Not less than two weeks after commemorating the deaths of Jews sixty years ago, Secretary-General Kofi Annan is back to UN business as usual - condemning Jews of today for defending themselves against a mortal threat. He ignores international law and plays to his regular political constituency - the undemocratic UN majority.
The actual state of international law, contrary to Annan's predilections: (1) Killing combatants is not illegal. It is not the targeted killings that place innocent bystanders at grave risk. The terrorists who live and operate among them place innocent bystanders at grave risk. That is why combatants who use civilians as human shields are not immune. In the words of the Geneva Conventions, the presence of "civilians shall not be used to render... areas immune from military operations... in attempts to shield military objectives from attack." (2) The overriding legal limit on the conduct of war and the targeting of combatants is the rule of proportionality. In the words of the Geneva Conventions, an attack on a military target "which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life" is prohibited if "excessive." The likelihood of civilian casualties must be carefully considered prior to taking action, but international law requires proportionality not immunity. (3) Targeted killings are not executions without trial. Combatants - including unlawful combatants who seek to make themselves indistinguishable from the civilian population - are not entitled to prior judicial process. Furthermore, judicial process in these instances is not an option, since attempted arrest by Israeli forces would place both IDF and Palestinian civilians at much greater risk of harm, and Palestinian Authority forces refuse to arrest.
Annan's statement deserves careful attention. First paragraph, condemn Israel. Second paragraph, address "all parties." First paragraph name the perpetrator - Israel. Second paragraph - the perpetrators are nameless. First paragraph, condemn Israel for violating law. Second paragraph, urge respect for law.
Eulogizing dead Jews of a generation ago at January's Holocaust memorial came easy for Kofi Annan. It was an ideal cover for nourishing the killers of this generation.