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News ::
Terrorism--Wholesale and Retail
22 Aug 2002
Attacks against US and Israeli "interests" are invariably retaliatory.
Terrorism.—Wholesale and Retail.
By Joseph P. Diaferia
August 22, 2002

Israeli and American leaders respond with predictable indignation whenever "terrorism" is visited upon American or Israeli citizens. Terrorism, in everyday Western parlance, would typically refer to the types of violent acts in which small, poorly armed militant groups take up arms against mostly defenseless targets. Missing from Washington's and Jerusalem’s cynical protestations are questions that might lead the American public to understand the real causes of such terrorist acts.

Terrorist attacks such as the bombings of nightclubs in Israel, or the attack upon the Hebrew University cafeteria, and, of course, the attacks of September 11, 2001 (assuming 9/11 was not an inside job, as it appears it was) would more aptly be defined as acts of retail terrorism-— retaliatory acts. The far more heinous acts of wholesale terrorism, such as the destruction of Iraq and the murder of 2,000,000 of its people by the United States, the forcible expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from their homeland when Israel was established in 1948-1949, the massacre of the entire village of Deir Yassin by the Israelis on April 9, 1948, the massacres of thousands of Lebanese civilians at Sabra and Shatila in 1982, and the recent attacks by the Israelis upon the civilian Palestinian population, are not represented as terrorist acts by any of the Western media. Military aggression that is carried out by Israel and the United States is usually explained as necessary to ensure “our national security” and to underscore Israel’s “right to exist”. However, the media continue to inculcate the American public with a most simplistic mindset--a culture of uncritical acceptance of what is actually and Israeli and American terrorism.

Since the United States became the dominant power in the oil-rich region, the principal objective of U.S. policy in the Middle East has been the destruction of independent governments and national liberation movements. The Israeli government has long been a willing participant in these jingoistic ventures. In fact, in an interview with an Israeli newspaper in 1951, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister stated:

"Strengthening Israel helps the Western powers to maintain equilibrium and stability in the Middle East. Israel is to become the watchdog. There is no fear that Israel will undertake any aggressive policy towards the Arab states when this would explicitly contradict the wishes of the U.S. and Britain. But if for any reason the Western powers should sometimes prefer to close their eyes, Israel could be relied on to punish one or several neighboring states whose discourtesy towards the West went beyond the bounds of the permissible."

In its constabulary capacity, Israel has invaded Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Syria, bombed Iraq, aided the Shah of Iran, supported the government of South Africa during Apartheid, has acted as a conduit for illegal arms from the U.S. to other reactionary regimes, and much more.

It has always been the collective conduct of the U.S. and Israel that has made the latter the repeated target of retaliatory violence. Yet, it has always been the legendary culpability of the Palestinians that has enjoyed the widest currency.

Yes, but what gives armed militants the right to kill innocent people? Nothing. Terrorism by any definition can never be justified. However, such acts of violence can usually be explained. Acts of terrorism or aggression carried out against Israeli and American interests are invariably responses to the much larger acts of violence and repression that both have perpetrated against other nations. Retaliatory acts against the United States and Israel will cease only when the United States curbs its predatory designs abroad and only when the Israeli government ends its complicity with the Pentagon and U.S. commerce.

Unfortunately, at this writing, an end to terrorism seems a distant and unlikely prospect given the determination and candor with which the Bush Administration is coercing support for Desert Storm II.
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