A Military Strike On Iran Would Be Illegal, Regardless Of Its Nuclear Status

Speaking yesterday at the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly (a tough crowd), Likud chairman and former Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used apocalyptic language to emphasise the threat posed by Iran, not only to Israel but to the entire world. "Everything else pales before this," he intoned gravely.

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Massacre In Beit Hanoun - It's Alright, It Wasn't Intentional

"We saw legs, we saw heads, we saw hands scattered in the street".

Those are the words of Attaf Hamad, resident of the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun which today has suffered the single deadliest Israeli attack on the Palestinians in four years. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) artillery shells killed at least 18 Palestinians, wounding dozens more.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, all of those killed and wounded were civilians. Eight children and seven women were among the dead and 18 of the victims were from the same family.

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Civilian suffering in Lebanon is not "unintended". It is desired.

Senior IAF commanders have admitted that Hizbullah rockets cannot be stopped from the air.

And yet the air-strikes continue. The Lebanese Red Cross reports that four civilians were killed and 10 wounded in IAF strikes against bridges north of Beirut, and the suburbs of south Beirut were again bombarded by Israeli missiles. At-least 20 people were killed today in an Israeli air-strike near the Lebanon-Syria border. Today alone Israel has conducted at least 30 air-strikes aimed at cutting off the South of Lebanon from the rest of the country. Pity all those Lebanese left behind - they are now, more than ever, considered by the Israeli High Command as legitimate targets.

So we've got recognition that air-strikes aren't going to stop Hizbullah, but yet we've got a continuation (and, indeed, an expansion) in air-strikes. Does this not suggest that perhaps the primary goal of Israeli air-strikes has nothing to do with direct hits upon Hizbullah rocket launchers? If that isn't their main purpose, then what is?

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Is Israeli-Lebanese War Over Water?

In my research of this area I have discovered that there has been a threat of war for years over waters being diverted from the Wazzani River in Lebanon, and Israel's alleged attempts at taking water from the Jordan and the Litani Rivers. Therefore, is taking out Lebanon's pumps and gaining control of the Litani and Wazzani Rivers now also part of the plan of these current attacks?

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A "please explain" on torture

As a civilised country, the US is a party to the Convention Against Torture. In addition to not torturing people or subjecting them to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, one of the obligations on parties is to make regular reports to the UN Committee Against Torture. This year, for the first time since the beginning of the "war on terror", the US will face the Committee. And they have some questions to ask. Quite a lot of them, in fact [PDF]. Starting with
Please explain how [the US definition of torture as only including "extreme acts"] is compatible with article 1 of the Convention

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