Monday, June 21, 2010

Example of a Post: Collective Punishment & Gaza

A lot of the HPers complain that the Israeli blockade of Gaza (which has been relaxed) is an example of collective punishment because (horror of horrors) the Gazan people suffer. Let me show you an example. 

Now, this is not the best example, but it shows how the HPers believe the Gazan people have nothing to do with Hamas' and Islamic Jihad's sporadic firing of rockets from the Gaza Strip. If this were in fact true, then the Israeli blockade would be an example of collective punishment.

Collective punishment has a very specific definition, it does not apply to every situation where a group of people suffer. Here is what the international law definition of collective punishment states:
"By collective punishment, the drafters of the Geneva Conventions had in mind the reprisal killings of World Wars I and World War II. In the First World War, Germans executed Belgian villagers in mass retribution for resistance activity. In World War II, Nazis carried out a form of collective punishment to suppress resistance. Entire villages or towns or districts were held responsible for any resistance activity that took place there. The conventions, to counter this, reiterated the principle of individual responsibility. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Commentary to the conventions states that parties to a conflict often would resort to "intimidatory measures to terrorize the population" in hopes of preventing hostile acts, but such practices "strike at guilty and innocent alike. They are opposed to all principles based on humanity and justice.""
Reprisal killings. Punishing an entire village for the actions of an individual, that the village truly had nothing to do with. However, the Hamas government of Gaza has, as we all know, everything to do with the people of Gaza. Any HPer will be quick to remind you the Hamas government was democratically elected, and therefore everything they do is in the name of the Gazan people. The Israelis knew when they elected Netanyahu that he represented them and every conflict he instigates they have to take responsibility for.

The Gazan people know, even if the HPers don't, that by electing Hamas they were electing to fight Israel. Israel's fighting back is in no way collective punishment, it is a legitimate and valid method of waging war.

1 comment:

  1. The Gazans are being responsible for the government whose actions represent them and for whom they voted. They are not exactly innocent by-standers in the conflict. They are full participants and until they elect to stop fighting Israel, they will be held accountable every time Israel is attacked. And that is not collective punishment.