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Talk:Israeli terrorism

Wouldn't this be more productive if the Palestinian terrorism and Israeli terrorism entries were broken up, so that the political issue (terrorism) is distinguished from the events (killings, etc.)? E.g., Palestinians killed by Israelis and Israelis killed by Palestinians. --TheCunctator
Good idea. If I find time, I'll try to switch stuff around. If not, could someone else? -- GayCom

Here is something relevent for the Talk section, but not the content of the article itself: To make sure that all articles on terrorism work smoothly and fairly, I hold that we must be aware of the problem of moral equivalence - the phenomenon by which terrorists are made out by people to be no worse than the police who try to stop them. To give a recent example related to this entry, a number of Palestinian suicide-bomber terrorists ran by a pizza parlor and an ice-cream parlor in Jerusalem, and mass-murdered children and adults. Horrificilly, these people were labeled by some as "soldiers" or as "freedom fighters". However, when the Israeli Army tracked down where these people came from and made arrests, the Israelies were accused by the PA (Palestinian Authority) of state sponsored terrorism. Obviously, such Doublespeak is a thin mask for hatred of Israel. And such doublespeak will pop up in all the other entries on terrorism (think India/Pakistan, for example), unless we are aware of this problem. Once aware, we can make sure to write in such a way as to actually be objective, as opposed to politically correct. RK

A famous politician once said, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." I suppose that means the word terrorist is like the word cult in that it is applied differently depending on who is applying the label. I don't think it's possible to come up with an adequate definition of terrorism which is value-free. It's impossible, because each application of the term depends on the values of the person using it. I denounce Arab terrorism against Israel both because I support Israeli sovereignty and because I don't like seeing random civilians blown to bits. On the other hand, I support the US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasake as well as Dresden -- which involved hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths. What gives? Do I have conflicting values? Am I a hypocrite? And don't the Arabs displaced by Israel deserve a "Palestinian homeland"?

We cannot over-simplify the issue simply by picking one side (such as my preferred side, Israel) and labelling all attacks against its civilians terrorism and all its responses to these attacks "self-defense". We are not here, as Larry recently reminded me, for advocacy. I presume this obviates even Correct Advocacy, for we would be endlessly entangled in debate over what is Correct once we open that door. So how shall we untie this Gordian Knot? -- Ed Poor

Hi. I see your point, and I agree that it would be a bad idea to morph the PT article into a P-who-killed-I article, and match it up against an I-who-killed-P article. However, I would also ask you to go easy on the IT article. I'll flesh it out soon enough, and I'll stay as neutral as I can (just like the PT article is very dry). But it's not the place for long drawn out explanations about how the Palestinians are just as bad. Please, ok? -- GayCom

I must inquire how is Sabra and Shatila an example of Israeli terrorism. It was a massacre conducted by Lebanese Christians against Lebanese Muslims as a part of the Lebanese Civil War. Israel's part in the massacre is secondary (though regrettable), as Israeli soldiers killed no one. --Uriyan

The accusation is that Israelis saw it coming and did nothing to stop it. Thus, they are responsible for it. This puts the lie to moral equivalence, as it means Israel should follow a higher moral standard than the Islamic world. Being a Christian, I am entirely comfortable with following a higher standard and I judge myself accordingly. -- Ed Poor

But does it qualify as terrorism? Did Israel participate in the massacre or deliberately cause it in order to create panic in the Palestinian population? Negligient attitude and allegedly low moral standards are not equivalent to terrorism! --Uriyan

I've got an idea: let's revise the titles of the twin articles. Instead of X terrorism against Y, let's just call them terrorism against Y. Then, any terrorist act against side Y can be mentioned in the article, even if side X isn't responsible. We might find the preponderance of anti-Israel terrorism comes from Arabs, or that not all anti-Arab terrorism comes from Israel. --Ed Poor

That's a good idea (and more on the NPOV track, which suits me). I'm ready to move Palestinian terrorism to Terrorism against Israel, but I'd also like to hear what other people think about it. --Uriyan

Great idea Ed! This helps to prevent the perception of inherent bias. I still have issues with the word 'terrorist', but I say go ahead and implement Ed's idea. It should do for now. Perhaps Terrorist acts against Israel[?] would be a bit better -- so long as the acticle starts off with a qualifier on the use of the word 'terrorist', stating that many in the Islamic world would not label the following acts as Terrorist. maveric149

