A moment to interject that even in war there are international laws, though these may morally be less clear. Legal minds see events differently.
An article in NYT by David French, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a former constitutional litigator:
For any who cannot read but want a balanced view, I reprint in part
While some of the people protesting Israel are vicious anti-Semites, there are many millions of others who look at the undeniable horror in Gaza and are understandably desperate for it to stop. Any decent human being looks at the toll in civilian life — especially the toll in children’s lives — and recoils.
There’s a certain misguided logic in focusing most peace efforts on Israel. Israel, unlike Hamas, has demonstrated in years past that it will respond to international pressure. This means that protesting Israel feels less futile than protesting Hamas. In addition, protesters may believe that Hamas has been punished enough or that the civilian price is just too high, even if it means that Hamas survives to attempt “a second, a third, a fourth” attack, as a member of the Hamas Politburo, Ghazi Hamad, promised in an interview on Lebanese television on Oct. 24.
I have a different view. World pressure, including pressure from diplomats and from the streets, should focus on Hamas. Demand that it end the war by laying down its arms and freeing the hostages. By focusing on Israel, the protests and other forms of public pressure have the effect of undermining the core principles of the law of armed conflict and the rules-based international order itself.
I know that sounds like a bold claim, but let’s take a step back and look at the modern history of attempting to regulate, limit and (hopefully) abolish war. The goals have been clear — outlaw wars of aggression, enforce the law of war and preserve the system by defeating aggressors and holding lawbreakers personally accountable for their crimes.
Yet the public demands for a cease-fire advance the interests of the unlawful aggressor (even if protesters hate Hamas) by attempting to block Israel’s exercise of its inherent right to self-defense. A cease-fire is different from a humanitarian pause. A cease-fire instead leaves the attacking force in place, able to rest, rearm and attack again — as it has promised it will do.
I’m not naïve. I don’t for a moment believe that defeating Hamas and removing it from power solves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel cannot live up to its own democratic promise or its own liberal ideals if, for example, it indulges its own dangerous radicals. But I do know that placing more pressure on Israel than Hamas to end the conflict and save civilian lives is exactly backward. The international system depends on opposing the aggressor and punishing crimes. Protests that aim their demands more at Israel than Hamas impede justice, erode the international order and undermine the quest for a real and lasting peace.