Eric Posner’s Wall Street Journal article (June 4, 2010), “The Gaza Blockade and International Law,” examines the legality of Israel’s actions aboard the Mava Marmari “Gaza flotilla.” Posner also debunks legal claims made by Human Rights Watch (HRW) regarding Israel’s policies in Gaza and aboard the ship. NGO Monitor previously documented HRW’s flawed methodology and misuse of international legal and human rights terminology to condemn Israel, as in the Gaza war.

Posner discusses two of HRW’s legal allegations concerning Israel, deflating both

1: “Human Rights Watch argues that a blockade to strike at a terrorist organization constitutes a collective penalty against a civilian population, in violation of Article 33 of the fourth Geneva Convention. This argument won’t stand up. Blockades and other forms of economic sanction are permitted in international law, which necessarily means that civilians will suffer through no fault of their own” [emphasis added].

2: “Human Rights Watch says that Israel’s actions [on the Gaza flotilla] violated the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. However, that document is not international law; its principles are akin to a set of ‘best practices’ for advising countries with poorly trained police forces. It is also vague and it would not apply to a military operation” [emphasis added].

HRW’s distorted analyses of international law are part of a biased view of the conflict. The political objective of these distortions is to manufacture interpretations of international law that result in condemnations of Israel. International law, however, “won’t stand up” to HRW’s misrepresentations.