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Security and Liberty – Striking a Balance

“The State of Israel is undergoing a difficult period… We are doing all we can to balance properly between human rights and the security of the area. In this balance, human rights cannot receive complete protection as if there were no terror, and State security cannot receive complete protection as if there were no human rights. A delicate and sensitive balance is required.”

The question remains, however, what is the right balance between security and liberty?

It is no secret that an effective war on terror compromises the human rights and liberties that our society deserves, just as any attempt to preserve liberties that true democracies are accustomed to will jeopardize effective counter-terrorism. So where do security and liberty intersect? Where is the point of equilibrium that secures the well-being of our citizens without applying draconian measures against entire communities, suspects, and even convicted villains?

In a number of key decisions given by the High Court of Justice in Israel (HCJ), it seems that the scale may be tilted in one direction on the account of the other. In this paper, we will briefly review four different decisions given by the HCJ and analyze their ramifications on the war on terror and the rule of law.