More on the legality of the Gaza blockade (which seems to be emerging as the key issue):
• From the Canadian website, The Court. A very interesting and easy to understand legal analysis of the situation. For those with limited understanding of international law like myself, a great introduction.
• Over at Opinio Juris, Kevin Jon Heller attempts to determine whether to consider Gaza and Hamas as “insurgents” or “belligerents” by drawing on a blockade situation during the American Civil War.
The importance of this rule for Israel’s blockade of Gaza is clear. It does not indicate that Israel does not have the right to blockade Gaza. What it indicates is that, for the blockade to be legal, Israel must recognize that a state of belligerency exists between it and Hamas. Which means, in turn, that Hamas soldiers, as the armed forces of the non-state actor that is Gaza, are entitled to engage in hostilities with Israel’s armed forces, cannot be prosecuted for acts of violence against those armed forces that comply with the laws of war, and must be treated as POWs upon capture.