idf artillery 298 88 ap.
(photo credit: IDF [file])
A refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist and the Palestinian Authority's continued support of terror activity has granted the IDF the legal right to target and strike the Hamas Palestinian leadership, a member of the IDF General Staff told The Jerusalem Post this week.
"This new reality, in which the PA supports terror, does not prevent terror and does not recognize Israel's right to exist can legally allow for diplomatic and operational decisions that were not made in the past," the officer said.
Hamas's refusal to recognize previous agreements, including the Oslo Accords, signed by Israel and the PA, the officer said, constituted a "severe breach of contract" and placed the Palestinian leadership on the same footing as a terror group.
"If we used to make a distinction between the PA and terror groups," the officer explained, "today we can make a legal distinction between the civilian population on the one hand, and the PA including the terror groups on the other."
The officer said that there was also no reason for Israel to declare war on the Palestinian Authority since international law worked on a de facto basis and once "the PA does not stop terror, it is infected with terrorâ€¦ and becomes a side to the conflict just like terror groups are sides to the conflict." Israel, he added, would be legally allowed to strike and kill Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh if there was evidence that he engaged in and supported anti-Israel terror activity.
If Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert adopted this legal thinking the officer said, Israel would theoretically be allowed to cut off all ties with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and would be exempt from responsibility for the humanitarian developments there.
"We don't have to legally take care of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip," he said. In contrast, the officer added, the military control over the West Bank obligated Israel to care for the Palestinian population.
Meanwhile Wednesday, an IDF officer was lightly wounded during an arrest operation in Nablus. He was flown to Sheba Hospital at Tel Hashomer for medical treatment. During the raid, an IDF unit arrested two terror suspects who were reportedly in the midst of planning suicide attacks. In total, IDF troops arrested 12 Palestinian terror suspects in sweeps throughout the West Bank.
Also Wednesday, eight Kassam rockets landed in the western Negev without causing injuries. The IDF responded by firing artillery barrages at the launch sites.