Middle East Crisis

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
1. What you say is technically wrong in law. I am making a technical statement on legality of a war — at an organisational level.

2. The laws of war are, at bottom, constraints on warriors and war-fighting. Military lawyers refer to the laws of war as ‘LOAC’ – the law of armed conflict. Military lawyers in the business of helping their commanders achieve a country’s military objectives by killing the enemy, under the proper ROEs.
(a) At a Division or a Corps level, military lawyers write manuals, and operational handbooks that are, in effect, book-length advice on what the law means. Within brigades or lower, military lawyers help train soldiers in the laws of war, and ROEs. And in operations, military lawyers provide the task group commander case-by-case oral advice.​
(b) One important consequence of taking the law of necessity seriously is that military lawyers want to leave the judgement calls about what is necessary to military commanders, without after-the-fact second-guessing by courts, or investigating commissions. Consider proportionality calculations in LOAC, which under the law require weighing the concrete and direct military advantage of an operation against the anticipated ‘incidental’ damage to civilians and civilian objects.​
(c) LOAC takes necessity seriously, and favours wide discretion and deference to military commanders in judgement calls, reads treaties narrowly and formalistically under the assumption that states gave up as little as they could when negotiating them.​

3. On the one hand, LOAC forbids the use of human shields – which, from the point of view of guerrillas or partisans, amounts to requiring the fish to leave the water voluntarily. On the other hand, the law requires militaries confronted by an enemy that (illegally) uses human shields to maintain the principle of distinction, where possible. Additional Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions (1977) applies to the conflict in Gaza and codifies the basic jus in bello rules for protecting civilians (the principles of distinction and proportionality) but provides no detailed rules protecting civilians, for example, rules requiring warnings and prohibiting excessive collateral damage. It is even possible to argue that the IDF meets the higher standards set by Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions (1977).

4. The terminology is stereotyped. I do not mean to imply that every lawyer in the miltary accepts the military version of the law of war (or LOAC) on all issues, nor that every lawyer working for human rights organizations accepts the humanitarian vision of international law.

5. To make matters worse, military lawyers must at times overcome the suspicion that they are not really part of the band of brothers – or, more insidiously, they must deal with their own suspicion that the combat soldiers regard them as ‘jobniks’ even when that is not true.
Perhaps I'm having a hard time understanding this but I don't see what most of this has to do with my very basic argument. You're talking here about what happens during a war. But in the post above you argued that the necessity of the war is itself a reason for why war crimes have not been committed. Necessity of a conflict is inherently a political concept. War is the continuation of politics by other means, so any justification for a war is inherently political. I'm arguing that the political justification of a war (and the possible associated international law regarding the legality of the war) have no bearing on individual acts committed during a war. For example if Israel were to decide that it needs more territory, and were to, without provocation, invade a neighboring country to seize the territory, this war would be illegal. But it would not make collateral damage any more criminal in and of itself than that very same collateral damage is when Israel is fighting a politically and even legally justified war. With war crimes the problem is, or again at the very least should be, the act itself not the political context surrounding it. It should never be acceptable to commit war crimes regardless how well justified the war itself is. Also war is an act carried out (in general) by the state. But war crimes can be acts of individuals (they can also be acts of the state but this is relatively rare).
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The law of armed conflict applies to IDF Actions or Omissions — Part 2

6. At an organisational level, the IDF has the right to fight Hamas / bomb Gaza to stop the 4,350 rocket attacks under the law of necessity (and there is case law supporting this and other decisions by Malaysia and NATO that conform to the same standards).
(a) Hamas is estimated to have another 12,000 to 15,000 rockets hidden, which can be targeted by the IDF, under the law of necessity — here I am explaining the law that apply to the air strikes conducted to refute Malaysian social media claims that the 11 days of bombing by IDF was illegal or that war crimes are committed.​
(b) If the Malaysians on social media adopt such an illogical position — it would follow that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in dropping air-to-ground bombs during the 2013 Ops Daulat, to kill some of the approximately 235 militants (which included women) who participated in the Lahad Datu (in Sabah) invasion be seen as illegal. If we are illogical about it, these bomb drones can be seen as illegal acts, as claimed by the Pinoys, who have a vested interest in smearing the good name of the RMAF. IN MY VIEW, the RMAF’s actions during Ops Daulat are certainly more problematic, and it is possible for the illogical Pinoys to make a weak legal argument for a RMAF failure to maintain the principle of distinction and proportionality. Yet, no Malaysian fighter pilot conducting such air strikes in Lahad Datu, in Sabah was ever prosecuted/convicted of war crimes. To be clear, I don’t think the acts of the Malaysians are illegal acts or war crimes in Ops Daulat.​
(c) If the American progressives on social media adopt such an illogical position — they should keep in mind that NATO bombed a Belgrade television station, killing 10–17 people. There is enough evidence to argue for a NATO failure to maintain the principle of distinction and proportionality, as the goal was to ‘interrupt broadcasting for a brief period’ that resulted in collateral damage. See Final Report to the Prosecutor by the Committee Established to Review the NATO Bombing Campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, PR/P.I.S./510-E (2000), at para. 71 and 78. NATO’s actions are certainly more problematic from a legal point of view and yet, no NATO staff or fighter pilot was prosecuted/convicted of war crimes.​

