As I stated in an earlier post, Israel has a right to defend its citizens against such wanton violence, and I fully support President Biden’s call for the United States to support our long-time ally in going after Hamas, dismantling its military capabilities, and facilitating the safe return of hundreds of hostages to their families.
But even as we support Israel, we should also be clear that how Israel prosecutes this fight against Hamas matters.
Still, the world is watching closely as events in the region unfold, and any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately backfire. Already, thousands of Palestinians have been killed in the bombing of Gaza, many of them children. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. The Israeli government’s decision to cut off food, water and electricity to a captive civilian population threatens not only to worsen a growing humanitarian crisis; it could further harden Palestinian attitudes for generations, erode global support for Israel, play into the hands of Israel’s enemies, and undermine long term efforts to achieve peace and stability in the region.
A siege of Gaza would be lawful under international law, as an expert recently noted. Moreover, as Israel’s ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog, has noted, Gaza only obtains 7% of its water from Israel in any case.
Obama ignored Israel’s long record as one of the best, if not the best, countries in the world in upholding human rights and international humanitarian law in war against a ruthless, terrorist enemy.
As Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz has said: ““No other country with comparable internal and external threats has as good a human rights record as Israel.”