagement required its soldiers to fire only paintballs unless their lives were in danger. Would any country in the world deny its soldiers the right of self defense under comparable circumstances?

Notwithstanding the legality of Israel’s actions, the international community has, as usual, denounced the Jewish state. In doing so, Israel’s critics have failed to pinpoint precisely what Israel did that allegedly violates international law. Some have wrongly focused on the blockade itself. Others have erroneously pointed to the location of the boarding in international waters. Most have simply pointed to the deaths of so-called peace activists, though these deaths appear to be the result of lawful acts of self-defense. None of these factors alone warrant condemnation, but the end result surely deserves scrutiny by Israeli policy makers. There can be little doubt that the mission was a failure, as judged by its results. It is important, however, to distinguish between faulty policies on the one hand, and alleged violations of international law on the other hand. Only the latter would warrant international intervention, and the case has simply not been made that Israel violated international law.

  • maria

    Just listening to the song the Turks were singing on the ship tells you enough.
    What would Turkey have done if an Israelian ship would have tried to enter the harbor of Istanbul without their permission?

    • Kim Bruce

      Yes, the song they were singing wasnt "Kumbaya" was it.

  • Shalom Freedman

    This article clarifies for me a number of important points. I would only point out that in any kind of incident involving Israel there is a general bias against it both in the international media and in the international political community.
    Thoreau rightly said, 'Whoever is more right than its neighbor already constitutes a majority of one' . Unfortunately for Israel that majority is now most of the time one, or if one considers the position of the United States, perhaps one and one- half.

  • Tim

    Israel is entirely justified as a beacon of democracy in the region, defending itself from Arab terrorists.

  • Sam Lerner

    Brilliant post, Mr. Dershowitz. Thankfully we destroyed the runway of Gaza International Airport on January 10, 2002, so we don't need to intercept Arab terrorist flights!!

  • David

    International law is clear: Article 54 of Additional Protocol I plainly states that Israel is entitled by military necessity to blockade Gaza.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      I doubt that law will hold water David, against an unarmed shipped loaded with supplies and medicine for people suffering from this blockade for three years. If you believe a ship containing a few sticks and a knife warrents a nightime attack from Helicopters and soldiers with automatic assault weapons a "fair" response, you have a serious moral issue. This was fighting a fly with an atomic bomb. Keep trying to rationalize what has happened to the best of your ability, but this was a massacre by anyone's standards. The Jewish state has become a terrorist state.

      • bostonian

        for the proud lib. Have you ever been in Gaza? Than go there and you will see huge construction boom,stores full of goods cafe full of customers. So much for suffering. And by the way in regard to your moral standards. Egypt also have blockade against Gaza.And you even did not mention it. And how about if one of those innocent activist hit you and i mean you with nife or metall pipe, wouldnt you turn from proud lib to dead lib?

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

          I have not been to Gaza, but two of my friends DID go in with an International caravan in January of this year. They took in badly needed food water and medical supplies and they ALSO were attacked (no one killed) but the conditions were horrible, HORRIBLE. You can't make up things that they saw and reported back. As far as the activist attacking me? I wouldn't have shot into a ship and landed an assault team in the middle of the night and not expected people to defend themselves. Are you completely ignorant or what?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

        If Hamas really wished to stop the "suffering", they could make peace. They could recognize Israel, and her right to exist. They could cease firing rockets into southern Israel in a mindless, hate-filled attempt to kill people. They could live in peace, and turn their small territory into a peaceful and beautiful attraction for tourists, on the "wine-dark" Mediterranean.

        But Hamas won't do these things. They don't have the best interests of their people, at heart. They are a terrorist organization, devoted to the destruction of Israel. They are at war with Israel, and Israel has shown remarkable restraint against them, given the power differential between them.

        The flotilla attempted to break a naval blockade, and they suffered the consequences of their actions.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

          And if Israel REALLY wanted peace they would stop building in occupied territory and recognize that Palestinians have a right to exist as well. It's a two way street friend. TWO way! and by the way you don't make a great PR person for Israelis, trying to rationalize the slaughter of those attempting humanitarian aid.

