go to top
Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, July 29, 2014 (AP photo by Hatem Moussa).

There’s No Such Thing as ‘Precision’ Explosives in Urban Warfare

Friday, May 28, 2021

In the wake of the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, Israel remains in the spotlight for the civilian casualties and widescale destruction of civilian areas caused by its attacks on Gaza. Like most democracies whose air wars kill large numbers of civilians, Israel claims the moral high ground. Though acknowledging that the harm caused to civilians was regrettable, Israel argues that its armed forces took all feasible precautions to avoid it, while taking care to aim their strikes at Hamas military targets. By contrast, according to Israel, Hamas was targeting Israeli civilians directly and intentionally.

But this kind of thinking misses an important point in the laws of war. The requirement to avoid indiscriminate attacks is more than just an injunction against targeting civilians directly. It also prohibits attacks using weapons systems that would be incapable of being directed at a specific military objective in the particular context of their use, because their effects cannot be limited or are of a nature to strike military and civilian objects without distinction. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.