Terrorism Policies and Influences
We American’s sometimes do not realize that we are not the first to be plagued with terrorist’s acts. Our country has some history with terrorist originations such as Al’Queda before the events of 9/11. After taking this course and reading and researching various materials I was very interested in the aspect terrorism on a global scale and its history in other countries. One of the main sources that were cited many times in the text came from Israel. This paper will identify some of Israel’s counter-terrorism policies and how they could either apply or hurt our current policies in America.
In relation to this paper we will also look at Palestine and the terrorist group Hamas and their struggle for their objectives. I will center on this group as a comparative way to show selected counter terrorism methods, and will be examining the width and depth of these methods as well as their consequences on the Palestinian society in general and on Hamas in particular. This will give the reader a better understanding and perspective as we compare it to our current situation in American society.
I hope to show by the end of the paper that the Israeli counter-terrorism policy works and show how certain aspects could be beneficial to our nation while others that are beneficial to Israel but not to our nation. Understandable that our two nations both have a very different history and diverse makeup there are similarities that we can extract and apply to our current terrorism threat and apply certain aspects of the Israeli counter-terrorism policy to ours without the same consequences that they suffered while trying to adapt a counter-terrorism policy that is both politically beneficial and efficient.
Introduction September 11, 2001 was a horrific day in the eyes of the world as the American society realized the lethal intent of terrorist organizations such as Al’Queda. The events that transpired catalyzed what had been long phenomena and only emphasized the need for policies and procedures to reduce the risk of such events from happening again. During the course of my paper we will analyze the history of terrorist activity in general terms and some of the international policies.
At no time do I plan to define terrorism or propose a cure all counter-terrorism policy that will eliminate the national threat. This paper is to merely compare our present situation with that of a fellow democratic nation. The comparison will be slightly different in the aspects of makeups how American society differs from that of Israeli and how our country is more ethnically diverse. There are other keen insights that we will discuss such as foreign political policy and economic policy which play a role in the counter- terrorism policy.
The history of Israel and their fight with terrorism gives us an better scope than our current situation and shows the intensity and tenacity that a highly motivated organization such as Hamas. Firstly, as terrorism and counter terrorism are multifaceted phenomena, it is useful to provide a framework for understanding as to what terrorism and counter terrorism are. Secondly, counter terrorism policy is hard to evaluate if one does not look at the context by which it is surrounded. Therefore, this report will explore some aspects of Israeli security history which have and continue to influence its policy.
Although counter terrorism methods are aimed at countering the threats posed by terrorist organizations, and are meant to use methods directed only at such organizations, counter terrorism policy does have consequences on a wider population. Therefore, in an effort to assess the effectiveness of counter terrorism, a deeper understanding of the practice and consequences of the methods is vital. This report has therefore addressed Israel’s counter-terrorism policy by singling out some of their methods. This shows the depth, scope and consequences of that particular method on Palestinian society in general and Hamas in particular.
In order to evaluate Israel’s counter terrorism policy this thesis has chosen to do so by using qualitative and quantitative indicators. This report will cover a broad time period and show Israel’s methods have not drastically changed. However, the level and sophistication of violence during the al-Aqsa years is not the same as in the peace process years. Although it is arguably unnatural to separate terrorism and counter terrorism from what occurs in the political sphere, this thesis will strive to keep its focus on terrorism and counter terrorism issues while only touching upon the development of the peace process.
Terrorism in Israel Region In Inside Terrorism, Bruce Hoffman explains that the word “terrorism” has “insidiously worked [its] way into our everyday vocabulary,” and that there is no “precise, concrete, and truly explanatory definition of the word” (Hoffman 2006, 1). He chronicles the evolution of the word, points out that the Department of State, FBI, and Department of Defense all provide slightly conflicting definitions, and ultimately defines terrorism “as the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in pursuit of political change” (Hoffman 2006, 40).
According the United States Code that is used for the prosecution of law in the United States terrorism is defined “as premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents” (Title 22, Chapter, 2656f). There is also a separate definition in the Code of Federal Regulations which says “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
Merriam Webster defines terrorism as: the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. The issue that we see is that there are no two that are the same. I personally think that the key is the root of the word terror. Terror is one that inspires fear or a frightening aspect. The use of terrorism goes back further than just the 9/11 events that we are so profound to recall when you mention terrorism. For the purpose of this report we will stick with the history of Israel and the influences of terrorism and counter-terrorism. The Israeli declaration of interdependence in 1948 was the beginning of the separate state of Israel.
