Would Locke Approve?
A 60 year-old woman was killed and 39 were injured in a terrorist attack in central Jerusalem this afternoon when a bomb exploded outside Egged bus number 74 at a station across from the Jerusalem Conference Center. Police have stated that an explosive device inside a bag was left at the bus station which then exploded. Witnesses were able to identify the man who left the bag and is now being searched for by Israeli police. The police also stated that this has been the first terrorist attack of its kind in four years.
Hostility between Israelis and Palestinians is certainly nothing new. Ever since the UN granted Israel its independence in 1948, the fighting between the two sides has never stopped, and wars and terrorist attacks have prevented the two sides from reaching a peace agreement.
Palestinian terrorists take action to fight against what they believe to be an “oppressive” Israeli government. They believe that the Israeli government does not serve their best interest and does not provide them with proper rights. Therefore, they wish to gain these freedoms by attacking Israeli society.
In Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, he states that the people have the right to dissolve their government if it ceases to function in the peoples’ best interest, often taking on a tyrannical rule. Many Palestinians believe that the Israeli government is tyrannical and does not serve their best interest. As a result, they feel they have a right to rebel.
The major question here is whether or not Locke would approve of terrorist attacks based on his views of dissolving government. The first thing one would have to look at is whether or not the Israeli government truly is oppressive. I can say from first-hand experience that this is certainly not true. During a trip to Israel a couple of summers ago, I had the pleasure of discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict with Palestinian teenagers. When I asked them if they had ever considered moving from Israel to an Arab country, where the rest of their family lived, they responded by saying that they enjoy more rights and freedoms in Israel than they would in any Arab country. They said that their quality of life is simply much greater in Israel.
Evidence of this greater quality of life is everywhere in Israel. Palestinians have the opportunity to become Israeli citizens and vote in Israeli elections. In addition, all street and road signs are written in Arabic in addition to Hebrew to accommodate the Palestinians. Most importantly, Muslims have full access to the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa mosque.
Maybe Locke would still think that the Israeli government is oppressive. However, I don’t think that he would approve of attacks on innocent civilians in an attempt to dissolve the government since they are not part of government themselves. Regardless of your opinion and belief, let’s hope that the two sides can attain peace in the near future.