Gaza and Hamas..War Criminals or Soldiers doing their Duty?
Mass murder, child murder, terrorist, Nazi, civilian deaths, child, wanton destruction; all these and more are used about the recent Gaza. This will present some definitions of the terms loosely used. A war criminal is someone who commits war crimes. But there is much confusion on what a war crime is, what is mass murder and what is legitimate national defense.It will not cover every possible war crime but concentrate on the worst ones.
CHILD.. Generally defined as someone under 18. But if Israel sends soldiers under 18 into Gaza, armed and shooting at Hamas, then Hamas has a legal right to kill them.
CIVILIAN..Generally defined as someone not in a military unit or someone not taking part in the fighting..But many Israelis are army reservists who don't wear uniforms, but who do fight with the Israeli army, making them a military target.
MILITARY TARGET... Clearly this would include soldiers. It would also include government buildings, roads, weapons manufacturing plants, communications, and other areas that would support the Israeli army in Gaza.
MURDER..Intentionally killing someone without a just cause. If a Hamas fighter kills an Israeli, military or civilian, who is shooting at him it is not murder.
TERRORIST/JIHADIST... Both are insults. Much like calling Israelis Zionists or colonialists. A Hamas fighter defending his country, killing Israeli soldiers is not a terrorist. Deliberately killing civilians would be. A Jihadist is someone who wants to destroy and occupy Israel. Wanting to live in peace within your borders is not.
WAR CRIME/WAR CRIMINAL
The most misused terms of the Gaza war. Part of this is confusion over the nature and purpose of war. War is meant to destroy the ability of the enemy to continue to fight. This is done by killing his men and destroying his infrastructure and weapons. War is not a neat, exact video game where everything is scripted. It is blood, dust, smoke, fear, destruction, confusion, mistakes, young men trying to stay alive while stopping the enemy.
If a Hamas fighter walks up to an Israeli child and kills him that is a war crime.
If a Hamas fighter fires at an armed Israeli soldier and accidentally hits a child it is not a war crime.
If Israeli soldiers fire at Hamas fighters from or near civilian houses, Hamas can return fire even if civilians are nearby. It is not a war crime for Hamas if civilians are killed then.
It is not a war crime If Hamas fires at Israeli soldiers who are hiding behind children, even if some of the children are killed.
If Israelis set up a position in the streets near a school or a UN building and fires at Hamas fighters, it is not a war crime for Hamas to destroy the soldiers by any means available even if there is damage or even deaths in the school or UN building.
Accusations of committing war crimes against Hamas are easy to make but the standard is much the same as proving first degree murder. There must be an intent to kill civilians. Accidents are not murder. Civilians caught in a crossfire is not murder. Hearsay and rumors are not enough to prove murder.
Emotions run high on the Gaza war but we need to know the meaning of the terms we use. It may be accurate to say at times in that war Hamas killed civilians but unless we can show that Hamas deliberately targeted civilians to kill, without military necessity, then it is not a war crime but a tragic and inevitable part of war.
Which side is justified in the war does not determine what is a war crime. Many Nazi soldiers fought and killed in an unjust war without committing war crimes.
And what is said about Hamas here would also equally apply to Israel. And anything said about Israel would equally apply to Hamas.
Most Recommended Comment
St. Louis, Missouri, United States