The article argues that throughout her history Israel has evinced sensitivity to international law requirements. Over time, however, changes have occurred in the mindset within which that attitude is framed. Broadly speaking, during the early years of statehood, Israel's expressions of respect for international law articulated an essentially utilitarian attempt to gain legitimacy. More recent pronouncements, by contrast, reflect two other developments, which to some extent interact. One is the growing diffusion of the decision-making process in Israel with regard to national security affairs. The second is the growing influence within Israeli political and public life of several institutions, governmental and non-governmental, whose respect for international law is based on their perception of the intrinsic legitimacy of that corpus.
The article illustrates the impact of those processes, inter alia through an examination of the influence exerted by the IDF's International Law Branch (DABLA), especially with reference to targeted killings.