here is the San Remo international law of blockade …


By happygoldfish
June 11, 2010
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having gone to a freshwater university, i didn't study maritime law, but it can be easily found on the internet

israel's blockade of gaza is perfectly legal under international law, and is so regarded by most governments

the international law of war at sea is laid down in …

the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, "convened by the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Adopted in June 1994", and published on the red cross website at http://www.icrc.org/web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/html/57JMSU

it is very clear, and easy to read, and other jc bloggers should study it, instead of making up the law as they wish it to be, or getting it from newspapers or television

to summarise: a blockade is a legal method of warfare, and may be used to prevent not only arms but also food from reaching enemy territory (provided that, in the case of food and other essential supplies, if supply would otherwise be inadequate, the blockading party must provide for their free passage, subject to a right of search)

it is enforceable in international waters, including by searching neutral ships, and attacking and capturing them if they try to break the blockade

and it is lawful if it satisfies paragraphs 93 to 104which israel's blockade does

now here's the details …

[attack and capture of neutral ships are dealt with by paragraphs 67 and 146 respectively, and lawful blockade is defined by paragraphs 93 to 104 …]

67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:
(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;

146. Neutral merchant vessels are subject to capture outside neutral waters if they are engaged in any of the activities referred to in paragraph 67 or if it is determined as a result of visit and search or by other means, that they:
… (f) are breaching or attempting to breach a blockade.

[N.B. "Neutral waters" are not international waters, they are only the waters of neutral states, see …
14. Neutral waters consist of the internal waters, territorial sea, and, where applicable, the archipelagic waters, of neutral States.]

[a ship is "attempting to breach a blockade" even before it reaches the declared blockade area … see for example paragraph 7.7.4 of the U.S.A.'s Commander's Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations
7.7.4. … Attempted breach of blockade occurs from the time a vessel or aircraft leaves a port or airfield with the intention of evading the blockade …
]

95. A blockade must be effective. The question whether a blockade is effective is a question of fact.

100. A blockade must be applied impartially to the vessels of all States.

[paragraphs 95 and 100 mean that if israel had let the flotilla through, it could then be claimed that the blockade was not effective, and therefore the whole blockade was illegal … this is the main legal purpose for attempting to breach the blockade]

96. The force maintaining the blockade may be stationed at a distance determined by military requirements.

98. Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.

israel went through all the necessary procedures, and was perfectly entitled to use lightly armed troops to capture a vessel attempting to breach the blockade

COMMENTS

Jon_i_Cohen

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 13:21

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2 points

Well done for the research!
Exactly so!
The blockade will continue as long as Iran, Hamas and all the various assorted cohorts of left- wing nutters seek to send arms into Gaza.


Yvetta

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 13:35

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2 points

At last! Good on yer for tracking it down.


JLCohen

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 16:45

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0 points

Alan Dershowitz, Professor of Law at Harvard, is inclined to agree: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2010/06/02/2010-06-02_israel_obeyed_...


steveabbott

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 17:05

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0 points

oh dear - the lengths you go to to justify the unjustifiable. Look, just stop, have a think about what is happening here, and start making some sensible comments.

Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal because it is - 'collective punishment of a civilian population' - so says the UN. In addition, as your happygoldfish him self states - 'provided that, in the case of food and other essential supplies, if supply would otherwise be inadequate, the blockading party must provide for their free passage, subject to a right of search'. Well that is the problem - Israel does not provide free passage of enough essential supplies for the population of Gaza. The UN says there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza because the supply of essentials is wholly inadaquate. Who was the Israeli spokesman who said that Gazans need to be put on a diet?


happygoldfish

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 21:13

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1 point

steveabbott:
The UN says there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza …

i know everyone says the un says there's a "humanitarian crisis", but this seems to be wishful thinking … i've looked for it on the internet and i can't find it

can you please provide a link to a statement, by ban ki moon or some other senior un official, that there's presently a "humanitarian crisis" in gaza?

steveabbott:
Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal because it is - 'collective punishment of a civilian population' - so says the UN.

hmm … "collective punishment" is what, for any country other than israel, would be called "economic sanctions"

anyway, all i've managed to find is a statement by john holmes (un under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs) that it is "collective punishment of the people of gaza", but nothing to suggest that it is illegal (in other words, nothing to suggest that it is "collective punishment" within the meaning of the fourth geneva convention) …

again, this seems to be wishful thinking …, can you please provide a link to a un statement that it is illegal?