…Necessity of a conflict is inherently a political concept. War is the continuation of politics by other means, so any justification for a war is inherently political.

I'm arguing that the political justification of a war (and the possible associated international law regarding the legality of the war) have no bearing on individual acts committed during a war.
7. The law of armed conflict and the ROEs operative on the IDF is inherently legal in character (and not just political). The basis of legality of acts at an organisational level and at an individual levels for military lawyers is based on jurisprudence. Often times, on social media, any discussion on the Israeli–Palestinian story is based on a simplified framing that crops out most of the actual conflict, including basics on the law of armed conflict that applies to group and individual behaviour in the IDF. Please also note three other points:
One, many have heard of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, even though most of Israel’s wars haven’t been against Palestinians (but rather Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Lebanese, and others). As I have shown in prior posts, the reality is much more complex, with Palestinians working in NGOs acting in concert with terror groups to generate propaganda that pretends to be news.​
Two, many parrot ‘war crime’ based on what they read on social media but have never read the law of armed conflict (that the IDF’s military lawyers are intimately familiar with). Even more don’t realise that Hamas and PIJ rockets kill more civilians in Gaza than the IDF; with some estimates of rocket misfires killing up to 50. Reporters, including those in the NY Times like simple framing tricks (eg. number of children killed in Gaza) in part because tools of the trade are so scant — a few hundred words in a news story, 90 seconds in a TV segment, 280 characters in a tweet.​
Three, many on social media don’t even realise that Israel’s key opponent at the moment is the theocratic regime in Iran, a country that is neither Palestinian nor Arab. Iran is the main weapons supplier that enables terrorist acts. Most in Israel see Palestinian terrorism as planned and purposeful. Rooted in the strategy described by Abu Marzouk, a strategy that interprets any Israeli compromise as evidence of weakness. Israeli Jews believe they are a people with nowhere to go and facing Hamas as an unappeasable foe. Just as Palestinians are unified and mobilized by Israeli pressure, so Israeli Jews are unified and mobilized by Palestinian pressure.​
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
The issue of war crimes is mostly one of PR. Israel, from a legal standpoint, at least that I know from recent conflicts, has not committed war crimes.
Yet there are many political elements, and ordinary people, claiming that it does commit war crimes.

To make the claim valid, there must be a ruling by a court that has the jurisdiction. Who is qualified? Apparently not even the ICC.
But regardless, the IDF does in fact investigate its own soldiers and its own conduct (micro and macro).

On the micro level, the IDF meets international standards, and judging by info I could quickly find on the gov't website, the IDF completed fact finding on 120 cases and furthered 13 of them for criminal investigation.
The link is a short introduction and itself links the full report with updates.

So I agree with @Feanor here. Israel investigates itself regardless of the justification for war.

On the macro level, the international standard I believe is more forgiving. But I am not particularly knowledgeable on legal stuff.
Israel does set a high standard for surgical operation during its conflicts. So it would be hard to believe a court would find it guilty. And indeed it never happened.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The law of armed conflict applies to IDF Actions or Omissions — Part 3

By the same token HAMAS, the PIA, Palestinian Authority, and the other terrorist group cannot be held legally accountable under any of the Geneva Convention Accords because they are not recognised nation states and therefore cannot be signatories…

A better option maybe to use the Crimes Against Humanity approach instead which covers a multitude of sins and all suspects.
8. That’s a misunderstanding of what I wrote (we are talking across each other, unintentionally) — understanding the law of armed conflict is difficult enough and it serves as a restriction on the use of force.

