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News ::
Dershowitz proposal for curbing Israel terrorism sparks Harvard protest
26 Mar 2002
Harvard University Law Professor Alan Dershowitz's proposal that Israel publish a warning list of Palestinian homes to be razed in reprisal for terror attacks has sparked protest at Harvard.
Last Thursday, and again on Tuesday, students confronted Dershowitz as he left class to challenge the proposal he laid out in a column published in the Jerusalem Post last week.

Dershowitz proposed that Israel declare a four- to five-day moratorium on reprisals for terror attacks. Then, the government would circulate a list of specific locations that would be demolished if Palestinians carried out terrorist attacks.

``It will announce with precision exactly what it will do in response to the next act of terrorism - for example, the destruction of a small village which has been used as a base for terrorist operations,'' Dershowitz wrote in the column.

On Wednesday, a suicide bomber killed four soldiers and three other passengers on an Israeli bus during morning rush hour as U.S. officials sought to establish a truce.

In an interview, Dershowitz said Wednesday's incident was an example of why current policy has failed: even with peace efforts ongoing, terror attacks continue.

Naming specific targets would give terrorists notice that there would be specific consequences - perhaps in their own neighborhoods - to their actions, he said.

``The terrorist has to know that when he gets on the bus, and blows up Israeli citizens, he's also blowing up buildings in his village. If any one can think of a better way to do this, I'm open,'' Dershowitz said.

Najeeb Khoury, 24, a Palestinian-American who is president of the law school student group Justice For Palestine, said the proposal amounted to war crime, and that he hoped no one would take it seriously.

``He wants to threaten innocent civilian homes to get them to affect third parties that they don't have any control over,'' he said. ``I'm not sure that would prevent anything. Making the occupation more draconian has never decreased the level of violence.''

Dershowitz and the students agree that their two exchanges, though heated, have been congenial. Dershowitz said he is willing to debate the matter; Justice for Palestine had not decided as of Wednesday afternoon whether to do so.

Harvard undergraduate Nader Raymond Hasan, 23, who was at Tuesday's protest, said he would welcome a public airing of the dispute.

``It's never justifiable to intentionally target civilians in armed conflicts, whether it's the Palestinians doing it through suicide bombers or Israel's doing it through house demolitions,'' he said. ``I don't think people are going to take it seriously.''
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