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Israeli President’s Controversial Remarks on Gaza Conflict: Analyzing Responsibility and International Law

The Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, recently found himself at the center of controversy for his remarks about the Gaza conflict. He asserted that nobody in Gaza, including Palestinian civilians, is innocent as Israel conducts airstrikes against Hamas. In this article, we will delve into Herzog's statement, dissect the context, and examine its implications, all while considering international law.

Understanding Herzog's Statement

Isaac Herzog's statement, where he claimed that all Palestinians bear some responsibility for the rise of Hamas and its attack on Israel, came during a press conference. He was responding to questions about the humanitarian impact of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Let's break down his statement and its nuances.

 Examining Herzog's Perspective

Herzog emphasized that Israel is operating within the rules of international law, vehemently defending the country's actions. He stated, "We are working, operating militarily, according to rules of international law, period. Unequivocally." This declaration sets the stage for understanding Herzog's viewpoint.

 The Responsibility of the Palestinian Population

The core of Herzog's assertion is that the Palestinian population, as a whole, bears some responsibility for the situation. He contended, "It's an entire nation out there that is responsible. It's not true this rhetoric is about civilians not aware, not involved. It's absolutely not true." Herzog's statement implies that civilians in Gaza could have taken action against Hamas but didn't.

Addressing the Notion of Civilian Responsibility

Herzog further elaborated, "They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime that took over Gaza in a coup d’etat. But we're at war. We are at war. We are at war." This statement raises questions about the extent to which civilians can be held responsible for the actions of a ruling regime during a conflict.

Defending Home and Nation

Herzog justified Israel's actions by stating, "We are defending our homes. We're protecting our homes. That's the truth. And then, when a nation protects its home, it fights. And we will fight until we break their backbone." This section highlights the Israeli perspective on the conflict as a defense of their homeland.

 Clarifying Mischaracterizations

When challenged by Channel 4 reporter Matt Frei, who suggested that Herzog held the civilians of Gaza responsible for not removing Hamas, Herzog defended his statements. He clarified, "No, I didn't say that. I did not say that — I want to make it clear." This section aims to clarify Herzog's position and address potential mischaracterizations.

 Self-Defense and Civilians

Herzog emphasized the concept of self-defense, stating, "If you have a missile in your goddamn kitchen and you want to shoot it at me, am I allowed to defend myself? Yes." This segment delves into the complex moral and legal questions surrounding self-defense and civilian casualties in conflict zones.

International Law and Humanitarian Concerns

Despite Herzog's claim that Israel is operating within the bounds of international law, there are concerns raised by international bodies. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, accused Israel of violating international law by cutting off electricity and water to Gaza ahead of a "total siege." This allegation poses questions about the legality of actions taken during the conflict and their impact on civilians.


In conclusion, Isaac Herzog's remarks have sparked debate regarding the responsibility of civilians in conflict zones and the interpretation of international law. It is essential to consider the broader context of the Gaza conflict and its impact on civilian populations while scrutinizing the statements made by political leaders. The ongoing situation in Gaza underscores the importance of adhering to international law and safeguarding the well-being of innocent civilians, irrespective of their nationality or location.

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