The Israeli air force's night-time bombing of an apartment building in the occupied Palestinian territories has been widely condemned for its disregard for civilians. But it is Israelis, not the world community, who can exert the most pressure to stop a repeat of such acts. The raid on a crowded section of Gaza City killed its target, the military chief of the radical Palestinian militant group Hamas. His bodyguard also died, but so too did 13 civilians, among them nine children. As a crime of war, it was no worse than any of the dozens of suicide bombings carried out during the past 20 months by Palestinians on Israeli targets. Many young people at busy nightspots have been murdered by the bombers. Israel's actions on Monday night were different. It was sanctioned by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with the knowledge that a powerful bomb dropped from an F-16 plane on sleeping people provided no chance for escape. Mr Sharon has long argued that palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is a war criminal who has personally ordered the suicide bombings. While Mr Arafat's denials of the charge cannot be proved, there is also little doubt that some attacks have been individually planned or directed by groups who no longer support Mr Arafat. The debate at the United Nations Security Council is that a case against Israel's leaders should be filed with the newly-established International Criminal Court. Although the court's statutes were created with serious crimes such as genocide in mind, some articles could be legally interpreted to include any crime committed during a conflict. For now, this cannot apply to the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel has not signed the court's statutes and the Palestinians do not have their own state under which they can call for an inquiry. The remaining avenue, the Security Council, is dominated by the United States, Israel's close ally and a permanent member with the power of veto. The Geneva Conventions do have provisions under which the Palestinians could seek recourse, but a lack of international will exists to allow this route. Lesser international pressure can be exerted on Israel and its allies through economic and military sanctions, but such measures will have slow and limited effects. More meaningful force can be exerted by the Israeli people. Some have already voiced disapproval and one group has filed papers with the Israeli Supreme Court. This is a start, although it is through more vocal agitation and ultimately the ballot box that Israelis can be best heard.