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Questions and Answers: The Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza

International Law Obligations are Non-Reciprocal: One War Crime Doesn’t Excuse Another

Published in: The New Yorker
 Palestinian men carry bread through a heavily bombed street following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City on October 10, 2023.   © 2023 Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Sari Bashi, Human Rights Watch Program Director, as interviewed by Isaac Chotiner of The New Yorker. 

On Friday, October 13, Israel began warning more than a million Palestinians who live in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes. It did so while continuing its bombing campaign, which it says is meant to destroy Hamas, the terrorist group that brutally murdered over thirteen hundred Israelis last weekend. The United Nations has said that a relocation of so many civilians from such a densely populated area is “impossible”; already, more than twenty-four hundred Palestinians have been killed. To help understand the situation in Gaza, I recently spoke by phone with Sari Bashi, the program director at Human Rights Watch. She also co-founded the organization Gisha, which works on human rights issues in Gaza, and she is currently in the West Bank. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed her specific concerns about Israel’s military action, the challenges of evacuating Gaza, and how human rights advocates wrestle with different types of atrocities.

This is not the first Israeli incursion into Gaza since Hamas took control of the territory, in 2007. What human rights norms has Israel observed and not observed in prior incursions?

Read the complete interview on the website of The New Yorker >>

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