British Jewish lawyers call on Israel to respect international law
A former Supreme Court president is among Jewish figures who have raised “significant concern” over Israel’s conduct in Gaza.
In a letter to the Financial Times, eight lawyers, including Lord Neuberger and Philippe Sands KC, wrote that even though the “vile crimes perpetrated by Hamas in Israel have shaken us to our core”, the laws of war “apply irrespective of the level of outrageous conduct of an enemy”.
The other signatories are: Professor Sandra Fredman, Richard Hermer KC, Danny Friedman KC, Anthony Metzer KC, Jon Turner KC and Adam Wagner.
Of Gaza, they said: “It would be a grave violation of international law to hold them under siege and whilst doing so deprive them of basic necessities such as food and water.”
They added that “collective punishment is prohibited by the laws of war” and that “politicians and commanders” should not suggest that the laws of war can be disregarded.
“In these times of pain and terror, the notion that there are laws that we must all live by is challenging but essential. Jewish history teaches us that we cannot give up on them,” they wrote.
The letter was published yesterday – before a blast ripped through the al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza, leaving hundreds dead. The issue has become a lightning rod for anger across the Arab world, with Hamas blaming an Israeli airstrike. The Israelis, however, claim that the hospital was hit with a rocket barrage launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) militant group. PIJ denied any responsibility for the attack.