Palestinian political violence

Palestinian political violence

Palestinian political violence or Palestinian terrorism refers to acts of violence committed for political reasons by Palestinians. Palestinian groups that support and carry out politically-motivated violent acts have included Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO),the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine, Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Abu Nidal Organization. When directed against civilians, such violence is frequently labeled as terrorism. []

The United States [ [ "Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs)"] - U.S. Department of State] and European Union [ [ "Council Common Position 2004/500/CFSP of 17 May 2004"] - EU list of "persons, groups and entities involved in terrorist acts"] have designated the Abu Nidal Organisation, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Palestine Liberation Front, the PFLP and PFLP-GC as terrorist organisations. A United States Congress decision from 1987 determined that the PLO was also a terrorist organization [ [ "The Congress determines that the PLO and its affiliates are a terrorist organization (1987)"] - U.S. Code Collection] (this decision was "de facto" annulled with the 1993 Oslo accords). As is the case with all political violence, the perpetrators consider their attacks justified while those targeted say otherwise.

Palestinian violence has been responsible for the death of 1,634 Israeli civilians since 14 May 1948. [ [] - Haaretz]

Early political violence

During the British mandate in Palestine, Arab political violence directed against the British and against Jewish settlement included the riots of April, 1920, the riots in Palestine of May, 1921, the 1929 Hebron massacre and Safed massacre, and the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine. Prominent leaders of the Palestinian groups were Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, who was shot and killed by English soldiers, and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who fled the country.

Using documentary evidence from Israeli Defence Forces archives, Israeli historian Benny Morris has concluded that the majority of Palestinians killed on the border between 1949 and 1956 were unarmed migrants::Israeli security forces killed some 400 infiltrators a year in 1951, 1952 and 1953. At least a similar number and probably far more were killed in 1950, and 1,000 or more in 1949. At least 100 (and perhaps many more) were killed during 1954-6. Thus, upward of 2,700 Arab infiltrators and perhaps as many as 5,000, were killed by the IDF, police, and civilians along Israel's borders between 1949 and 1956. To judge from the available documentation, the vast majority of those killed were unarmed 'economic' and social infiltrators. [Morris, 1997, p. 147.]

Throughout the period 1949-56 the Egyptian government opposed the movement of refugees from the Gaza strip into Israel, but following the IDF's Gaza Raid on 28 February 1955 the Egyptian authorities initiated militant infiltration while continuing to oppose civilian infiltration. [Morris, 1997, pp. 86-89.] Israeli fatalities caused by infiltrators between 1949 and 1956 were as follows: 1949, 22; 1950, 19; 1951, 48; 1952, 42, 1953, 44; 1954, 33; 1955, 24 and in 1956, 54; the increase in that year being due to Egypt's change of policy. [Morris, 1997, p. 54.]

According to David Meir-Levi, "From 1949 to 1956, Egypt waged a terror war against Israel, launching c. 9,000 attacks from cells set up in the refugee camps of the Gaza Strip." [] . At first, Palestinians were trying to go back to their houses or to retrieve property but after 1950 these acts became much more violent and included killings of civilians in nearby cities. After Israel's operation Black Arrow in 1955 which came as a result of a series of massacres in the city of Rehovot, the Palestinian fedayeen were incorporated into an Egyptian unit. [Haya Regev, Dr. Avigail Oren, The operations in the 1950s, University of Tel Aviv, 1995] John Bagot Glubb, a high-ranking British army general who worked with the Arab Legion, explained in his autobiographical history of the period how he convinced the Arab Legion to arm and train the fedayeen for free. [Glubb, John Bagot. "A Soldier with the Arabs". New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1957. p. 289.] The Israeli government cites dozens of these attacks as "Major Arab Terrorist Attacks against Israelis prior to the 1967 Six-Day War". [] [] Between 1951 and 1956, 400 Israelis were killed and 900 wounded by fedayeen attacks. [] [] ; according to the Anti-Defamation League " [i] n 1955 alone, 260 Israeli citizens were killed or wounded by fedayeen". [] In 1964, the PLO was founded in order to "liberate," as they saw it, what they called the "usurped part" of Palestine, which had become the state of Israel. []

Between 1969 to September 1970, the PLO with passive support from Jordan fought a war of attrition with Israel. During this time, the PLO launched artillery attacks on the moshavim and kibbutzim of Bet Shean Valley Regional Council and attempted to launch attacks by fedayeen on Israeli civilians. These attacks came to an end after the PLO expulsion from Jordan in September 1970.

