Weekend long read

1) Writing at Newsweek, John Spencer explains why ‘Hospitals Are Protected Under International Law. But They Cannot be ‘Off Limits’’.

“As a basic principle of the international law of armed conflict—as well as basic humanity—attacks against civilian sites are prohibited, unless, for example, those civilian sites are used for military purposes. On top of the standard protection of civilian objects, hospitals have a special level of protection under international law, given that they are places of sanctuary. Those in need of medical attention should be able to receive it without fear or danger.

That is also why international law specifically requires that hospitals not be used to shield military objectives from attack, for example, if a hospital is used for “interference, direct or indirect, in military operations, such as the use of a hospital as a shelter for able-bodied combatants or fugitives, as an arms or ammunition store, as a military observation post, or as a center for liaison with combat forces,” per the U.S. Department of Defense law of war manual. Such uses can lead to a hospital losing its protected status.”

2) At the WSJ, Orde Kittrie reports that ‘The ICJ’s New Chief Judge Has a History of Bias Against Israel’.

“The ICJ charter also states that no judge “may participate in the decision of any case in which he has previously taken part” as “advocate” or in “any other capacity.” Yet Mr. Salam served as Lebanon’s ambassador to the United Nations from 2007 to 2017, repeatedly denouncing and casting votes against Israel’s military conduct and presence in the disputed territories. In addition, he has demonstrated personal bias against Israel. In 2015 he tweeted a meme that read “unhappy birthday to you: 48 years of occupation.””

3) At MEMRI, Ze’ev B Begin explains why ‘The PLO Covenant Was Never Abolished’.

“It is widely believed that, in April 1996, the PLO abolished its notorious Covenant calling for the liquidation of the State of Israel. This belief is based on PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s statement in his September 9, 1993  letter to Israel’s then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin: “The PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist […] are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.” However, the fact is that this crucial commitment was never fulfilled. In order to understand the gap between the false impression and the facts on the ground we must look back to those days and see exactly what transpired.”

4) NGO Monitor reports on ‘German Funding in Light of the October 7 Massacre’.

“Like other European governments, Germany suspended aid to Palestinians in mid-October. On December 13, 2023, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) announced the resumption of  development cooperation. According to BMZ, the internal review “has found that the safeguards are robust. No indications of the misuse of funding have been found.”

Similar reviews by the European Commission and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) reached the opposite conclusion, identifying examples of incitement to hatred and violence. Switzerland ended its contractual partnership with two Palestinian NGOs and a US-based group; and the European Commission announced the introduction of new anti-incitement contractual clauses.”

5) At the Long War Journal, David Daoud provides a three-part analysis (part one, part two, part three) titled  “Hezbollah’s narrative on Al-Aqsa Flood: Tailored to appeal to specific Western sensibilities”.

“Making public remarks for the first time during the war, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah stressed recently that the “primary goal” should be “to stop the aggression on Gaza,” because that would allow his partners in Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other allied groups to survive, rebuild, and attack Israel again in the future. Part of the fight, he said, was to “shout, write, take a stance, protest, assist, support, speak, or move in any way other than fighting.” In a subsequent speech, he was encouraged by pro-Palestinian sentiment among the American public, saying “this must be worked on, and developed, because it will have tremendous impact in the United States.”

To that end, Hezbollah has spent effort crafting a specific narrative for Al-Aqsa Flood, one that would appeal to the sensibilities of a specific subset of Westerners.”

6) At the JCPA, Dr Jacques Neriah explains why ‘Hizbullah Claims Seven Villages in Northern Galilee Are Part of Lebanon’.

“…following the 1949 armistice agreement between Lebanon and Israel, the Lebanese government accepted the demarcation of the borders between Lebanon and mandatory Palestine as drawn in 1923 (Paulet-Newcombe agreement on the delimitation of the border between Lebanon and Mandatory Palestine). Accordingly, Lebanon relinquished its claim to those seven villages, which remained under Israeli sovereignty.

A hundred years later, Hizbullah has positioned itself as the champion of those displaced residents and substituted itself for the Lebanese government; it has been demanding the restitution of those villages, even at the cost of a military confrontation with Israel.”

7) On March 7th UK Lawyers for Israel will host a webinar with Dr Matthew Bolton titled ‘Antisemitism on Social Media since 7 October’.

“The events of 7 October, the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, along with the subsequent Israeli response in Gaza, mark a pivotal moment in the Arab-Israeli conflict and Jewish life worldwide. They have sparked extensive media and public response and fervent reactions from all sides.

Social media has been central to the way this response has played out over the past months – fierce debates have been joined by denial, distortion and the harassment and abuse of Jewish and Israeli social media users. What patterns can be found in the online responses to the Hamas attacks and the subsequent war?”

Details and registration here.

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