International Humanitarian Law and "Wars on Terror": A Comparative Analysis of Israeli and American Doctrines and Policies
The second intifada and the U.S. “global war on terror,” though quite different, both involve asymmetrical warfare that pits powerful states against non-state organizations. This article focuses on international humanitarian law (IHL) to assess and compare how Israeli and American doctrines and policies for waging “wars on terror” have departed from international consensus on norms and rules for military engagement in occupied territories and the treatment of enemy prisoners. Neither Israel nor the United States ignores IHL; rather, they seek to reinterpret it in a manner that permits the pursuit (militarized or otherwise) of political agendas, even while claiming the reinterpretation to be legally valid.
LISA HAJJAR is an associate professor and chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of Courting Conflict: The Israeli Military Court System in the West Bank and Gaza (University of California Press, 2005).