Israel and the Law


National Radio had an expert in the “Law of the Sea” on Morning Report earlier to discuss the Australian legal action against Japan.

They then asked (since the expert was there) for the law surrounding what Israel did.

She first pointed out that it’s not piracy. Piracy can’t be committed by states.

Second, under international peacetime law, the boarding was not legal. However, during a war such things are legal.

It was also pointed out that many of the things Israel has done in the past that have been “found to be illegal” weren’t actually binding rulings, but rather advisory ones. I seem to recall that Israel doesn’t participate in those situations, so with no defense offered it’s hardly surprising to get those outcomes.

Audio here.

Robinson: Right, now while I’ve got you there since you’re an expert on the law of the sea, what Israel’s been doing in the Mediterianian, declaring the blockade, is that covered under the law of the sea?

Mossop: Well, it’s a complicated situation because under the peaceful law of the sea Israel’s boarding of the foreign flagged ship in international waters would be Illegal. It’s not piracy because piracy can’t be undertaken by a state.

But the problem is of course is that Israel maintains that it is in a state of war, and the blockade policy is in fact permitted under the laws of war. So what we have here is a real problem because Israel maintains that it’s justified in maintaining a blockade under rules of war, whereas a lot of the International community considers that that blockade is in fact unlawful and therefore they consider the laws that are applicable in peacetime to apply.

And so Essential you have a fundamental conflict between those two positions.

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