All posts tagged: civilian areas

The Hague Can’t Deliver Justice

The Hague Can’t Deliver Justice

Waiting to obtain justice from an international tribunal is a bit like waiting for the messiah: You are not likely to find what you’re looking for anytime soon, but the pastime remains popular. Today the International Court of Justice announced its first ruling in a case brought by South Africa against Israel, alleging genocide in Gaza. South Africa had sought a preliminary ruling that would force Israel to stop fighting while a full case could be heard. The ICJ agreed, in effect, that Israel’s war in Gaza looks like genocide, if one squints and cocks one’s head. The ICJ declined to order a cease-fire, but it did order Israel to refrain from genocidal acts and to document what it has done. It further demanded more humanitarian aid for Gaza, and an end to the genocidal incitement of the sort South Africa alleged, somewhat dishonestly, in its complaint. Read: What did top Israeli war officials really say about Gaza? Critics of Israel’s war effort were hoping for much more. But those who wanted a cease-fire order …

A Close Read of Hamas’s Hostage-Taking Manual

A Close Read of Hamas’s Hostage-Taking Manual

A hostage-taking manual that an official in the Israel Defense Forces told me was recovered in the aftermath of the Hamas attack suggests that the group’s hostage-taking on October 7 did not go according to plan. Right now, more than 200 hostages are thought to be in Hamas’s hands in Gaza. The manual suggests that the group at first intended not to spirit all of them into Gaza, but instead to take them hostage where they were found inside Israel, possibly for a protracted standoff. The Atlantic obtained a copy of the manual from an IDF official, who vouched for its authenticity and who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the materials. Israeli President Isaac Herzog had earlier referred to the document in an interview on CNN, calling it “an instruction guide, how to go into civilian areas, into a kibbutz, a city, a moshav [agricultural coop].” He said it described “exactly how to torture them, how to abduct them, how to kidnap them.” Graeme Wood: What is Israel trying to …

What Is Israel Trying to Accomplish?

What Is Israel Trying to Accomplish?

Israel’s invasion of Gaza awaits the parting of clouds. Clear skies favor Israel, which dominates the airspace and wants to be able to look down to see what awaits its ground forces. The early morning yesterday brought rain, and at dawn, orange cumulus clouds rolled over the Mediterranean. Today’s forecast calls for more rain, and therefore probably another day without Israeli infantry in Gaza. Rarely has the Weather Channel been such ominous and thrilling viewing. Everyone knows the invasion is coming. Less clear is what it will ultimately bring for Palestinians. Within about a day of Hamas’s attack on October 7, an Israeli consensus emerged that no response short of total annihilation of Hamas would suffice. A second, corollary consensus didn’t take much longer: To annihilate Hamas, Israel would have to invade Gaza. Hamas has given Israel the best possible excuse to do so. Hamas hides in the civilian population, stores its weapons there, and fires those weapons from civilian areas. It does this by choice. And that gives Israel the rationale of self-defense, the …