Innocence amid the Israel-Hamas war

It is impossible not to feel the world’s deep anguish over yet another war with a heavy toll for civilians. After deadly cross-border attacks by Palestinian Hamas fighters last weekend, Israel is preparing a military operation into the Gaza Strip. The crisis comes at a moment when the Middle East appeared to be moving into a new era of warmer relations between Israel and many Arab states.

Yet even as the war escalates, it is also triggering widespread calls for the protection of the innocent, one of the principles in international humanitarian law and a value that strengthens the possibility of peace.

“It should be possible to stand with the residents” of the villages in southern Israel struck by Hamas “while still remembering that living on the other side are human beings just like them,” wrote Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist, in Haaretz. “It should be possible, even in the current atmosphere, to speak about Gaza in human terms.”

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