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NCJ Number: 62644 Find in a Library
Title: RESPONSES TO TERRORISM - SELF-DEFENSE OR REPRISAL?
Journal: INTERNATIONAL PROBLEMS  Volume:5  Issue:1 AND 2  Dated:(1973)  Pages:28-34
Author(s): J WOHL
Corporate Author: Israeli Institute of International Affairs
Israel
Date Published: 1973
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Israeli Institute of International Affairs
Tel Aviv, Israel
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Israel
Annotation: THE DISTINCTION IN INTERNATIONAL LAW BETWEEN SELF-DEFENSE AND REPRISAL IS EXAMINED AND THEN DISCUSSED AS A DECISIONMAKING FACTOR IN ISRAEL'S CHOICE OF RESPONSES TO ARAB TERRORIST ATTACK.
Abstract: BOTH THE UNITED NATIONS CHARTER AND CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW DISTINGUISH BETWEEN A NATION'S RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENSE AND ARMED SELF-HELP IN THE FORM OF REPRISALS. A DISTINCTION BASED ON PREVENTION VERSUS PUNISHMENT IS NOT AS USEFUL IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, HOWEVER, AS IT IS IN MUNICIPAL LAW. IN ADDITION, THE STANDARD OF NECESSITY OF THE ACTION APPLIES IN DIFFERENT WAYS TO SELF-DEFENSE AND TO REPRISALS. FOR SELF-DEFENSE, NECESSITY MEANS THAT THE OUTSIDE THREAT IS IMMEDIATE AND SIGNIFICANT; FOR REPRISALS, THAT NONFORCIBLE MEANS OF RESOLVING A PROBLEM ARE IMPOSSIBLE. ANOTHER STANDARD, THAT RESPONSES BE PROPORTIONAL TO THE HARM THREATENED OR SUFFERED, IS AMBIGUOUS AND THEREFORE DIFFICULT TO APPLY. A FURTHER DISTINCTION BETWEEN SELF-DEFENSE AND REPRISAL INVOLVES DETERRENCE. SELF-DEFENSE MEASURES MUST INTERACT DIRECTLY WITH THE HARM THREATENED, WHILE REPRISALS MAY HAVE LITTLE DIRECT CONNECTION WITH THE HARM THREATENED OR EXPERIENCED. THE WIDESPREAD CRITICISM OF AN ISRAELI REPRISAL ON AN APPARENTLY INNOCENT TARGET IN 1968 HAS APPARENTLY AFFECTED MORE RECENT ISRAELI DECISIONS ABOUT RESPONSES TO TERRORISM. DURING 1972, ISRAELI ACTIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS IN LEBANON AND SYRIA WERE LABELED BY THE ISRAELIS AS ROUTINE PREVENTIVE ACTIONS. THEY WERE CARRIED OUT DIRECTLY AGAINST THE TERRORISTS AND THEIR BASES, EVEN WHEN PERPETRATED AFTER THE ARAB TERRORIST ATTACK, SO THAT THE WORLD COMMUNITY COULD BE SATISFIED THAT THEY WERE IN SELF-DEFENSE. WHETHER THE RESPONSES ARE PROPORTIONAL TO HARM SUFFERED CANNOT BE MEASURED IN CONVENTIONAL TERMS, BECAUSE THE TERRORISTS INVOLVED ARE FANATICS WITH LIMITS TO THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR. ISRAELIS RECENT ACTIONS SEEM NOT ONLY TO BE MOST EFFECTIVE IN TERMS OF SECURITY BUT ALSO THE MOST LEGALLY JUSTIFIABLE TO THE WORLD. (CFW)
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; International law; Israel; Middle East; Perception; Self defense; Terrorism/Mass Violence
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=62644

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