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Interview Andrew Tucker – Does Israel commit war crimes?

Interview Andrew Tucker – Does Israel commit war crimes?

Key points of the interview:

Iran has been appointed as the chair of UN Human Rights Council 2023 Social Forum – isn’t that strange?

It is outrageous because Iran is the most radical regime opposed to human rights and western values. It’s an Islamic Revolutionary regime and through the IRGC (military branch) Iran is creating turmoil, hostilities, assassinations, murders in many other countries.

– It has proxies in the Middle East.
– Iran is a sponsor of Hamas, which is part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Iran has been financing, pouring resources and technology, and training Hamas for decades (certainly since 2007) together with Qatar and Turkey. That’s why Iran is mainly responsible for the war we have now in Gaza.

Watch the full interview:

Why is it important to keep in mind that Iran and Qatar are behind the war between Israel and Gaza:

The framing of the conflict in the media is distorted: when we see babies in Gaza that are killed, we draw a conclusion that Israel is ethnically cleansing Gazans. But that is not what is happening – Israel is acting in self-defense and taking necessary measures to destroy Hamas and the other Islamic regimes that are trying to eliminate Israel and commit genocide of the Jewish people. It’s a regional conflict.

Israel has been accused of ethnic cleansing, killing civilians and children a collective punishment.

None of these claims have been, or can be, substantiated.Israel is responding in a legitimate way to an act of aggression.

Hamas is acting totally illegally under international law in many aspects: it’s bombing Israel daily, indiscriminately sending missiles into Israeli territory that are killing civilians or threaten to kill civilians, it’s holding hostages, and it’s using its own civilians as human shields in the Gaza strip.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that is blatantly disregarding international law and threating the existence of Israel.

The horrific events of the 7th October are just the tip of the iceberg -there is a group of countries and regimes which are determined to destroy the Jewish State of Israel. The actions of Israel are directed to defeating these groups and not against the people of Gaza.

Israel is acting under the self-defense, but does it have a right to do it on such a large scale? Does Israel have the right to self-defense? Proportionality?

The principle of proportionality applies in two contexts:

Firstly, the right to act in self-defense must be proportionate to the threat that is being presented. Because Hamas is an existential threat, Israel has the right to go to Gaza and take out the operational and strategic military capabilities of Hamas.

According to international law when acting in self-defense three principles must be respected: necessity, distinction (the action must not be indiscriminately applied to civilians, but to military targets only) and proportionality (the specific targeting must not cause excessive civilian casualties in comparison to the military goal that is sought to be achieved).

Proportionality in this second sense has nothing to do with the numbers, it has to do with a very reasoned and strict regime. For every action, missile and soldier that goes into Gaza Israel takes decisions, together with international lawyers that assess them, that must satisfy the requirements of proportionality, necessity, and distinction.

What about international humanitarian law?

The question is who is responsible for Gazans? Gaza is not occupied territory, because in 2005 Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip its civilians and military.

That’s been a blockade, but that blockade does not constitute occupation.

An occupying power is responsible to look after civilian population and it becomes in effect the government of that territory. Israel is not the Government of the Gaza Strip, that is Hamas, which was elected by the people of Gaza. That is de facto the government. Consequently, Hamas is responsible for its people, not the UN, not Israel.

Israel with the best intentions has helped Gaza in many ways over the last decades: electricity, water, infrastructures, technology… but it’s not its legal responsibility. Hamas must bear that responsibility.

Even in  a war situation Hamas  must take care of the Gazan civilians

Instead, Hamas is using its own civilians as human shields. It’s built more than 500 kilometers of tunnels – a city underneath Gaza – only to protect Hamas terrorists. Civilians are not allowed in there, so they are kept in their houses, under which they’ve put military installations. To get to those military installations Israel needs to use force: aerial forces and ground forces. And it’s a very targeted approach.

Israel will definitely make mistakes, there will inevitably be actions taken which cause excessive causalities, that’s unfortunately what happen in war situation. But we can be sure Israel never does so deliberately.

The question is the intention of every action and Israel is making sure that every action it takes complies with international humanitarian law. 

What about the international violations of Hamas?

Hamas is breaching international humanitarian law and international criminal law daily – over 8000 missiles have been fired into Israel to date and still have been firing – but the most problematic issue is the misuse of civilians in Gaza as human shields. “Deliberately firing rockets into Israeli civilian areas and placing military assets amid Palestinian civilian population always represents a perfidious crime of war” – according to Prof. Louis René Beres.

We are dealing with an entity which has no disregard for international law and yet Israel is always trying to comply with international law. This is an asymmetric conflict.  

Hamas also uses the media as a means of war against Israel, by creating biased news. This information warfare is a deliberate strategy of Hamas to cause the international community to place pressure on Israel to back down.

Many people are calling for a humanitarian ceasefire, but the problem is that every moment that Israel is not taking action, Hamas is arming itself more..

A lot of people have the view that Hamas is a legitimate organization seeking to free the people of Gaza from the illegal occupation. Israel is presented as an illegal occupier and Hamas as the legitimate interests of the people of Gaza. That narrative has been used to undermine Israel and not to condemn Hamas. This is untrue because Hamas does not care for the ordinary people of Gaza; and its aim is not to liberate Gaza, but to destroy Israel.

But even if Hamas were representing the people of Gaza and have a legitimate right to self-determination, and even if the occupation was illegal, which is not true, it wouldn’t have the right to use illegitimate force and to contravene international law. So, it’s perfidious for the UN not to condemn Hamas.

What about the future?

Human rights organizations often make claims and allegations about infringements of international law. But the fact is they do not have the information needed to make those assessments. There are courts which have the jurisdiction over these questions, and we must trust they will take a fair, balanced and reasonable approach.

Israel as a Jewish State is completely legitimate in a Middle East. The Jewish people are entitled to a Homeland and a State of their own.  Israel is perfectly legitimate and therefore it has a right to exist and defend itself.

Making generalized assertions about genocide, ethnic cleansing, collective punishment, etc, without substantiating them is problematic. What Israel is doing is not directed to the people of Gaza.

Collective punishment is imposing a sanction on a group in response to a crime committed by a member of that group. Israel is not imposing punishment on the people of Gaza. There are horrible deaths, but this is a consequence of a legitimate war.

It’s also not ethnic cleansing. Israel called for the Palestinians of Gaza to move to the south to protect them, to get them out of the way. if Israel wanted to ethnic cleanse the Palestinians, they would have done it long ago. Israel is targeting Hamas not the civilians.

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