War has reignited the Middle East after a multipronged surprise attack on southern Israel by Hamas. The attack and retaliation have killed thousands on both sides and left hundreds of thousands wounded and homeless.
As evidence of Hamas’ atrocities mounts and concerns about conditions in Gaza grow, now is an especially important time for international law governing warfare and human rights law to be observed, Northeastern University professor of law and international affairs Zinaida Miller says. “This feels like the moment when nobody feels like they want to pay attention to those rules, but these are when those rules are most in play,” says Miller, an expert in human rights and international law who joined Northeastern in 2022.
Miller references an opinion piece by Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard about the laws of war being crucial in moments of high emotion and vengeful cycles. “It is more than understandable that the Israeli Jewish public would be calling for military response and obvious that battles would be fought throughout southern Israel with Hamas fighters,” Miller says, referencing the article. “But the point of calling on international law is to say that regardless of any personal or political will, civilians on all sides must be protected.