          • hubrislam

            Gliberallygay: Glad you clarified that your 'friends' delivered water(?) to Gaza. So we know whose side you're on. "Slaughter" is a strong word for defence against terrorist agit-props, whom you have seen video of, desperately trying to kill and maim IDF soldiers. The terrorists were NOT defending themselves, they deliberately assaulted the soldiers, necessitating firing. In particular, the first soldier down was outnumbered ? 20:1 ?
            The other vessels did not fight. So, fighting was not necessary.
            Still, it was a propaganda victory for IHH / al-Qaeda, as broadcast by MSM,
            without regard to FACTS.
            Every gliberal in the world: Chomsky, elMasri, O'Keefe, Galloway,Layton… is drooling right now, and 'dipping their pens in vitriol, to bash Israel and Jews.
            Remember Hamas's Charter, to kill every Jew on the earth, then you will have your perspective for this propaganda.

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

            That is a complete misdirection. The article concerns the legality of Israel's actions on the high seas. Israel's actions to blockade the coast of Gaza is in direct response to Hamas' firing of thousands of rockets into southern Israel. They are justified by international maritime law. You realize this.

            Also, nine people … who attacked armed Israeli soldiers … were killed. This doesn't become a "slaughter" until all of the people on the flotilla are shot in the back of the head.

            Once again, Hamas can have peace, if they want it. They don't want it …

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

            Israel left Gaza and forced 8000 settlers to leave. It didn't bring peace. Indeed, it brought war. Are you blind to this?

            It is a two-way street. On that, you are right. But only one side in this conflict wants it to be "two-way", and that is Israel. The other side has, as a part of its very charter, a provision calling for the slaughter of all Jewish Israelis. It's hard going two ways with a faction that wants all or nothing.

            By the way, I'm not a PR person. I'm a former sniper with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. We don't make good PR guys.

            Slaughter! You're a funny spokesman for Hamas, at any rate …

  • 1Fearless1

    I believe Israel should have the policy of "take no prisoners!" This would really give MSM something to talk about! Israel has a G D givenen right to protect it's self

  • Tanstaafl

    Only in Islam can "peace" activists carry knives, axe handles and iron rods.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      Only in Israel are the Jewish terrorists considered "victims" and the dead activists jihadists. What a bunch of self serving loathesome people some of the Jews have become. That storming a ship laden with supplies for men, women and children suffering from a blockade to punish Palestinians for legally ELECTING Hamas is horrifying by ANY standards other than Israel's. Does anyone really like Hamas? NO. But demonizing the activists will NOT change the attitude of the World against this terrorist attack on an unarmed (but for some sticks and a knife) ship and the deaths of those who attempted to protect themselves. You can continue to rationalize these actions all you want, but it doesn't change the immoral acts of Israel against people who have every right to their own land and to live in peace.

      • Stern

        Liberallyproud, you have bought the propaganda hook, line and sinker. To begin with, Israel is not "punishing" the Palestinians for ELECTING (sic) Hamas. They are attempting to stop Hamas from firing another 10,00 rockets into civilian Israeli areas. Secondly, the reason for stopping this flotilla was in order to inspect the cargo and ensure that it WAS peaceful and did not contain weapons. Thirdly, if Israel had allowed the flotilla though without inspection, it would have created a precedent that would have meant future flotillas would be on the way, this time definitely WITH weapons on board. Finally, you have completely ignored the fact that on five boats, nobody was hurt, because nobody used any weapons. Watch the videos and the evidence is clear. The Israeli soldiers were attacked with lethal force and had every right to defend themselves.
        All this is said, of course, in the belief that you can get past the "liberallyproud" fog that clouds your mind.

      • bostonian

        Doe Israel have right to the land and? is anything Israel do Wrong?Do anything arabs do wrong? please answer

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

          Of course Israel has a right to exist, but does it have a right to displace a nation of people already existing on that land considered their nation? I don't think so. Just as I don't believe the Europeans had a right to take America from the Native people who existed here before they came and slaughtered the indigenous people who already had socio-economic systems in place. Just because of a religious belief the Jews HAVE TO have THIS land and that is wrong. Israel is based on a RELIGION – NOT a NATION of people. To finish this of course Arabs do many things wrong, as do Americans as well. But this action…this terrorist action in International waters against an unarmed ship of activists was WRONG! By God's law OR man's. It was WRONG.

          • joelsk44039

            This so-called "nation of people" have only "existed" since 1964, when they declared themselves a people. Before that, they were just "Arabs" and the term "Palestinians" referred to the Jews living in Palestine. The Jews are both a religion and a people.

      • ziontruth

        The Arabs have land way beyond their entitlement as the indigenous people of Arabia. There is no such thing as a "Palestinian nation," it is fiction designed expressly for hiding the unjust Arab desire to destroy the one and only Jewish state in the world.