This was the beginning of the Arab-Israeli War and the invasion of four separate armies. Following this conflict was the annexation of territories between the surrounding territories. During this conflict many Palestinian Arabs refugees were rejected by many Arab states and are one of the main issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After the Six-Day War the fractured Palestinian political and militant groups were prompted to give up any remaining hope they had placed in Pan-Arabism and armed non-state actors such as Fatah and Popular Front of the Liberation of
Palestine began movements to take over the West Bank. The PLO began a long line of terrorist activities with the goal for the release of political prisoners or once controlled Palestinian territory. The PLO, although involved in many acts of aggression toward Israel, also have left open the diplomatic channels. During the first Palestinian Intifada or uprising was the creation of the Hamas. The Hamas in the 1990’s created the military branch that conducted military attacks on Israel, with both civilian and military victims.
The Al-Qassam brigades began suicide bombings in 1993 in the West Bank and in 1994 began suicide attacks inside of Israel. These attacks were seen as direct violations of the Oslo Accords. Such attacks have went back and forth over the past decades until after the second Intifada in which led the Hamas to win the majority of the 2005 municipal elections that were organized by Yasser Arafat winning it one third of the Palestinian municipal councils. This then led to the 2006 elections being won by Hamas.
Several more conflicts over the years broke out with the Hamas as armed aggressions played out in the various territories. The Hamas in its later years has become more open to the political route of achieving its objective even though its terrorist’s acts could arguably be persuasion for this. Policy and Influence Now that you briefly understand the PLO and Hamas and their goals we will move to Israel and some of the policies and procedures that it has followed during these conflicts with the terrorist organizations.
During Amnon Lipkin-Shahok tenure as chief of staff on the goals of counter-terrorism stated was “our goal, Israel’s goal, was , firstly, to reduce the damage to the smallest possible minimum, and hurt them to the maximum” (Ganor p. 28) So what are the two basic driving factors that can end terrorist activity? If you take away the organizations motivation or capability then it is less likely to continue its terrorist activities rather than adopt a new approach.
One approach that was taken by the Israeli government during a 27 year period was the revocation of the residency status of more than 100,000 residents in the Gaza Strip and around 140,000 residents in the West Bank. This cut down on possible residents that could be used to aid the Hamas and at the same time gave more motivation to the Hamas as they could use this as a tool for media against Israel. This tool would be less beneficial to the United States due to the stringent laws and procedures we have in place to protect people’s rights. Another of the policies that has been developed is targeted killings.
Whereas most of us know this term in a different aspect such as the media portrayed Predator drones attacking a target of a suspected target that we may not see armed. Although the United States from a political standpoint is less likely to take such missions the Israeli counter-terrorism policy offers this as an option that is in high support. The reason this can be hard to assimilate in the American culture may be due to our society wanting to see results right away and this method is can never give direct results as too what the target may have been stopped from doing.
Such acts as the previous two lead up to the policy of deterrence of terrorism. This is an never-ending battle with the ever-changing environment of today. It is like a tug of war between showing the terrorist organization the teeth of the wolf or the purr of the kitten as you try to motivate them from their violent behavior. This can differ greatly between our two societies as we try to be more politically correct in the eyes of the world when we deal with terrorists. Israel has coordinated several military offensives as deterrents against terrorism.
Such offensives have even had air force planes bomb targets within major cities. Unlike the steadfast United States policy to not negotiate with terrorists the policy has Israel has been tried several times in the past decades and sometimes led to peaceful outcomes. It goes to say that this could also be the cause of more activities due to this policy. By allowing such actions there are also peaceful alternatives that can sometimes be made whereas the policy of no negotiation leaves such situations as hostage takers the option of surrender or kill all their hostages.
The last policy we will discuss is that of public welfare. This is where the political and economic influences can become a major factor. America of course is a much larger and diverse country than Israel. This leads to both benefits and critical areas that should be addressed. Israel has been in major conflicts for over half a decade whereas the last conflict that our country had on its own land was over a century ago. This makes the people of Israel more acceptable to conflict in their daily lives. This also modes their attitude toward terrorism and conflict different from that of the typical American.
As I addressed before the typical thought of terrorism to Americans is an act such as that of 9/11. This had great influences on both the economics and politics in our country. In Israel there are terrorist attacks and military offenses all the time which make such events much more mundane. Education promotes a good daily routine that keeps the country fundamentally sound and running. This prevents terrorism from achieving the goal of using fear to stop the daily routine and make citizens focus more on the terrorist goals.
Overall these are a few of the steps taken by Israel to help curb the violence that plagues its country daily. Our country is lucky to be able to maintain its terrorist war in foreign soil rather than a daily battle for control on our own soil. The key to stopping terrorism is first understanding and then good counter terrorism policy. The environment changes daily for both national governments and terrorist organizations and being educated about both the history and motivations of such groups can sway the battle to either side.