The killing of any person, Jew or non-Jew, is a very serious matter indeed and all such killings must be investigated thoroughly by the police. Where there is any evidence of criminal activity, the person or persons involved must be brought to trial where their conduct can be judged.
However, under the heading of “killing” there are cases where such killings are in fact sanctioned by law. These are:
• killing as an act of self-defence
• killing due to necessity
• killing during a war
The killings by Baruch Goldstein could possibly come under one of these headings or a combination of two or even all three. I stress that I do not offer any conclusions on this question.
For each of these headings:
• I shall give a summary of the relevant laws, legal precedents and the opinions of leading legal authorities as applying to Israel and various other countries.
• I shall offer my own conclusions on the legal points, for consideration by the Investigative Commission.
• Finally and most importantly for this work, the Investigative Commission may wish to consider whether these conclusions are relevant to the Baruch Goldstein case.
A difference between “killing as an act of self-defence” and “killing due to necessity” on the one hand, and “killing during a war” on the other, is that the two former may be performed by an individual by his own decision, whereas the latter must be authorised by a government. However in the particular case of Baruch Goldstein’s actions, one needs to consider “killing during a war” in co-ordination with the chapter (see earlier) “What if a Government Fails to Act?”