Chalk one up for Ed! --Robert Merkel

Perhaps it would make sense to move some of the stuff from Terrorism against Arabs back here, if we came to having 2 distinct articles once again? For instance, Lord Moyne was not much of an Arab (though they were his favorites, I guess), so his assassination by Stern gang belongs more to Israeli terrorism --Uriyan
  • Facts about Israel (http://globalfire.tv/nj/e2001/judaism/facts_about_israel.htm) (note that many of the statements on this page are disputed)

With all the due respect, I don't think this link should be applied on this page, for several reasons:

  1. It is not about Israeli terrorism, but about general Israel-bashing
  2. It contains mostly incomplete and partial information. For instance, the green Palestinian number plates was something they asked for. Israeli Arabs have regular yellow plates, and because of that are sometimes targeted by Palestinian gunmen.
  3. Many of these statements deserve a proper discussion, in Wikipedia, not out of it. --Uriyan

    • The USS Liberty incident is generally thought to have been an Israeli mistake.

The USS Liberty was a US Navy ship. It was flying a Navy ensign. It had guns on it. Since it wasn't civilian, engaging it at sea does not have anything to do with terrorism, and has no place on this page, which is about terrorism. --Uriyan


This sentence has been removed from the article about Kach. "They have also organized murders and beatings of Palestinians in the U.S."
Really? Who? -- Zoe

I too am curious about this claim. It is so vague and undocumented that it does not belong in the article. Can someone provide specific claims, and a few sources for us to check out? Also, I do not understand what this has to do with the government of Israel. I agree that it is theoretically possible for a few fanatic right-wing American Jews to carry out such a thing. But (A) there is only a vague allegation being made, and (B) this has nothing to do with the Israeli government, nor the pre-Israel proto-state in the British Mandate of Palestine. We can't simply lump all crimes done by Jewish people into the category of "Israeli terrorism". All crimes committed by Arabs considered Palestinian terrorism (No.). RK

Unless these acts were committed by agents of the government of Israel, why are they listed as "Israeli terrorism" instead of "Jewish terrorism"? -- ~~
I'd tend to agree with Zoe here about the title of the article being wrong. Since it's so "controversial" coming up with a universally-acceptable definition of "terrorist" vs. "freedom fighter", maybe we should just have "Violence against Israelis" and "Violence against Palestinians" pages, or some such?

Such pages exist (at least for Palestinians), but nobody bothers to update them. It's much less sexy than "Israeli terrorism". --Uri

Then maybe this should redirect to "Violence against Palestinians" (after moving the content of this page & its Talk there, of course)?

The page I had in mind was Palestinians killed by Israelis, but I support leaving "X terrorism" pages, because of the difference between spontaneous violence and pre-calculated killing, which is terrorism. --Uri

Actually, I was thinking of very neutral titles (such as the "violence" ones above), chucking in all the text from any non-NPOV-titled articles scattered about (they can be smoothed out later) and redirecting to the neutral-titled articles. It should make NPOV easier to maintain. I'd lose the "terrorism" pages entirely in the process (dumping their text & talk into the new articles), as we're never going to agree on which acts are "terrorism" and which are not (and you know we're not, yeah?). If the articles just give the facts then we can leave "terrorism or not?" decisions up to the readers.

Having considered the concept, I support it. In the text itself, we would then have the freedom to describe which actions exactly can be considered terrorism and by whom. --Uri

(bloody hell, did we just agree on something, Uri? Will wonders never cease?)

Yes, we did agree, and I'm glad at it. I hope it'll be a good beginning for tomorrow - I've got to log out now. --Uri

Changed this:

Qibya operation, carried out among others by Unit 101 under the command of Ariel Sharon is often classified as terrorism. It lead to the death of almost 70 civilians. Others claim it was not terrorism but a tragic incident during a period of bitter border warfare between Israel, Jordan and Egypt


Qibya massacre, carried out among others by Unit 101 under the command of Ariel Sharon. It lead to the death of almost 70 civilians.

As noone (as far as I've seen) have denied that the intention of the operation was to blow up innocent civilian homes, which is terrorism. --BL


If you feel that the article needs further editing in order to conform with Wikipedia's Neutral point of view, feel free to discuss it on this talk page, were different viewpoints and phrasings can be weighed. Adding (properly attributed) contrasting points of view to an article is perfectly acceptable. However, deleting an entire article and replacing it with your opinion is not . If this happens again I will temporarily block your I.P address. -- April 19:21 Sep 19, 2002 (UTC)

That IP was banned a few minutes ago, by LDC. (A few more edits like that, and it would have been by me.) --KQ