Jon_i_Cohen

Fri, 06/11/2010 - 22:22

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2 points

steveabbott
You have no idea at all.
For your benefit, these are the facts on the ground:-
Since Hamas seized power in the Gaza Strip, it has politically institutionalized radical Islam in Gaza. Hamas, supported and funded by Iran, denies Israel’s right to exist and continues to build up its weapons stockpiles so as to continue attacking the Israeli civilian population. Since 2010, 140 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Hamas uses all means available to smuggle weaponry into Gaza. Whether they are using smuggling tunnels or fisherman boats, Hamas is constantly trying to smuggle in missiles, launchers, guns, explosives and materials for building weapons. IDF operations in the Gaza Strip, including the maritime closure and crossing restrictions, arise from the need to maintain the safety of the citizens of Israel from the terrorist threat in the Gaza Strip and to prevent weapons smuggling. The Ministry of Defense and the IDF allow the crossing of goods and equipment in a routine and frequent manner, and enable the transfer of people for medical, religious, welfare, business or diplomatic reasons. This summary provides facts and figures which illustrate Israel’s efforts to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
Food Products and Clothing:
1.Most types of food are allowed into the Strip, and are transferred by the private sector or by international organizations.
2.During 2009, 30,920 trucks containing 800,000 tons of supplies were transferred into Gaza. This included fruits and vegetables, meat products, poultry and fish, dairy products, sugar, rice and legumes, flour and yeast, oil, and more. Furthermore, 10,871 heads of cattle were transferred for the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha.
3.In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March), 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred in 3,676 trucks to the Strip: 48,000 tons of food products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes and footwear; 553 tons of milk powder and baby food.
4.In 2009, 572 trucks containing approximately 5,000 tons of medical supplies entered the Strip.
5.In the first quarter of 2010 (January-March) 1,068 tons of medicine and medical equipment were transferred in 152 trucks.
6.In 2009 two elevators were transferred to hospitals in Gaza, as was a CT imaging system (to the Red Cross hospital), and equipment for a mammography machine (which checks for breast cancer).
7.During the first quarter of 2010 four trucks with special supplies for a project of the “Al Quds” hospital were transferred to the Gaza Strip, and an additional 13 trucks are scheduled to cross.
8.Due to fears of a swine flu outbreak, three Israeli hospitals were assigned to treat cases in the Gaza Strip and 44,500 immunizations were transferred to the Strip.
Equipment for Essential Civilian Infrastructure:
1.In 2009 Israel transferred 41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of the electricity grid, and the state continues to provide approximately 60% of Gaza’s electricity.
2.In 2009 over 105 million liters of fuel were transferred to Gaza’s power plant and over 3.2 million liters of gas were transferred for UNWRA operations.
3.In 2009 127 trucks containing more than 3,000 tons of hypochlorite entered the Gaza Strip for water purification purposes. Moreover, 48 trucks of equipment for improving the sanitation infrastructure led to a substantial reduction in the Beit Lahya facility’s waste levels.
4.As part of the preparations made for winter, 3,607 tons of glass was transferred to the Gaza Strip. According to UN reports, windows in all education and health institutions were repaired.
5.In the first quarter of 2010 Israel transferred:
250 trucks with equipment for the UNWRA summer camp, including: arts and crafts equipment, swimming pools, inflatable toys, ice cream machines, musical instruments, clothing, sports equipment, etc.
Seven trucks with equipment for upgrading the sewage pumping station, which was carried out by UNWRA.
74 empty containers for UNWRA for use in classrooms and bathrooms
6.Certain types of materials, such as cement and iron, are more restricted. These products are openly used by Hamas for developing its arsenal, building bunkers and launching sites, and making rockets and mortars.
7.Despite the risk, the transfer of these items is also permitted under supervision, once it has been cleared that these materials are for civilian purposes only. Already in the first quarter of 2010, 23 tons of iron and 25 tons of cement were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
Movement of Residents in and out of the Gaza Strip
1.Despite the inherent dangers involved, Israel permits Gazans and visitors to travel between Gaza and Israel, from Gaza to Judea and Samaria, and abroad for medical treatment, religious pilgrimages, and business trips. Whenever possible Israel allows for diplomatic activities as well as trade and commerce with the Gaza Strip.
2.Here are a number of examples from 2009:
Delegations from abroad: 21,200 activists from international organizations from over 400 diplomatic delegations were permitted entry into Gaza, and 2,200 Palestinians employed by international organizations were given exit permits from the Gaza Strip.
Education, Vacations and Pilgrimages to Holy sites: 147 permits were given to Palestinian students for academic studies around the world. During the Christmas holiday approximately 400 permits were given to visit Bethlehem from Gaza as well 100 permits to travel abroad.
Business: 257 permits were given to businessmen from Gaza to facilitate business operations.
Sports: Special permission was given to Gazan footballers to train in Judea and Samaria and compete in international matches abroad.
Trade and Commerce
Israel has taken measures to support trade and commerce, the banking system, and the existing financial market in the Gaza Strip:
In 2009 1.1 billion NIS was transferred to the Gaza Strip for the ongoing activity of international organizations and to pay the salaries of Palestinian Authority workers.
40 million damaged bank notes were traded for new bills, and at the request of the Palestinian Monetary Fund, 282.5 million shekels were transferred from Gazan to Israeli Banks.
In February 2010 an agreement was reached with the Palestinian Authority’s National Insurance Department to ensure that pensions reached those formerly employed in Israel. The funds were deposited in banks in Judea and Samaria, while the Palestinian Authority was given the responsibility of distributing the funds to the pensioners in Gaza.
Conclusion
The State of Israel seeks to achieve regional stability and protection of her citizens. It is not in the interest of Israel to harm the people of Gaza and the state does its utmost to assist aid efforts, so as not to harm the quality of life for the residents of Gaza. Hamas, in its continued efforts to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, harms the people of Gaza and undermines further development. Despite these ever-present security threats, the IDF continues to allow the transfer of commercial goods, building materials, and medical equipment into Gaza.
All this for a territory run by an enemy avowed to the destruction of The State Of Israel.
Any (negative) comments? (not welcome).


