Issue 89

Urban Warfare, Collateral Civilian Deaths, and the Laws of War

Thursday, December 21, 2023

In this issue of Strategika, scholars assess Israel's military operations in response to attacks by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups, offering a comprehensive examination of the challenges posed by urban combat and the intricacies of adhering to the laws of war.

Drawing parallels with the Battle of Manila in 1945, Peter Mansoor in the background essay, explores the dilemma faced by military commanders in balancing military objectives with the protection of civilians, projecting a potentially similar future for Gaza.

In another essay, Josef Joffe frames the conflict in Gaza as an example of asymmetric warfare, stressing the inherent challenges faced by invading forces in urban settings. Joffe also analyzes Israel's combat operations, highlighting both military hardware capabilities and strategic measures. 

Finally, John Yoo and Jeremy Rabkin focus on legal and policy issues surrounding the nature of the war in Gaza, asserting Israel's right to self-defense while emphasizing the complexities of applying international law in asymmetric conflicts.  

How should political and military leaders treat the presence of civilians when planning operations in an urban setting?

overlay image