I can ignore a one-or-two article "drive by" that appears to be just a kid having a laugh; they often go away on their own. But this guy clearly re-vandalized pages after his first attempts were reverted, and showed no signs of stopping or listening to talk. I don't see any need for waiting or warning on such cases. He's free to mail me if he disagrees. --LDC

Fair enough. I didn't mean to criticize you--I was just saying I hadn't yet decided to ban. :-) --KQ

I have removed the following material from this entry.
In a number of cases settlers on the West Bank have attacked Palestinian civilians. In particular, the Hebron settler Dr. Baruch Goldstein associated with the Kach murdered some 30 Palestinians while they were praying on February 26, 1994. Israeli security services have arrested since a number of individuals plotting terrorist activities. The Jewish Defense League and the Kach movement follow Rabbi Meir Kahane (subsequently assassinated) and support the killings carried out by Dr. Baruch Goldstein. These individuals and organizations are condemned by all mainstream Jewish organizations. Kach has been declared illegal by Israeli authorities. Members of the JDL have been

The reason this has been removed is that these are lone actions by people acting on their own accord, and they don't reflect in the slightest the policy of the State of Israel, or even the national unofficial consensus of the Israeli populace. The State of Israel even arrests and prosecutes people who plan acts such as these. They are lone acts by lone gunmen, and do not belong in this entry I note that similar actions are not included in the sections of Palestinian terrorism. If they were included, the Palestinian terrorism entry would have (literally) several hundred more incidents added. RK

I don't know a whole lot about the issue, but that doesn't seem right at all to me. "Israeli terrorism" is terrorist acts committed by Israelis. They could certainly be differentiated from state-sponsored terrorism, but they are terrorist acts committed by Israelis. I suppose the problem is that terrorists are generally not affiliated with any state, so requiring state-support to be included as terrorists doesn't make sense. Tokerboy 20:21 Oct 19, 2002 (UTC)

If you define every act by an Israeli as suitable for this page, do you also define every similar act by Arabs as suitable for inclusion the corresponding pages on Arab and Palestinian terrorism? Would you include the current Maryland\DC sniper under the "US terrorism" entry, because this nutbag (probably) is an American? We need specific criteria for what we include. If not, we will end up with adding 5 or 6 more Jewish people to the terrorism page, but we will also add literally hundreds of more Arab terrorists. Then people will complaint that this is a violation of NPOV, because it makes Arabs look bad. I am willing to go this way as well. I just want to avoid a situation where only Jewish individuals are added, but Arab Muslims are not. RK

I agree we need a criterion. (Though I wouldn't count the sniper as a terrorist because he has no political demands that I know of) I don't know what they should be, but I think the people you deleted are commonly considered Israeli terrorists and should be included in the appropriate article.Tokerboy 21:03 Oct 19, 2002 (UTC)

Trying to return to the original point: Theanthrope reckoned RK's last two major edits should be reverted, and Elian appears to be in rough agreement. While I can see their point, I think the best thing to do would be to merge the info in the current version with the info in the previous version. It'd take more effort, but it might be worth it. -Martin 09:37 Jan 7, 2003 (UTC)

I agree, that probably would be best. Theanthrope 16:56 Jan 7, 2003 (UTC)

We must be careful. Much of the "added material" was a set of politically motivated diatribes. This entry was repeatedly vandalized by people who rewrote the article to make the crimes of a handful of extremists out to be the crimes of all Jews. The article in its current NPOV form points out a number of terrorist incidents which were done by one small group of extremists, who were publicly and repeatedly condemned by the rest of the Jewish and Zionist community. However, certain people here rewrote the entry, and dishonestly claimed that these actions were actually done by "the Zionists", repeatedly and explcitly stating that every one of these actions was some sort of consensus action by the entire Jewish community. That is not historically accurate, and a violation of NPOV. RK

I agree that the actions of a few are not the will of the majority. However, the term "Palestinian Terrorists" seems to imply exactly that. The converse would be to call their Jewish counterparts "Jewish Terrorists", which I am pretty sure would be unacceptable to most people. The term "Zionist Terrorists" at least is more specific. It describes individuals and groups who use terror to fight for the creation of a Jewish homeland. (The difference is, I think, that there are Jews all over the world, whereas there are Palestinians only in Palestine.) These words are indeed loaded with meaning. I think it would be a good idea to specify in this article and the related ones on both sides of the conflict, that the actions of these few are not representative of the whole of the ethnic or religious groups to which they belong. Theanthrope 18:46 Jan 7, 2003 (UTC)


Response to the idea of Moral equivalence. as stated by RK, above.