9. Generals making complex decisions in Multi-National Force – Iraq are aware of the need to consult military lawyers (and these decisions made after consultation could mean life or death for both coalition soldiers under command and civilians caught in the fighting). There are two points to note:
One, it does not matter to Maj. General Jim Molan and the targeting review board at higher command level, that the Iraqi insurgents don’t care or know about the coalition’s adherence to laws and ROEs.​
Two, Multi-National Force – Iraq can do something better than to sue the insurgents; it gets to kill them, under the law of armed conflict. In the book, “Running the War in Iraq”, Jim Molan as an Australian Maj. General, explained how he prior to deployment to Iraq, as the Chief of Operations in 2004 to 2005, had consulted Australian military lawyers to satisfy himself that he had complied with and would comply with the law of armed conflict.​

10. At an individual level, all the military pilots and air crew in Singapore or Malaysia care about during operations (when shooting and at bomb release), is their adherence to ROEs, for example:
(a) Singapore knows that pirates do not follow laws. Singapore’s courts, if they desire, have the means and justification to review decisions made by a Singaporean commander of CTF-151, when his command team deploys to the Gulf of Aden to hunt pirates. It does not matter to the military lawyer attached to CTF-151 or the Singaporean Navy vessel on counter-piracy duty that Somali pirates don’t care about the SAF’s adherence to laws and ROEs.​
(b) Malaysia knows that the militants who invaded Lahad Datu, Sabah in 2013 had no legal justification or followed any laws. It does not matter to the military lawyer attached to Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) that Jamalul Kiram III's militants don’t care about the RMAF’s adherence to laws and ROEs before bomb release.​
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
The law of armed conflict applies to IDF Actions or Omissions — Part 4

11. There’s a great JPC video (to educate reporters and war correspondents) on the legal issues as explained by a military lawyer on the relevant laws and concepts. Let me add other points:
One, IDF follows Israeli laws (and the Geneva conventions) and its actions, guided by military lawyers, under the law of armed conflict is subject to judicial review of the country’s courts.​
Two, as long as it does that, the IDF as an organisation can do something better than to sue Hamas; it gets to kill them, legally. To the IDF pilot dropping bombs on designated military targets in Gaza (in accordance with IDF’s ROEs) — a good terrorist is a dead one.​
Three, where the IDF cannot kill (due to collateral damage concerns), they demolish the building or tunnel, to remove the threat and all the extra steps to comply are often due to advice given by IDF military lawyers working with the targeting review board at the command post (like door knocking bombs, and the various attempts to maintain the principle of distinction to avoid collateral damage, etc).​

12. Any geopolitical discussion involving actors from multiple countries is very complicated, and if the picture of IDF and Israel or the Palestinians (armed by Iran) and the motives for fighting in Gaza is simple — simply good or simply bad — then we can be sure the over simplified picture is not real. If there are social media claims that civilian casualties in an Israeli operation in Gaza are “high,” for example, as social media influencers frequently do, that needs to be compared by professional war correspondents to similar urban operations, like the US Marines and US Army in Fallujah (with 800 Civilian fatalities), or the Pinoys in Marawi City — where the fighting season is much longer. Over a period of 5 months, the Pinoys killed 978 in the city and also destroyed or damaged almost every building in Marawi City.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Incendiary balloons causes air strike

1. The three major so-called Gaza balloon units, Ahfad an-Nassar, Ibna al-Zuwari, and Barq are active, launching balloons carrying explosive and incendiary devices toward southern Israel. Israel's fire service said the incendiary balloons launched earlier from Gaza had caused at least 20 fires in fields by communities in southern Israel on 15 Jun 2021 (Tues). In other news:
(a) on the same day, IDF troops and the Israeli Police also thwarted a weapon smuggling attempt along the Jordanian border in the Arava area. Troops confiscated weapons and apprehended a number of suspects;​
(b) for the first time in 2 years, the IDF is hosting a full size, 9-day delegation of former US military generals and admirals led by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. The delegation that included the 19th Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Dunford met various IDF officials including Chief of the General Staff, IDF, LTG Aviv Kohavi, to discuss current and future threats to Israel; and​
(c) Israel’s defense export contracts in 2020 reached US$8.3 billion. This is the second highest figure for the State of Israel and indicates a 15% increase in the number of agreements signed, in comparison to 2019.​

2. In view of the above, fighting may restart, if Hamas does not stop the attempts at sending balloons to set fire to Israel. This is a win for the new PM Bennett — who served as Minister of Defense from 2019 to 2020 — who is hawkish on the need to mow the grass.