        The Jews are indigenous to the Land of Israel. Arabs are indigenous to Arabia. The only way we Jews would be stealing Arab land is we constructed settlements in the Arabian peninsula. As things stands now, it's the Arabs who are illegally settling the Land of Israel, which legally belongs to the Jews as indigenous people thereof.

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

          You seem to forget they were there first. They had this land long before the Jews. Being Jewish is belonging to a RELIGION, not a NATION of people. There is a decided difference.

          • ziontruth

            No, the Jews were before the Arabs. Long, long before the Arabs. Jewish presence in Israel from about 1200 BC; Arab presence in Israel from 638 CE, following the Islamic conquest. Those are the facts. I know you libs love to revise history, but the truth can never be completely hidden.

            Being Jewish is about belonging to a nation that has the obligation of observing a religion. A Jew belongs to the Jewish nation, and the religion he is to observe is Judaism. Jewish = both nation and religion. You don't get to tell Jews what being Jewish means, and neither do I–there's a definition given in the Torah and its commentaries. HaShem calls the Israelites (=the Jews) a nation, and gives them a religion. Case closed. Got that, anti-Zionist scum?

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

            You are right and I stand corrected on who had a presence in Palestine first. I admit when I am wrong and someone can prove it, but there has not been a single reason given that can justify the attack on this ship and the denial of aid to the people in Gaza. Being or living in a state of paranoia isn't enough. Withhold concrete for bunkers, but food, water and medicine and the aid women and children are in depair for is not acceptable to any person with a conscience. The attack was one of terrorists and that is a fact.

          • joelsk44039

            Geez! Where do you get your historical information? The Arabs invaded Palestine in the 700's. The Jews had lived there for over 1,000 years by that time. You're just plain wrong.

        • Ron Grant

          "There is no such thing as a "Palestinian nation,"

          Prior to the re-creation of the Zionist state of Israel in 1948 (after thousands of years settlement by Jews,Muslims,Christians) there may not have existed a "Palestinian nation".Only a Zionist fool or bigot would deny the existence today of a Palestinian nation.And Jews and Zionists have only themselves to blame(,along with perhaps the Nazi monsters responsible for the Holocaust).They achieved this through their evil policies of occupation,oppression and ethnic cleansing which continue to this day.Paradoxical but true.Inexcusable, unconscionable and a violation of the human spirit second perhaps only to the Holocaust.It is both tragic and troubling that the victims of the Holocaust would in turn victimize another vulnerable and innocent people.Shame on the Jews for such an evil act.An unfortunate and monstrous blemish on an otherwise remarkable and sterling history.Muchiboy

          • Mitch S.

            The Palestinians were complicit in the Holocaust through their defacto leader Sheik Hajj Amin Husseini, a confident and advisor to Adolf Hitler. Husseini had plans drawn up for death camps in Palestine had Israel lost the war in 1948. This fact alone negates any spurious claim that the Arabs may have to any land in Israel.

          • joelsk44039

            The "Palestinian" Arabs declared themselves to be a "people" only in 1964. There was no occupation in 1948, but a wholesale invasion of the nascent State of Israel by the Arab armies of Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and irregulars from other Arab States.

            Where do you get your historical information from? The toilet?

  • davidfarrar

    So why has the United States condemed these actions at the UN and called for an investigation?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/R_not R_not

      Because the Obama administration have no moral clarity.

  • Ian

    The USA did not condemn these actions and call for an investigation, it was only a "statement." by the pathetic UN.
    The US government of Obama that has turned from Israel because of its own twisted ideology.

  • Jim C.

    Mr. Dershowitz writes avery good article. I had felt that Israel's actions were justified, while the blockade was illegal, but Mr. Dershowitz makes a compelling case against my objection.

    What I don't get is that previous blockade running had been handled by Israel without incident. This one was announced in advance–so why did Israel respond the way it did? It seems they overplayed right into the hands of Hamas (which is not unusual for Bibi).

    Justifiable actions. Terrible p.r.

  • USMCSniper

    Obama bears alot of responsibility for this incident. The president's appeasement policies helped to create the incident. Israel took the bait, but the trap was set in Washington.

    Weakness always begets aggression, and, like clockwork, Obama's repeated signals that he is weakening America's commitment to Israel are emboldening the Jewish state's enemies. From Syria to Iran to Lebanon, from Hezbollah to Hamas and the PLO, the wolves smell blood and are trying to gauge whether they can get close enough for the kill.

    Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/anti_israel

    • Ron Grant

      "I also personally worked with Carl Sagan on the Viking and Science Team. Is this the worldview you mean? Watch it!"

      Regardless of our differences, USMCSniper, I salute you,for expanding our horizons into space.You are fortunate to have worked in such a fascinating field of study and discovery.And with such gifted men as Sagan.I watched the video.WOW!
      There is indeed so much in our little blue dot.Sort of reminded me of Conrad's Heart of Darkness,where all the evil and all the beauty that ever existed is contained within man's limitless mind,just like on earth.And yea,we're all here on this lonely,little dot,Israeli,Palestinian,etc.and none outside the Earth knows or even cares.And we better look after it and each other,too,because it's all we got.Some millennium,some where out there our relatives will be looking at a much tinier blue dot that is our little blue planet and all this turmoil will be forgotten in the mists of time.Muchiboy

    • yael

      GOD bless the USMC.

  • John Hyams

    Israel Continues to Transfer Humanitarian Aid to Gaza (May 24, 2010):
    http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/c

  • jeffo

    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/weapons-fou

    this is for proud liberal. these are the weapons found on the flotilla…humanitarian aid my bee-hind. lol you fell for the propaganda.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Liberallyproud Liberallyproud

      I looked at the photos of sticks, hammers, tools, chains and a few knives. All of which are also WORKING TOOLS. There was nothing in there that could have begun to form any assault on an ARMY or NAVY of Israel, who the heck are you trying to kid? And posted on a site called Soda Head that supports the Confederacy???? Who fell for what here? It sure wasn't ME.

      • xman

        Yep, and we know what the 'work' entailed – trying to stab or bash in the heads of Israelis.

  • Ron Grant

    Lessons from this tragedy:

    DON'T GO TO A GUNFIGHT WITH A METAL POLE.

    Muchiboy

  • vishnu

    Both sides in this "debate" are wrong to cite "international law" as a valid source to butress their argument in justifying or delegitimizing Israel's actions. Let us not pretend that we are veiled Rawlsian philosophers deducing our conclusions from some objective moral code named "international law". Rather, "international law" as Dershowitz means it refers to the historical U.N. enactments and international law treaties created by the victors of WWII.

    .

  • http://HowGrowWeed.com HowGrowWeed,cin

    What about the south korean navy ship being sunk? No one cares about asians.

  • sunil

    wow from under what rock did the person who wrote this and the people who comment here crawl out of?
    the land-stealing jews will not be happy until all the palestinians have been illegally evicted from their homeland.

    • Juno

      No – the palestinians/arabs will not be happy until all of Israel is under islamic rule, and the jews are killed. Please read what is written in the Quaran and hadith.

      • Bob

        No, don't read them. The Bible contains its share of God ordered atrocities. What is important isn't what is in the holy books of a religion, but what is in the hearts and minds of its adherents. I'm Jewish, but I don't hold with executing people for working on the Sabbath, or wearing clothing of two types of thread.

        There are Muslims that are very nice, non-violent people. There are also Muslims who are violent fanatics. It's not the religion, its the current culture that matters.

        The current dominant culture of the Palestinians is a culture that believes that it has been uniquely victimized and wants to exterminate the Jews. Some Palestinians just want to get on with their lives, but very few (according to polls) are willing to make peace with Israel if it means giving up their claims on all of Israel (75% say any limit on right of return is unacceptable).

        More important than religion is the Hamas charter. Which is a current statement of genocidal intent against the Jews (all of us, everywhere, not just in Israel). The Palestinians voted for an openly genocidal party that promised to continue attacking Israel. To me, that doesn't make them very sympathetic figures. Life sucks for the losers of a war, that doesn't make the winners the bad guys.

        • MoreWhereIcomeFrom

          …what Bob said…f*ckin' aye spot-on.

    • yael

      whose land did you steal sunil for your homeland??? or are a low life living in the dark under a rock??? Obviously your mind is made up and you do not want to be confused by the facts.
      There is no palestinian homeland they live in my homeland, and if they stop tryign to kill & steal we could all live together in a democratic country, but I really do not want to become a muslim or a corpse.

