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'The new Palestinian Revolt',

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Mansoor Khan "St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. "How dare you molest the sea?" asked Alexander. "How dare you molest the whole world?" the pirate replied. "Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor."1 This extract from Noam Chomsky's book 'Pirates and Emperors' highlights the relativity of terms and labels, showing how different viewpoints result in different interpretations of the same incident. Chomsky uses the passage to discuss terrorism in its most literal sense as referring "...to the threat or the use of violence to intimidate or coerce (generally for political ends), whether it is the wholesale terrorism of the emperor or the retail terrorism of the thief." 2 To discuss the existence and morality of 'retail' and 'wholesale' terrorism using the above definition, the very cogent example of Israel will be used, firstly, to discuss its roots in pre-1948 action against the British in order to set a framework for comparison with present day Israeli actions and the reactions it faces as a result, in the Occupied territories of the Palestinians. Palestinian military activity is quickly dismissed by Israeli media and politicians alike as terrorism, but using the same formula, the innumerable Israeli campaigns cannot be classed as anything short of state terrorism for example the use of F-16s and Apache helicopters to bomb Palestinian townships or the bulldozing of refugee camps. ...read more.


Their situation is eloquently worded by Bishara, "If someone had told the Jews who formed 10 percent of Palestine's population at the turn of the last century that one day they would have a state spreading over 78 percent of the country with 80 percent of Jerusalem, they would have dismissed this as no more than a beautiful dream. If ...the other 90 percent of Palestine's population were told that one day they would give up three quarters of the land, after three quarters of their population had become refugees and they would be forced to live in 10-18 percent of their homeland perforated like a Swiss cheese by 200 illegal settlements protected by a nuclear armed neighbour... they would have thought the were being offered a nightmare."12 The present day reality of the nightmare is a root cause of the issue of Palestinian military activity. In the camps of frustration, refugees gave birth to vehicles of frustration, primarily the PLO that was recognised as the official voice of the Palestinians in the 1960s along with the appearance of the Al-Fatah movement. Groups such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas can also be added to the list. In December 1987, the culmination of years of facing, "nearly all the indignities visited on South African Blacks"13 in the Apartheid regime, the first 'revolt' occurred, popularly termed as the 'Intifada' or uprising, Then after Ariel Sharon's visit to Masjid - Al Aqsa, as it has been known for the past 1400 years, on September 2000, the second Intifada erupted. ...read more.


Any deliberate attempt to target children or the lack of an effort to avoid child casualties cannot ever be justified morally, although a political argument could be formulated, in the case of Palestinian actions toward Israeli children, the latter is easily applicable. Finally, as always the actions of the Other are quickly classified as terrorism, as the British did to Jewish groups in Palestine, as Begin explains, "General Mcmillan...thought that "terrorist" was too good for us, he claimed that it had acquired a certain aura of heroism... therefore the general ordered - they must not be called terrorists... but "murderers", "thugs""23 A cursory glance at the history of Ariel Sharon the current Prime Minister of Israel shows a worrying acceptance of the legitimacy of both retail and state terrorism. Sharon as head of Unit 101 was responsible for the massacre of 66 villagers at Qibya in October 1953, the massacre at Qalqilya in 1955; the murder of 273 unarmed prisoners, Egyptian soldiers and Sudanese workers, during the 1956 Suez invasion; the more famous massacres at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps for which Sharon was found to be guilty by the Kahan commision24. History and present testify to the transition from retail to wholesale terror by Isreal supported by the fact that no less than two prime ministers prior to Sharon were deemed to be terrorists. ...read more.

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