Important note: This was a response writeup. The reasons I wrote it are detailed below. The writeup I responded to was removed, at the request of the author. Why he did this I do not guess. I would like to believe that he realised how ridiculous it is. I usually do not advocate leaving response writeups when the original has been removed, but I have left this here for several reasons:
- This was not a one-time allegation. It comes up from time to time. This does not make it any less ridiculous, but still, if I remove this, somebody else might decide to write another "Israel is a terrorist state" writeup. And then I'd probably have to reply to it. And if I'm gone, somebody else will. My writeup staying should remove the need for a senseless posting-deleting-reposting ping pong game.
- It has enough stand-alone information and opinions to merit remaining here, at least in the eyes of the one editor I spoke to about this.
- I have been asked to leave it here.
It should also be noted that the now-removed writeup and my reply were written at the time of Israel's entry into Jenin
in April 2002.
When I first read nyte's writeup, I thought, "This is just silly," and moved on. And then it got chinged! Which means somebody might read it, and think, "hey, he's got a point," and so this downright stupid idea of nyte's might actually be treated seriously, with people quoting it in arguments about Israel. Which would be a shame, really.
First off, I am Israeli. You should know that, to read this in a more objective light. Second, I am totally against the oppression of the Palestinians. I think that what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians is wrong. I think that putting the settlements in the occupied territories was a terrible idea that was bad for both sides. I am all for giving the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in their entirety in return for peace (yes, including East Jerusalem).
With that out of the way, calling Israel a terrorist state is just silly. I think it is similar to the signs of 'Israel = Nazis' (or Jew = Nazi, or Sharon = Hitler) that I've seen. And yes, I can understand where it comes from. I can understand the anger and the frustration at the situation, and of sitting on the side, not being able to do anything. And then trying to hit where it hurts the most. Because calling a Jew a Nazi is the worst insult possible. I'm not going to into that argument right now, because it's even stupider than the one I am going to get into. Calling Israel a terrorist state is pretty much the second worst thing you can do, and it almost gives the suicide bombers redemption. It's almost an excuse. If Israel is a terrorist state, then the Palestinian suicide bombers are a reasonable method of fighting for independence. Well they are not. Palestinians are using terrorism, and it's unjustifiable on any grounds. Blowing up a room full of civilians is inexcusable.
And now let me explain why nyte's argument is silly:
nyte looked for a definition of terrorism into which the state of Israel fit. Undaunted by two failed attempts, he accepted Webbie's definition. On nyte's defense, everyone has their own conception of terrorism, and most rigid definitions would include many exceptions. So for example, Webbie's definition would include the bombing of Dresden, which is hardly terrorism, I think you would agree. Or maybe it is. In any case, let us indeed look at the definition nyte has chosen:
"The practise of coercing governments to accede to political demands by committing violence on civilian targets; any similar use of violence to achieve goals."
Now Israel may be wrong, cruel, inhuman and unjust. Israel may be committing major human rights violations. Israel's leader may be a war criminal. But it is not a terrorist state. nyte's bending of the situation to include Israel in it is akin to taking Webbie's definition of chair: "A movable single seat with a back", and saying: "a genetically-engineered riding mule is a chair." A seat is something upon which one sits, or something made for sitting. Well, this riding mule was made for sitting on. Is it movable? Certainly. And it has a back. So it must be a chair.
I will agree that the Palestinian Authority is a government for purposes of argument. I disagree on two major points: 1) The Israeli government does not attack civilian targets for the purpose of terrorism. 2) The Israeli government is not doing anything right now to coerce the Palestinian Authority into anything.
The Israeli army may have not been treating the Palestinians nicely, but no attacks were ever made on civilian targets in order to harm civilians. Of course attacks were made on civilian targets, but that is because the Palestinian military factions base many headquarters, hideouts, etc. in these places. All attacks made on Palestinians have been in order to capture or kill members of Palestinian organisations. (I am not condoning Israel's execution policy either, btw). Now you may think this is bullshit, and that Israel is "pretending" that the targets are military, and just bombing civilians. That is your right. I personally don't believe that is the case, and that is from knowing the Israeli army from the inside. Yes, there are some bastards who may not mind genocide (i.e. exterminating the Palestinians), but they are very few. And such operations have to have the agreement of a lot of people. Which could never happen. Incidentally, I also know several retired generals in the Israeli army, and they all agree that such a theory is silly.
Secondly, Israel at the moment has one demand of the Palestinians: to stop the violence. Israel is not using terror to stop it. With the Park hotel suicide bombing in Netanya on the night of the Seder, in which 20 people died, Israel reached a breaking point, and is now enforcing its own safety. Is it harming civilians? Certainly. If Israel could do the same without harming civilians, would they? Of course. And that is the important part. At the moment, Israel does not have demands from the Palestinian Authority. Israel has taken matters into its own hands. And look at what is actually going on in the occupied territories now: gunfights (it is highly unlikely that there are gunfights with civilians, who just happen to own rifles and submachine guns and refuse to surrender to an army). Before an air bombing, the inhabitants of the building are always told to evacuate. As you can see, there are no demands on the Israelis side. Israel is arresting or killing members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad (and other organizations). The army has found many labs, weapon storage hideouts and other terrorism related things.
And let me answer the two potent points nyte made: "Does the Israeli army believe it is capable of rooting out and killing every potential suicide bomber?" No, Israel is not stupid. Israel does not think it can get every terrorist in the West Bank. And elabortion on the subject will follow shortly. The other point nyte made is: "their goal can only be to induce such abject terror into the hearts of Palestinians everywhere that they accede to Israeli demands for fear of being exterminated entirely". No. There are four major reasons (that I can think of) that the Israeli government decided on this operation:
- After a month of incessant terrorist attacks in Israel, the public was getting extremely restless. I for one think twice before I leave the house to any public place. It was getting too much, and the Palestinian Authority was doing jack shit about it. (Surprise surprise, they finally proved that Yasser Arafat has in fact been giving money to the terrorists). So the government had to do something. Just like the American public would not have taken it if the U.S. Government had said on September 12, 2001, "well, there isn't anything we can do."
- Sending a message to Arafat that this is unacceptable, and that if he won't do anything then we will.
- Disrupting as much as possible the terrorist organizations. Israel doesn't want to get every terrorist or every potential suicide bomber. That is stupid. All that is necessary is the leaders. Everyone knows that. So Israel is going after terrorist organizations' leaders and infrastructure. It's simple. If you destroy 50%, you will have about half as many terrorist attacks.
- Moving the war front. As any military strategist will tell you, the war occurs at the war front. When the front was the Israeli-Palestinian 'border', the war was there: suicide bombings and terrorist attacks in Israel. Now the war front has moved, the terrorists have to fight there. And it has worked. since the beginning of the operation, there have been no terrorist attacks withing the '67 borders.
This is a war. Unfair
. Call it what you will. It is not terrorism. Again, I do not condone it, but it is not terrorism.