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Law can’t stop “catastrophic violence” in Israel-Hamas war, Northeastern faculty expert says

Scenes during the Issues of International Law and Human Rights for Palestinians and Israelis event held in East Village on Nov. 8, 2023.

It “doesn’t give us all the answers,” but law can provide “accountability” and “advocacy” in relation to conflicts such as the Israel-Hamas war, Northeastern professor of law and international affairs Zinaida Miller said Wednesday afternoon.

“International law can do some things; I think legitimately it does quite a lot of important things in the world,” Miller said during the first talk in the Crisis Conversation Series on the war. In terms of stopping the “catastrophic violence” in Israel and Gaza, however, Miller said, law can also be unsatisfying. “It doesn’t solve this problem,” Miller said. “It rarely gives you the straight answer that you’re looking for.”

The Crisis Conversation Series on the Israel-Hamas war is being hosted by the Center for International Affairs and World Cultures and features multiple moderated discussions with Northeastern faculty experts. It is designed to provide context, foster learning and promote dialogue. The talks in the series are open to Northeastern community members who have preregistered. 

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