Sunday, 9 March 2008

On Understanding Terrorism

For a fitting commentary on this photo, read this.
Hat tip for article John Hobbins.

Hat tip for images Kumah

13 comments:

R.O. Flyer said...

I have to say I thought this article was awful and utterly unhelpful. After reaming out the giving of any "reasons" for palestinian violence, the author simply gives the classic response and answer to why the world continues their assault on the palestinians: terrorism. I'm sorry but there is not one bit of originality in this article.

John Hobbins said...

Mr. Flyer,

you have it backwards. It's Hamas and Hezbollah and their backers that assault Israel and its backers, not because of anything in particular that Israel does, but for the mere fact of its existence, which is illegitimate in their eyes.

It has to be understood that the grievances of Hamas and Hezbollah are not really about the occupation of the West Bank, a right of return, or the status of Jerusalem. Stress on those matters is merely tactical. The real and only goal is: the destruction of the state of Israel, and the killing of as many Jews as possible along the way.

Surely this is not difficult to make out.

Phil Sumpter said...

R.O. Flyer, here are some extracts from Hamas' charter. Note, this is from their charter, not the private opinions of certain individuals:

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

The authors description of Palestinians celbrating the murder on the streets, the handing out of flowers etc. would seem to be a demonstration of these principles. I don't believe that all Palestinians condone this, not even a majority. But this is surely a significant factor in the violence which can't be overlooked.

R.O. Flyer said...

Okay, I'm really not interested in rehashing this debate over and over again. John, I really can't believe that you would suggest that Hamas and Hezbollah reasons for resisting Israel have nothing to do with "anything in particular that Israel does." This is just utter nonsense. It is like saying that 9/11 had nothing to do with the fact that the U.S. has been crapping on the Middle East for the past hundred years.

Phil Sumpter said...

Flyer,

you could at least respond to the quotes from the Hamas Covenant. I'm especially thinking of the first quote:

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

I don't see what Israel can do about this fundamental tenant. Waqf is waqf.

Phil Sumpter said...

The news coverage is in Hebrew, but you can watch Palestinians celebrating the recent murder in Jerusalem by dancing, singing and handing out candy to kids here: http://www.youtube.com/swf/l.swf?video_id=dMxPUzEBWDU&rel=1&eurl=http%3A//drybonesblog.blogspot.com/&iurl=http%3A//i.ytimg.com/vi/dMxPUzEBWDU/default.jpg&t=OEgsToPDskLTyGWk01KF69bug2LqNXnl.

Is this rational resistance?

Stephen said...

I didn't find the article worthy of my attention, either. Eight teenagers dead, several others seriously injured, and what is the editorialist's response? He vents his rage: not at Hamas, but at Western liberals.

In the West, there's a range of public opinion on Israel. Does Israel really expect everyone to have the same (pro-Israel) opinion?

Do we have unanimity on any topic of consequence? No. Might as well invest your emotional energy in something else. Remembering the dead, maybe.

Phil Sumpter said...

I don't think he was having a go an Western liberals in general, just those who hold the opinions he lists. I'm also not sure his primary goal was to defend Israel, but rather to show the nature of what terrorism is, at least this particular Palestinian brand of it. I think it's fair enough, when the responsibility for such happenings are consistently laid at Israel's door, that Israelis get emotional. I still feel my Hamas quotes lend support to the author's frustration with (a percentage of) Western intellectual response.

R.O. Flyer said...

I'm sorry but I fail to see how violence in the name of God is fundamentally different (or worse) than violence in the name of some nation-state. I have no problem conceding the point that Hamas' violence is profoundly "religious," but I really don't see how this is any more irrational or barbaric than killing to secure or defend a nation-state.

I refuse to label Israel's violence "war" or "self-defense" and Hamas' violence "terrorism." Both (and all) forms of violence ought to be condemned by Christians.

Phil Sumpter said...

Flyer,

Do you really see no difference between what Hamas are doing and what Israel is doing? I find that hard to believe.

And I'm surprised that you see no ethical difference between a state defending its citizens and a relgious group trying to wipe a state out. Whether violence in general is wrong is another question, but surely we need to be able to differentiate.

R.O. Flyer said...

Certainly, we can differentiate between the two. In fact, I would say that if violence were ever justified (though I believe it is not) it would not be in the name of protecting the nation-state but in the name of God. I tend to think what you kill/die for is who you worship.

Phil Sumpter said...

And so, if one were to differentiate, Hamas would have the moral upper-hand in this case, as they're killing out of religious duty rather than to defend citizens?

Sorry if I'm pushing you on this. I'm just curious to see where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

"It is like saying that 9/11 had nothing to do with the fact that the U.S. has been crapping on the Middle East for the past hundred years."

Flyer, you only managed to compound your mistake with that analogy.