Israel Has the Right to Defend Itself

(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - * When the British government condemned an Israeli missile attack on March 6 that killed a senior Islamic Jihad commander, another terrorist, and two bystanders in Gaza City, its official statement included the phrase: "Israel has the right to defend itself." * Tal Becker, the acting director of the Foreign Ministry's international law department, sees the inclusion of that phrase as indicating a significant change in the world's attitude toward how it feels Israel, and indeed other countries, can fight terrorism. * "One of the things that has happened because of the enormity of the 9/11 attack and the risk of catastrophic terror worldwide is the realization that sometimes you have to fight terrorism not through a law enforcement, criminal model, but rather through a war model," said Becker, author of a recently released book, Terrorism and the State: Rethinking the Rules of State Responsibility. * Slowly, Becker said, people have come to realize that "it is hard to talk about a solely criminal model when the actor is engaged not for a private agenda, but for a public ideological agenda, and when he has the capacity to wreak the kind of devastation we used to think that only states with armies were capable of inflicting." * "In the specific context of Israel, time and time again European leaders, and not just European leaders, now say that they recognize Israel's right of self-defense against terror. With that statement they are saying that sometimes an armed-conflict model regulates dealing with terrorism, and that is a dramatic shift."

2006-06-13 00:00:00

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