Terror Control

23 Adar 1, 5776 Jerusalem Chanoch Ne’eman (c)

Dear Attorney General Mandelblit:

I am an Israeli citizen and studying this year for an MA in Human Rights and Transitional Justice at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law.
I am interested to see the families of terrorists either imprisoned or deported. I am asking myself, as I know the government has asked you, what are the legal issues involved?
I would like to share my thoughts.
One of the classes I am taking this semester is Terror, Counter-Terror, and Human Rights, with Prof. David Kretzmer. In that class, we learned, that according to Human Rights Law, governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens from being harmed by terrorists. A government which fails in that task therefore, is failing to uphold Human Rights Law.
Whereas we have seen that the measures currently used to deter terrorists are inadequate, the government is under obligation to seek more effective measures.
The families of terrorists have human rights too. Essentially, the question becomes a weighing of the relative importance of rights. As we learned in class, there are, in Human Rights Law, absolute rights and relative rights. The right to not be enslaved, and the right not to be tortured are considered absolute rights. The right to life, and the right to personal liberty, are defined in terms of “arbitrary interference”; they are not to be subject to arbitrary interference. However, there are interferences which are not arbitrary. When someone’s personal liberty is restrained, it could be a for a legitimate reason, such as ensuring others humans’ right to life, through deterring terrorism.
Therefore, I think it is appropriate and recommended the government pursue a policy of jailing the families of terrorists, with the option of letting them choose to emigrate instead. This policy should of course be applied equally regardless of the terrorists ethnicity, Jew or Arab. This policy will, in my opinion, be in keeping with Human Rights Law, as opposed to current government policies.


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