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The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects

The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects

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An official document was published concerning questions arising from the military operation in Gaza, aiming to present the operation with the correct context.

The document addresses various issues and incidents stemming from the operation and is based upon the rationale that Israel had an obligation and right to conduct a military action against Hamas in Gaza, in order to halt the continuous attacks on its home front.
An official document was published concerning questions arising from the military operation in Gaza, aiming to present the operation with the correct context.

The document addresses various issues and incidents stemming from the operation and is based upon the rationale that Israel had an obligation and right to conduct a military action against Hamas in Gaza, in order to halt the continuous attacks on its home front.

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Published by: Israel Defense Forces on Aug 31, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/03/2013

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THE OPERATION IN GAZA:
 
THE OPERATION IN GAZA
27 DECEMBER 2008 – 18 JANUARY 2009
 
FACTUAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS
The State of Israel
J
ULY
2009
 
THE OPERATION IN GAZA: FACTUAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS
-i-
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
I.
 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................................................ 1
 
II.
 
INTRODUCTION .............................................................................................................................. 5
 
III.
 
THE APPLICABLE LEGAL FRAMEWORK ................................................................................. 10
 
IV.
 
THE CONTEXT OF THE OPERATION ......................................................................................... 14
 
A.
 
The Ongoing Armed Conflict with Hamas .......................................................................... 14
 
B.
 
Hamas’ Increasing Attacks on Israel During 2008 .............................................................. 15
 
C.
 
Israel’s Right and Obligation to Defend Itself and Its Citizens from Attack ....................... 26
 
D.
 
Hamas’ Military Capabilities in Gaza .................................................................................. 28
 
E.
 
Stages of the Operation ........................................................................................................ 32
 
V.
 
THE USE OF FORCE ...................................................................................................................... 35
 
A.
 
The Legal Framework .......................................................................................................... 35
 
(1)
 
The Principle of Distinction .................................................................................... 36
 
(a)
 
The Obligation Not to Target the Adversary’s Civilians ........................... 36
 
(b)
 
The Obligation of Parties to an Armed Conflict Not to Jeopardise TheirOwn Civilians ............................................................................................ 42
 
(2)
 
The Principle of Proportionality ............................................................................. 44
 
(a)
 
The Obligation to Weigh Military Objectives Against IncidentalCivilian Harm ............................................................................................ 44
 
(b)
 
The Obligation of Attacking Forces to Take Feasible Precautions toMinimise Incidental Civilian Harm ........................................................... 48
 
(c)
 
The Parallel Obligation of Those Controlling Territory to MinimiseCivilian Casualties ..................................................................................... 51
 
B.
 
Hamas’ Breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict and War Crimes...................................... 52
 
(1)
 
Deliberate Rocket Attacks Against Israeli Population Centres .............................. 52
 
(2)
 
Abuse of Civilian Sites as Cover for Military Operations ...................................... 55
 
(a)
 
Staging of Attacks From Residential Areas and Protected Sites ............... 56
 
(b)
 
Use of Civilian Homes and Public Institutions as Bases of Operation ...... 60
 
 
THE OPERATION IN GAZA: FACTUAL AND LEGAL ASPECTS
-ii-
(3)
 
Misuse of Medical Facilities and Ambulances ....................................................... 64
 
(4)
 
Booby-trapping of Civilian Areas ........................................................................... 67
 
(5)
 
Blending in with Civilians and Use of Human Shields .......................................... 69
 
(6)
 
Exploitation of Children ......................................................................................... 70
 
(7)
 
Interference with Humanitarian Relief Efforts ....................................................... 71
 
C.
 
IDF’s Conduct of the Operation and Procedures to Ensure Compliance withInternational Law ................................................................................................................. 76
 
(1)
 
IDF Training and Legal Supervision ...................................................................... 77
 
(a)
 
The IDF’s Training System and Legal Supervision .................................. 77
 
(b)
 
Comparison with Other Systems of Training and Supervision.................. 80
 
(2)
 
IDF Rules of Engagement During the Gaza Conflict ............................................. 82
 
(3)
 
IDF Pursuit of Legitimate Military Targets During the Gaza Conflict ................... 85
 
(a)
 
Targeting of Hamas Terrorist Infrastructure .............................................. 86
 
(b)
 
Targeting of Terrorist Operatives .............................................................. 89
 
(4)
 
IDF Precautions During the Gaza Conflict ............................................................. 95
 
(a)
 
Precautions Regarding Targeting and Munitions ...................................... 95
 
(b)
 
Advance Notice to Civilians ...................................................................... 99
 
(c)
 
Humanitarian Efforts ............................................................................... 100
 
(5)
 
Israel’s System for Investigating Complaints ....................................................... 107
 
(a)
 
The Military Justice System .................................................................... 107
 
(b)
 
Attorney General Review of Decisions of the Military AdvocateGeneral ..................................................................................................... 111
 
(c)
 
Supreme Court of Israel Judicial Review of Decisions of the MilitaryAdvocate and Attorney General .............................................................. 111
 
(d)
 
Comparisons with Other Investigatory Systems ...................................... 114
 
D.
 
Complaints About the IDF’s Conduct of Operations ......................................................... 117
 
(1)
 
The Status of Investigations .................................................................................. 118
 
(2)
 
Complaints about Specific Incidents .................................................................... 124
 

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