Monday, 12 February 2018 13:54

Israel's brand of terrorism

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All across the globe, Israel has been called a terrorist state. Since its inception, the country has used its intelligence service (Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil.

In the Middle East, terror has been perpetrated by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people. However, they defend their actions as a “sign of strength” and “resilience”.

It is not a surprise that a few days after United States President Donald Trump called for the US embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israelis again showed “strength”.

Mohammed Zeidan, director of Human Rights Association in Nazareth, said since that day, “seven minors have been seriously injured by Israelis forces”.

The US has turned a blind eye to Israel’s misuse of US-supplied tear gas, bulldozers and munitions to commit human rights violations against the Palestinians.

A Pennsylvania-based company, Combined Systems Incorporated, has for years, supplied Israel with tear gas, a non-lethal means for crowd dispersal and control.

“Israel has repeatedly used tear gas at close range on unarmed protesters who posed no threat to soldiers, often injuring and even killing them.

“There is a hyper-militarised culture of incitement and belligerence in Israel.”

Palestinians are still viewed by the state, and much of the Israeli public, as enemy combatants. A few years ago, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat called on Israeli civilians who owned firearms to carry them at all times and be ready to use them.

Last week, Israeli member of parliament Oren Hazan verbally harassed Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip journeying by bus to visit imprisoned relatives in an Israeli prison, calling their sons “dogs” and “terrorists”.

He told them: “You educated your son to murder and we will show your son to the ground.”

Oren said the bus was carrying the families of “animals”.

Many Israeli politicians like Hazan have used psychological terrorism against the Palestinians through the worst humiliation and abuse imaginable.

Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of international law. Families of Palestinian prisoners must, therefore, apply for hard-to-obtain permits to enter Israel and visit them, usually in buses organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Terrorism has been the hallmark of Israeli leaders, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, among others.

Assassination of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals in Europe and the Middle East has happened for years.

Israel used chemical weapons in the attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal, a Hamas leader, in Amman in 1997 on the orders of Netanyahu.

Israel was the “first, fundamental and only suspect in the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat”, based on the reports of Swiss and Russian scientists on a sample taken from the exhumed corpse of the Palestinian leader.

Although the cause of Arafat’s death has never been determined in real confidence, one can quote several Israeli leaders who stated that “killing Arafat is a viable option”.

Israeli violence is not limited to Palestinians but includes the assassination of the British minister, Lord Moyne, in 1944 in Cairo as planned by Shamir, a former Israeli prime minister. Another assassination, of the Swedish nobleman Count Folke Bernadotte on Sept 17, 1948, in Jerusalem, was alleged to be on the orders of Shamir.

Bernadotte’s sin was his recommendation, as the United Nations mediator, that Palestinian refugees who were driven out from their homes by Israel should be allowed to return.

This recommendation was the substance of the UN resolution 194, on Dec 11, 1948, stipulating the right of return for the Palestinian refugees as soon as possible.

The first deliberate act of shooting down a civilian airliner was carried out by Israel when a Libyan airliner was shot down by fighter jets over Sinai in February 1973, on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, killing 107 passengers and its entire French crew.

Israeli terror was not restricted to Palestinians, Arabs and Europeans, but included its own closest supporter and ally, the US. In 1954, Israeli secret agents bombed Egyptian, American and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centres. The attacks were blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to maintain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.

Israel’s Mossad agents, too, were the ones who carried out the much-publicised assassinations of four Iranian scientists — Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan — between 2010 and 2012.

The noted British historian, Arnold Toynbee, in a 1961 lecture at McGill University, Canada, delivered to a largely Jewish audience, highlighted the crimes committed by Israel in the name of the Jews, thus: “The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1948 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of six million Jews... The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn.”

The Palestinian people today are calling for a modicum of justice. This will not happen if we continue to condone Israel’s state-sponsored terrorism.

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and Japan Institute of International Affairs fellow, and a former lecturer of UiTM Shah Alam and International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak.

Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 29 December 2017

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