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The Green Bag


The Essay considers how members of a terrorist organization should be categorized under international law when the organization is engaged in an armed conflict with a nation. In particular, the essay discusses whether these members can properly be categorized as a type of “combatant” or whether they must instead always be categorized as “civilians.” The proper categorization can have significant implications for the nation’s authority under international law (and potentially also domestic law) to subject members of a terrorist organization to military targeting and detention. The United States and Israel currently have different legal approaches to the question, and the essay will explore and comment on these differences.1

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