Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Irony of the word 'terrorism'

I find it rather odd that a State which declares a war on 'terror' itself used 'terror' in its past. I know this thought has been expressed before, but it is important that even though I do not believe in the killing of innocent civilians, it is even more important that light is shed on true historic facts. Please read the latter article posted on Wikipedia. I adore the similarities between the Irgun poster (pictured above) and the Hizbullah flag (found here: Simply unbelievable. Pay attention to the map (which includes Jordan) and the smaller text in bold which reads: "The sole solution." This poster was distributed in Central Europe.
My favorite parts of the Wiki entry are: "Eliminate or reduce the threat of Arab attacks on Jewish targets by assured and harsh retaliation for such attacks"; and "In 1948, the group was formally dissolved and its members integrated into the newly formed
Israeli Defense Forces. This integration largely coincided with the sinking of the Altalena, a ship with fighters Irgun had recruited and arms Irgun had acquired for the Israeli forces."
Again, this is posted to start a commentary on what is terrorism. Who gives it legitemacy? Werent the French Resistance considered heros for some and terrorists for others? I am not for the killing of innocents, nor for states within a state, much the contrary. I want a free, independent, sovereign and united Lebanon. But I am also not ignorant, and know what has happened in the history of the Middle East. This has to be brought up.
enjoy, mrtez...

From Wikipedia:
Irgun (ארגון), shorthand for Irgun Tsvai Leumi (ארגון צבאי לאומי, also spelled Irgun Zvai Leumi), Hebrew for "National Military Organization", was a clandestine militant Zionist group that operated in the British Mandate of Palestine from 1931 to 1948. In Israel, this group is commonly referred to as Etzel (אצ"ל), an acronym of the Hebrew initials. In the time in which the Irgun operated, often people referred to the Irgun as 'הגנה ב or ההגנה הלאומית. The Irgun was classified by the British authorities and several other Jewish organizations as a terrorist organization, while others considered it to be an independence movement. Its political association with Revisionist Zionism rendered it a predecessor movement to modern Israel's right-wing Likud party/coalition.

