Extracts from a story by Marjorie Cohn about Israel's invasion of Gaza:
'Israel has used the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the capture of a third by Palestinians as an excuse to invade Gaza with overwhelming military force and demolish its infrastructure.'
'Israel's brutal retaliation against Palestinian civilians constitutes collective punishment. Attacks on a civilian population as a form of collective punishment violate article 50 of the Hague Regulations, which provides: "No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible."
'The Fourth Geneva Convention also prohibits collective punishment. Article 33 says: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed." The Convention requires all states party to it to search for and ensure the prosecution of perpetrators of the war crime of "causing extensive destruction … not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly." Amnesty International called the deliberate attacks by Israeli forces against civilian property and infrastructure war crimes.
'Collective punishment is likewise forbidden by Article 75 of Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions. As four U.S. Supreme Court justices agreed in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld last week, Article 75 is "indisputably part of the customary international law."
And Gideon Levy of the Haaretz newspaper:
'Will the blackout of Gaza bring down the Hamas government or cause the population to rally around it? And even if the Hamas government falls, as Washington wants, what will happen on the day after? These are questions for which nobody has any real answers. As usual here: Quiet, we're shooting. But this time we are not only shooting. We are bombing and shelling, darkening and destroying, imposing a siege and kidnapping like the worst of terrorists and nobody breaks the silence to ask, what the hell for, and according to what right?'