Operation Cast Lead: The Elusive Quest for Self-Defense in International Law

22 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2013

Date Written: 2009


On December 27, 2008, Israel launched a 22-day military offensive against Gaza called “Operation Cast Lead.” Israeli forces killed some1,300 Palestinians, including 280 children, and injured approximately 4,300 others, including 1,100 children. Civilians comprised nearly 70 percent of the Palestinian death toll. The aerial and ground offensive also destroyed 2,900 homes, 29 schools, 121 commercial and industrial workshops, 60 police stations, and 30 mosques. During the Operation, thirteen Israelis were killed including three civilians and four soldiers killed by friendly fire. This article explores whether Israel's offensive qualifies as an act of self-defense. It concludes that applied to either the Charter framework or the Customary law one, Israel’s military offensive against Gaza fails to qualify as an act of self-defense because of its disproportionate nature.

Keywords: Gaza, Israel, self-defense, jus ad bellum, jus in bello, operation cast lead, human rights, proportionality, targeting, civilians

JEL Classification: K10, K33, N45, Z00

Suggested Citation

Erakat, Noura, Operation Cast Lead: The Elusive Quest for Self-Defense in International Law (2009). 36 Rutgers L. Rec. 164 (2009) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2218807

Noura Erakat (Contact Author)

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics