Law Of War


Conflicts can emerge for a variety of causes, but they are frequently sparked by a property dispute. Often, like in the case of Israel and Palestine, these geographical issues are related to ethnicity as a cause of friction. Israel and Palestine remain as far apart as ever after more than 50 years of conflict, terrorism, peace negotiations, and human misery. Israelis and Palestinians are yet again under conflict. The city of Gaza has been under attack recently. The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is a long-running conflict that began in the early twentieth century between Israelis and Palestinians.

The roots of the war were sown in 1917, when British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration, expressing Britain's formal support for a Jewish "national home" in Palestine. Long-term violence resulted from a lack of concern for the "rights of existing non-Jewish groups," i.e., the Arabs. After World War I, the Ottoman Empire, which ruled parts of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa, began to crumble in 1917. As a result of this, the United Kingdom gained sovereignty over Palestine. The Balfour Declaration was signed by Britain with the goal of creating a 'home' for displaced Jews in Palestine. This plan was favoured by Jews, but it was condemned by Palestinians because Arabs were the majority in Palestine. Both factions claimed the area; Jews felt it to be their "natural home," while Arabs refused to give it up. 

 In 1948, with no obvious solution to the dilemma, Britain relinquished sovereignty of the region in question, and Jews declared the foundation of Israel. The conflict between the two parties intensified. With red flags flying, Palestinians applauded the notion, and a conflict ensued. Thousands of Palestinians were forced to abandon their homes as nearby Arabs invaded and were beat by Israeli forces. Al-Nakba, or "Catastrophe," was the name given to this event. In 1967, Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as the majority of Syria's Golan Heights, Gaza, and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. The majority of Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in Gaza, West Bank and Jordan. Israel has refused to let them or their descendants return to their homes.

Since the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in mid-April 2021, things have become worse, with nightly skirmishes between police and Palestinians. A squad of Israeli police officers stormed the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on the first day of Ramadan, shoved aside Palestinian worshippers and stormed across its large limestone courtyard. The cords to the loudspeakers that aired prayers were then severed. The potential of expulsion for certain Palestinian families in East Jerusalem sparked further outrage.

Palestinians' big rallies and Hamas' activity reflect their discontent with Muhammad Abbas, the moderate Palestinian leader. President Mahmoud Abbas has postponed indefinitely the Palestinian parliamentary election for the Palestinian Legislative Council slated for 2021. The postponement exacerbated the present issue by encouraging Hamas to use armed force rather than diplomatic means to resolve the conflict. Hardliners and a segment of the Palestinian population have been enraged by this. The cause of a united Palestine has also been undermined as a result of this. Arab Muslims account for 20% of Israel's population. They have also been alienated by the attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque and sympathise with the Palestinian cause. This, along with Israel's governmental instability, might lead to a civil war.

The US is at a crossroads in its foreign relations, attempting to reclaim its leadership and maintain a rules-based international order. The United States has cautioned that the current cycle of violence will make a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian dispute much more elusive. The US has used its veto authority in the UN Security Council to prevent any debate on the subject, despite the fact that 14 out of 15 countries have called for an immediate meeting. A group of Democratic legislators in the United States believes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to blame for the escalation and has called for further pressure on him to resolve the situation.

In the Israel-Palestine conflict, there has been a breakdown of international humanitarian law. With the Hague and Geneva Conventions, International Humanitarian Law (IHL), often known as the Law of Armed Conflict or the Law of War, became an important feature in the twentieth century. It was created to rein in armed conflict's excesses by restricting warfare's means and techniques, as well as the misery caused by war. Jus ad bellum and jus in bello are two purposes of the IHL in armed conflict. The term "jus ad bellum" relates to the law of war or the justice of going to war. It explores the goal of war, including whether it is fought for self-defense or to promote human rights. Justice in the conduct of war, or law in the conflict, is referred to as jus in bello. The law of war rules and attempts to limit the conduct of wars in the real world. The UN Charter's Article 2(4) and Chapter VII are the most important sources of jus ad bellum. The dispute between Israel and Palestine has been dragged into the murky waters of international law. Israel claimed that Arab nations attacked Israel first as a newly formed nation, citing UN Resolution 181. The Arab states representing Palestinians accused Israel of attempting to build a state on Palestinian land illegally. Furthermore, Israel claims that it fought the war in self-defense, as defined by jus ad bellum. Similarly, Arab states contend that the war against Israel was initiated to defend Palestinian land, as defined by jus ad bellum. The P5s of the Security Council are exempt from Chapter VII (US, Russia, UK, France, and China). They have veto authority according to Chapter V's Article 27(3). The US veto power protects Israel in most cases, despite Israel's frequent violations of the jus ad bellum. As a powerful state backed by immense might, Israel prefers to construe jus ad bellum in accordance with its own national interests and security. In the Palestinian instance, jus ad bellum is frequently compromised in the process. Israel does not regard Palestinians as having the right to use the jus ad bellum. The western nations, who were largely responsible for the creation of the IHL, were unable to persuade Israel to follow it. Without additional explanation, the limitations of liberal institutions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are obvious. Following Israel's national interest, international legality is always a distant second. "If international law is...the vanishing point of law, the law of war is much more clearly the vanishing point of international law," writes Sir Hersch Lauterpacht (1952).

Whether the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is viewed as a boundary dispute, an ethnic battle, a religious war, an anti-colonial struggle, or a mixture of the above, there can be no end to the conflict unless a fair and satisfying, mutually agreed-upon resolution is reached. Policymakers have been given ample notice. Despite repeated efforts by the UN or other organisations, as well as calls from a number of countries, there appears to be no end or solution to this dispute. As the Middle East's recurrent carnage continues, the search for an equitable solution must confront the conflict's core cause. In both Israel and Palestine, new leadership is required. Domestic political compulsion also plays a role in the war. The peace effort will be given new hope by new leadership in both nations. The only way ahead is for the two countries to hold peace negotiations and for international rules to be adequately enforced


Submitted by Shriya Jain

Lê Hà