John is joined by Major Ben Wahlhaus who serves in the International Law Department of the Israel Defense Forces. They discuss the application of the international law of armed conflict to the current operations in the Gaza Strip, including the sources of that law and the role that the International Law Department of the IDF plays in trying to assure compliance. They also discuss the three cardinal principles of targeting: distinction (which prohibits intentionally targeting civilians or civilian objects), precautions (which requires taking all feasible measures to mitigate civilian harm), and proportionality (which for each individual attack requires balancing the anticipated military advantage against the expected civilian harm) and the rules, procedures, and policies the IDF has in place to follow these principles in every attack. They also discuss the distinction between war crimes and crimes against humanity and apply both legal standards to the actions of Hamas and the IDF after October 7. They discuss Major Wahlhaus’ day to day activities as a lawyer adviser to the IDF. Finally, they discuss the action South Africa brought before the World Court alleging that Israel is currently engaged in war crimes as well as genocide, including the Major’s role as part of Israel’s defense team and the evidence presented concerning Israel’s efforts to mitigate civilian harm.
Published: Feb 1 2024