3. IDF says it struck a number of Hamas sites in Gaza, used for military activity and meetings, in response to the incendiary balloon launches. This is the first violent exchange since Israeli's new coalition government came to power on 13 Jun 2021 (Sun), headed by PM Naftali Bennett and drawing an end to Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister. Israel’s Army Radio reported that Israel informed Egyptian mediators that direct Hamas involvement in the fire balloon launch would imperil long-term truce talks.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
In view of the above, fighting may restart, if Hamas does not stop the attempts at sending balloons to set fire to Israel. This is a win for the new PM Bennett — who served as Minister of Defense from 2019 to 2020 — who is hawkish on the need to mow the grass.
I wouldn't really call it "mowing the grass". First, that's a term often used by critics who believe the IDF's attacks are both unwarranted and indiscriminate.
Second, and far more importantly, a time of peace is no time for mowing the grass. That's one of the objectives to be achieved before a truce comes into effect - hurt the enemy sufficiently to delay the next round for at least a few years.
If that goal wasn't reached, new hostilities surely won't solve it because every incident will be far more closely monitored by the media, causing greater PR damage to Israel, and the magnitude of strikes will also have to be limited.

Netanyahu was very popular. He clinged to power for 12 years for a reason, but one policy that was not popular is how tolerant he seemed toward Hamas's attacks.
Under his leadership, the IDF would retaliate if rockets were aimed at Tel Aviv, or any attack would cause casualties, but if border towns were targeted, or just massive fires caused by incendiaries, the IDF would either not retaliate, or retaliate very softly in the face of significant attacks.
So in short, he was seen as selective in favor of the rich, and disconcerned about anything that could be shoved under the rug.

Bennet's strategy, as a politician purporting to represent the "true right", is to show care for the "little guy", as his voter base are seen as more impoverished, or alternatively well off but transparent.

By retaliating against balloon attacks, he can argue he remains true to his belief.
We'll see if he really means business if it becomes a regular occurrence.

Personally, not a right winger. Certainly not into the whole religious vibe he emits, but he shows he's willing to accept different opinions, from those ideologically opposed to him.

Disregarding political beliefs, I do believe a policy to retaliate for the smallest attacks is necessary. First, no crime goes unpunished, and that should apply absolutely everywhere.
Second, letting Hamas attack Israel without consequences is sure to embolden them to escalate.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
Seems the new government in Israel is already trying to show some real changes, albeit still not the critical ones.

There is now actual movement on a decision made by the Netanyahu-government but which had stalled, to deliver 1.2 million vaccines to the PA.
So far Israel has only vaccinated about 100,000 Palestinians who have work permits through which they enter Israel daily.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid is again talking to his counterpart Antony Blinken, signaling a shift in the way Israel is handling its foreign affairs now. Lapid is known to be an advocate for making Israel a bipartisan subject.
He has also voiced a need to handle these affairs in private.

The new development in Iran, a hardliner is seen as the most likely candidate. He's particularly controversial for his role in the mass executions of opposition.
He will also almost definitely change the course of the US-Iran nuclear deal talks, IMO, and this will put the new administration, and new Israeli government to the test, as well as the strangely recently reconciliatory Saudi government.

It seems the IDF now both independently acts, and reacts, more intensely than before. This could be a temporary show, or it could be a new policy. Either way, most Israelis see it as a welcome change.
Some feelings that have naturally remained within the boundaries of Israel and have not garnered any meaningful coverage, are that renewed violence between Gaza and Israel will spark a 2nd war similar to the previous one, but that has quieted down. It seems that after freshly delivered strikes on much of Hamas's infrastructure, they choose not to escalate things and Israel is free to retaliate forcefully to balloon attacks, to which it previously rarely responded.
This policy is true for both Gaza and Syria.