Founding, development and key events
The group was an offshoot of the Haganah in protest both against its policy of restraint and socialist leanings. Based on the premises formulated by Ze'ev Jabotinsky that "every Jew had the right to enter Palestine; only active retaliation would deter the Arabs; only Jewish armed force would ensure the Jewish state," (Howard Sachar: A History of the State of Israel, pps 265-266) the group made retaliation against Arab attacks a central part of their initial efforts. The Jewish Agency denounced the existence, strategy, and tactics of the group from the very outset, although the Haganah cooperated with Irgun on several occasions.
Irgun was founded in 1931 by Avraham Tehomi, following a largely political and ideological split with the Haganah after he had assumed leadership over the district of Jerusalem. Irgun differentiated itself from the Haganah by disassociating from the socialist ideology and the prevalent strategy of Havlagah, or restraint. Throughout its history Irgun advocated a more decisive use of force in the defense of Jews in Mandate Palestine and in advancing the formation of a Jewish state.
While the strategy, tactics, and operational methods of the organization changed through the years, its primary goals were to:
- Provide a non-Socialist alternative to the leading Zionist organizations;
- Eliminate or reduce the threat of Arab attacks on Jewish targets by assured and harsh retaliation for such attacks;
- Bring to an end the British mandatory rule, which they considered in violation of international law
The group went through several phases in its short lifespan:
From 1931 to 1937 it was a small, renegade group that undertook scattered attacks against Arab targets. This phase ended when the group itself split, with some of its leaders, including the original founder, Tehomi, returning to the Haganah, and the group began formally identifying itself as "Etzel" (Irgun).
During the Great Uprising (1936-1939), in which about 320 Jews were killed in Arab attacks, Irgun resumed its reprisal attacks against Arabs. Following the killing of five Jews at Kibbutz Kiryat Anavim on November 9, 1937, Irgun launched a series of attacks which lasted until the beginning of World War II, in which more than 250 Arabs were killed.
These attacks coincided roughly with Irgun's campaign to facilitate the immigration of European Jews who faced discrimination, murder and pogroms in Europe. The first vessel arrived on April 13, 1937, and the last on February 13, 1940. All told, about 18,000 Jews escaped genocide in Europe in this way.
Upon the publication of the White Paper in May of 1939, Irgun concentrated all its efforts against the British.
From 1940 through 1943, Irgun declared a truce against the British, and supported Allied efforts against Nazi forces and their allies in the area by enlisting its members in British forces and the Jewish Brigade. A small group lead by Avraham Stern, who insisted on continuing to fight the British, broke off and formed an independent group, Lehi. In 1941, the Irgun leader, David Raziel volunteered for a dangerous British military mission in Iraq to capture or kill Amin al-Husayni, but was killed by a German bomber before the operation could be finished.
In February of 1944, under the new leadership of Menachem Begin, Irgun resumed hostilities against the British authorities. The purpose of these attacks was to increase the cost of British mandatory rule and influence British public opinion so as to encourage British withdrawal. It included attacks on prominent symbols of the British administration, including the British military, police, and civil headquarters at the King David Hotel and the British prison in Acre. Although these attacks were largely successful, several Irgun operatives were captured, convicted, and hanged. Refusing to accept the jurisdiction of the British courts, those accused refused to defend themselves. The Irgun leadership ultimately responded to these executions by hanging two British sergeants, which effectively brought the executions to an end.
Following the assassination of Lord Moyne by Lehi, the Yishuv and Jewish Agency initiated "The Hunting Season" on Irgun and the Lehi group, facilitating the arrest of some 1000 members of those organizations who were interned in British camps. The British deported 251 of them to camps in Africa.
From about October of 1945 until July 1946, Irgun was in an alliance with the Haganah and Lehi called the Jewish Resistance Movement (תנועת המרי העברי), organized to fight British restrictions on Jewish immigration. The Haganah's active participation in the Resistance Movement ended as a result of Operation Agatha, and it formally abandoned the alliance following the Irgun bombing of British military, police, and civil headquarters at the King David Hotel which was a retaliation for the Agatha raid.
From July 1946 until June 1948, Irgun fought as irregulars against the British mandate and Arab forces, informally in coordination with Haganah forces. Their participation in alleged war crimes at Deir Yassin has been widely discussed and documented. Their largest single operation was a successful assault on Jaffa (an Arab enclave according to the UN partition plan) starting on April 25.
In 1948, the group was formally dissolved and its members integrated into the newly formed Israeli Defense Forces. This integration largely coincided with the sinking of the Altalena, a ship with fighters Irgun had recruited and arms Irgun had acquired for the Israeli forces.

Legacy of Irgun
Leaders within the mainstream Jewish Agency, Haganah, Histadrut, as well as British authorities, routinely condemned (publicly at least; privately the Haganah kept a dialogue with the dissident groups) Irgun operations as terrorist and branded it an illegal organization, as a result of the group's attacks on civilian targets. In their defense, former Irgun leaders assert that:
- The premises for their founding and strategy were vindicated by subsequent events. Arab violence against Jews in the mandate of Palestine could only be deterred through retaliation; the British authorities only ended their restrictions on Jewish immigration when pressured by force; and unrestricted Jewish immigration was a matter of saving lives, both during the Shoah and during post-World War II pogroms in Poland and Ukraine.
- Operations that are usually characterized as "terrorist" had another character. The King David Hotel bombing, in which 91 people were killed, most of them civilians, was considered a legitimate military target, being the British military headquarters; the attack on Deir Yassin was part of a campaign to control the road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv; the attack on the Acre prison was to release prisoners the British intended to hang.

Radio station
The Irgun had, from 1939, a Radio station: Kol Tsion HaLokhemet ("The Voice of Fighting Zion").

List of Irgun Attacks in 1930s
Following is a list of attacks that have been attributed to Irgun that took place during the 1930's only. I am amazed by the creativity: 20 Arabs were killed by explosives mounted on a donkey at a marketplace in Haifa. A donkey?

