A commentator on my previous posting (of 19 November) explicitly makes the argument anticipated but dismissed there, that weaker parties in these irregular wars will tend to see themselves as not bound by humanitarian law. He says: “Having and obeying the rules of warfare tends to be something that only the strong can do. Without supporting one side or the other it is obvious that Hamas or the PLO is not militarily able to take on the IDF in the open. To do so would be suicidal. Were I a freedom fighter (which in their eyes they are) I’d use the means I had available and stuff the rules.” (emphasis added).
It is easy to understand the sentiment that lies behind this kind of observation, and the commentator is right to observe that Hamas cannot take on the Israeli Defence Forces in conventional conflict, with any prospect of success. But it is a long way from this observation to justifying killing arbitrary Israeli citizens (not members of the military forces), which is the dominant Hamas tactic. This, as noted earlier, is simply terrorism and has been universally condemned (in United Nations resolutions, international conventions and humanitarian law) and it doesn’t matter whose ‘eyes’ we are using.