Israel, Hizbollah, and the Second Lebanon War
Yearbook of International Humanitarian Law, Vol. 9, 2006
29 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2008
Date Written: 2006
This article analyses ius in bellum questions arising from the 2006 war in Lebanon between Israel and Hizbollah. In particular, it examines Israel's claim to self-defence, Hizbollah's and Lebanon's international responsibility for the attack to which Israel responded. The analysis highlights the evolving role of irregular forces, and its impact on existing international legal norms. In particular, the Lebanon conflict re-introduces, albeit with new characteristics, an old challenge, namely the regulation of conflict between a state on the one hand, and an irregular force acting from the territory of a passive neighboring state, on the other hand. Tentative conclusions offered are that the wide acceptance of Israel's claim to self-defence, in a marked difference to past reactions, reflects the shifting attitudes towards acts of irregular military forces, particularly when characterized as terrorist acts. Second, there appears to be greater acknowledgement that the term 'armed attack' must be interpreted with elasticity to accommodate not new, but increasingly visible, phenomena. Finally, the recognition of a right to self-defence against an irregular force requires a more careful exploration of the relationship between the victim state and the host state. For example, the extensive criticism of Israel's excessive use of force may eventually overshadow the acknowledgement of its right to self-defence. This conflict is therefore likely to play a role in the development of international law in many of the issues considered here.
Keywords: Israel, Lebanon, Hizbollah, ius ad bellum, armed attack, self defence, State responsibility, non-State actor, irregular forces
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation