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Who is a Terrorist?


A week ago or so, in Jerusalem, an Israeli Border-Police office was stabbed to death by three Palestinian assailants in broad day light. She was a young woman of 23, her whole life ahead of her, whom relatives described as a “real-life Wonder Woman.” In my book, she is most certainly worthier of that title than the Israeli woman playing that Comic Book hero in cinema theaters, with all the fakery and shield-deflecting bullets. May she rest in peace, Hadas Malka, and may the memory of her bravery and dedication to defending her country be of blessing.

The Palestinians who killed her were shot and killed too by Israeli forces. They were declared by the Israeli Government and Media as terrorists. Indeed, Netanyahu demanded of Abbas to declare and denounce them as such, which Abba refused to do. The reason he refused to do so, whether stated or not, is that for the Palestinians these were not terrorists, but rather freedom fighters. They were part of the resistance, from Hamas and the ‘Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.’ Which, together with other such forces, had been fighting and resisting—though without much success—what they consider to be the occupation and colonialization of their land for the last 50 years.

This difference of view regarding the assailants’ motives and actions, reflects a larger issue of disagreement as to the nature of not only the Palestinian struggle for independence, but also of terrorism at large. Since Israel and its army control their territory, control their every-day life, and keep building settlements on what they regard as their future-state; and yes, sometimes terrorizing them too—think Israeli settlers uprooting their olive trees and slaughtering their sheep—what are they to do? Peace, you say? But Israel’s interest in peace comes second to solidify their control over the occupied territories. It is why, when Netanyahu had demand that Abbas would stop the financial support for the families of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli, who are confined there on charges of murder and terrorism, Abbas had refused to do so. He reacted likewise even when President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson had demand the same of him. You see: Abbas would lose whatever little credit and respect he still has with his people, who regard those prisoners as martyrs and freedom fighters.

Just a week prior to that, it so happened that four Arab Gulf States severed diplomatic ties, and boycotted a fifth state, Qatar, for supporting terrorist organizations such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including objections to Qatar’s close ties with Turkey and Iran. Qatar reputed these accusations, pointing to its constant fight against terrorism. This effort and boycott is being led by Saudi Arabia, which just received a most generous promise of American weaponry from President Trump, in return for many sacks of gold. Yes, that Saudi Arabia, from where Bin Laden came, and most of the other terrorists who blew up the planes and the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, murdering close to 3000 innocent people. Killing citizens—and citizens only!—indiscriminately in the streets of peace-loving cities, that’s terrorism.

You might be surprised to learn that Nelson Mandela, one of the most revered politicians ever, whose funereal was the largest gathering of international diplomats, including the then American President Barack Obama, was labeled and regarded as a terrorist. First by the British, second by the racist South African white regime, and third by the Americans. As far as 2008, after he’d been already the liberator and president of South Africa—yes, after receiving the Nobel prize for peace, too—he was still on the American terror list. Imagine that!

And imagine also this: Both Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir—who later would become Israel’s Prime Ministers—were labeled and regraded as terrorists. Not only for blowing up the King David Hotel (see picture above) in Jerusalem, killing scores of innocent people from different nationalities, including Jewish victims, together with British Army personnel, but for other acts of murder and atrocities. Even Ben-Gurion, and his Haganah military commanders, who fought so hard for Israel’s independence, had called them, and regarded them as terrorists. And so did the Zionist Congress and Jewish Agency. You can try to justify it by saying that they also fought for Israel’s independence, only sometimes using terrorism means. Just as the Palestinians are doing now. And anyhow, that’s always the case, isn’t it, when fighting for liberation and independence?

And so it goes. One way of looking at it is to say—and principally believe—that terrorism is when you attack and kill indiscriminately innocent people. Young and old, male and female, of all gender and races, who did you no wrong whatsoever, and who are not fighting against you (even if their governments are doing so). They are not occupying your land, your home, your people. Of course, does it really make a difference for this categorization, when your government, on the other hand, indiscriminately blowing up buildings, bombing civilians, ripping them to pieces, killing scores of them, as the Americans still do in Syria and Afghanistan, and as Israel did in Lebanon and Gaza?

Go figure. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” And ‘terror’ as “a state of intense fear;” and also as “violence (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands.” Reign of terror is defined as “a state or a period of time marked by violence often committed by those in power that produces widespread terror.” So there you have it, my friends, no need to spell it out for you. At the end of the day, and argument, it seems clear that ‘who is a terrorist,’ may well be just in the eye of the beholder.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.


