The Myth of the Origins of Terror

As a former peace activist, one who came to Israel to find a way to open a dialogue between the sides, I feel a certain responsibility to dispel the myths going around in the left-wing camps of today regarding the origins of terror.
As a disclaimer I must admit that in a conflict as complicated as the one in the Middle East today there are two types of facts. “Facts” are pieces of information that can be shown to be true through a recounting of past events(“history”). The way that those events are recounted, or the way history is read, influences the “fact”—an example is the 1948 War of Independence. One Israeli “fact” from the war is that the local Arabs were convinced to leave their homes by the Arab powers, who told them that they would return to their homes after Israel was crushed. The Palestinian counter-“fact” is that the local Arabs were forced to leave by Israel. Between these two “facts” there is an “Indisputable Fact” that the Arab residents of British Mandatorial Palestine left their homes in 1948.
For the sake of this piece I will try and focus on “Indisputable Facts” only, as only they have the power to expel and dismiss myths.
The central myth in the left wing regarding Terror is that the “settlements are the root of terror.”
The quickest was to dispel the myth is to look at three indisputable facts:
1. Terrorist actions against Israel have their root in the Fedayun, sponsored by Egypt, who carried out cross-border attacks in the 1950s and 1960s, long before the 1967 War or the “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza.
2. Modern Terrorist suicide attacks have their root in the actions of the Hamas, which only came on to the scene in 1991-2, after Israel attended the Madrid Conference and began the Oslo process. The Intifada of the 1980s, which was a popular uprising and outburst of Palestinian nationalism, did not include suicide attacks. Modern terror, suicide attacks, therefore has its root in opposition to the Peace Process and not in the “occupation.”
3. The terrorist organizations at the forefront of suicide attacks oppose the peace process and the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza, and openly state that they do not want a state in the pre-1967 borders.
[Even the Palestinian Authority doesn’t advocate a Palestinian State living side-by-side with Israel. Why is this an “indisputable fact” and not just a “fact?” Easy, look at their own maps and at the Palestinian National Covenant. You see no mention of the State of Israel on the maps they provide their school-children, and the PNC has no mention of the right of the State of Israel to exist. Quite the opposite—it still calls for the struggle against Israel with the aim of its destruction. The existence of the settlements over the line of armistice, therefore, doesn’t affect their national aspirations.]
Moreover, and I will warn you that I might be heading toward “fact” territory, ask yourself when exactly the “Palestinian people” were occupied. I am not questioning the idea that a people is self-defined and that every peoples has the right of self-realization, but think for a second, because in order to call the Israeli presence in the “West Bank and Gaza” (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) “occupation” one must agree when the Palestinians were conquered or occupied.
For this I am going to make a very logical assumption that a people needs to be free before it can be conquered. Only a free nation can be occupied. Otherwise it is just land on which people live.
So when were the Palestinians free? Were they free pre-1967, when Jordan held the West Bank and Egypt the Gaza Strip, both barring their residents by-and-large from gaining citizenship and stuffing them into refugee camps? Were the Palestinians free pre-1948 under British Mandatorial rule? Were they free when the Ottomans ruled the area? The list of conquerors goes back all the way to Roman times, and, get this, before Roman conquest there was only one free kingdom in the “West Bank and Gaza”: the Kingdom of Judea.
So how exactly did the Israelis conquer the West Bank and Gaza?


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