by Ted Honderich

This is a draft of the first paper in the book Israel, Palestine and Terrorism, a new collection of writings mainly by philosophers edited by Stephen Law (Continuum International Publishing Group). Other papers in the book are by Sharon Anderson-Gold, Noam Chomsky, G. A. Cohen, Tomis Kapitan, Brian Klug, Stephen Law himself, Ardon Lyon, William McBride, Tamar Meisels, Michael Neumann, Richard Norman, Igor Primoratz, Patrick Riordan, and Timothy Shanahan. There is also a postscript by Honderich, partly on papers in the book that take issue with his opening paper.

    Any line of argument, any attempt at logic with respect to questions of right and wrong, say questions of right and wrong in Palestine, necessarily depends on and is informed by a general principle and morality. For a start, consistency and thus actually saying something rather than contradicting yourself requires it. You cannot rely on familiar bundles taken either separately or together -- international laws, UN resolutions, doctrines of human rights, just war theory, the politics of reality, conservatism or liberalism, or our democracy [1].

    My principle is the Principle of Humanity. It is that the right or justified thing as distinct from others -- the right action, practice, institution, government, society or possible world -- is the one that according to the best judgement and information is the rational one in the sense of being effective and not self-defeating with respect to the end of getting and keeping people out of bad lives -- which lives can be clearly defined in terms of fundamental human desires or goods. In my list there are six such desires or goods -- a decent length of conscious life, a bodily quality of life including absence of pain, freedom and power in various settings, respect and self-respect, the goods of relationships of a number of kinds, and the goods of culture, including knowledge, religion and more [2].

    But any line of argument also depends on beliefs as to fact, or more likely something less certain than judgements of fact. These, it can seem, are harder to arrive at than the moral principle. A prime example of this difficulty is the question of whether an alternative to some particular past campaign of terrorism, say negotiation, would have worked out better. Another prime example, more pressing, is whether terrorism now will secure a certain end or one of a range of ends, or will instead be the worst of things -- useless killing, useless suffering, useless wrecking of lives.

    The greatest suffering of a single people in the 20th Century was the killing of something like 6 million Jews by the German state during World War 2. There was some knowledge of this on the part of the German people and no significant resistance. The Holocaust also carried with it humiliation and fear, indeed a denial of all that gives value to human life. It was a manufacturing of what it is insufficient to call bad lives.

    There is something smaller, if significant, that is now about as clear. It is that at the end of the war, a homeland for the Jewish people ought to have been created out of Germany. It was not the Palestinians who voted for Hitler in a German democracy and then ran the death camps. It was not the Palestinians who for conclusive reasons, quite separate from retribution, should have given more than help to the Jews, more than compensation. It is Germany, beyond question of doubt, out of which a homeland for the Jews ought to have been carved.

    A further thing is now as significant and as clear. It is that such a thing was not at the end of the war conceived as a possibility. The right place for a Jewish homeland and sanctuary could not be thought. It was not only not within any range of options in fact considered, but, so to speak, was not a conceivable option. I leave it to others to reflect on the explanation of this fact. That it was a fact, that something did not exist in thinking and feeling, and hence that a possibility did not exist in the world, seems beyond question.

    To this absence in thought and hence in reality of a possibility has to be added  something that was present in both thought and reality, a kind of necessity. After Belsen and Buchenwald, it was a human necessity that some homeland for the Jews come into being. What I have in mind, as you may guess, is a kind of fact of somehow human and factual necessity as distinct from what there also was, a moral necessity. That the fact is not clear does not make it less than a fact.

    The state of Israel was brought into being in historic Palestine in 1948, partly by means of Jewish terrorism, some of it led by a subsequent prime minister of the state. In the Israeli share of Palestine, there were about as many Arabs as Jews. In the Palestinian share of Palestine, where no state was formed, there were about 80 times as many Palestinians as Jews.

    Palestinians of course fought against those who had come from elsewhere and were dispossessing them. What happened, none the less, as we have all been led into the habit of saying, was that there was partition of the land. Many of us have supposed and some still do that a part or maybe something like a half of the land went to each people. In fact at the end of a struggle the Jewish people had acquired from the Palestinians about 80% of Palestine. They took much more than was laid down by a U.N. resolution.

    This was for the Palestinians the Nakbah, the catastrophe. In a large way, it denied most of them most of the great human goods and to all of them several. Many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled or fled from their towns, villages, houses, olive groves and pasts in what was now Israel. They became refugees in grim or appalling camps. This, called transfer, was indubitably what became known later in the 20th Century as ethnic cleansing.

