Pundits of all stripes are tearing into one another right now about how to interpret international law.

Hamas has indubitably broken it in the worst possible ways. But is Israel doing so as well? As political as it is legal, that controversy raises an older question: What is international law and does it even exist?

There’s no question that Hamas committed heinous war crimes on Oct. 7, when it attacked Israel and sadistically slaughtered about 1,200 people, mostly civilians. It broke additional international laws when it took civilian hostages and yet more when it started using 2 million Gazan civilians as human shields. All of these acts are illegal in both customary and treaty-based international law.