April 20, 1936 - 2 Arab workers in a banana plantation killed
March, 1937 - 2 Arabs killed on Bat-Yam beach
November 14, 1937 - 6 Arabs were killed in several shooting attacks in Jerusalem.
April 12, 1938 - 2 Arabs and 2 British policemen were killed by a bomb in a train in Haifa.
April 17, 1938 - An Arab was killed by a bomb detonated in a cafe in Haifa
May 17, 1938 - An Arab policeman was killed in an attack on a bus in the Jerusalem-Hebron road.
May 24, 1938 - 3 Arabs were shot and killed in Haifa.
June 23, 1938 - 2 Arabs were killed near Tel-Aviv.
June 26, 1938 - 7 Arabs were killed by a bomb in Jaffa.
June 27, 1938 - An Arab was killed in the yard of a hospital in Haifa.
July 5, 1938 - 7 Arabs were killed in several shooting attacks in Tel-Aviv.
On the same day, 3 Arabs were killed by a bomb detonated in a bus in Jerusalem.
On the same day, an Arab was killed in another attack in Jerusalem.
July 6 1938 - 18 Arabs and 5 Jews were killed by two simultaneous bombs in the Arab Melon market in Haifa.
July 8, 1938 - 4 Arabs were killed by a bomb in Jerusalem.
July 16, 1938 - 10 Arabs were killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Jerusalem.
July 25, 1938 - 39 Arabs were killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Haifa.
August 26, 1938 - 24 Arabs were killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Jaffa.
February 27, 1939 - 33 Arabs were killed in multiple attacks, incl. 24 by bomb in Arab market in Suk Quarter of Haifa and 4 by bomb in Arab vegetable market in Jerusalem.
May 29, 1939 - 5 Arabs were killed by a mine detonated at the Rex cinema in Jerusalem.
On the same day, 5 Arabs were shot and killed during a raid on the village of Biyar 'Adas.
June 2, 1939 - 5 Arabs were killed by a bomb at the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem.
June 12, 1939 - A post office in Jerusalem was bombed, killing a British bomb expert trying to defuse the bombs.
June 16, 1939 - 6 Arabs were killed in several attacks in Jerusalem.
June 19, 1939 - 20 Arabs were killed by explosives mounted on a donkey at a marketplace in Haifa.
June 29, 1939 - 13 Arabs were killed in multiple shootings during one-hour period.
June 30, 1939 - An Arab was killed at a marketplace in Jerusalem.
On the same day, 2 Arabs were shot and killed in Lifta.
July 3, 1939 - An Arab was killed by a bomb at a marketplace in Haifa.
July 4, 1939 - 2 Arabs were killed in two attacks in Jerusalem.
July 20, 1939 - An Arab was killed at a train station in Jaffa.
On the same day, 6 Arabs were killed in several attacks in Tel-Aviv.
On the same day, 3 Arabs were killed in Rehovot.
August 27, 1939 - 2 British officers were killed by a mine in Jerusalem.
Only operations resulting in death are included above. The Irgun conducted at least 60 operations altogether during this period (Perliger and Weinberg p101).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is absolutely fantastic...
i never knew that Israel's roots extend to terrorism...
very hypocritical...

3:19 PM  
Anonymous Nina from Israel. said...

all this only SEEMS very historical. The truth is that "azel" or "hairgon" as you call it here were never a ligimit part of the jewish resistence forces in palastine! as a fact - zahal (the israeli army of today) was bilt and created from the men and weman that were from the "hagana", and almost non from the irgun. Yes, there were terorist act also in the late 30'th. lets not forget that there was also the hulicast in these same years, not to mantion all the terorists acts again jewish cevelians by arabs. They were never excepted by the jewish majoroty and the peaple who took part in them were outcast.

And about now, Lebanon is suffering. there is now doubt about that. but who's fault is that? for sure not israel. if you as a lebobnis citesen allow terorist to arm, exploide your land and to fire from it on inoccent civilians - We, the israellis will defend ourself. If you agree with what the hizballa belives - get out and fight for that. if you also thinks that hizblla is standing in the way of lebanon for real peace and quite shanty living - you can thank us for doing your dirty job.
Here in Israel we are all very sad. over the damege in lebabob and the damage in our north. NOBODY wishes for war and death, we all want to live our life quitely, yet, as long as we will be fired we will not silence.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

I've always used the issue of Etzel in arguing with right winged Israelis. Or just in general - it is yet another example of how similiar we all really are, so how ridiculous it is that we can't seem to come to an understanding.

It is true though that Etzel was generally regarded by most as extremist and unwelcome.

