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The Morality of Terror

Reader comment on item: PLO Acknowledges: Still at War with Israel

Submitted by Edward Halper (United States), Oct 29, 2008 at 15:19

Suppose that the defendants were allowed to make the defense that their actions were indeed an act of war. This defense was invoked for legal reasons, to deny that the court has jurisdiction. But is it in any moral sense a defense of the actions? Is it somehow legitimate to engage in a war to drive the Jews into the sea, to end Jewish sovereignty in Israel, to prevent Jews from exercising the right of political self-determination? The claim that terroristic acts are acts of war cannot possibly justify those acts if the war is not itself justified--and it most certainly is not. No one who respects the rights of Palestinians should acquiesce to Palestinians depriving Jews of their rights. Even terror aimed at Israeli soldiers is unjustified.

Palestinian terror is sometimes said to be justified because they have no other alternatives to recover their supposedly stolen property and political autonomy. This was always false, and it is more manifestly so since Oslo.

As long as people like Ramsey Clark continue to belief that terrorism is morally justifiable, terror will continue. Judge Daniels probably went as far as he could in a legal decision. It is a principled moral stance against terrorism that we need.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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