    But the founding of the state of Israel in roughly its original borders, which I shall speak of as Zionism, eschewing any vague or wider use of the term [3], was not owed only to immigration, the Holocaust, the non-existence of a possibility as to a homeland in Germany, the human necessity of a Jewish homeland -- and also an international Jewish campaign, probably some English anti-semitism, and certainly Jewish terrorism. It was also owed to another fact about as large as the non-possibility and the necessity.

    The Palestinians, although they had fought against the occupation of their land, had not formed themselves into a state. They had not separated themselves from other Arabs. They were those who lived in a place, the place with their name, the place most recently defined by way of the British protectorate. But they did not have their borders. They did not have the means of affirming a freedom, a unity in relationship, a culture and a past that is exactly a national state.

    Those truths come together into one proposition. The Palestinians were not fully a people. What I mean is that it was not ignorant and it was within reason to judge in 1948 and before that the Palestinians were not fully a people. No doubt the judgement can still be taken as condescending and offensive. It could be judged, none the less, on the basis of respectable belief and reasonable thinking, that the Palestinians for clear reasons lacked the self-consciousness of a people. It was possible to believe as fairly, too, that they did not have a general will as a people.

    It followed, as the most important thing, whatever needed to be admitted in qualification of it, that the Palestinians could not suffer an overwhelming kind of catastrophe. They could not have the pain and suffering of being deprived of a certain kind of the great goods of freedom and power, relationship, respect and self-respect, and culture -- that kind that depends exactly on a realized fact of relationship, being fully a people in their own land. There was a way in which they did not have great goods taken from them.

    To come on to the brief war of 1967, the explanation of the starting of it cannot be much disputed by non-partisans. It was less a pre-emptive attack by the Israelis, a response to true and immediate danger, than aggression by way of a pretence of believing something about an imminent attack.

    Israel was well prepared for the war and won it easily in six days. This had very much to do with what would become a whole history of financial and other support by Jews in America and the American government. This support, not only owed to Jewish influence and power in America, but also American self-interest with respect to the Middle East and oil, was to be an essential part in what followed. The history of Palestine is partly in America, partly in New York, Los Angeles and Washington. Right or wrong in Palestine is importantly American right or wrong, almost as much by commission as by omission.

    That is to say, more particularly, that the United States has had a large part in neo-Zionism. That is to say, in my usage, that it has had a large part in the fact and the supposed justification of the expansion of Israel after 1967 beyond its original borders, or more or less its original borders, with what this has involved and continues to involve for the Palestinians. There are now several million Palestinian refugees. Hundreds of thousands of Jews have come to Israel from Russia and elsewhere.

    What neo-Zionism has come to, whether pursued by hawks or doves in Israeli politics, is a determination by way of a kind of democratic government to take possession in perpetuity of more of the remaining 20% of the land of the Palestinians, and control of all of it. This needs to be kept in view. Neo-Zionism is the determination, after 80% of what is properly described as the land another people has already been taken, to take at least some of the rest.

    To this can be added what is less important, which is that neo-Zionism has been and is terrorism. Putting aside the somewhat disputable 1967 war itself, neo-Zionism has been and is terrorism by a national state. Its attacks, killings, maimings, destructions and depradations of every kind could be nothing else. Look at an ordinary and uncontentious definition of terrorism. Neo-Zionism is violence, somewhat smaller scale than war, with a political aim, not according to international law, and prima facie wrong [4].There is no possibility of questioning this conclusion.

    As for the Palestinians, given the aggression against them and the further occupation of their homeland since 1967, their defence of themselves is unquestionably far less open to the judgement that it is terrorism. It is not the intifadas or uprisings that more certainly are terrorism. This turns again on the requirement for terrorism that it be against international law.

    Two other things are in need of consideration. One is the resistance of the Palestinians to neo-Zionism and to the power that is the United States. This liberation struggle, this struggle for independence, has been a thing that gives as much cause for reflection as the founding of Israel. Are there precedents of this resistance elsewhere in history? It must be reasonable to describe the intifadas as unprecedented. Against overwhelming power, against money, missiles and the propaganda of denigration, against decades of humiliation and degradation, the Palestinians have endured, continued to claim what their humanity entitles them to, suffered, and died. They have not given up. About 3,300 of them have been killed, including a significant number of children, as against about 975 Israelis.
    Against tanks they have fought first with slings and stones. Against everything, they have then fought with the sacrifice of their lives. Young men and women have died and killed for their people, because of their people. They have certainly not died and killed because of a real or contemplated belief in immortality. Certainly they have been martyrs for their people. No talk about democracy and terrorism, no contumely, no racism, can touch this human reality. Their struggle against a denial of human goods, a kind of struggle sacred in a sense that does not have to do with religion but rather sacred in being rightly reverenced, is one such fact that will be of importance to our conclusions about Palestine.

