Israeli High Court Condones Assassinations

Brian Zick

Scott Wilson in WaPo reports: Israel's high court upheld Thursday the military's right to assassinate members of groups the state defines as terrorist organizations, but cautioned that such operations should always be weighed first against the potential harm to civilian bystanders and the human rights of the target. (…) The ruling has been awaited outside Israel for what it might add to the debate underway in many countries, including the United States, over how to ensure basic human rights in what the Bush administration calls the "war on terrorism." Following Israel's lead, the U.S. military and intelligence agencies have also used drones to carry out assassinations, including a November 2002 strike on a car in Yemen that killed six suspected members of al-Qaeda. The decision, one of the last to be issued by retiring Chief Justice Aharon Barak, represented a disappointing defeat for Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations that have called the tactic, pioneered during the most recent Palestinian uprising, a war crime.

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