4:04 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

I completely disagree with any killing of any innocents...i am completely against using lebanon as a means to launch attacks. if syria is so much entrenched into attacking israel, then let them do it from their own land...
however, israel should look into changing its tactics of bullying everyone in lebanon, palestine and any state that dares to attack it...self defence? fine, but we are the people suffering now, we need to be defended now...
this war started from the irresponsable acts of hezbollah towards the lebanese people and state, true. but israel's tactics of 'self-defence' have been proven over and over again to be useless. much the contrary, they have brought about even more fanatics willing to die for the 'cause' (whatever that might be).
we need to find a solution to the problem, and pointing fingers constantly is not the right thing to do. we need to all look into our errors, our mistakes and make sure we understand what is the root of the problem.
it just doesnt make any sense that hizbullah decides to kidnap 2 people for the good of the people when so many have died already. it makes no sense that israel is willing to kill so many (of its own soldiers too) for 2 people. this is not a war for the prisoners or the kidnapees. this is a war of who has the biggest guns, and we are hostages under fire...

4:25 PM  
Anonymous I care said...

As an American I visited Lebanon several years ago. I actually experianced Israeli jet mock raids placing fear into Lebanese. Upon returning home I began researching Israels history as I was very bothered with the arrogance of these flyovers. I found Israel always plays the innocent card. I was aware of the info on your blog simply because I did extensive research to find answers. My fellow Americans should be aware of the Irgun. They should also not beleive the post regarding they are not part of Israel. Isreal always crys "we do not target civilians, it was a mistake" Same words 1996 UN Refuge Camp in Qana. Terror is terror. Today the Lebanese are being terrorized and the funds are being funneled openly by my country. Americans research the info ~ be in the know and lets stand up for our values and stop being taken hostage by the terror of the Israel govt. Israel is showing its ugly head.

4:41 PM  
Anonymous Yann of Europe said...

if israel would pay attention to Gush- Salom and Uri Avnery, there would be no "cause".

And I guess there would be no more "terrorists" or at least only a few nuts with no backup in the population.

If you all want to stop this "fucking shit" of a war (the big long one), you need to spread those idees of peace where ever you can.

I, for my little part, have spend the last days writing mail to journalists here in Germany and France.

I don't know if it will help. My hope is that they will write about those peace willing ones so that people here know about them (most don't).

Maybe it will help them in their home land to get more attention too: "if foreign journalists show big interest for them, then they could be right"...
eventually this will come to the ears of the politics...

4:54 PM  
Anonymous Nina. said...

Dear Mrtez. I agree with what your words. I too belive that us the civillians are hostages under fire. I am hurting your pain. Lebanon is tramendosly suffering. truth - i am conflicted. and i am sure that not just me. every citizen in israel with open heart and compasion is feeling the same. on one hand - i hate this war. hate hearing airplans over my home at night, hate hearing the news, dont wanna know what's happeing over here and at ur place, dont wanna know how many hits were in haifa, how many bombs were droped on lebanon, how many ppl died, - I want to ignore all this. i want to go back to my normal life, not that i ever had here normal life.. Just to give a small example: my fiance (that is not jewish) came to visit me on april. Throw his eyes i see now that so many places we were visiting had atacked by teroist -two days after we left Tel Aviv - there was a terorist act next to the centeral bus station. three weeks after we've left sinai in Egypt there was one more over there. we got so used to being hated.. Can I ask why? why peaple who never met me are seeking to find my death? but that a whole diffrent story.
so, in one way - i really wish for both forces just to STOP. but - (and that's a big "but") what will cuase the hizballa to stop? to stop hating me? i really dont know. I had friends who died in lebanon 10 years ago when i was in the army. i dont want to go back to that. but plz expline to me - why does the hizballa was attcking us? we left lebanon 6 years ago and there was no war between us.
meanwhile - we know whom was arming himself with iranian weapon.
so now what? i dont have any sulotion. i hate this situation, and i dont know what is better.
with a heavy heart,

5:05 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

nina, i feel with you...
please read the post called the Birth, and we will chat after that...
but i really want you to think long and hard about it. put yourself in the shoes of people who have been under constant attack in the south. put yourself in the shoes of the palestinians who are in gaza now.
What i am trying to say is that the root of this hatred that you feel towards you comes from the essence of the disproportionate attacks that your government undertakes in our countries. most people here fear israel...why? because they are exposed to the killings, destruction of israelis...
my question is why are we all suffering? why are 700,000 people homeless now?
speak to you after your reading of the post...

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Lili from israel said...