After Black September in 1970, the PLO and its offshoots waged an international campaign against the Israeli state. Notable events were the Munich Olympics massacre (1972) , the hijacking of several civilian airliners (some were thwarted, see for example: Entebbe Operation), the Savoy Hotel attack, the Zion Square explosive refrigerator and the Coastal Road massacre. During the 1970s and the early 1980s, Israel suffered attacks from PLO bases in Lebanon, such as the Avivim school bus massacre in 1970, the Maalot massacre in 1974 (where Palestinian terrorists massacred 21 school children) and the attack led by Samir Kuntar in 1979. Following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, called "Operation Peace for Galilee" by the IDF, and the exile of the PLO to Tunis, Israel had a relatively quiet decade.

In 1987, the First Intifada broke out. In 1993, the Oslo Accords were signed by the PLO and the government of Israel.

Current political violence

According to B'Tselem, as of 10 July 2005, 821 Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinians since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, 553 of whom were killed within the 1949 Armistice lines, mainly by suicide bombers. Targets of attacks included buses, restaurants, discotheques, shopping malls, a university, and civilian homes in Israeli settlements within the West Bank and Gaza Strip. [] , [] . During the Second Intifada alone 1,137 Israelis were killed by Palestinians, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (counted since 29 September 2000, retrieved at26 December 2007 [] ).

Ongoing polls by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center, a Palestinian organization, have consistently shown some support by the Palestinian public for acts of violence against Israelis, as part of what they regard as their resistance movement against Israel. Current polls, however, show that the majority of those polled do not support "military operations" against Israeli targets and see these attacks as "harmful to the Palestinian national interest". Those that support attacks believe it is the "proper response under the current political conditions". []

Many allege that the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not do enough to prevent attacks, or to reduce Palestinian public support for acts of violence. Some accuse the PA of sponsoring groups that carry out acts of violence, such as Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and of using the official PA television, radio, press, and education system to facilitate attacks upon Israel. Palestinians assert that it is not realistic to expect the kind of control Israel demands from the PA to curtail these groups, as the PA does not have actual control of most cities or adequate law-enforcement resources, and has suffered severe infrastructural damage to much of its security apparatus during confrontations with the Israel Defense Force.

There have been numerous instances where Palestinian child suicide bombers were involved in attacks, as bomb transporters and suicide bombers. On 16 March 2005, an Israeli border guard found a bomb in the school bag of 12-year-old Abdullah Quran at a military checkpoint near Nablus. His life was saved only because a cell phone rigged to detonate the 13-pound bomb failed to set off the explosive at the checkpoint as it had been designed to do. Eight days later, on March 24, 16-year-old Hussam Abdo was captured wearing an explosive belt, having allegedly been paid by Fatah's Tanzim branch to blow himself up at the same checkpoint. The world's media watched as an EOD team disarmed the explosive belt with a police-sapper robot. [] [] (video). The BBC reported that the child was "paraded in front of the international media", and journalists were not allowed to interview the children and had to rely on the army's account of the incidents. The Israeli government then wrote to the BBC accusing their correspondent, Orla Guerin of "anti-Semitism" and "total identification with the goals and methods of the Palestinian terror groups" [McGreal, Chris. [,2763,1183312,00.html BBC accused of bias against Israel] , The Guardian, Thursday 1 April 2004]

Female suicide bombers are a recent development. The profile of the female Palestinian suicide bombers is unique, and has been the subject of study by the noted Katherine VanderKaay, most recently in her contribution to "Terror in the Holy Land", published 2006 by Praeger Press. She has also presented her profiling of the subjects at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting. The first such attack was in January 2002 by Wafa'a Ali Idris, reported to be 28, an ambulance volunteer, secular, Westernised and only nominally religious. [ [ Wafaa Ali Idris, was secular, Westernised and only nominally religious] . Daily Telegraph 31/01/2002.] [ [ Wafa Idris ... injured by rubber bullets. ... powerful incentives for her to avenge her people."] ]

Palestinian political violence is often financed and sponsored by foreign Islamist groups, as well as other kinds, from around the world. Saddam Hussein notoriously donated $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers, and $10,000 to the families of Palestinians killed during clashes between the Israeli military. [ [ Palestinians get Saddam funds] ] Iran also contributes.

