Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Attacking civilian infrastructure is a war crime

Under international law, the targeting of civilian infrastructure like power stations and bridges is a war crime. From the BBC:


Israel's Prime Minister has warned of "extreme action" to free a soldier captured by Palestinian militants.

Soon afterwards, witnesses reported an air strike on a militant training camp in Gaza, after planes bombed a power station and three bridges overnight.

Tanks also moved into the southern Gaza Strip, in the first big incursion since the Israeli withdrawal last year.

There are no reports of clashes but the incursion brought condemnation from the main Palestinian factions.

Note : The points below have been added to Djebs original post by _H_

COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT

Israel's Prime Minister had warned of "extreme action" to free a soldier captured by Palestinian militants. Soon afterwards, witnesses reported an air strike on a militant training camp in Gaza.

The incursion began when Israeli Planes bombed the three bridges linking the north and south of the strip, and then hitting Gaza's main electricity transformer.The immediate effects of the power cut were noted 600 miles away in rafuh by Doss Abu-Harb who stated.

We have no electricity, so now I can't watch what is happening on television. I am listening to the radio which is on batteries, I don't know how long they will last. The situation last night was so terrible. I heard alot of shelling. I hear more shelling and guns this morning. I think Israel is planning a huge attack, so everybody will stay inside. I have my small nephews in our home. If I am frightened in front of them I think they will die of fear.....We are living, but we feel as if we are dead.

The Israeli ground forces soon took up positions on farmland outside the disused airport inside the Gaza border. Meanwhile Gaza residents like Lama Hourani were already concerned for the long term effects of this action

It is frightening, it is ugly. On all levels, it is not good. They bombed the main power station which gives power to 40-50% of Gaza.... All water needs to be pumped, so if we don't have power, we don't have water....

Source for quotes

Cpl Shalit was captured when Palestinian militants tunnelled under the Gaza border and attacked an Israeli army position at Kerem Shalom, killing two soldiers.

Hamas political leaders have denied they know of Cpl Shalit's whereabouts and have urged his captors not to mistreat him. Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad said the incursion was unjustified and the crisis could be solved through "contacts with Arab and international parties".

Mahmoud Abbas, leader of rival Palestinian faction Fatah and president of the Palestinian Authority, condemned the Israeli incursion as "collective punishment".

Is he correct ? well according to the Geneva convention it seems that he is .....

"It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population "

The Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949,

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