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Israel And Gaza: The Moral Debate47:18
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Israel and Gaza, we look at the moral stakes and charges of criminality.

Palestinians look for survivors under the rubble of the al-Bakri family home destroyed by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians look for survivors under the rubble of the al-Bakri family home destroyed by an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. (AP/Hatem Moussa)

A 72-hour cease-fire over Gaza appeared to be taking hold this morning.  Israel saying its troops are out.  Hamas saying it’s ready to talk.  Maybe the nearly month-long firestorm over Gaza and the skies of Israel will end.  But what just happened here?  Day after day, the world saw the rockets flying out, the tanks rolling, the missiles headed in.  Civilian casualties that the UN Secretary General called a “moral outrage” and a “criminal act.” Bitter charges of the use of “human shields.” This hour, On Point:  Israel, Gaza, the war crimes charge, and the moral debate over what just happened.
- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Michael Walzer, political philosopher and professor emeritus at the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study. Author of "Just and Unjust Wars."

Lionel McPherson, professor of ethics, political and social philosophy at Tufts University.

Michael Newton, professor at Vanderbilt Law School, international law expert.

From Tom's Reading List

The New Republic: Israel Must Defeat Hamas, But Also Must Do More to Limit Civilian Deaths -- "Along with many others, I have argued for another rule: that the attacking forces must make positive efforts, including asking their own soldiers to take risks, in order to minimize the risks they impose on enemy civilians. How much risk has to be accepted? There is no precise answer to that question. But some risk is necessary, and if it is taken, then I think that the major responsibility for civilian deaths falls on the insurgents who are fighting from homes and schools and crowded streets."

The Guardian: Gaza school attack denounced as 'criminal act' by UN chief — "In a statement, Ban called on those responsible for the 'gross violation of international humanitarian law' to be held accountable. He said the 'Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.'"

Al Jazeera America: Are war crimes being committed in Gaza? — "There are two key principles of international law at work in assessing charges of war crimes in Gaza: distinction and proportionality. The obligation of distinction requires that military action distinguish between civilian and military targets. And the principle of proportionality requires that the military advantage gained by such targeting of civilians or civilian infrastructure must outweigh the harm caused by the attack."

Michael Newton's Paper: Illustrating Illegitimate Warfare

This program aired on August 5, 2014.

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