Jihad, competing norms and the Israel-Palestine impasse
A central factor in the failure to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict is the direct competition that exists between its two most central international norms: 'self determination', the fundamental claim of the Palestinians, and 'self-defence', the overriding concern of Israelis. Particularly since 9/11, Palestinian violence has been a liability for their cause and has served to validate Israel's self-defence arguments. Increasingly, Palestinian violence has been perpetrated by the Islamically oriented under the banner of jihad, which is understood almost exclusively in terms of armed struggle. Nonviolence which has the potential to undermine Israel's self-defence arguments and generate external pressure on Israel to adhere to the terms of a just peace has been under-appreciated by such Palestinians. Nonviolence is far from having a normative status in the Muslim world as an Islamically legitimate response to occupation and it is yet to be conceptualised as an effective form of resistance. The concept needs to be reformulated in accordance with the realities and opportunities confronting the Palestinians. Contextualisation combined with a maqasid or objective-oriented approach establishes non-violence as a preferable option to violence both in terms of the higher objectives of jihad, enshrined in the Quran, as well as of the attainment of Palestinian self-determination.
Australian Journal of International Affairs