I pressed on the wikipedia links - didn't take me to any right place.
is this a propaganda?

I'll assume not,
be sure that for any of those dates an Israeli date with israelies dead can be found.
Israeli terrorism is really just as bad as the arab one, and should be stopped by all means.

I'm sorry for beirut. I'm sorry for my hometown haifa. Israel, like yourself are being manipulized by army forces. the IDF actions should be stopped. I hope it will soon.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well written article that expresses point of view very quickly. However, it makes a connection between an organization (Irgun) and a state of Israel that simply does not exist.
Every society has a branch that can easily called "terrorist". Israeli society, US, German, French, Japanese and others are no exception. Just because there are terrorists in Israel or United States does not mean that you can justify terrorism as just a form of resistance or that you can put countries that fight terrorism domestically and abroad to those that actively finance it or turn a blind eye. Iran and Syria actively sponsor terrorism and Lebanon, due to no fault of its own, tolerates it.
Personally, I do not need to go to wikipedia to understand what terrorism is. To me, deliberate targeting of civilians in any conflict is terrorism regardless of how noble you may think the cause is. Flying airplanes in to buildings full of people is terrorism. Blowing up bombs studed with nails in a crowded market is terrorism. Shooting rockets specifically targeting civilian population is terrorism. Hiding rocket launchers among civilian population hoping that your opponent kills some civilians in the process is also terrorism.
Yes, terrorists exist everywhere. However, there is a big difference in how different societies deal with it. Israel, from what I can tell, practices a rule of law and considers terrorism illegal whether it is domestic or foreign. When a deranged Israeli goes and kills an Arab he is tried and sentenced by the court not given refuge. When Hamas or Hezbala leader sends a suicide bomber that kills innocent people he is given an office in Damascus and a genuine source of funds for future attacks to kill many more innocent civilians.
The problem with terrorism is not that it exists. It always will. The problem with is that many states support and finance it. The bigger problem, however, is that many segments of the society believe that terrorism can be justified. It seems that the highest concentration of people that believe that terrorism can be justified seems to be in the Middle East at this point in history.

6:50 PM  
Blogger jan said...

Is there a possibility of a Nelson Mandella or Martin Luther King arising out of this conflict?

7:48 PM  
Blogger Lilu said...

I'd like to see a Gandhi. unforutnately, since Yitzhak Rabin I haven't seen anyone come close.

Maybe if we all banded together we could produce a similar effect as one peaceful leader...?

8:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These attacks were part of a larger conflict. Arabs murdered just as many, if not more, Jews during this period.

These attacks are wrong. But don't make it sound as if they were unprovoked, and perpetrated in cold blood.

9:27 PM  
Blogger mrtez said...

Anonymous, you just answered the question of why Arab 'terrorists' exist today.
We need to see that killing, destroying and oppressing will only do one thing: the same thing Jews did in their past when they were oppressed.

This is why I believe the Israeli attacks will not solve the problem, much the contrary. It is time to open our eyes to why there are problems today...and the only way to do that is to look into the past and look into our mistakes...

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Propaganda. You left out all the murders of Jews by Arabs in the pre-Israel era. How come? Not justifying innocent Arabs dying( which is of course disgusting) Just pointing out that when you take things out of context you are manipulating information and that is dishonest.

You also wrote about the Altalena ship with Irgun members. Actually Ben Gurion and Haganah(precursor to the IDF) bombed the Altalena because they did not want seperate armed militias in the new Israeli government and army. That would actually make a strong case in Israel's favor on how they are dealing with Lebanon. Take their advice and disarm the party of allah.


1:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in hindsight, nothing gives terrorism legitimacy, but the world changes, time changes, what people will accept changes. 1946 is not the same as 2006.

terrorist groups like the IRA recognize that. things have changed even more after 9/11. let the IRA bomb downtown London now, see how much sympathy they get.

welcome to the 21st century. if you want to be successful, i suggest you hire a good PR firm, and find some leader in the gandhi/king/cesar chavez/mandela mold, you don't want to be seen a bunch of men dressed in black with explosives tied around their torsos, shooting machine guns into the air in the middle of the street.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:24 AM  
Blogger Bash said...

Some may think that Israel may have given up its terrorist beginnings, but the truth is that it has simply been transformed.. into state terror.

2:28 PM  
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2:03 PM  
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12:49 AM  

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