    The other thing for you to consider is the people of the state of Israel. That state, as you may anticipate I believe, has become vicious. It is a violator of another people,  a nuclear power and a very great military power in the world pretending to be a victim. It has clearly had the policy of avoiding a negotiated peace settlement with the Palestinians, which settlement would be subject to a little international influence, in order to gain more land for itself. It is a kind of ethnic democracy, arguably racist, perhaps better called a near-democracy, one that discriminates legally against the Palestinians still in Israel.

    But that is perfectly consistent with something else, quite as large a fact. It is that Israel is now also the homeland of the Jews. A half-century has passed since 1948. A homeland has come into being. Its human existence is a reality entirely independent of whatever can be said of an ancient past. It has come into being and lives of Jewish people are in it, including the lives of many so honourably and courageously opposed to the neo-Zionism of their state. They have human rights there. They can weep too. Something of the lives of many Jews who are not there is also there.

    Whatever was true and right in 1948, a matter of judgement to which we are coming, the lives of the Jews in Israel are now deep in a land. Time changes things. It has. Time since 1948 has changed things. The identity of Jews in Israel is there, their desires, their hopes. So is the past that was the Holocaust. They have now endured where they are. Their great goods as a people are there. They have escaped discrimination there. Their self-respect, their relationships and their culture are bound up in or with the place. There is sacredness in this fact too.

    That is not all. It would be invidious to deny to the Jews the pride of being a singular people, the pride of being singular contributors to the culture of us all, a pride that calls for a place. At the head of their ranks of contributors, you can say, if you are of my mind, are Maimonides, Spinoza, Marx, Mendelsohn, Proust, Frankfurter, Schoenberg, Miller, Salk and Chomsky.

    The first of my four explicit conclusions is that the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 was right. It then had the only justification that matters, a moral justification. It has to be allowed, against this, that what was done, despite a concord of nations, was more against than in accord with international law, unquestionably international law in the making. The founding of the state also included terrorism, prima facie wrong. It was, greatly more importantly, a violation of the Palestinians. Therefore there was, from the point of view of the Principle of Humanity, a great argument against it. But there also was, from the Principle of Humanity, a yet greater argument for this means to a Jewish state within the original borders. In my view, arguably, the terrorism of Zionism was justified, right.

    The argument for the state of Israel and the terrorism has in it, as you know, the Holocaust, the inconceivability of a homeland for the Jews in Germany, the necessity of a homeland for them somewhere, and the proposition in 1948, a matter of the available knowledge and judgement, that the Palestinians were not fully a people and so could not have the suffering of being denied a singular kind of great goods.

    A second conclusion is also a conclusion for Zionist project. It has to do, however, not with what was the case in 1948. It has to do, rather, with the lives of the Jewish people within the original Israel over half a century since 1948. Those lives have grown and are rooted there, as you have heard, and have a dependence on that land. I say again this is a human fact that has a kind of sacredness that is not a fact of religion.

    It issues in the judgement that the security and perpetuity of Israel within its original borders has a justification, on grounds of what has happened since 1948, as definite as the justification of the founding of Israel in 1948. If it were possible to contemplate bringing the state of Israel to an end, to manufacture more bad lives, it would be morally absurd to do so. You will gather that this can be taken as a proposition independent of the Holocaust and of what else was true or taken as true in 1948. It is a proposition qualified only by the truth that many hundreds of thousands of Palestinians made into refugees must have at least the fullest compensation for having their places of living taken from them. They have a claim comparable to the claim of the Jews against the Germans, whatever other comparisons do or do not hold.

    To these judgements for Zionism is to be added as confident a judgement against neo-Zionism. This third conclusion follows, as you will know I believe, from the morality we have taken up, and from the history of Palestine. Neo-Zionism has been wrong. It has been viciously wrong. It has been a rapacious violation of a people. It is correct that it should have been led by a war criminal, Sharon, the effective murderer of the refugees in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila.