State of Illusion



Israel has just celebrated its 68 years of existence as an independent state. On the surface, everything – or let’s be fair here, mostly everything – seems to be quite rosy. The economy, startup-generated and agriculturally-sustained, is booming. The population grew, steadily if not spectacularly, to 8.5 million people. And while Israel is not yet “Light into the Goyim” culturally, the Israeli cinema, and to a degree television too, continues to generate interest and admiration internationally. Socially, though there are plenty of ills, people seem to be living their lives contently. Israel, Tel Aviv in particular, continues to rank relatively high globally when it comes to standard of living and happiness of living. Most important of all, the danger of war doesn’t seem imminent anymore. I would venture to say that the danger of existential war is practically nonexistence.

Nonexistence as well is the “danger” of peace. Netanyahu and his various governments have made sure of that. And now, with his latest move – rejecting the international pressure to create a coalition with Herzog and the Labor Party in order to have a more peace-oriented government, ahead of the newest French peace initiative – he basically buried any chances of peace, and with it the chances of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deep in the ground. Add to that the fact that instead, Netanyahu is bringing into his government an old friend and foe by the name of Lieberman, appointing him Defense Minister though he has absolutely zero credentials and qualifications for the job. Together with the six added Knesset Members, this will surely solidify a government opposed to peace. And to any acceptable resolution of the conflict.

Even more so. This government will work hard to continue and expand the occupation of the West Bank. Not only that – and you may, or may not have heard this here first – the real move to annex major parts of the Palestinian territory. Area C to be exact. The makeup of the new coalition in power, including a religious zealot (American Jew, no less) rightwing MK in place of the sane, experienced, defender of the moral values of the Israeli army Moshe Ya’alon, the ousting Defense Minister, makes it very likeable that the forces in favor of such a move, such as Naftali Bennett and his party, might prevail. Add to that the turmoil in the Middle East surrounding Israel, and a lame duck President in the white house – with a slight possibility, I do very much want to believe that it’s still just “slight” – of a new president named Trump, a megalomaniac, dangerous con artist of the first degree, and you have a favorable outlook internationally too for Netanyahu and his zealots.

But one has to ask this: If everything looks so good, what’s so wrong with this picture? Well, here’s what’s wrong with it. The continuation of the occupation, which as I’d just pointed out might soon be enhanced (whether officially or not) to annexation, is wrong. And unsustainable. In the long run, I’m talking about. In the short run – and it can be five, ten, even fifty years – it is actually sustainable. Israel’s military might, plus the population shift to the right and the extreme right, will ensure that. But the creation of an Apartheid state de facto, which the countries and forces around Israel in the Middle East, and the International community won’t stand for, is unsustainable in the long run. It spells disaster for Israel and the Jewish People, not to mention its moral implications. But if not an Apartheid State, then what?

Then a binational state. Which, in actual terms, it’s already very much in existence. Again: in the short run, fine and dandy. The management-style of the Israeli policy of governing – i.e. managing the situation, not solving or resolving it — Netanyahu’s contribution to the national and international school of political policy, is working fine. In the long run, it won’t. Because in the long run the Arab, Palestinian, Muslim population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea will be large enough, maybe even – according to most experts – a majority. And if the people in Israel object to an Apartheid State, and there are disturbing signs that not all of them do, then you have to give the Arab population in the West bank the right to vote, as the Israeli president has indeed suggested. And then you don’t have any longer a Jewish State. Now, if you don’t give them the right to vote, you don’t have a democratic state. In simple terms: you cannot eat the cake and keep it too. The majority of the Palestinians in the West Bank already know this. They don’t have a hope, or even a wish for the Two-State Solution any longer. They rather wait for Israel to implode by itself.

And when talking about imploding, add to that the latest signs in the Israeli society of increase in the elements that resemble fascism. Plain and simple. A zealot soldier shoots and kills, without provocation, and without an order a hapless, disarmed Palestinian man lying on the ground wounded, following a terrorist attack. The army’s Chief of Stuff and the Defense Minister insist to proceed with the rule of law, and according to the moral values, no less important, that Ben Gurion had lain out as the foundation for the Israeli Army. And then all hell breaks loose. And we have others in the Israeli society and government who have come to the defense of that murdering soldier. You don’t believe me, here’s what the commanders of the Israeli army, past and present, are saying about it:

“I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society, which are threatening its sturdiness and also trickling into the IDF, hurting it already,” said Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon upon his resignation. “Israel Has Been Infected by the Seeds of Fascism,” Says ex-Prime Minister, Defense Minister and IDF Chief of Staff Ehud Barak. He further added: “Life-affirming Zionism and seeds of fascism cannot exit together.” Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan had warned this month of “horrifying processes” in today’s Israel that carried echoes of pre-World War II Germany.

Israel, therefore, is living in a state of illusion. An illusion that things can go on forever like that. That misdeeds have no retributions. That crime has no punishment. What will wake and shake it up, and when will that happen, remains to be seen. But the writing is on the wall.

* The “Leave a Comment” link is the last tag below, in blue.

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