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   Responses to Common Inaccuracies About Israel
Palestinian Violence and Terrorism   

Hamas members are resistance fighters whose only goal is to end the unjust Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Palestinian terrorism is understandable since they have no other weapon to fight Israeli occupation.

The Palestinian use of terrorism is a legitimate tool in the Palestinian national struggle for liberation.

The Palestinian people are waging a war of independence against a colonial, hegemonic power.

Hamas is a terrorist organization and is very clear in describing its mission.  Its Covenant calls on followers “to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.”  Hamas considers all of Israel to be on Palestinian territory, and consequently denies that Israel has any right to exist. Hamas does not just want Israel out of Gaza and the West Bank – it wants Israel to disappear and for a Palestinian Islamic state to be established in its place. 

Furthermore, Hamas’ version of “resistance fighting” is through suicide bombing attacks deliberately targeting children on city buses on their way to school, families eating in a local pizzeria, and through rockets landing in people’s living rooms.

Finally, while Israel has committed to a peace process with the Palestinians and to a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict, Hamas leaders flatly reject any compromise with Israel.  

Terrorism is the premeditated use of violence deliberately directed against random civilians, with the aim of killing as many as possible and sowing psychological fear and despair. The use of such tactics is never justified.

Moreover, it is simply untrue that Palestinians have no option besides terrorism.  Direct  negotiations with Israel offer the way to a more stable and secure future for  Israelis and Palestinians. Indeed, in 2000, a Palestinian campaign of terrorism erupted just after Israel had made its most ambitious offer for a final status agreement that would have created a Palestinian state in 95 percent of the West Bank and 100 percent of the Gaza Strip. Negotiations were bringing the Palestinian state closer to reality.

While there is genuine frustration and suffering among Palestinians, the unconditional end to Palestinian violence and terrorism, a true acceptance of Israel’s right to exist and a commitment to bilateral negotiations are the real “weapons” to resolve the conflict.

As many Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, have publicly acknowledged, violence and terrorism do nothing to hasten the realization of Palestinian nationalist aspirations.

Terror attacks bring fear to everyday life for Israelis, who live with the understanding that a suicide terrorist attack can happen anywhere to anybody – to children on the way to school on a city bus, to teens gathering at a nightclub or shopping mall, or to people socializing at a cafe. Following such attacks, grief and fear are often joined by anger towards the terrorists and the Palestinians who condone, celebrate or incite terrorism. A terror attack merely reinforces Israeli concerns that the Palestinian people do not seek reconciliation.

Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are the way to properly address the genuine frustration among Palestinians and offer the only way to achieve a more stable and secure future for all Israelis and Palestinians. However, the willingness of the Israeli public to accept substantial concessions depends on their belief that the Palestinians are truly interested in peace and reconciliation, are capable of carrying out agreements, and have resolutely rejected terrorism and violence.

In no way can the State of Israel be considered a colonial or hegemonic power. Israel is not a foreign invader. The State of Israel is built on the foundation of thousands of years of Jewish connection to and a presence in this land.  Moreover, Israel has no desire to empire-build, gain financial benefit, or rule over the lives of millions of Arab Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza Strip, as is evident from their efforts to seek a negotiated settlement to the conflict with the Palestinians and Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza.

Israel has already withdrawn from parts of this territory in the pursuit of peace.  Israel willingly withdrew from the oil-rich Sinai Peninsula in exchange for a comprehensive peace agreement with Egypt in 1979. Israel’s presence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip was the result of a defensive war and the decades-long refusal of surrounding Arab states to negotiate peace with Israel. As a result of the Oslo process, by September 2000, Israel had redeployed from Palestinian population centers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, resulting in 99 percent of the Palestinian public living under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority. When the Palestinians began

using these areas as a base for a campaign of violence and terror against Israeli civilians, Israel had no choice but to re-enter some of these towns. In August 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, removing its military presence and evacuating 25 settlements.

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