We Need A Precise Definition Of Terrorism

1501 words - 7 pages

We Need a Precise Definition of Terrorism

In early 1974, the Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant, invited the Palestinian Liberation Organization to attend the General Assembly gathering on November 13, 1974, and in doing so gave legitimacy to the Palestinian Liberation Organization as a governing body. In Yasser Arafat’s speech to the General Assembly, he thanked the United Nations for recognizing his organization and its legitimacy. When Arafat addressed the General Assembly, he made the argument that the actions taken by his government were not acts of terrorism, but these were acts of revolution and their purpose was to regain control of Palestine’s occupied original ...view middle of the document...

When the United Nations General Assembly partitioned off the Palestinian land in 1948, the Palestinian people rejected their planed creation of a Jewish State within their homeland. Even though the Palestinians rejected their decision, the State of Israel was created and recognized as a sovereign nation by the United Nations. Shortly after its creation, Israel began expelling Palestinians and Muslims from their land and from their homes. The Palestinians that were able to remain within the borders of Israel were treated as third class citizens (second-class citizens were the Asians and Jews) and had to notify the Israeli Military of all their movements. 1 This is when the people of Palestine began their efforts to retake their land that rightfully belonged to them.

Arafat believed the actions taken by the Palestinian Liberation Organization against the Israeli Government and agents of the government were not terrorist actions, but were revolutionary actions. The injustice placed upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli Government justified the Palestinian’s the right to struggle. Yasser Arafat made it very clear that his cause/struggle is not with the Jewish people but with the unlawful creation of the Jewish State. Arafat also claimed that his government does not sanction actions taken by separatist groups within the Palestinian Liberation Organizations (Hamas, FATAH and the Palestine Liberation Front). One example of this is the attack on the Jewish athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich Germany (Hamas). 1 Arafat believed as the rest of the world believed that this was an act of terrorism.

Yasser Arafat has always argued that the Palestinian Liberation Organizations fight was never with the Jewish religion, but was with the creation of the State of Israel by the United Nations and England. He also concludes that all of the actions sanctioned by Palestinian Liberation Organizations are revolutionary and are not terrorist.

Most people have an idea of what terrorism is but most do not even follow what the definition of terrorism in Webster’s Dictionary. The Webster’s Dictionary defines terrorism as: “The act of terrorizing, or state of being terrorized; a mode of government by terror or intimidation. The practice of coercing governments to accede to political demands by committing violence on civilian targets; any similar use of violence to achieve goals.” 3

Many of the barriers to define terrorism that need to be overcome can be overcome, if the states did not disagree on the simplest terms. If one tries to find the definition of terrorism on Google.com it comes up with 9,140,000 hits as of September 28, 2009. 4

Another barrier has to do with the fact that some governments cannot even come up with a definition within their own government. The United States for example has four agencies within its government (United States House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, US State...

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