    Neither morality nor thinking about it are simple. They are not simple despite the existence of moral truths. Here is a further complexity for you. It is persuasive to say that the wrong of neo-Zionism follows as a conclusion from the morality we have taken up and the history of Palestine. It is as persuasive to say, it seems, that the wrong of neo-Zionism stands as a given, something that can as much begin a work of inquiry as be confirmed in the course of it, confirmed by a principle. Mutual support is somehow the story.

    I come now not yet to a final conclusion of right or wrong about Palestine, but rather to another matter of fact. It has to do first with a proposition of which you know, that the Palestinians were not fully a people in 1948. There is use for some moral philosophy in considering this matter and what follows from it.

    A question of right or wrong at a time, as has been at least implicit in all you have heard, is always relative to the best information and judgement then available. What is right according to the Principle of Humanity, to repeat, has to do with the course of action that can be taken as rational in the sense of being an effective and economical means to an end. What is right, more particularly, is the course of action that is the rational one according to the best knowledge and judgement available.

    It is my view, as you have heard, that the Holocaust, the unthinkable about a Jewish homeland in Germany, a human necessity of a homeland, and a reasonable view of the Palestinians -- those things made the founding of Israel in Palestine and the terrorism for it right in what is arguably the most fundamental sense. Those who enabled it to happen cannot possibly have our moral disapproval now. They cannot come to have it if it turns out that a mistake was made. They cannot be held responsible, condemned, as a result of something only found out or judged later.

    But if something can indeed be right on the basis of what turns out to be a mistake, it is worth adding that rightness on the basis of mistake can be of importance to later judgements.

    To repeat once more, the founding of Israel in an Arab and mainly Muslim homeland was what ought in 1948 to have happened. There was a moral obligation on the world to forward it, in the state of things then. That is consistent, however, with another judgement to be made today. This, given the best knowledge and judgement now, is that the founding of the state of Israel in Palestine was wrong. That it was wrong has to do with a mistake of fact made in 1948. The Palestinians were not as we then thought. They have proved they were otherwise by their subsequent struggle. They have proved this overwhelmingly so by their struggle, since the 1967 war, against the neo-Zionist occupation and control of what remains of their land.

    They have proved by their sacrifices that it was not the case that in 1948 that they were not fully a people. It was not the case that they did not have the self-consciousness of a people. It was not the case that they lacked a general will as a people. Therefore they could and did suffer an overwhelming kind of catastrophe owed to deep relationship, a deprivation of a singular kind of great goods. By their sacrifices, they have proved that they must have been fully a people. They did not come out of a hat later. They were not created as a people by neo-Zionism. A people is not created, agreeable as the idea may be to those with a taste for historical drama. That the Palestinians had been and were fully a people was what gave rise to their resistance.

    Their struggle has also showed other things of importance to a judgement about it to which we are coming. One is that their struggle proved itself to have been necessary to their having a chance of justice. That it has produced so very little has surely established that anything less would have produced nothing. Their struggle in its resolution, surely, has also established something else. It is that they will succeed in the end. The Palestinians will not give up and they will achieve what they otherwise would not achieve, their country. Not much of a country, but more than has been on offer to them in the false negotiations overseen by America, the offer of a dog's breakfast of bantustans without control of its own orders, not a state at all.

    To this certainly can be added something else for those who lack my faith. In World War 2, Jews in the Warsaw ghetto fought to the end. They fought hopelessly, it is still said. They could not hope to live. They bring to mind that there can be a realism in what is hopeless. You can fight, rightly, not for yourself or your time, but for those who come after you. The Jews did so. The Palestinians can.

    Let us now contemplate the possibility of a certain conclusion about the terrorism of the Palestinians as it has been within historic Palestine, including Israel. It would be a judgement owed to all you have heard, including what you have heard of something that was right but owed to a mistake, a mistake seen later. The terrorism of the Palestinians is unquestionably unlike the terrorism of the neo-Zionists.

    Are we to judge, to conclude, necessarily in uncertainty [5], that it is not to be condemned? That this terrorism of the Palestinians has been right? That this terrorism that has also been self-defence, resistance to ethnic cleansing, self-preservation, the preservation of the existence of a people, a humanly necessary opposition to the excessive self-interest of others, has been justified? That the suicide bombers have been morally permitted if not obliged to do what they have done? That this resistance or self-defence, this freedom-struggle, which it very certainly also is, is to be endorsed if not incited [6]?

    Could it be that the terrorism of the Palestinians, as they have carried it forward until now inside what was Palestine, has been their moral right? And that they have this moral right still? To say they have a moral right to their terrorism, as in the case of all claims to moral rights, would be to say that what they have done has been justified or permissible or right, and moreover that this judgement has the support of an entrenched or formidable moral principle. The principle would be that of Humanity.