steveabbott

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 00:23

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-1 points

lots and lots of 'facts' jon i - cant check them all, but lets take your word. well then - in gaza, clearly all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. why, you make it sound as if there is no blockade at all. what are the UN going on about? clearly a bunch of israel haters (amber).clearly Hamas are madmen - there is no Israeli aggression against gaza.

israel seeks to achieve regional stability - not doing very well then is it? perhaps stability is not best achieved by occupying and brutalising the peoples of the west bank, keeping gazans in a giant prison camp, wrecking lebanon, bombing Syria, undermining Egypt's government, alienating Turkey, ignoring UN resolutions, encouraging Iran into a nuclear arms race, undermining US efforts to contain the insurrection in Iraq. but you say israel aspires to regional stability?

my goodness - orwell had no idea.


happygoldfish

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 06:58

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1 point

jon i cohen:This summary provides facts and figures …

why does nobody on this site provide any sources (links) for their facts?

jon, you obviously copied-and-pasted all this from somewhere … but, as steveabbott obliquely points out, nobody can check it!

is it copied correctly? is it from a dubious source? it would only take you a few seconds more to add the link to the text (and you can even make the link clickable)

steveabbott:jon … you make it sound as if there is no blockade at all. what are the UN going on about?

since you're completely misquoting (or failing to quote) the un, there isn't really anything for jon to answer

we're still waiting hopefully for your links to substantiate your two (incorrect) quotations …

steveabbott:The UN says there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza …

steveabbott:Israel's blockade of Gaza is illegal because it is - 'collective punishment of a civilian population' - so says the UN.

i repeat …
can you please provide a link to a statement, by ban ki moon or some other senior un official, that there's presently a "humanitarian crisis" in gaza?
can you please provide a link to a un statement that israel's economic sanctions/blockade/"collective-punishment" is "illegal"?


steveabbott

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 13:39

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0 points

your right goldfish - sources are vital. i will provide them from now on.

i will locate sources this very day for UN statements on the illegality of the blockade, and the humanitarian crisis in gaza. while im at it i will also list UN resolutions ignored by Israel.

amber says that the UN are just a bunch of Israel haters anyway. do you accept the authority of the UN in these matters?

i dont know how you do clickable links though - anyone help?


Yvetta

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 13:53

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0 points

For the UN's gross hypocrisy, this is a good place to start:
The perfidious UN
by Isi Leibler
June 9, 2010
http://wordfromjerusalem.com/?p=2232


happygoldfish

Sat, 06/12/2010 - 16:15

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0 points

steveabbott, you can make a word or phrase a clickable link by typing:

[a href="http://www.etc"]word or phrase[/a]

(except of course with < and > instead of [ and ])
and you can make quoteboxes with

[blockquote]quote[/blockquote]

but please don't hijack my blog by going off-topic with un resolutions (unless relevant to the legality of blockade of gaza, from the security council) … if you or yvetta want to discuss the un generally, please start your own blog on it

btw, if you don't want to type my whole name, i'd prefer "happy" or "hg"

steveabbott

Sun, 06/13/2010 - 19:26

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0 points

that sounds complicated. i have drunk a bottle on wine, and think i will leave it to tommorrow to try.
ta.


happygoldfish

Wed, 06/16/2010 - 11:20

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1 point

steveabbott, it's been nearly 3 days (and you have been posting in other blogs), and as you say, "sources are vital"

so am i right in thinking that you now concede that there seems no record of the un using the words "humanitarian crisis" or "illegal" to describe the israeli-egyptian blockade,

and that the general opinion in some quarters that it has is simply wishful thinking?