Together with new funding options, like a budget that may pass soon, and different IDF units organizing their acquisitions divisions to cope with the situation, Israel's traditional enemies may soon feel a new wave of heat to handle, both conventional and intelligence-wise.
 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member

The strikes hit "operational and weapons storage facilities", in response to drone attacks by the militia on US forces, a statement said.
Probably some small scale drone attacks with small size UAVs, because i havent seen any reports recently in the news.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Iran’s role in causing extra-regional concerns — Part 1

1. President Joe Biden on 28 Jun 2021 (Mon) declared that Iran would “never get a nuclear weapon on my watch,” after affirming an “iron-clad” relationship between the U.S. and Israel. Biden’s comments, in an Oval Office meeting with Israel’s outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, came after the U.S. launched airstrikes against Iranian-linked facilities on the Iraq-Syria border on Sunday evening.

2. Biden said he launched the 27 Jun 2021 (Sun) strikes under the authority of Article II of the Constitution. He also said the U.S. backed recent normalization deals between Israel and countries in the Middle East and Africa.

3. An Iranian intelligence officer and three alleged members of an Iranian intelligence network have been charged in Manhattan with plotting to lure a U.S. resident and human rights activist from New York to Iran, authorities said. It’s amazing that charges filed in an alleged Iranian plot to kidnap U.S. journalist/activist Alinejad Masih from Brooklyn!

4. On the same day that an Iranian plot to kidnap a U.S. resident is publicised, the Biden’s admininstration has informed U.S. Congress that America would be waiving sanctions on Iran's illicit oil trade, giving it access to frozen funds, and enabling more of the same.

5. At regular intervals, militias loyal to Iran will attack American forces in Iraq and Syria. I see Iran attempts to strike back by approving covert operations on US soil, as a form of escalation over US actions to defend its own troops in Ain Al-Assad Airbase, Iraq from rocket attacks. More than that, Iran attempts to project strength by showing that it has options after China announced on 27 Mar 2021 that it will invest US$400 billion dollars in Iran over a period of 25 years in exchange for a great deal on Iran’s oil – in the latest move of absolute defiance against the U.S. and its secondary sanctions. This Iran-China deal was really the last thing that Joe Biden needed, where he has been weak on Russia and China and arguably pathetic in Afghanistan when it comes to delivering on the ‘America is back’ rhetoric.

6. From Tehran’s perspective, China also wasn’t always reliable when it came to standing up to the West’s sanctions on Iran: China supported every U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran that came up for a vote between 2006 and 2010, and reduced its imports of Iranian oil during Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign. In 2019, CNPC, which had earlier returned to work on the South Pars project under a new contract, pulled out of the project, likely to avoid U.S. sanctions.

7. A leaked 18-page draft document reportedly outlined a vast expansion of Chinese investments in various sectors in Iran, including telecoms, transport, infrastructure and banking, with Beijing receiving a guaranteed supply of discounted Iranian oil in return. The document also referred to the potential deployment of Chinese forces to Iran to protect their investments, as well as a Chinese lease of the strategically located Kish Island in the Persian Gulf. The leaked document caused an uproar inside and outside Iran. Some Iranians equated the draft agreement with the 1828 Treaty of Turkmenchay, under which Tehran conceded several territories to Russia. Iran’s interest in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure development plan, in particular is driven by a few primary calculations:
  • It provides potentially considerable economic opportunities for Iran;
  • It provides Iran with political insurance against international isolation in the future;
  • It has the potential to give Iran an advantage over some of its most prickly rivals, such as Saudi Arabia (which today is a far big oil supplier to China than Iran); and
  • While China-Iran relations in the energy sector remain relatively strong, military-to-military ties have great potential for growth.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Iran’s role in causing extra-regional concerns — Part 2

8. Experts and protestors point at Iran-affiliated militias, accusing them of being responsible for a string of assassinations that mainly targeted activists. Ihab Jawad Al-Wazni, a famous Iraqi activist, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen on 9 May 2021 outside his home in the southern city of Karbala. The murder sparked massive protests in Karbala. Hundreds of people took to the streets in the predominantly Shia city condemning the assassination.

9. Iraqi protesters in Karbala blocked roads and burned tyres. They demanded the Iraqi authorities find out the attackers and reveal their identity to the public. Although Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has vowed to prosecute the attackers, no perpetrator has been brought to justice so far. Dr. Tallha Abdulrazaq, a security expert on the Middle East from the University of Exeter, said that the nature of the killing suggests that pro-Iranian Shia militia groups are behind the assassinations of both Al Wazni and several other prominent Iraqis. Since 2003, according to Abdulrazaq the Shia militias have tracked the killings of those who criticise or oppose them, and Iraq has become a state that serves such extremist groups rather than the local population. “That is precisely why the protesters reacted by attacking the Iranian consulate because everyone knows who's truly responsible,” Abdulrazaq said. Nearly 30 Iraqi activists have been killed by unknown gunmen since 2019 and dozens of others have been abducted.

