Invitation I Einladung I הַזמָנָה
“Israel at War. Civil Rights, the Role of International Law and the Future of Democracy.”
The horrific mass murder and hostage-taking of Israelis and other nationals living with them or nearby by Hamas terrorists on 7 October 2023 shocked the world. The bombing of Gaza and the following ground offensive by the Israeli military have been justified by the Israeli government as acts of self-defense intended to eliminate Hamas and thus prevent any recurrence of attacks like the one on 7 October. This policy and the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza have led to international protests and calls for a cease fire, which the Israeli government rejected, although a brief interruption in the fighting was agreed to enable an exchange of a limited number of hostages for prisoners held by Israel. A large majority of the Israeli public, divided only a few months ago by the current government’s attempt to weaken the judiciary, supports the war effort. Protests by the families of those taken hostage calling on the government to assure their immediate return are being heard. Protests by Israeli peace activists, among them Arab members of the Knesset, have been prohibited by the police.
The panel discussion will consider wider implications of the conflict, going beyond the immediate military and humanitarian issues now at stake. Amichai Cohen, an expert in international legal affairs, will take note of alleged violations of international humanitarian law and the law of war by both Hamas and Israel, and will address the role of international law in the conflict. Karen Saar will discuss the question of human rights in a time of war and the present and future work of ACRI in this connection. Dorit Geva will analyze the assault on Israeli and Palestinian women’s rights prior to, and during, the Israel/Gaza war, and will also ask how polarization of the war outside Israel has contributed to the policing of who may speak, and who may be mourned, with worrisome consequences for the future of democracy in Israel.
For a statement by the Israel Studies Center on 10 October in solidarity with the people of Israel against the vicious aggression of Hamas and its allies see: http://center-for-israel-studies.at