The Israeli/American
Terrorism Generator

By Terrell E. Arnold

For more than half a century, the Israelis have billed themselves in America as the innocent victims of Palestinian terrorism. And the United States has assiduously defended the Israeli right of "self defense", most aggressively by vetoing at least 35 UN Security Council resolutions that were in some way critical of Israel. The most recent would have called on Israel to terminate its present destructive military campaign in Gaza. Those vetoes received little attention in American media, and as is becoming much better known in recent months, the truth about Israel's virtual genocide of the Palestinian people has simply been denied to most Americans. It is not only time that changed; it is also time Americans in general understood the consequences for their safety and America's reputation of this decades long perversion of American foreign policy.
Starting in a big way with the Israeli terrorist massacre of the villagers of Deir Yassin in 1947, the pressure on Palestinians to leave Palestine, to voluntarily give up their homes and historic ties, with no hope of return or compensation, has been unremitting. That has been true even in periods when alleged peace processes were at work, because the average Palestinian was simply never permitted to see any genuine prospect of peace or a national home. Rather, the most persistent element of Israeli policy toward Palestinians is to deny them either security or peace.
Since the beginning of the George W. Bush administration, Israeli creation of unremitting hopelessness has been allowed steadily to accelerate. The Second Intifada--actually open rebellion of Palestinians against continuing Israeli oppression--was nominally triggered by Ariel Sharon's 2000 visit to the Temple Mount, the site of the Al Aqsa Mosque, but real triggers were economic discontent and recognition by Palestinians generally that the "peace process" was going nowhere. That was followed by systematic disassembly of the Palestinian infrastructure by the occupying Israel Defense Force, one of the most egregious examples being total destruction of the village of Jenin in 2002. That was followed by George W. Bush's agreement with Sharon that new settlements in the West Bank were "facts on the ground" to be taken into account--meaning added to Israel--in any future peace negotiation.
The Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigades took their name and their style from the perceived Sharon insult to Islam represented by his visit to the Temple Mount. The Brigades, for a time, became the bloodiest of Palestinian insurgents, mostly through attacks on Israel. Other Palestinian groups, Hamas for example, were also active in this period, and Israel, as well as effectively the Bush administration, used violent Palestinian resistance as an excuse for continued repression. There is no other conflict on the planet at this time that feeds consciously and deliberately on the fact that people who are oppressed regularly and harshly enough will fight back.
Slowly but unremittingly the Palestinians are being squeezed into an area of the West Bank and the Gaza strip that amounts to less than 10% of Palestine, and new "facts on the ground" add daily to the Israeli numbers: The 90% consists of Israel (by UN definition the territory enclosed by the 1967 truce line) the expanding blocks of settlements pre-approved by George W. Bush, the Israeli only roads being built to reach them, the encroaching Israeli wall designed to create a boundary fact on the ground, and denial to Palestinian entry or use of the whole of the Jordan River Valley.
All of that has been playing out since January 2006 in a political environment dominated by the US/Israeli effort to starve Hamas out of power if not altogether out of existence in Palestine.  Under the growing pressure of declining resources, inadequate electric power, an open prison and oppressive situation for virtually all Palestinians, the people are beginning to squabble. Under the conditions of Palestine, the struggle to survive, perversely allied with the desire to find someone to blame for adversity, will cause people to fight among themselves.
That was the state of play as of July-August 2006. In September, more or less simultaneously with their invasion of Lebanon, the Israelis upped the pressure. The box score at this time is the Palestinians have one Israeli prisoner, while the Israelis hold 9,000 or more Palestinians. Nevertheless, ostensibly in response to Palestinian kidnapping of an Israeli soldier--actually capture in Palestinian territory after an Israeli assault failed--the IDF launched an all-out campaign to unseat Hamas and, once and for all, to squelch any Palestinian idea of their own state. This campaign was launched under the international media cover of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It has continued without interruption or any US action to restrain it, even through a visit of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to meet with Mahmoud Abbas in September.
As the world saw, the Lebanon campaign was harsh, devastating to many areas of the country, heavily destructive of the national infrastructure, and it was actively fed with weapons by the US as well as prolonged by US/British refusal to push an immediate ceasefire. As the world also saw, the stated purpose of the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, to capture, kill or disband the Shi'a group Hesballah, was a failure. Hesballah lives, to fight on, and the prospect that it will be disbanded or disarmed is slight, while its popularity as a defender of Islamic causes has grown remarkably. That probably has encouraged numerous insurgencies.
Meanwhile, Israel's IDF has continued its harsh campaign against the Palestinians, especially in the Gaza Strip, and it has done so with little to no objection from the international community. In fact, both Israeli leadership and the Bush administration continue to hope that this campaign will result in the collapse of the Hamas government and return of power to Mahmoud Abbas of Yassir Arafat's Fatah movement--that to be followed by renewal of a peace process.  That process will go nowhere, because present Israeli leadership will simply not let it go anywhere, and Israel's main sponsor, the United States, remains disinclined to intervene.
At least some Israelis and their Jewish supporters in the United States and elsewhere know that this situation is a disaster in the making. The Israeli hardliners, meaning the Zionists most devoted to a Jewish state, must hope that under the pressures now being exerted the Palestinians will go away.  The newest member of Olmert's government, Avigdor Lieberman of the extremist Israel Beiteinu party, advocates forcibly making the Palestinians leave any area of Palestine west of the Jordan River.  Moreover, his inclusion in the Olmert government was virtually unanimous, and that means hardly anyone in the Olmert government wants a renewed peace process with the Palestinians.
The only clear winners in the present Palestine situation are the Middle Eastern and international promoters of terrorism. Trackers of the history of the Palestinian conflict will recall that increasing Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people in the 1960s brought on Yassir Arafat's creation of the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization. Washington terrorism experts, if honest with themselves, will also admit that constant US defense and support of Israel provoked much of the anti-US terrorism of those and later years.  Continued repression of the Palestinians through the 1970s and 1980s brought on spin-offs from the PLO such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the PFLP General Command, and Islamic activists such as Palestinian Islamic Jihaad. The first Palestinian Intifada in the late 1980s brought on the emergence of Hamas, while the Second Intifada, as noted earlier, brought on creation of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The present Israeli campaign--at least as intensive and repressive as any earlier assault on the Palestinians--is likely to spawn one or more new groups. No one is likely to know in advance who they are; they won't necessarily be Palestinian; they may not necessarily even be Islamic.
Their targets will find out who they are (maybe) and what they want (maybe) only when they strike. The fact is that Israeli leadership, bent on a once-for-all solution to its Palestine problem, has turned up the Middle East terrorism generator to full flame.  By not strenuously objecting to the Israeli campaign in Palestine, and by force-feeding the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, the United States has added its own fuel to this terrorism igniter.
It may be too late to turn this flame down or off.  It may be that there are actually people in Washington and Tel Aviv who revel in the thought they can count on a reliable set of enemies for their wars on terrorism. In this respect, Israel has been its own worst enemy for more than half a century. The United States has joined that club by actively helping to make war on Palestinian leadership. By their hostile interventions in Palestine, both are asking to be the targets of groups that may not be large, but who will be determined, and the War on Terrorism will not be able to stop them.
The writer is the author of the recently published work, A World Less Safe, now available on Amazon, and he is a regular columnist on  He is a retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the US Department of State whose immediate pre-retirement positions were as Deputy Director of the State Office of Counterterrorism, and as Chairman of the Department of International Studies of the National War College.  He will welcome comment at



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