List of Palestinian groups practicing political violence

*Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) (founded 1970s):* Formed by Fathi Shaqaqi as a branch of Egyptian Islamic Jihad:* Goal is the destruction of Israel and replacement with an Islamist state for Palestinians:* Armed wing is The Al-Quds brigades:* Enjoys none of the social or political role taken by Hamas
*Hamas (founded 1987):*Hamas was founded by Ahmed Yassin and Mohammad Taha as an outgrowth of the Muslim Brotherhood and is dedicated to the abolition of Israel and the creation of an Islamic state in Palestine.
*Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (founded June 1964) :* Formed as the political representation of the Palestinian people.

ub-groups of the PLO

* Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) (founded 1967) :* Left-wing Palestinian separatists:* Joined the PLO in 1968 and became the second-largest PLO faction, after Arafat's al-Fatah, but withdrew in 1974, accusing the group of moving away from the goal of abolishing the State of Israel
* Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) (founded 1969):* Marxist-Leninist group that believes Palestinian national goals can be achieved only through revolution of the masses. Split into two factions in 1991; Nayif Hawatmah leads the majority and more hard-line faction, which continue to dominate the group. Joined with other rejectionist groups to form the Alliance of Palestinian Forces (APF) to oppose the Declaration of Principals signed in 1993. Broke from the APF — along with the PFLP — over ideological differences. Has made limited moves towards merging with the PFLP since the mid-1990s.
* Abu Nidal organization (ANO), also known as Fatah - the Revolutionary Council (FRC), (founded 1974):* Split from PLO; part of the so-called rejectionist front, the ANO is a secular, nationalist group. Was led by Abu Nidal, widely regarded as the most ruthless of the Palestinian leaders, until his death in August 2002.
* Fatah (founded early 1960s):* Palestinian nationalist political party:* Reverse acronym for "Harekat at-Tahrir al-Wataniyyeh al-Falastiniyyeh" ("Palestinian National Liberation Movement" in Arabic):* Also known as the Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine:* Founded by Yasser Arafat in 1959. Took control of the PLO in 1968, with Arafat as chairman

Groups associated with Fatah

* Tanzim (founded 1995) :* Means "organization" in Arabic:* Loosely organized Fatah militia
* Force 17 (founded early 1970s):* Elite unit of the PLO once under Yasser Arafat's direct guidance.:* Acts as a versatile unit for combat and intelligence-gathering.
* Hawari (1980s-1991):* Also known as the Fatah Special Operations Group, Martyrs of Tal Al Za'atar, and Amn Araissi.:* Recently inactive (as of 2004)
* Ahmed Abu Reish Brigade:* Extremist off-shoot of Fatah.:* Was involved in July 17, 2004 kidnappings in the Gaza Strip.:* Possibly linked to the Popular Resistance Committees
* The Popular Resistance Committees:* Based in the Gaza Strip
* Al Aqsa Marytrs Brigade:* Responsible for many suicide bombings and shootings of Israeli civilians:* Responsible for executing suspected conspirators and leaders of opposition against Arafat:* Funded by Fatah and the Palestinian AuthorityFact|date=June 2008:* Offshoot of this group, Fatah Hawks, has carried out guerrilla attacks against Israeli military personnel in the Gaza Strip.

plinter groups of the PLO

* Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC) (founded 1968):* Splinter group from the PFLP, founded by Ahmed Jibril. Declared its focus would be military, not political. Was a member of the PLO, but left in 1974 for the same reasons as PFLP.

ee also

* Acts
** List of Hamas suicide attacks
** List of Palestinian Islamic Jihad suicide attacks
** List of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades suicide attacks
** Al-Aqsa Intifada
** List of massacres committed during the Al-Aqsa Intifada
** List of Qassam rocket attacks

* Methods
** Suicide attack
** Female suicide bomber
** Child suicide bomber
** Exploding donkey
** Qassam rockets
** Mortar shelling
** Car bomb
** Aircraft hijacking
** School massacres
** Spree shootings

* Others
** Crime in Israel
** Islamist terrorism
** Israeli-Palestinian conflict
** Terrorism
** Zionist political violence
** Human rights in the Palestinian National Authority


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