One for Adie

Note to Hizbollah: if Israel calls a ceasefire, what do you do? Do you a) make a bid for international respect and build upon current world condemnation of Israel by playing the big boys at their own game and showing that you, too, can display restraint? Or b) say "ah fuck it" and carry on rocketing Israel. B, you say? Please yourselves.

Not that Israel is exactly observing its own ceasefire either. Well, actually it is – as the article linked to above points out, the ‘ceasefire’ allows Israel to continue to bomb suspected attack sites. So, exactly what it’s been doing so far then.

Genuine question: when is a massacre counted as a massacre? Is it a large number of people killed at once? Under what timeframe? Do they all have to be civilian? Would the deaths of all Lebanese civilians so far not count as a massacre? Does there have to be deliberate intent to kill civilians? Basically, I’m wondering why Qana is being called a massacre (as I’ve seen today – and now can’t find – Human Rights Watch is calling it a war crime though). I’m serious: why this particular attack? Is it the sheer numbers of dead in one place? The number of children? One could easily argue that the Israelis had no way of knowing if there were people in that building (though one could also easily argue they shouldn’t be targeting civilian infrastructure at all, but that’s for another day) so is there intent? Is there some definition somewhere of massacre and war crime, perhaps in the Geneva convention?

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