10. There is a shadow war being fought, not sure who will win in the end but it’s certain the Americans are going to lose this 2021 round of the shadow war; but just because the Americans are losing, it does not mean victory for Iran.
 
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OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hamas warns that rocket fire may resume unless Qatari funds enter Gaza

1. Lynn Hastings, who serves as Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, outlined urgent assistance being provided by the United Nations and its partners on the heels of 11 days of clashes in Gaza two months ago. She said that, beyond the human tragedy for both Palestinians and Israelis, a recent Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment by the United Nations, European Union and the World Bank estimated the physical damage to Gaza to be between US$290 million and US$380 million, and additional economic losses to reach up to US$200 million. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said, “What we need to do now is to make sure that no steps are taken that will prevent the possibility of peace in the future; we need to improve the lives of Palestinians. Whatever is humanitarian, I will be for it.”

2. In mid-June 2021, the Palestinian factions presented a list of demands to Israel that included the reopening of border crossings, allowing the transfer of financial aid from Qatar, and the reopening of Gaza’s fishing zone. In line with the above, Israel will expand the Gaza fishing zone from 6 to 12 nautical miles, amid the relative calm situation. Fuel deliveries have resumed through the Kerem Shalom crossing and some restriction on the import and export of goods have been lifted. Calling on Israel to allow the unhindered entry of all humanitarian aid, Lynn Hastings also called on Hamas and other armed groups to stop launching incendiary devices, rockets and mortars and end their militant build-up. To fulfil humanitarian needs, the Government of Israel must, be urged to:
(a) cease all demolitions and evictions of Palestinian families;​
(b) advance proper urban planning and equitable housing policies in the West Bank;​
(c) ensure the provision of fair and adequate services to all of the city’s residents;​
(d) safeguard both peoples’ rights to their homes and the city and recognize their historic, religious and political attachments to Jerusalem; and​
(e) engage with the Palestinian national leadership and together, with the support of the international community, foster conditions for a sustainable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in line with Security Council resolution 2334 (2016).​

3. In the absence of a political agreement in the foreseeable future, the two peoples in Jerusalem will continue to share a complex urban reality. Dialogue and cooperation must be cultivated, and measures that exacerbate tension should be avoided, Lynn Hastings said.

4. Israel’s representative to the United Nations, recalled the 2020 signing of agreements normalizing diplomatic relations between his country and several others in the region. Times are changing, he said, even without the UN Security Council’s involvement. Despite such positive steps, Hamas and Iran remained determined to fuel tensions and demonize Israel, and caused thousands of rockets to be launched over 11 days. As Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accurately noted: "The source of the problem is Iran. We have fought till this day with the octopus' tentacles and not with the Iranian head. The approach needs to be changed."

5. “The Qatari money for Gaza will not go in as suitcases full of dollars which end up with Hamas, where Hamas, in essence, takes for itself and its officials a significant part of it,” Internal Security Minister Omer Bar Lev told Israel’s Army Radio. He said Bennett envisaged “a mechanism where what will go in, in essence, would be food vouchers, or vouchers for humanitarian aid, and not cash that can be taken and used for developing weaponry to be wielded against the State of Israel”. Prime Minister Bennett in a meeting with Gaza border community mayors: "I support humanitarian aid to Gaza, and as much as possible, but an equation must be made that at one moment we stop everything, and they then realize they have something to lose."

