Violence and Self-Determination in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


  • Tomis Kapitan


This article addresses the normative role of self-determination in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Contrary to a popular view, it is argued that there are no competing rights of self-determination held by Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs respectively. When properly interpreted, self-determination is a right possessed by the legitimate residents of a region, not by “peoples” defined in ethnic or cultural terms. The persistent violation of this right over the past one hundred years is the major cause of violence between the two groups, and until rectified, there is little chance for a peaceful resolution of the conflict or for Zionism’s quest for legitimacy.