      • Jonathan

        Really, this is the choice I have? People whose liberal views I generally share (as a direct result of my belief in Torah, I might add) who for some twisted reason have bought all of Henry Ford's old lies about the Jews and Israel (and ignore the fact that the Palestinians, Saudis, and even the Turks on occasion execute their kind), or people who understand the necessity of a secure Israel the way I do but spew the worst kind of racist garbage and bought all of the neo-con crowds recycled lies about everyone else?
        Bob makes a little more sense – but I've spent time with the equivalent crowd in the Jewish world, who refer to the Dome of the Rock as a "boil on the ass of Jerusalem." Since when is Hashem's holy mountain the ass of Jerusalem? That mountain was supposed to have been chosen because it was the place where two brothers showed themselves to be selfless and sharing. Where people thought beyond their own needs.
        Isaac and Ishmael appear not to have earned the right to ascend God's holy mountain just yet. May it be God's will that we learn that lesson soon. In the meantime, a little intellectual subtlety might be nice.

  • scum

    massacre on the high seas.

  • sunil

    mr.dershowitz is more clown than lawyer. the blockade of gaza is illegal, so he has built his case on a foundation of quick-sand.
    United Nations ‘Resolution 1860' of January 2009 called for the ending of the blockade of Gaza.

    • joelsk44039

      …like the United Nations has any real standing in this world! Iran on the so-called Human Rights Council along with Libya. Duh!!

  • vishnu

    Except for the initial Nuremburg trials, notions such as "crimes as against humanity" and other such allied nation constructions were little used during the Cold War, where the two superpowers and their allied puppet regimes acted with little criticism from those that might cite the newly created principles of "international law". Following the collapse of the cold war, there has emerged a cottage industry alliance of international law types and vanquished civil warriors of various nations who have indicted such international pariahs as Pinochet, Pol Pot, and Milosevic under the amorphous and selectively enforced notion of "war crimes".

  • vishnu

    There has also emerged a patent whereby U.N. member nations have attempted to censure or otherwise condemn actions undertaken by less powerful or politically favored member nations such as Iraq, Iran, Israel, Riwanda, North Korea, ect. These actions have proved more or less sucessful depending on whether all of the five permanent security council member states could be "persuaded" – through sundry negotiation techniques or in some cases outright bribery – that the pariah state deserved sanctions or the like. In short, "international law" is an utter farce, where politically dispensable third world dictators are taken to task but where the major superpowers are given free reign and asked to sit in judgement of their former colonies.

    • yael P.

      your tone implies that you condone the "peaceful, non-belligerence" of Iran and N. Korea, Pakistani human rights, Turkish enlihgtenment, and condemn Israeli "aggression".

      Please show me a 3rd world dictator taken to task. Why should we be a pariah state??? Why have I any less right to a country than you???

      I agree that the European colonists left a pretty shitty legacy in many parts of the world, but Israel is not a colonist country and not born out of sin. It is the National Homeland of the Jewish people and has been so for longer than Christians or Moslems have existed.

      Israel has never threatend any country with nuclear warfare nor threatened death to anyone.

      Truth is absolute not relative, evil too is absolute, the UN is evil and untruthful and is run by bully demi nations who act like thugs. .

  • vishnu

    Moreover, "international law" and "war crimes" has not simply been unworkable and hypocritical in practice, it is a fatally incoherent and absurd notion in principle. If a nation does not possess the nuclear bomb and is not closely alligned with at least one of the five permanent members of the security council, the nation remains vunerable to U.N. condemnation and invasion. If the nation possesses a nuclear weapon or is closely alligned with a permanent security council member, the nation is free to "violate" "international law" without fear of serious action or invasion.

  • vishnu

    . As for the oxymoronic notion of the "law of war": "War is hell"; "war is the health of the state"; "all's fair in love and war": these are not hackneyed slogans, they are uncomfortable moral truths born of thousands of years of human experience that can not be undone by the Allied powers' moral triumphalism following WWII. The current incarnation of "international law" that was created largely by the victorious Allied powers cannot ever be seen as legitimate for simple and uncomfortable fact that it was the Allies who firebombed civilians in Dresden, and incinerated civilians in Hiroshima and Nagaski and the non-allied and third world nations understand this fact all too well.

    • USMCSniper

      To judge Israel’s actions, it is crucial to recognize the broader context: the Gaza strip is under the control of Hamas, a totalitarian Islamist group, that is at war with Israel. Allowing arms, money, and other forms of aid to enter Hamas-controlled Gaza means allowing a sworn enemy to be sustained and strengthened to fight on. And a state facing that situation is entitled to thwart attempts to aid its enemy.