When George Mitchell[?] testified before congress last year to his efforts and experience with the 'Middle-East question', Representative Tom Lantos[?] asked him this same question, as to where he would come down on the issue of "moral equivalence". Mitchell graciously ducked the question, and made clear at least his awareness of the necessity for neutrality.

The reason is simple: Only those who believe in the merits of moral relativism are interested in the questions arisen by the notion of moral equivalence. In other words, youd have to believe there was no universal sense of morality to believe in equivalence, as equivalence is a component of a relativist moral ideology. Moral relativism, ill remind people, is the notion of situational ethics, taken to apply to the standards of morality.

For Mitchell to say this to Lantos, in one way or another, would be insult the moral standards of a powerful US congressman, by calling them to be on a par with situational ethics. All defenders of hostile policies everywhere are practicers of situational ethics, and in doing so subvert the emerging ideals of moral universalism, which is the only hope of separating such tedious issues of historic attachment and religious identity.


RK, there is a Palestinian diaspora, although granted it is relatively small. Nevertheless, many Palestinians do not live in Palestine, and not even in the Levant, and this is important to their self-understanding. As for situational versus universal ethics, I do not see how it is possible to resolve this complex philosophical issue, nor do I see any point in discussing it here; it is not what is at stake here. Slrubenstein

no, its not possible to resolve these things, but we are using words, usually thrown about quite lightly. It is my impression that people will use words, and new terms in place of old ones, to put a spin on the argument or its moral basis. Confusion of language and other aspects of a debate, is mostly beneficial to the status quo. In this case, Israeli justification of or supression of its own terrorist history, and the charachterising of it as distinct from that of Palestinians. This is simply laughable from a universalist perspective, which sees all parties as responsible for each of their own atrocities. So, 'moral equvalence' in a nutshell, (which i am replying to) is something that I've seen used particularly in the context of Israeli-Palestinian issues, by Israeli or American 'intellectuals,' as a ideological trap. This of course is designed to circumvent or delay any substantive moral discussion, and continues the status quo: 'populating' new illegal settlements, by advertising on american TV. ---Sv

Sorry, I just to not understand what you are saying. Above, when RK criticizes "moral equivalence," he is saying that the violence of terrorists is not equivalent to the violence of the police who fight terrorism. This seems reasonable to me. It certainly does not suggest that the Stern gang cannot be equated to Fatah. I only saw this one instance of RK using the word equivalence, and he was being very specific, not general.

As for the general point, at least as many people have used a universalist ethic to justify oppression as those who have used situational ethics, so this very fact doesn'thelp us decide which is more useful or right. More specifically, many people who are situational ethicists have been very critical of Israel; just because one is a moral relativist does not mean that one cannot, or has not criticized Israel. So I do not see the connection. Slrubenstein

"Many Arabs claim that there was an Israeli conspiracy, with the ______ to carry out the massacre, though there is no documented proof available."
Do you mean "the means to carry out" above? --KQ, guessing, not generally knowledgeable about these things

SLrub, it appears we may not be in disagreement. perhaps this was not the place to discuss that. My disagreement was mainly with RK use of the term, which is really just code. he asserts its a problem when people assert equivalence . the problem isnt equivalence, its killing. -Sv

I put this here meanwhile: "Most Jewish members of extremist and/or terrorist groups were kept out of the Israeli mainstream for years due to public discomfort with their actions. Some decades later two such people eventually became Israeli prime ministers, David Ben Gurion and Menachem Begin. Begin was leader of a terrorist group, Etzel. Ben Gurion, while he had clear links to the Haganah and its more militant arm the Palmach, was head of an official government agency. Furthermore, David Ben Gurion was first prime minister of Israel. He assumed the position immediately upon indepenedence in 1948. This was not "some decades later" or "eventually." Danny

The second one should be Yitzhak Shamir, who was one of the leaders of Lehi (Stern Gang) until its disbanding in 1948. - bdm

Some comments:

  • Concerning pre-state terrorism: has everyone forgotten about the Etzel terrorism of the late 30s? They killed hundreds of people at random (mostly Arabs) by setting off bombs in market places and the like. The context of this is the Arab Revolt.

  • After-1948 massacres: Qfar Kassem anyone?

  • I think this page is almost terminally sick.


If there's something missing, please add it. Theanthrope 15:28 12 Jun 2003 (UTC)

The article says that all acts of pre-Israel Jewish terrorism can be attributed to either Irgun or the Stern gang. I find this highly unlikely, especially since I added another act.

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