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Is Palestinian terrorism part of international terrorism?

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Is Palestinian terrorism part of international terrorism?

With the passage of time, it is becoming more and more evident that Palestinian terrorism cannot be isolated from international terrorism. As it has become apparent that Palestinian terrorists are more interested in the destruction of Israel than in the establishment of a Palestinian state, and that many Palestinian terrorist organizations are interested in the establishment of an Islamist entity in its place, it is clear that Palestinian terrorism is closely connected to jihadist terrorist organizations.

Not only is there growing evidence that international jihadist organizations are seeking a foothold in the Palestinian territories, the methods used by the Palestinians are being imitated by terrorist groups in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Over several decades, Palestinian violence has played a major role in the development of ever more dangerous forms of terrorism. It was the Palestinians who pioneered the use of terrorist hijackings. Palestinians may not have invented suicide bombers, but they have refined the technique, creating a cult of martyrdom that promotes more suicide bombings. On the other hand, the Palestinians are adopting techniques used by other terrorist organizations, especially the Hizbullah.

Evidence of international involvement in the Palestinian cause can be found in Iran's role in the conflict. Iran's control of Hizbullah - its arming, training and financing of this terrorist organization that not only has attacked Israel, but threatens the stability of Lebanon - is but one aspect of its involvement in the conflict. Iran is also closely allied with Hamas, a terrorist organization that continues to attack Israel despite its political gains in the Palestinian arena.

The Arab-Israeli conflict has been used by many in the Middle East to excuse their anti-American, and ultimately anti-Western, activities. Terrorism, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere, often targets democratic societies. Studies of suicide terrorism have shown that it is not motivated by despair - rather it is almost always conducted as part of an organized campaign to obtain political or military objectives. Al-Qaeda's attacks on the U.S. were an assault on the ideals of freedom that the United States represents. They were part of bin Laden's plans for a jihad aimed at reshaping the world in accordance with his extremist interpretation of Islam. Although bin Laden's basic goals are unrelated to Israel, attacks on the American people have been exploited by anti-Israeli elements to advance their agenda in the Middle East.

In the ideological sphere, Palestinian propaganda blurs the difference between acts of terror that target innocents and defensive countermeasures aimed at stopping terrorists. It is important to realize that justifying any terrorist attack harms the worldwide effort to delegitimize terror and its sponsors.

Palestinian terrorism must not be allowed to succeed. To do so would not only encourage further acts of violence against innocent civilians in Israel, but also increase the chances that the scourge of terrorism will continue to proliferate and increasingly endanger democratic states throughout the world. Denying suicide terrorists their goals is an important step towards stopping the phenomenon of terrorism as a whole.

Any political gains made by the Palestinians through the use of terrorist violence will contribute to the proliferation of terrorism across the globe. Rewarding terrorism serves only to invite others in the Middle East and elsewhere to use similar tactics. The success of Palestinian terrorism would also encourage the further radicalization of Arab and Muslim populations made all too vulnerable to extremism by failed socio-economic conditions within their own states and ideologies that encourage hatred and violence.

Rewarding Palestinian terrorism would not only endanger Israel, but would threaten the stability of the region and the safety of the democratic world. Rewarding terrorism only breeds more terrorism.


These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.

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Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text  is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.

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