(btw, if you need a preview facility, you can try the one i use, at http://www.w3schools.com/html/tryit.asp?filename=tryhtml_bodybgstyle)


happygoldfish

Thu, 06/17/2010 - 21:35

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0 points

ooh, i've just noticed that thejc.com does have a preview facility …

if we go to the send-private-message page, we can use the preview button there!

(but the http://www.w3schools.com/html/ site is still useful for html tutorials)


happygoldfish

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 16:18

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1 point

for what it's worth, israel's naval blockade is affirmed as "legal under international law" in a letter signed by 87% of the us senate and sent to president obama on the 21st june

a .pdf copy of the letter (including signatures) is available on "the hill" website at http://thehill.com/images/stories/news/2010/PDFs/reidmcconnellisraelletter.pdf

(and according to http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/138242, 75% of the house of representatives have signed a similar letter, but i can't find any confirmation of that)

oh, and, steveabbott … any reply yet?


jose (not verified)

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 18:26

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1 point

Who was the Israeli spokesman who said that Gazans need to be put on a diet?

I don't know but maybe he knew better than steveabbott and had read this chart from WHO. I think the data is dated 2004 but couldn't find a confirmation on WHO website.
But I would be surprised if that has changed much in the last six years.


happygoldfish

Thu, 06/24/2010 - 22:32

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0 points

jose, pretending that you have found data relating to gaza isn't clever

your world health organisation figures on obesity (7 years out of date) clearly do not discriminate between gaza and the west bank (and so what can this possibly have to do with the blockade?)

of course, obesity can be caused by lack of fresh meat and veg

see page 15 of "the state of nutrition, west bank and gaza strip" published in 2005 by the who, unicef, and the pa ministry of health …

One reason commonly given for obesity is the increasingly poor 'quality' of the diet. The suggestion is that adults are eating a greater quantity of cheaper starchy foods in place of fresh vegetables and meat. The is some evidence to support this view (see below)


jose (not verified)

Fri, 06/25/2010 - 01:41

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0 points

Jose, pretending that you have found data relating to gaza isn't clever

You're beginning to be tiring and wish you stopped answering me in that uselessly aggressive way.

First, I have no pretense as that data existed for years. Second, the data doesn't have to discriminate between West Bank and Gaza since, as I said clearly, it was taken before the blockade. And third it is obvious from all these figures that Muslim countries have big obesity problems and that it is a overfeeding and inappropriate diet problem rather that predated the blockade.

One thing is certain from all what I have seen during the Cast lead operation: the obesity problem did not disappear after two years of blockades.
So you can assume that obesity was caused by poor diet before AND after, but you cannot assume the blockade was responsible for it. The report you quoted and that I have read before you mentioned it does not blame the blockade either since it also predates it, by the way.

But nice try! LOL!


happygoldfish

Sun, 07/11/2010 - 19:32

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0 points

san remo or helsinki?

i have just become aware of the 1998 "helsinki principles on the law of maritime neutrality", adopted in 1998 by the international law association, and quoted on several other websites

i can't find any reference to them in wikipedia, nor any authoritative online copy of them (though there is http://www.vilp.de/Enpdf/e025.pdf, published by the "international law project" of the Viadrina European University)

so far as i can make out, the san remo document is regarded as more authoritative, eg see "the law of naval warfare at the turn of two centuries" by j ashley roach in the american journal of international law vol 94 no 1 pp 64-77 (2000) …

The most recent, comprehensive international document articulating the modern law of naval warfare is the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, prepared under the auspices of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law, to which frequent reference will be made below. More recently, the International Law Association …

… and i assume (it's not publicly available online) it goes on to say something like "in 1998 published the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality"

in particular, the san remo document is published on the international red cross website, but the helsinki principles are not even mentioned on that website

for what it is worth, the legality of blockade is dealt with in the helsinki principles at sections 5.2.10 and 5.3, but in considerably less detail than in the san remo document …

5.2.10 Blockade
Blockade, i.e. the interdiction of all or certain maritime traffic coming from or going to a port or coast of a belligerent, is a legitimate method of naval warfare. In order to be valid, the blockade must be declared, notified to belligerent and neutral States, effective and applied impartially to ships of all States. A blockade may not bar access to neutral ports or coasts. Neutral vessels believed on reasonable and probable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be stopped and captured. If they, after prior warning, clearly resist capture, they may be attacked.

5.3 Relief
A blockade may not be used to prevent the passage of relief consignments which has to be free according to the applicable rules of international humanitarian law, in particular those contained in Articles 23, 59 and 61 of the Fourth Geneva Convention or Articles 69 and 70 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions.

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