If Not Combatants, Certainly Not Civilians [Abstract]

Ethics and International Affairs, Volume 17.1 (Spring 2003)

March 2, 2003

Stein and I see targeted killing in fundamentally different ways. Stein sees the Palestinian terrorists as civilian noncombatants who are not engaged in war or even armed conflict with Israel. As such, there is no legal or moral right to target them. I see targeted killing as an appropriate response to an intolerable threat. Israel has the right and obligation to defend itself against armed Palestinians who seek to kill as many innocent Israeli civilians as possible. So long as the Palestinian Authority is incapable or unwilling to halt terrorist attacks, most interpretations of international law, Israeli law, and just war tradition support Israel’s efforts to stop these murderous attacks before they can be carried out.


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