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15 Temp. Int'l & Comp. L.J. 195 (2001)
Thwarting Terrorist Acts by Attacking the Perpetrators or Their Commanders as an Act of Self-Defense: Human Rights versus the State's Duty to Protect Its Citizens

handle is hein.journals/tclj15 and id is 201 raw text is: THWARTING TERRORIST ACTS BY ATTACKING THE
PERPETRATORS OR THEIR COMMANDERS AS AN ACT OF
SELF-DEFENSE: HUMAN RIGHTS VERSUS THE STATE'S DUTY
TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS
Emanuel Gross*
The moral rule is not when one is about to kill you, preempt
him and kill him first, but rather when one is about to kill
you, do everything necessary in order to thwart his inten-
tion. Accordingly, if there is no alternative to killing him,
strike first. If there is an alternative other than killing him,
thwart his intention without striking first, without killing
him.1
I. INTRODUCTION
September 11, 2001 will be remembered not only as the cruelest act of
terrorism ever launched on U.S. soil but also as the day the free world de-
clared war against terror. The attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
were vicious reminders of the danger terrorism poses to mankind. Unfortu-
nately, only now the free world realizes that terror is not limited to the Mid-
dle East or Asia, but spreads all over the globe. Now the United States, as
the leader of the free world, understands what Israel has known for many
years, that terrorism is the real enemy to mankind, and like cancer, it is
spreads very fast. To stop it, one should attack it immediately and vigor-
ously.
President George W. Bush reacted immediately to the terrorist attack
by declaring war on those terrorists who perpetrated these atrocities and the
state that provided them safe haven. A state declaring war on a terrorist or-
ganization is a new phenomenon in the field of jurisprudence and interna-
tional law and it raises many moral and legal questions which deserve sepa-
rate discussion. One of the questions this declaration of war brings is what
self-defense means in our case. Does self-defense mean bringing the perpe-
trators to justice or bringing justice to them, to use President Bush's expres-
sion. This article will explore some of the possible answers based on the Is-
raeli experience.
In October 2000, a violent conflict erupted between organizations oper-
* Professor, member of the Faculty of Law, Haifa University. Special thanks to my re-
search assistant Dalit Ken-Dror whose diligence and dedicated work enabled this article.
' ASSA CASHER, MILITARY ETHICS 56 (1996). Professor Casher is a known philoso-
pher and the 2000 winner of the Israel Prize for the study of Philosophy.

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