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Palestinian Right of Self-Defense

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Palestinian Right of Self-Defense - by Stephen Lendman

Repeatedly, Israel preemptively bombs, shells, and inflicts other forms of lawless violence on Gazans, bogusly claiming self-defense. 

When they respond, Israel calls it terrorism, claiming justification for greater attacks in "self-defense," what international law prohibits.

In fact, UN Charter Article 2(4) says:

"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."

Only two exceptions apply. Under Chapter VII, the Security Council may authorize force to restore peace. Individual states must abide by Chapter VII, Article 51 stating:

"Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security."

In addition, individual states may use defensive force against armed attacks until the Security Council acts. No other exceptions apply, including armed reprisals. Calling them unlawful, the General Assembly said all states must refrain from using them.

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The right of self-defense is limited solely to deterring armed attacks, preventing future ones after initial assaults, or reversing the consequences of enemy aggression, such as ending an illegal occupation.

Even then, however, force must conform to the principles of necessity, distinction, and proportionality. 

Necessity permits only attacking military targets. 

Distinction pertains to distinguishing between civilian and military ones. 

Proportionality prohibits disproportionate force likely to damage nonmilitary sites and/or harm civilian lives.

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Moreover, a fourth consideration requires preventing unnecessary suffering, especially affecting noncombatant civilians.  

If these objective aren't possible, attacks are prohibited.

Moreover, to a limited degree, anticipatory self-defense is permitted when compelling evidence shows likely imminent threats or further attacks after initial ones. 

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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