    In a way we share a certain reluctance to say any killing is right. In some of us it is stronger -- an aversion or recoil with respect to the idea, a determination to deny or condemn it. This human fact is not just the vested interest of politicians in their non-violent line of life. Ordinary attitudes of this kind must have some kind of sympathy from the Principle of Humanity. That is not to say that they can always be supported by it. Maybe they cannot be supported by it with respect to Palestinian self-defence. Does this separate the principle from ordinary morality, divorce it from our lives, make it inhuman?

    In fact, whatever the importance of this fact, the proposition that the Palestinians have been right to kill as they have is in a way not extraordinary. Nor would the addition of the claim of a moral right. In a way the terrible answer to the question of right and wrong would not be unusual at all. There is an ordinariness about both kinds of claim.

    The terrible answer to the question of the right or wrong of neo-Zionist killing is given more or less daily by neo-Zionists, sometimes overtly, more often covertly. They say their killing is right. This is in fact the burden of what is regularly said by neo-Zionist spokesmen and supportive journalists in whatever country. It is given not only when the word 'right' and the like are used, which sometimes they are. It is also given when it is said evasively, to choose one of several examples, that the neo-Zionist killing is somehow necessary.

    In World War 2 the terror-bombing of Germany, as indeed it was known, was intended exactly as much to kill civilians as to defeat Hitler. That is what terror-bombing was. This terrorist war-making, this part of World War 2, was justified to us by our leaders. A little later we also took it and said, and have kept on doing so, that the atom bombing of Hiroshima, the killing of very many non-combatants, was justified. So too, to look into the distant past, with the genocide that went with the growth of the United States of America. So too with the murdering of British captives by the terrorists who were serving the justified cause of the founding of the state of Israel after the Holocaust.

    The degree of usualness of the assertion of terrible propositions, including the proposition of neo-Zionists today, is not being remarked on in order to engage in the weakness of tu quoque or 'you-too' argument. The usualness does show that asserting the proposition of the moral right of the Palestinians would not divorce the Principle of Humanity from a side of ordinary morality, take it out of sight of life as we live it. The usualness also shows something else.

    Moral argument, moral argument in the real world, depends to some extent on what we take other people to think and feel, at least some other people some of the time. We do appeal to their judgements in the way that we have some trust in a sensible jury. A moral claim of a sort never heard of before has less to be said for it. It has its uniqueness to be held against it. A moral claim of a less uncommon sort, in a kind of accord with our human nature, is different. The Palestinians and many who support them morally are not monsters. There are too many people driven to such judgements in the world, far too many, for any to have the rarity of a monster.

    The ordinariness of justifications of killing, however, is more important in still another way. It is the fact that it is unquestionable that we regularly go against our aversion or determined resistance to killing. We escape our human reluctance. It is far from being true that we accept a fully general principle against killing. It must then be the case that particular cases and kinds of killing are to be justified or condemned on particular grounds, by way of particular arguments. It must be asked, too, if our resistance to stating moral support for the Palestinian intifadas is owed not to reasons, but to something you have heard of before now. That is convention, in particular an unexamined way of thinking and feeling about much terrorism, a way of benefit to some.

    There is a need for moral argument in the light of another fact. States and governments, despite the indubitable exceptions that have been noted, often do abide by the practice of avoiding the open or explicit justifying of killing. That is not to say they have nothing to say. What they have to say on many occasions, rather, in one way or another, is in part that some killing has a certain legitimacy or certification. What this comes to, in full, is that a policy or campaign or war has a legitimacy of which the implication is that the thing is right, very likely obligatory. The legitimacy most commonly claimed in our societies, predictably, is that the policy or whatever is that which has been determined by the leaders of our hierarchic democracy [7]. Another legitimacy is the supposed thinking and feeling of decent people.

    It is part of a decent morality, however, and certainly the obligation of the morality of humanity, to test the implication of states and governments. Another response to the inference from legitimacy to judgements of right and wrong is to ask for explicitness in the support of the judgements. Not allusion to their source and standing but an account of what has convinced the leaders or the decent people. One way of making this demand is to be explicit yourself in saying what you can judge to be right.

    I myself am moved by yet another fact of argument that seems as large.

