The International Bar Association (IBA) strongly condemns the heinous attacks on Israel by the militant group Hamas. These indiscriminate and targeted atrocities against Israeli citizens contravene an unequivocal, non-derogable prohibition under international law. The murder of civilians, the assaults, and the trespass into private homes to kill and maim are all internationally recognised crimes of profound gravity; the abductions and taking of hostages, including women, children and the elderly, are crimes in violation of human rights and humanitarian law.
Israel has an inherent right to self-defence from these unlawful attacks. However, in doing so, it, too, must ensure that civilian populations are shielded from harm and that military actions are conducted with a clear commitment to the international legal principles of distinction and proportionality.
The IBA, representing the global voice of the legal profession, urges all international institutions and governments to use their best diplomatic efforts to secure the release of the hostages, to prevent the escalation of violence in the region and to return to the peace tables so that a just solution is achieved between Israel and Palestine.