6. In other news on the shadow war being fought in the region:
(a) 11 Palestinians wounded, including one seriously amid clashes with IDF soldiers in Beit Ummar in the West Bank, because IDF forced to use riot dispersal means to stop rock throwing in the West Bank on 29 July 2021; and​
(b) MT Mercer Street, a tanker that sails under the Liberian flag and has a Japanese owner — was attacked by two drones off the coast of Oman —attack was designed to be merciless: one of drones was directly aimed at tanker's bridge, to kill people, because it was in retaliation for 24 Apr 2021 attack off Baniyas against Lebanese/Iranian product carrier Wisdom. Israel blames Iran for attack on MT Mercer Street that killed a Briton and a Romanian. MT Mercer Street is operated by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company that belongs to the Israeli Eyal Ofer, a billionaire real estate and shipping magnate — Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with his American counterpart Antony Blinken, to discuss an international response to the alleged Iranian drone attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker. Lapid also spoke with his British and Romanian counterpart. The second drone strike on 30 July 2021, that hit the bridge, at night, marks the first-known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its nuclear deal.​
(c) In Apr 2021, there had also been a reported attack on the Israeli-owned cargo ship Hyperion Ray, which may also have been carried out using a drone of some kind. The month before that, another Israeli-owned vessel, the container ship Lori, was reportedly the victim of a missile attack in the Gulf of Oman. In both cases, Iran, or its proxies, was suspected of being responsible.​

P.S. MT Mercer Street is not an Israeli owned vessel. The ship is owned by the Japanese, flying the Liberian flag, operated by a company based in Britain which happens to be owned by an Israeli businessman. No Israelis were hurt, as it is not an Israeli ship. Meanwhile, in this attack, Iran killed a Britain and a Romanian. The mis-identification and attack on the boxship CSAV Tyndall (a vessel previously owned by Israeli shipowner Eyal Ofer) and the targeting of the MT Mercer Street, indicates a deep-rooted recklessness and lack of basic intelligence collection capability at an institutional level within Iran.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
Lynn Hastings also called on Hamas and other armed groups to stop launching incendiary devices, rockets and mortars and end their militant build-up. To fulfil humanitarian needs, the Government of Israel must, be urged to:

(a) cease all demolitions and evictions of Palestinian families;
The last conflict has not resulted from any land dispute. Hamas had merely weaponized one, politically, to justify a war. And it was successful.
After incurring massive damage, Hamas has secured additional support.
It also makes no sense for Hamas to arm itself beyond a certain point, so they need to make use of their military gains.

(b) advance proper urban planning and equitable housing policies in East Jerusalem;

(c) ensure the provision of fair and adequate services to all of the city’s residents;
I suppose you mean the West Bank, not East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem already has equitable housing policies and fair services to the city's residents. But in Jerusalem, even equitable is lacking. The general population is not rich to say the least, and the mountainous terrain makes every project very expensive and difficult. The city therefore relies in part on state budgets even for internal services, and not long ago a $500 million plan was approved for the betterment of East Jerusalem, including vital services and construction.
Arab Israelis like the modernity of Israel when it's of benefit, but don't embrace it in the same way as others. So in the context of East Jerusalem, the people don't quite welcome new construction, which delays and makes such projects less worthwhile.

In the meantime, those who don't like living there, have more tools than most realize, to relocate and live decently elsewhere, like free vocational training programs, and economical benefits based on place of work and living.

(d) safeguard both peoples’ rights to their homes and the city and recognize their historic, religious and political attachments to Jerusalem;
Good intentions, but no solid plan on implementation. Consider this - Israel inherited land and religious laws from the Ottomans and British to safeguard the rights of everyone who lived there before the establishment of Israel. But it is nigh impossible to reconcile modern technology with ancient worn out papers. Every legal dispute over land is basically two groups almost literally grasping at straws.
To my knowledge, none has yet proposed a comprehensive solution, and I don't think there is one.

. “The Qatari money for Gaza will not go in as suitcases full of dollars which end up with Hamas, where Hamas, in essence, takes for itself and its officials a significant part of it,” Internal Security Minister Omer Bar Lev told Israel’s Army Radio. He said Bennett envisaged “a mechanism where what will go in, in essence, would be food vouchers, or vouchers for humanitarian aid, and not cash that can be taken and used for developing weaponry to be wielded against the State of Israel”. Prime Minister Bennett in a meeting with Gaza border community mayors: "I support humanitarian aid to Gaza, and as much as possible, but an equation must be made that at one moment we stop everything, and they then realize they have something to lose."
Money is currency. Food vouchers are also a form of currency. How is that an effective policy?
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yes, I mean the West Bank - post edited to reflect change. My brain fart.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
An escalation on the Israeli-Lebanese border has occurred recently.