    I put aside anyone who takes the view that the Palestinian people do not have a moral right to a viable national state of their own -- as against, say, the dog's breakfast of a non-state mentioned earlier and supposed to have been on offer to them in the Camp David talks arranged by President Clinton in 2000. It is worth remarking that even the present president of the United States, the younger Bush, a slow learner, has lately come to the view that the Palestinian people do have such a right -- thereby vindicating, by the way, the departure of Yasser Arafat from the negotiations at Camp David. Join me, if only for purposes of reflection, in this proposition that the Palestinians do have a moral right to a viable state, whether or not you agree with me that this conclusion is best explained by way of the Principle of Humanity.

    In general, can you assert someone's moral right to something and deny that person's moral right to the only possible means to that thing, the necessary means? It is important to have the question clear, and not to engage in loose thinking about moral rights. It is the question of whether you can assert that it is right and justified that someone gets or has something, and that this which judgement rests on a principle that is fundamental, binding, irrefutable, justified, established, accepted or the like, and also assert that it is not right and does not rest on such a principle that their only possible means of having the thing be used.

    Can you, for example, assert someone's right to save his life in a certain situation, but not a right to the means? Can you assert a hungry child's right to food in a situation and deny it the only means to food? Can you say it has a right to learn to read but no right to the only means to learning to read, say having a book? To repeat, can you assert someone's moral right to X and deny them the only possible means of getting X?

    If the answer to that general question is no, then there is the upshot that so very many people who do accept the right of the Palestinians to a viable state but do not grant their right to the only means to that end are in contradiction. If they cannot bring themselves to give up the first claim of a right, to a state, they must also accept the second, to the necessary means to a state.

    Further, if the only means to a viable state has in fact been terrorism, those who grant the right to a state must grant the right to the terrorism. As you will have gathered, that the Palestinians' only means to a viable state has been and may still be terrorism is something about which I myself have no doubt. Evidently it is a factual proposition in need of support. There is enough in the history of Palestine and Israel to lead me to think that the disinterested people who say the Palestinians had and have an alternative to terrorism are less moved by history and fact than by abhorrence for terrorism. The feeling cannot settle the question.

    In any case, take it to be true at least for purposes of our reflection now that the Palestinians' only means to a viable state has been terrorism. That leaves us with the general question of whether granting a moral right to X entails granting a moral right to the only means to X? Each of these claims of a moral right, as you have heard, makes reference to a moral principle that is fundamental or the like.

    It might be that the principle involved in the first claim is not the same principle involved in the second one. The first principle might be something about a people's freedom and power. The second might be about not taking innocent lives. When these principles conflict, as in the terrorism case, what is necessary is plainly a more fundamental and general principle, sometimes called an overriding or higher one. At any rate it will be one that adjudicates between the conflicting principles in the given case. For me and I hope you, the Principle of Humanity does this. But the present point is that some single principle is needed, indeed that reflection drives us to find one.

    If that is so, there is a certain upshot. The fundamental principle applies to both the issue of the Palestinians' right to a viable state and the right to the only means to a viable state. Given this, there seems to be no possibility of according a moral right to a viable state but not a moral right to the means to it. You cannot do both. You surely cannot possibly get the opposed answers from the same principle. It will either be to the effect that the end is such that the only means must be accepted or that the only means are such that the right to the end cannot be accepted. Evidently, with respect to plain and clear talk about moral rights, and to take a simple example, I do not have a moral right to save my life by the only means that is the killing of three children.

    My conclusion about Palestinian terrorism against neo-Zionist ethnic cleansing, a conclusion drawn before now in other writings and on other other occasions, therefore remains for this and other reasons that yes, this terrorism has been the moral right of the Palestinians. If this is a terrible conclusion, which it is, it seems to me also to be inescapable.

    The libel and slander that it is anti-semitism is to be disdained. That is principally a side of neo-Zionism, or insufficiently detached from it [8].


1. This paper is an edited excerpt from my book Humanity, Terrorism, Terrorist War: Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7... (Continuum), also published in another edition as Right and Wrong and Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7... (Seven Stories Press). The familiar bundles -- international laws and so on -- are examined on pp. 7-58 of the first-mentioned edition. The page references in the following notes are also to this book.
2. pp. 58-83
3. p. 13, p. 107
4. pp. 83-94
5. pp. 181-4
6. pp. 118-125, 170-174
7. pp. 38-58, 175-81
8. pp. 184-7

For more from Honderich's three books related to terrorism, go to Terrorism for Humanity: Inquiries in Political Philosophy, and After the Terror, and Humanity, Terrorism, Terrorist War.

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