International law governing warfare is based on the four Geneva conventions, which were revised and expanded after World War II. The fourth convention governs the protection of civilians. The conventions were updated by two protocols in 1977, in large part to deal with African guerrilla movements, to govern the protection of victims in international and non-international armed conflicts.
Israel has not ratified the protocols, but says it has adopted the main points into its own code of conduct.
While countries and militaries conduct internal investigations, and occasionally courts-martial, it is unclear in what forum any international war crimes trial would take place; neither the United States nor Israel, for example, has accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
* First Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field (first adopted in 1864, last revision in 1949).
* Second Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea (first adopted in 1906).
* Third Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War (first adopted in 1929, last revision in 1949).
* Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (first adopted in 1949, based on parts of the 1907 Hague Convention IV).
* Protocol I (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007, it had been ratified by 167 countries.
* Protocol II (1977): Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. As of 12 January 2007, it had been ratified by 163 countries.
To read the ethical doctrine of the Israel Defense Forces:
http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/about/doctrine/ethics.htmFor Israel’s ethical doctrine on fighting terrorism, see:
Asa Kasher, “The Military Ethics of Fighting Terror: An Israeli Perspective” (with A. Yadlin); “Journal of Military Ethics” 4:1 (2005), 3-32, and Responses, in the same edition, pp 71-76.
http://www.alhaq.org/pdfs/Legal_Brief_Gaza_Cast_Lead_Jan.pdf.Two good collections in paperback are:
“Documents on the Laws of War,” edited by Adam Roberts and Richard Guelff, Oxford University Press, and “The Handbook of Humanitarian Law in Armed Conflicts,” edited by Dieter Fleck, also Oxford University Press.