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The Right of Armed Self-Defense in International Law and Self-Defense Arguments Used in the Second Lebanon War

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The contemporary concept of self-defense is complex and confusing. Every country recognizes the right of self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter, however, when it comes to any deviation from its wording, disputes arise. The main questions today which remain quite controversial are whether preemptive and preventive strikes are allowed in international law, does desire to protect nationals qualify as a suitable reason for invoking self-defense and whether the self-defense against "terrorism of global reach" is a new, individual concept of international law or if it is an extension of the classic theory, and whether it is self-defense at all. The July War (the Second Lebanon War) sparked many debates among legal scholars, amidst them a question, whether Israel's actions fall within the scope of permissible self-defense. Two years after the conflict, there is nothing but a few articles written on this matter and academics tend to avoid the issue, although the question requires utmost attention. The aim of this paper is to determine whether the events prior to the Israeli attack can be considered valid grounds for self-defense under article 51 of the UN Charter and whether Israel's retaliation complies with public international law.


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