Gaza: Morality, Law and Politics

By Schanzer, Jonathan | Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

Gaza: Morality, Law and Politics


Schanzer, Jonathan, Middle East Quarterly


Gaza: Morality, Law and Politics. Edited by Raimond Gaita. Crawley, Aus. : UWAPublishing, 2010. 222 pp. $29.95.

After y ears of indiscriminate rocket attacks, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in late 2008 and early 2009. While Israel made its case for self-defense, the United Nations established a fact-finding mission in April 2009 to investigate alleged violations of international law. The flawed report, issued under the auspices of South African jurist Richard Goldstone, accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Gaita, professor of philosophy at Australian Catholic University and professor of moral philosophy at King's College London, assembles the generally feeble and rambling thoughts of seven academics (none Middle East specialists) on this incident. With some exceptions, the scholars express disdain for Israel's actions and treat the Goldstone report as gospel.

Gaita himself argues stridently that the "case against Israel is serious and strong. Too many reports from reliable sources concur." Geoffrey BrahmLevey of the University of New South Wales argues that both Hamas and Israel should "be hauled before the International Criminal Court to answer the charges." He calls Jerusalem's actions "state terror" and alleges that Israeli "indifference" to civilian life "may have been deliberate."

It might be too much to hope that Gaita, Levey, and the other contributors to this volume would now question their own judgment. Goldstone does. In April 2010, the jurist wrote in The Washington Post that he no longer believed Israel had intentionally targeted civilians in Gaza. …

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