Narcissus' Echo

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Friday, August 04, 2006

Open your eyes

See Terror's True Roots

By Alan Dershowitz

The oft-reported mantra that "occupation causes terrorism" is false. Occupations, like Israel's presence in the West Bank, are often the necessary result of attacks by insurgent groups and terrorists - not the other way around.

History and contemporary experience make this clear.

First, Palestinian terrorism began well before there was any Israeli occupation. It started in 1929 when the grand mufti of Jerusalem ordered a terrorist attack against Jewish residents of Hebron, whose families had lived in that Jewish holy city for generations.

Second, terrorism against Israel got worse after Israel ended its occupation of southern Lebanon and Gaza, as these unoccupied lands became launching pads for rockets, missiles and kidnappings.

Third, other occupied people, for example the Tibetans, have never resorted to terrorism against innocent Chinese civilians, though their occupation has been longer and more brutal than anything experienced by the Palestinians.

Fourth, while it may be that a brutal occupation can increase the number of people willing to become suicide bombers, it is also true that no suicide bomber ever sent himself. They are sent by well-educated, affluent leaders like Osama Bin Laden, who do not live in occupied areas.

Fifth, Islamic terrorists have sworn to continue terrorism even if Israel were to end its occupation of the West Bank. They regard all of Israel as occupied.

And so, occupation does not cause terrorism. But terrorism does cause occupation and reoccupation. Israel would have left Gaza and much of the West Bank long ago if not for the fear of terrorism from that area. It never would have gone into southern Lebanon in 1982 were that area not being used as a base for terrorism.

If the international community cannot or will not protect Israel citizens against rocket attacks, kidnappings and suicide bombings, Israel will have no choice other than some limited and hopefully temporary form of reoccupation to protect itself. Nor will it leave the West Bank unless it can be assured that the areas it leaves will not become launching pads for increased terrorism.

Imagine what the U.S. would have done if Germany or Japan, which it occupied after World War II, persisted in attacking the United States from occupied or recently unoccupied areas. And Germany and Japan do not adjoin our country the way Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon adjoin Israel.

There is, of course, a difference between civilian settlements and a military presence in a hostile war zone. Regardless of what happens in Lebanon, Israel should begin to dismantle civilian settlements deep in the West Bank that have no military purpose. But it will be difficult to end completely the military presence - the checkpoints, the teams that search out terrorists, the network of electronic protections - without the assurance of an international force that will be at least as effective in controlling terrorism as the Israeli Army has been.

There has been far less terrorism from the occupied West Bank than from the unoccupied south Lebanon and Gaza. That lesson will not be lost on Israelis as they look to the future.

Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard, is author of "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways."


I don't see the Dalai Lama encouraging Tibetan Buddhists to strap bombs to themselves and blow up Chinese civilians in Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, etc. Do you?


Anonymous world said...

Bush is wrong in terrorism. He always campign that terrorism is not the same with islam..he is wrong, he must sent his inteligent on muslim country moreover,and then learn the culture. I agree that islam is a good religion, but its situation is more like chatholic in 15 century where bishop, cardinal and the others has a lot of power to doctrin their people...and now they have structural ground movement in any facet of life....good luck

10:54 AM  

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