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The Real Terrorism:: Made in Israel

By Hatem Abudayyeh

Since September 11, Israel has used the pretext of Bush's war against “terrorism” to illegally re-occupy Palestinian villages and cities in the areas administered by the Palestinian Authority. In the midst of this new Israeli siege, dozens of Palestinians were killed, and thousands injured and arrested. The U.S. and Israel have begun to pressure Yasser Arafat, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to crack down on the Intifada (or uprising) and quell the legal resistance to Israel's military occupation.

Two Islamic resistance groups, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, as well as the Marxist-Leninist group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), have been added to the State Department's list of “terrorist” organizations. International law has affirmed that resistance to illegal occupation is not “terrorism,” and the Palestinian people have refused to cower in the face of U.S. and Israeli demands to give up their right to fight this oppression.

The real terrorism is Israel's policy in the occupied territories. Among the murdered Palestinians are over 60 political activists and leaders of the Intifada, assassinated by Israeli forces in a type of extra-judicial killing specifically banned by international law. Although Arafat agreed to arrest Palestinian leaders, and even authorized the suppression of a demonstration in Gaza that killed five Palestinians, he proved unable to slow down the resistance. The Israelis responded by bombing Arafat's personal and security offices, helicopters, and government apparatus.

Israel is trying to force the Palestinians to accede to their demands and negotiate a peace agreement on their terms. They refuse to acknowledge the legitimate representation of the Intifada on the street level, and have even stated that Arafat is no longer “relevant” to them. The U.S. has echoed these statements, sending a special envoy, Anthony Zinni, to the region to demand that the Palestinians stop their “violence” for a full week before peace talks could proceed.

But what about Israeli violence? Israel has imposed military checkpoints all over the West Bank and Gaza, cutting Palestinians off who try to travel to neighboring towns and villages, and keeping hundreds of thousands out of work. Unemployment has reached frightening levels, almost 50%, and most Palestinians cannot get basic necessities, like food, water, and medical supplies. Palestinian homes are demolished to make room for more illegal Jewish settlements.

50 years of terrorism

When the U.S. and its allies vowed to wage a war on “terrorism,” the countries that were accused of “harboring terrorists” included many from the Arab world. The definition of terrorism was not clarified by Bush, the media, or the “experts” we see flashed on the TV screens every day.

The Palestinian people have been fighting terrorism for over 50 years – since the establishment of the state of Israel caused the forced exile of 750,000 Palestinians. However, Israel has never been placed on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorists. Since September 2000, when the Intifada, or Uprising, began in Palestine, over 900 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military, and its campaign of murder and oppression has seen a frightening and drastic rise since the war in Afghanistan.

Although the occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and Jerusalem is illegal by UN Security Council Resolutions, Israel has not withdrawn its troops from these areas since 1967. Israel has also ignored the fourth Geneva Convention, of which it is a party, by transferring civilians into the occupied territories, stealing Palestinian land and building illegal Jewish-only settlements on that land. In 1993, the Oslo Accords prompted Israel to withdraw from a tiny percentage of the occupied territories, and the Palestinian Authority established limited sovereignty in those areas.

Afghanistan to Palestine

The U.S. is continuing its campaign in Afghanistan, destroying most of the country and imposing a government of its liking on the people. Israel continues to play an important strategic role in the Arab world for the U.S., acting as a proxy army for the U.S. to maintain stability among the Arab masses and Arab markets, especially for the oil industry. For this reason, it is in the best interests of the U.S. elites and Israel to seek an end to the Palestinian Intifada. It is the reason why the U.S. government militarily, financially, and politically supports the Israeli oppressors.

The Palestinians refuse to surrender their legitimate rights to their land. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinian Authority can suppress the Palestinians' need to be free from Israeli violence. No people feel more terrorized than the Palestinians do. Their families are being killed, leaders assassinated, homes destroyed, and land confiscated. They cannot return to the homes from which they were forced. Their resistance is not “terrorism,” but a legitimate struggle for national liberation.

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