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Policide is a neologism used in political science to describe the intentional destruction of a city or nation.


Writer Michael Walzer credits the origin of the term "policide" (here, meaning the "destruction of a state's independence") to Abba Eban, Israel's foreign minister in 1967.[1]

Similarly, professor Steve J. Stern has adopted "policide" to mean the destruction of political life itself. Stern describes the term as an extension of a family of terms including homicide, patricide, tyrannicide, genocide, democide, and ethnocide. Stern uses the term "policide," rooted in the Greek term polis (πόλις) for "city-state" or "body politic," in order to describe what he characterizes as "a systematic project to destroy an entire way of doing and understanding politics and governance" in Chile under the governance of Augusto Pinochet.[2]

Popular usage

Policide is used with some regularity within political science, generally to refer to a policy of destruction that falls short of genocide or ethnocide, and may involve the destruction of a city or nation. For example:

  • In Circle of Goods, Tressa Lynn Berman describes United States policy towards Native Americans as a historical process shifting from ethnocide into "policide."[4]
  • The term "policide" frequently arises with respect to the intention to eradicate the state of Israel. Yossi Beilin discusses Current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's use of the term to describe the Palestine Liberation Organization's claim that it is dedicated to the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel.[5] Netanyahu has continued to use the term in his writings and speeches, for example writing that "Arafat pursues a goal of 'policide' - the destruction of the Jewish state, by employing the means of suicide and mass terror" [6]. The declared intention of Hamas[7], Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah[8][9] and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad[10] is the destruction of Israel and this had led to claims that Arab/Muslim groups support the notion of policide regarding Israel.[11]

See also


  1. Walzer, Michael. Just and Unjust Wars. 2001-03-31: Basic Books. p. 52. ISBN 0-465-03705-4. "... the destruction of a state's independence (a crime for which Abba Eban, Israel's foreign minister in 1967, suggested the term 'policide')", accessed 10-24-2006 through Google Books.
  2. Stern, Steve J.. Remembering Pinochet's Chile. 2004-09-30: Duke University Press. pp. 32, 90, 101, 180–81. ISBN 0-8223-3354-6., accessed 10-24-2006 through Google Books.
  3. Treat, John Whittier (1996-05-01). Writing Ground Zero. University of Chicago Press. xii, 10, 38, 399. ISBN 0-226-81177-8., accessed through Google Books 10-24-2006
  4. Berman, Tressa Lynn (2003-01-01). Circle of Goods. SUNY Press. pp. 65–66. ISBN 0-7914-5535-1., accessed through Google Books 10-24-2006
  5. Beilin, Yossi (2004-05-01). The Path to Geneva. RDV Books. p. 56. ISBN 0-9719206-3-X., accessed through Google Books 10-24-2006
  6. Netanyahu's article
  7. "A viable Palestinian state...". Die Welt. January 1, 2006. Archived from the original on February 7, 2006.
  8. Little choice for a defiant Israel, by Andrew Markus, The Age, July 15, 2006
  9. United Nations Document A/54/723 S/2000/55, citing Washington Post, 1 January 2000 Letter dated 25 January 2000 from the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General Accessed August 17, 2006
  10. MSNBC
  11. Aryeh Stav, Nativ Magazine, November 2003, [1] Template:He icon
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