The greatest example of terrorism in the United States is 9/11, in which nearly 3,000 innocent civilians lost their lives at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists.
Terrorism can be defined as “the unlawful use of violence or intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims.”
Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda’s political aims included protesting US support for Israel, US sanctions on Iraq, and US troops being stationed in Saudi Arabia, and they thought 3,000 innocent civilians deserved to die for these policy decisions made by our government.
But what did those people, mostly American civilians, actually do to deserve this? They were random, innocent, powerless people targeted for political aims that had nothing to do with them as individuals—the definition of terrorism.
As of this writing, over 700 innocent Israeli civilians have been killed—children, women and men—and thousands more harmed by Palestinian Hamas terrorists in the most brutal ways imaginable. Many who sympathize with Palestine and its plight in the region have celebrated these attacks as a necessary and long overdue resistance.
But they are celebrating terrorism.
The Palestinians, many of whom oppose the terrorist group Hamas, believe the territory that Israel was given rightfully belongs to them and for the past few decades the people have been trapped in what many have called “an open air prison.” They are barred from crossing the border of both Israel and Egypt and confined to a tight spot that has only shrunk over the decades.
But what did those 700 innocent Israeli civilians and others harmed have to do with Palestine’s plight? They were targeted for the political decisions of their government which they as individuals have little to no control over—the definition of terrorism.
In response to the Hamas terrorist attacks, many voices, particularly in America, are calling for Israel’s leadership to turn Gaza or Palestine into a parking lot.
In other words, mass devastation in a relatively small space.
In response to the Hamas attacks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Palestinian citizens in Gaza to leave—who can’t really go anywhere—and is vowing to turn Gaza into a “deserted island.”
We know Israel will retaliate in some fashion, and currently are, because they have to answer for Hamas’s attack on their people. But how many innocent children, women and men will perish in a mass, inescapable campaign? Many Palestinians, who don’t support Hamas and who have been hurt by Hamas, their argument to begin with is that they have been violently abused by the Israelis for decades, leading many to support a resistance movement that fights for their territory.
Casualties are unfortunately part of any modern war. But reportedly Palestinians are frequently targeted, abused and even killed by Israeli forces, government and private.
If citizens are ever targeted or even increasingly become an afterthought, that’s something far closer to terrorism, even state-sponsored terrorism, than it is plain warfare.
The conflict between Israel and Palestine is complex, as was the history and intricacies of American foreign policy when 9/11 occurred. But terrorism should never be praised or endorsed by anyone—in any context—who actually values life. By anyone who values our common humanity first. Sympathizing with the hardships of groups and regions is understandable and something would be wrong with you if some of these tragic situations didn’t elicit strong emotions. There is so much injustice and violence in the world and particularly the Middle East.
But endorsing or cheering the murder of individuals—innocent people, children even, who have nothing to do directly with the political circumstances that surround them—is supporting terrorism. Period.
There is a difference between the people of Palestine and the terrorists who make up Hamas, that distinction must continually be made as there are many who wish to conflate the two to justify whatever Israel does next. We can and should fight adamantly to protect the sanctity of human life in the former population, while supporting the eradication of those in the latter group.
Terrorism should never be defended or justified. In any situation or circumstances. ‘Our terrorism is more okay than their terrorism’ should never be considered reasonable or moral.
How you feel about the plight of a people is one thing. How you fight back is another.
And terrorism should never be the answer.