In a previous post, I defined lawfare as a form of asymmetric warfare that abuses domestic and international legal norms to accomplish tactical and strategic goals that can’t be won on the battlefield. Today brings news of the latest example, a U.N. report accusing Israel of violating U.N. resolutions when it responded with deadly force when demonstrators attempted to breach its border fence in May.
This critique rests on an utterly novel reinterpretation of international law. To recap, Israel remains in the midst of a multi-decade face-off against states (and terrorist entities) that refuse to recognize its borders and indeed its very right to exist. Despite decades of military conflict and multiple shooting wars, Israel has not been dislodged, and there is zero indication that Syria, Lebanon, Hezbollah, or any organized entity in the Middle East possesses the raw military power to move Israel from its current borders. Further, under international law, a sovereign nation has the ability to use armed force to defend its borders against incursions from belligerent states and belligerent entities.
On May 15, 2011, thousands of protesters — acting with the consent and cooperation of forces hostile to Israel — stormed Israel’s border fence. A large number of those protesters engaged in violent acts, including throwing stones, “petrol bombs,” and attempting to physically tear down the fence itself. Israel issued verbal warnings, fired warning shots, and then — finally — used deadly force. Could Israel have accomplished the same goals with different tactics (such as tear gas or other riot control mechanisms)? Perhaps. Was Israel required to use such tactics to defend its border? Absolutely not.
Indeed, international mandates requiring the use of nonlethal force do nothing more than encourage further incursions and diminish Israel’s ability to defend its borders. But that of course is the core goal of lawfare — to win for Hezbollah a victory in New York that it could never win in Israel.
One of the more ridiculous aspects of the decades-long Middle East “peace process” is the belief that the so-called 1967 borders between Israel and Arab-held territory represent the foundation for a lasting piece. It’s never been true, it’s not true now, and there’s no realistic indication it will...
Late last week, a number of media outlets reported that the Obama Administration may be considering “sanctioning” Israel, an unthinkably destructive act against our closest Middle East ally? But is the report true? American media outlets source their suspicion back to this report , from Haaretz ,
Yesterday, the University of California’s student-worker union (UAW Local 2865) voted on whether to join the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. While we don’t yet know the results of the vote, we do know that its supporters have been making deceptive legal arguments...
Next week the University of California student-workers union, UAW 2865 (yes, it’s affiliated with United Auto Workers), will vote on its Joint Council’s motion to boycott, divest, and sanction Israeli institutions. This motion is absurd on its face, but if it has any teeth at all it’s also illegal.