The Penal Code of California, Peace Officers Abridged Edition with Index, dated 1982, defines justifiable homicide by persons other than public officers in section 197:
“Homicide is also justifiable when committed by any person in any of the following cases:
When resisting any attempt to murder any person, or to commit a felony, or to do some great bodily injury upon any person; or,
When committed in defense of habitation, property or person, against one who manifestly intends or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a felony, or against one who manifestly intends and endeavors, in a violent, riotous, or tumultuous manner, to enter the habitation of another for the purpose of offering violence to any person therein; or,
When committed in the lawful defense of such person, or of a wife or husband, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant of such person, when there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony or to do some great bodily injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished; but such person, or the person in whom the defense was made, if he was the assailant or engaged in mutual combat, must really and in good faith have endeavored to decline any further struggle before the homicide was committed; or
When necessarily committed in attempting, by lawful ways and means, to apprehend any person for any felony committed, or in lawfully suppressing any riot, or in lawfully keeping and preserving the peace.”
Can Palestinians, including Hamas members, be considered terrorists when they are defending their families and habitations from murderous aggressions? Palestinians have been in imminent danger, not to mention illegal occupation, for decades. Zionist murderers have bombed, shot, bulldozed, and bullied innocent Palestinians for the purpose of committing genocide and usurping the land upon which Palestinians dwell.
There is no justification for Israel’s campaign of murderous genocide and land theft. There is abundant justification for Palestinian self-defense and justifiable homicide.
However, peace cannot occur in an atmosphere of non-ending homicide, whether justifiable or not. Somehow, both sides must find ways to work past the historic injustices and the ongoing ones, and set aside past justifications of violence for a peace based on new paradigms of behavior and a genuine setting aside of past differences.
No one can change the past. No one should forget the suffering and the destructiveness of hatred. But, the past can lose its grip when the involved parties agree to relinquish the control that past sufferings have on future generations.
Let us seek peace and pursue it for the future generations. Let the cycles of violence go. Let the future bring fraternity and improved relations based on a mutual realization that only by releasing fear and past hatred can a peaceful future supplant a violent past.
Imagine Peace in Palestine.
The writer is a member of several falconry and ornithological clubs and organizations. He contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from California, USA.