The Israel-Lebanon conflict has highlighted difficult questions surrounding military responses to terrorist attacks. While Israel's response was forceful, this Comment argues that it was legitimate under international law. There are inevitable problems that arise when a nation faces a terrorist militia that hides among civilians and generally operates outside the confines of international law. The wisdom of maintaining rigid laws of war given changing battlefield norms is a topic that is outside the scope of this Comment. Instead, this Comment will closely analyze Israel's controversial actions both under the international customary rules of war and the sometimes aspirational Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions. If found to have been in violation of international law, the individuals carrying out the attacks on behalf of Israel could be held criminally or civilly liable under customary international law. Part II of this Comment explores the background and history of the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Part III examines the history and development of the rules of war from early Christian theories of just war to the modern codification of the rules of war. Part IV focuses on the doctrine of proportionality, particularly the different methods commonly employed to determine whether a response is proportionate. Part IV also suggests an appropriate definition of proportionality in the context of combating international terrorism. Part V considers the doctrine of military necessity with particular analysis of identifying military targets and interpreting definite military advantage. Finally, Part VI addresses the doctrines of humanity and distinction with regard to the method of attack used in strikes and the weapons used to distinguish between military and civilian populations.
Fighting Terrorism: Assessing Israel's Use of Force in Response to Hezbollah,
San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol45/iss1/9