Israeli civilians versus Palestinian combatants ? : reading the Goldstone report in light of the Israeli conception of the principle of distinction
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Leiden Journal of International Law, Vol. 24, issue 4, December 2011, p. 961-988
Goldstone's recent retraction can leave the reader of the report that bears his name somewhat perplexed. Indeed, if the deliberate intent to target civilians could be discussed in some specific attacks listed, such a report nevertheless describes a pattern of behaviour that cannot be swept aside without disregarding the order of priorities set by the Israeli legal system itself. Through analysis of the new Israeli military code of ethics as well as the Israeli Supreme Court case law, this paper examines how civilians in Gaza were deliberately put at risk by a specific interpretation breaking down the flat rule of civilian immunity into a more complex construction opposing the Israeli soldiers' right to life to the rights of an "enemy population".