First, reading material:


Long story short:
  • Palestinian group in Lebanon fires rockets into Israel.
  • Israel retaliates with artillery.
  • Hezbollah joins and launches its own rockets.
  • Israel retaliates further.
  • The exchange includes a barrage of nearly 20 rockets into Israel, and vague info on airstrikes and artillery strikes in Lebanon.
My assessment: Hezbollah will stop soon and will not escalate to a war.
The optimal position for Hezbollah would have been months ago during Operation Guardian of the Walls in Gaza, but even then they had plenty of reasons to delay. Right now they're in a worse situation - the economical crisis does not seem to get better and there's no shortage of criticism of Hezbollah for the situation.
Hezbollah needs legitimacy badly, and seems to have no factor to give it some tactical boost, as the IDF is not preoccupied with anything and is more or less primed for action.

Noteworthy, Israel has been playing the hearts and minds game with Lebanon lately. Offering aid in times of crisis, convincing Lebanon to solve the EEZ dispute diplomatically, and even announcing plans for evacuation of Lebanese in times of war.
There definitely is bad blood here, but it's not on the same level as Israel-Palestine. Israel can actually make good progress here. Hezbollah has certainly taken note, but it has yet to commit any action that IMO would change that equation.

In the 2nd link at the top of this comment, there is a video showing Lebanese Druze assaulting Hezbollah militants and stopping their MLRS truck, leading to the militants' arrest by the LAF.
The Druze are a small minority, but it at least shows Hezbollah is off to a bad start in the PR department.
Also notable, the truck still had some rockets left in it.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
The Druze are a small minority, but it at least shows Hezbollah is off to a bad start in the PR department
They are a shall minority but are known for being able to punch above their weight and are very loyal to Wadi Jumblatt. During the Civil War Druze fighters earned a fearsome reputation. They also clashed with Amal which was the dominant Shia power then.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member

The articles, convey a new reality, or a better understanding of an old one.

Trade is booming right now, and hopefully will only continue growing. This growing "cake" is definitely something the Palestinians can grab a slice of, and hopefully someday they will, and maybe the PA also wants to, but the factors at play here are too convoluted perhaps to untangle without some leap of faith.

Despite the current governments of Israel and the USA seemingly more dovish WRT the Palestinians, the rhetoric has been more oriented toward containment and preservation of the status quo, than even more Hawkish Donald Trump's and Netanyahu's peace-deal rhetoric.

The reason for desire to preserve the status quo may lie in the instability of the Palestinian governments. They have 2 governments, one which Israel continuously ponders whether to allow to stand on one leg or just destroy it, and another constantly under threat of being overthrown by the former. Especially if the IDF withdraws, resulting in Afghanistan-style takeover by terrorists.

But that's an old reality. So why the change? I'm honestly clueless.
  • Arab nations are ruled by dictators and religion. More often than not with an iron fist. But it seems public opinion matters there more than in the democratic world regarding Israel-related policy. Those who want trade but haven't normalized yet, may genuinely fear a too strong backlash.
  • So a peace deal with the PA might still be a strategic goal, to sway more Arab/muslim countries to normalize, even if the recent normalizations have gnawed at the importance of it.
Perhaps now the pros of maintaining the status quo are clearer and outweigh the cons.

This means the PA is now less likely to receive foreign involvement, and more likely to have to deal with its own problems than it did before and during the Trump era.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
In Israeli defense forums and blogs, there is a growing feeling that the IDF is a "sinking ship", with overwhelming internal issues, primarily manpower-related.
To maintain its trend of ever-growing strength and capability, top brass and politicians may soon need to make a decision. It's no crisis, but we're constantly moving toward accepting professional/voluntary service and privatization as viable and even necessary.

This is my personal opinion. I hope we will see changes soon.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
Report: Iran could amass enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon within a month.
To clarify, it does not include the time needed to weaponize said uranium.


Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also talks about his policy toward a revival of the JCPOA or a 'viable US-led Plan B', and toward the PA, Hamas, and future of relations with the Palestinians.


In short, Iran is now reportedly very close to amassing sufficient material, which means efforts to reduce its production capacity may have very little effect, and are in the endgame. Efforts will likely be made to hinder Iran's ability to create a usable weapon.

Gantz, possibly due to these reports, says he does not rule out a return to the JCPOA, but also expresses it is not his favorite solution. He still favors a more comprehensive deal, and as a last resort also makes a slight mention of the strike option.
He also expresses worry about other regional actors buying off the shelf nukes from Pakistan, perhaps hinting at Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Bennet has already commented on his policy toward the Palestinians, but not much on Iran.
 
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