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The Law and Tech of Two Targeted Killings

The New York Times recently published two fascinating pieces on two separate instances of targeted killings. The first is on the tragic denouement of the 20 years of US presence in Afghanistan – a drone strike conducted on 29 August by the US military in Kabul, purportedly against terrorists planning a second deadly attack against the international airport there. Instead of terrorists, however, the drone strike killed 10 civilians, including seven children; Zemari Ahmadi, the driver of the car struck by the drone was in fact an aid worker for a US NGO, who had hoped to seek asylum in the United States. The US military admitted its error after an investigation by the Times and journalists on the ground. The second piece is a detailed exposé of the 27 November 2020 assassination by Israeli agents of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the scientist leading the Iranian nuclear programme. This was the culmination of a series of such targeted killings of scientists involved in the Iranian nuclear programme,…

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Human Rights Watch Responds: Reflections on Apartheid and Persecution in International Law

We appreciate the rich discussion triggered by this week’s EJIL Talk! symposium, which has addressed a number of legal issues arising from our report “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.” The report has received significant media attention and sparked many useful conversations since its release in late April. But…

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The Apartheid Accusation Against Israel is Baseless – and Agenda-Driven

Human Rights Watch’s new report accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid is, despite its length, a propaganda document: full of falsehoods and distortions. The world it describes is an alternate reality. Addressing a document so agenda-driven and skewed presents the challenge of dealing with Big Lies: merely engaging with them gives at least some credibility to its…

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Uncomfortable truths: how HRW errs in its definition of “Israeli apartheid”, what is missing, and what are the implications?

The discourse on apartheid in the Israeli-Palestinian context has evolved. Coinciding with the formal opening of an investigation by the ICC (as well as the admissibility decision in the inter-State proceedings initiated by Palestine before the CERD – see here), between January and June 2021 several organisations and authors – most notably Human Rights Watch (in A…

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Apartheid, the Green Line, and the Need to Overcome Palestinian Fragmentation

Human Rights Watch’s recent report, A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution, adds to a growing body of literature that considers the relevance of apartheid to the plight of the Palestinian people. Building on early, foundational work by Palestinian and Jewish anti-Zionist scholars, the apartheid analysis allows for consideration…

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