Self-defense against Terrorism--What Does it Mean? The Israeli Perspective

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The malicious acts of terrorism in New York and Washington emphasized the need for states to combat terrorism. Likewise, Israel has suffered various terrorist attacks since its establishment. There are distinctive features in contemporary terrorism which call for a new assessment of its nature and the status of terrorists in domestic and international law. In October 2000, a violent conflict erupted between organizations operating within the territory of the Palestinian Authority--an entity that is not a state but is a sovereign authority--and the State of Israel. This is a new type of armed conflict, one different from that treated in the international law of armed conflicts. No clear view exists as to the rules which should be applied in such a situation. This is one of the questions that shall be raised in this article. As a result of the violence against Israel, Israel initiated a policy which the media has called 'Israel's elimination policy', but which I believe may be more appropriately described as 'preventive action' taken by Israel within the framework of a military policy aimed at neutralizing terrorist organizations by targeting the perpetrators or their commanders. In this article I shall examine whether this policy is legitimate as a matter of law and morality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-108
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Military Ethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • Geneva Conventions
  • Human Rights
  • Moral Justifications
  • Self-DEFENSE
  • Terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy


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