  • vishnu

    Dershowitz's and Chomsky's crocodile tears to the contrary, "international law" cannot serve as a legitimate source of deciding any portion of this or any other armed conflict. Unfortunately, we must be satisfied to accept the fact that "might makes right" and the golden rule remains operative: "he who owns the gold rules". Vae victis

  • vishnu

    As a cheap and unrelated ad hominem point: Dershowitz has confessed to fantasizing about defending Hitler in court. How seriously ought anyone take this attorney's strenous defense of Israel in light of the thrill he takes in defending the reprehensible and damned of our world? Does the fact that Dershowitz is defending Israel count as prima facie evidence of Israel's guilt? Or is it entirely beyond the pale to consider the author and his possible motivations in making an argument?

    • reason

      If international law cannot be relied upon as a source of international norms and acceptable state practice, then Israel is fully justified in executing every single Arab in Gaza and the West Bank, if they so choose, no?

      • vishnu

        Regardless, of the rightness or wrongness of your position, might makes right. Now, power is exerted not just in munitions and military might, but also in the propaganda war which, at least in a small measure, is being waged and demonstrated on this website.

  • Charles

    The legal case made by Professor Dershowitz has to be made and he made it. Unfortunately, it is largely irrelevant. Whatever Israel did would have been castigated and vilified even if no one had died. The venom directed at Israel is not diminished by law, legal reasoning, or any meaningful counter argument as "Liberallyproud" repeatedly demonstrates above. Moreover, it is evident from news reports prior to the incident as well as from the behavior of the assailants on the ship that a number of the passengers on the ship were suicidally motivated to be "martyrs." These people wanted to die at the hands of the Israelis for their own political and "religious" purposes and would not have permitted deaths not to occur.

    I am dismayed that Israel released all of the passengers, including those who attacked the Israeli commandos. A BIG mistake! They should have been arrested, interrogated and put on trial. This decision does not augur well for the future – and it appears that more such events are in process.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/HostileLogic HostileLogic

    There is no “Palestine” and there are no “Palestinians.” Arabs migrated there only after the Jews turned a barren desert into a garden. These so-called “Palestinians” are consisted of migrant workers from a variety of Arab countries including Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.

    You “progressives” really should know your history instead of picking up your blabbing points from such lower institutes of learning as Daily Kiosk, MuffPost and Dumba$$es Underground.

    Get out of your ideological comfort zones just long enough to do some simple, objective research.

    • Vishnu

      Couldn't one also argue with equal historical foundation that there is no "Israel" and no "Israelies" because, after all, (mostly European) Jews emigrated (or invaded if you prefer) to a foreign land where there were other Arabs living. Whether you want to call the descendants of those Arabs "Palestinians" or nationals of another artificially (European colonial power) created country is a side point. To reduce the argument to it's (absurd and) logical conclusion, we are are only Africans as all homo sapiens ultimately have common ancestry out of Africa and in this sense there are no other nationalities or historical claims to land. Again, might makes right and the powerful create and set the parameters of "moral" discussion.

  • clay

    o we have a clown here-sunil ,thinks UN# 1860, allows for islamo thugs to smuggle weapons,arms into Gaza,gee thats funny Hamas rejected UN#1860(just like arabs rejected UN #181,UN#242 etc ) lol I read UN#1860 i dont see amy language that allows terrorist to smuggle weapons arms into Gaza, infact UN#1860 states "inintensified international arrangements to prevent arms and ammunition smuggling" ,and since was no blockade to prevent food, fuel and medical treatment,once again Israel didnt violate a UN security council resolution,only crime i see is islamo terrorist appeasers and their hyprocrisy.

  • david elder

    In the opinion of this Australian Christian observer, Israel has made one 'mistake' – standing up for herself. Why inspections for weaponry to be used on civilians by Hamas extremists should be lumped together with the term 'blockade' as in denial of food – which Israel did not do – is beyond me. Israel should make more effort to educate a generation worldwide which does not understand the real roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict. In particular, the UN declared an Israeli and a Palestinian state, but the surrounding countries did not accept EITHER. Israel survived their onslaught in 1948 but the Palestinian West Bank was taken by Jordan. Israel gained the West Bank in 1967 but offered it back to Jordan in return for peace – offer refused.

  • yael

    Thank you Mr. Dershowitz, at least one righteous outspoken man remains in Sodom. But I feel that so few peopole really care about the truth, how is it that despite our 100% undisputed right to exist and our 100% undisputed right to board those ships, we are constantly on the defensive losing every PR battle on every front??

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