posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 02:46 PM
" The first several hijackings aroused the consciousness of the world and awakened the media and the world opinion much more and more effectively,
than 20 yrs of pleading at the United Nations," Zehdi Labib Terzi, the PLO's chief observer at the UN. What happens when terrorism works? Is it
possible for an organization to achieve a political or ideological goal via terrorism? I will work through the transition of a perceived terrorist
organization into a legitimate actor, followed by an analysis of if terror was responsible for the group achieving their goal. Many "rebels" have
used terror as a vehicle to "liberate" their people from governments they have perceived as illegimate or oppressive. There are many historical
examples, foundation the US, the French, the Irish, etc., however I will specifically be discussing the formation of Israel and the PLO.
In order to illustrate the similarities, goals, and potential victories of these organizations we must define terrorism and the reasons that these
organizations have been deemed terrorist. The US government defines terrorism as, "premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against
noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience." There are various types of terrorist
organizations with varying justifications for their resort to terror. Potential motives for terror include: religious, colonialism, or state
sponsored disputes between a faction and the primary government. A group may be deemed as terrorist if they violate international law which includes
the illegal imprisonment of civilians, the taking of hostages, or to take reprisals on civilians.
Both of the aforementioned groups were politically motivated; they desired/desire a country of their own, with the ability to be represented by their
own people with their own interests. The targeted both military and civilian targets to draw a sense of urgency to their situation and provoke the
international community to take a stance on one side or the other. Neither of these groups maintained an official standing army, they needed a method
by which to attack and instill fear without the tools to which a country has access.
The year was 1919 and according to the Versailles Peace conference, the countries of Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, and Transjordan were recognized as
independent states, while temporarily being placed under a British Mandate until they were able to stand alone. According to the League of Nations
Palestine was a recognized state, with fixed boundaries, a population, and a government. Palestine maintained a government with an executive,
judiciary, and 10 departments, which administered the affairs of the country; the only blockade to Palestine's complete independence was the presence
of the British High Commissioner and a few other officials. During the years 1919 through 1939, many Jewish uprisings occurred killing more than
50,000 Palestinian Arabs and placing more than 100,000 Arab nationalists were imprisoned or thrown into concentration camps. In 1939, the British
government issued the White Paper this decree promised the Palestinians self determination and limiting the further immigration of Jews into
Palestine. By now, the British forces were committed to fighting Hitler's troops and infuriated Jews and Jewish terrorist gangs saw this as an
The most notable of these groups were the Haganah, the Irgun, and the Stern gangs, which waged an armed battle against the remaining British troops,
the Government of Palestine, and the civilian Arab population. These random acts of violence continued well into 1947 and in November of this year
Great Britain handed the situation over to the UN. The initial special session of the General Assembly proposed an Arab state, a Jewish state, and an
international zone for Jerusalem and Bethlehem on November 29. The Jewish gangs rejected this and during the second session of the UN in April 1948,
they expelled more than one million Muslim and Christian citizens.
Jewish terrorism existed through three primary groups: the Haganah, the Irgun Z'vai Leumi, and the Lohamei Herut Israel (Stern gang). The Haganah
maintained a membership of approximately 60,000, and "army" of 16,000 trained men, and a full fime force of 6,000 called the Palmach. The Irgun
employed 3000 to 5000 men; this organization grew out of the Palmach in 1933. Finally, Abraham Stern formed the Stern gang in 1939 after he separated
from the Irgun, he employed 200 to 300 of the most violent men.
The Haganah originated as an illegal, underground operation under the direction of David Ben-Gurion. This organization would evolve into the Israeli
Defense Force (IDF) and Ben-Gurion would become the Prime Minister. Upon Israeli independence in May 1948 the Haganah claimed to oppose terrorism and
that it was created to fight terrorism both Jewish and Arab. However, the following examples illustrate otherwise. Their resume includes: 1939 they
blew up an Iraqi oil line near Haifa, 22 July 1946 in a joint effort with the Irgun and Jewish Agency bombed the King David Hotel, 19 December 1947 it
attacked the village of Safad blowing up 2 houses killing 5 adults and 5 children, 1 January 1948 attacked a village near Mount Carmel killing 17 and
wounding 33, 5 January 1948 blew up the Semiramis Hotel in Jerusalem killing 20, and on 15 February 1948 it again attacked Safad killing 7 adults and
4 children. Within the Haganah an organization known as the Palmah thrived. This was a strike force headed by Yitzhak Sadeh another future Prime
Minister. This organization carried out continued covert operations against both the British and Arabs.
Virtually overnight, the Haganah was transformed from a terrorist group into an "amateur army". This was largely due to the arrival of a shipment
of arms by the Czechoslovakians including 4700 rifles, 240 machine guns, and 5 million rounds of ammunition in April 1947. The transformation of this
group was made official on 31 May 1948 when Ben-Gurion established the IDF on the basis of Haganah and transferring its troops, making it a legal
army. This was 16 days after Israel claimed independence.
The Irgun Z'vai Leumi (IZL/ Irgun) was formed in 1933 and grew out of the Haganah when its members wanted to take a more aggressive role. Some of
its claimed attacks include: the 17 August 1936 ambush of a Jaffa train killing 1 and wounding 5, numerous bombings beginning in October '37 in
crowed Arab centers, and it claimed official responsibility of the bombing of the King David Hotel, discussed earlier. On 1 June 1948, Ben-Gurion's
administration signed an agreement disbanding the IZL and again, transferring the troops of this terrorist organization to the IDF.
The Lohamei Herut Israel or the Stern gang was a product of the Irgun and employed the most violent men. Its credits include: the detonation of 400
lbs. of explosives on 3 March 1948 in Haifa killing 14 and injuring 23, 22 March 1948 4 of its members blew up a residential block by filling 2 trucks
with explosives killing 17 and injuring 100, and in joint effort with the Irgun on 9 April 1948 committed the Deir Yassin massacre (number of dead
vary from 250 to 360, the village only had 400 inhabitants).
May 14, 1948 David Ben-Gurion announced the independence of the State of Israel. Timing played an intricate role in the silence of the international
community as the Allies had only recently completed the liberation of the Nazi camps and felt a moral obligation to grant the Jews a state of their
own. Another reason for the silence was that the international community, in addition to many of the Israeli leaders, gave this new state a 50%
chance of survival against the war launched the following day by Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Continued (please hold comments)