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Scholars differ widely as to the features of the modern state, but all agree that they include the claim to a monopoly of legitimate force. With the breaking down of rival centres of power and authority, the state has become its sole custodian. But this right bestows an equal duty: that of preventing groups and individuals within it from using violence. The monopoly, if claimed, must also be protected.;Those instances in which non-state actors resort to violence to further their political ends can, and usually do, give rise to two kinds of debate. One revolves around the perpetrators of the violence; the other focuses on the authorities who were unable and/or unwilling to prevent it. Those concerned try to justify their attack on the monopoly of the state or their failture to protect it respectively. The identity of the protagonists and the nature of the allegations made are different; both controversies, however, are concerned with the issue of legitimation. This text deals with them both.;The book opens with two case studies of the attempt to legitimate right-wing violence in Israel, which are then followed by a close reading of the memorial book published in honour of Baruch Goldstein on the first anniversary of his massacre of Muslim worshippers in the Cave of the Patriachs in Hebron. The focus then moves to controversies surrounding those who allegedly failed to prevent violence, including a case study of the various ways in which the opposition parties contended that the verbal violence of Prime Minister Begin during the 1981 election campaign led to the physical violence of his more volatile supporters. This is follwed by an analysis of the explanations offered by politicians of all persuasions for the vigilante and millenarian terrorism of Jewish settlers in the occupied territories.;A concluding section attempts to bring the analyses together by examining the similarities and differences between the two kinds of debate and making some observations about the nature of interaction between them. Both the contents of the narratives of violence and their consequences are considered.