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WAU Center for Law and Public Policy Statement on Israel and Hamas

WAU Center for Law and Public Policy

The following statement was released by the student leaders and faculty advisors of the Center for Law and Public Policy on November 30, 2023 and was first published in the Branson Capital Report in December. Policy positions published by the WAU Center for Law and Public Policy represent the collaborative work of the CLPP, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Washington Adventist University, its Honors College, or other employees or students at the university.

Dear Representative Raskin, Senator Cardin, and Senator Van Hollen,

We are student leaders and faculty directors at the Center for Law and Public Policy at Washington Adventist University, supporting the University on public issues. Along with many people from around the world, we unequivocally condemn the violent and brutal acts of violence and slaughter perpetrated on October 7 by Hamas terrorists against civilian targets in Israel.

We believe that through this violent attack, and other acts of terrorism which underscores its commitment to the extermination of the state of Israel, Hamas has long ago forfeited any right or claim to govern or represent any Palestinian people in the international community. The Israeli government is within its rights to bring justice to the perpetrators of October 7, and to remove Hamas from any leadership role in Gaza or anywhere else.

The manner, however, in which this justice is delivered, and the Hamas leadership is removed, matters. The brutality of the incursion into Israel cannot be matched by a similarly brutal response against a civilian population in Gaza that is nearly half children and juveniles. The death toll in Israel was a ghastly 1200 persons; but the death toll in Gaza is reported to be in excess of 14,000, with thousands more to come if the present blockade of basic necessities, bombardment, and invasion continues in its current form. The United Nations reports that as many as 1.5 million Palestinians have been displaced due to the conflict and that a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions is unfolding.

We agree that a military response from the Israeli government to bring justice to the October 7 perpetrators, to rescue hostages, and to remove Hamas leaders, is a just cause. But certain aspects of the effort appear to challenge the moral principles of war, including those requiring a proportionate response and minimization of civilian injuries and fatalities.

Though it is apparent that Hamas has dispersed itself among the civilian population, this does not relieve the government of Israel of the moral duty to avoid civilian casualties where reasonably possible. When crowded refugee cities are targeted with missiles and bombs, entire apartment buildings are blown up, hospitals are surrounded and deprived of fuel and water, dozens of babies have to be removed from non-functioning incubators, and civilian population groups are required to abandon their homes and cities, it appears that the pursuit of Hamas terrorists and leaders is being done in an insufficiently targeted and precise manner.

As our tax-payer dollars are helping fund significant parts of this military endeavor, we feel a moral responsibility as Christians and citizens to ask our representatives to call on the Israeli leaders to implement a more targeted, civilian-sensitive strategy in Gaza. We support and applaud the recent pause in the conflict which has allowed for the release of hostages and the supply of much needed humanitarian relief to the region. We urge that such efforts continue.

Finally, we are very concerned about the rising tides of both antisemitism and Islamaphobia that is emerging around the world and in the United States. We unequivocally oppose both these forms of bigotry, wherever they are found. We have unequivocally condemned the terrorism of Hamas. And we believe that ignoring the apparent excesses of the Israeli government in its war on terror will actually strengthen and inflame anti-Jewish sentiment.

To be true friends of Israel, we must be willing to support them in their work for justice, but constructively critique their leaders when that work exceeds the bounds of justice and civil morality. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Prob. 27:6. We desire that America supports Israel, as well as those among the Palestinian people who oppose Hamas and its methods.

About the author

The Washington Adventist University Center for Law and Public Policy is housed in the WAU Honors College and has been associated with WAU since the center was founded by Professor Roy Branson in 1998. More from Center for Law and Public Policy.
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