Prof. Samuel Estreicher (NYU) on The Laws of War, as to the Hamas-Israel War
Those who argue Israel does not have a right of self defense make two claims: First, they argue that Israel’s “inherent right” is nullified because it is the “occupying power” of the Gaza Strip; and, second, they argue that the right of self-defense in Article 51 of the UN Charter applies only to force against other states, not non-state actors like Hamas.
Both arguments are unavailing. It is highly doubtful that Israel qualifies as an “occupying” power of the Gaza Strip because once it withdrew all military forces from Gaza in 2005, it has exercised no authority over the territory, which is a requirement under international law before assuming the responsibility of an occupying power. UN groups like the Human Rights Council counter that the status of “occupier” still applies because Israel has imposed stringent limits on travel to and trade with Gaza. And yet Egypt has (mostly) sealed off Gaza’s other border without being termed an occupying power.
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