Hamas’ Use of Lawfare During Operation CAST LEAD

Hamas’ Use of Lawfare During Operation CAST LEAD

By Maxwell Kligerman (Lawfare Project Student Fellow)**

This paper explores the feasibility of utilizing lawfareas a potential tool to explain the Palestinian civilian casualty rate during Israel’s three-week long campaign against Hamas in 2008-2009 known as Operation CAST LEAD. This paper analyzes three main components of the Gaza War as they pertain to lawfare: 1) Is there evidence to demonstrate that Hamas utilized a strategy of lawfare during the war? 2) If so, how could this strategy have resulted in an increased number of Palestinian civilian casualties? 3) Was this an effective strategy for Hamas?  Drawing on a wide variety of sources, this paper concludes that Hamas did use a strategy of lawfare; however, these tactics only partially explain the Palestinian civilian casualty rate during the war.  This paper also explains that Hamas’ strategy met with varying degrees of success.  It proved tactically ineffective on the battlefield, but at the same time the strategy has proven highly effective in the post engagement propaganda war that has ensued since the conflict.

**Maxwell Kligerman is a senior at Duke University graduating on May 15, 2011. He majored in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations. Maxwell will be moving to Israel this August as a Dorot Fellow. He hopes to pursue a career in medicine working in the field of global health.