Israeli and Palestinian terrorism

From: Lawrence DeBivort (
Date: Sun 24 Nov 2002 - 18:03:37 GMT

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    Yes, there was a mixed relationship between Ben Gurion and the Irgun/Stern Gang 'terrorists.' It was a relationship quite similar to that of Arafat and Hamas/Al-Aqsa Brigades/Islamic Jihad, and now to Sharon and the terror elements of the Israeli vigilante right-wing.

    The dynamics of these relationship are very similar, and the memes that the parties used to modulate those relationships eerily similar.

    Ben Gurion, Sharon and Arafat are the politicians and diplomats, and the Irgun/Stern/terror night-riders/vigilantes/Hamas/Al-Aqsa/Jihad groups the muscle. At times, the politicians decry the excesses of the muscle, and use the threat of the muscle to assert that their, the politician's, hands are tied, they can only compromise so much. Yet the communications between the two are continuous and their actions knowingly synergistic. When the muscle needs to lie low, the politicians pass those instructions along, and when there is time for a demonstration of power, the muscle is unleashed. If the muscle feels the politicians are being too cautious, they let the politicians know it, and expect a hardening of the politician's stand.

    We can also draw the same parallels between the Israeli government today and the terror elements within parts of the current Israeli right-wing (e.g. the settler who shot up the Dome Mosque worshippers, or the Hebron night-riders).

    Did Ben Gurion control his 'terrorists'? Not entirely. Does Arafat control his 'terrorists'? Not entirely. Does Sharon control the terror activities of right-wing settlers? Of course, the British found it convenient to assert that the Irgun and Stern Gangs were tools of Ben Gurion and the Zionist movement, as Israel now finds it convenient to assert that Arafat controls Hamas, etc., as the Palestinians find it convenient to blame Sharon for the acts of the terrorist right-wingers. But the reality is quite a bit more complicated, nor are the distinctions as important as many assert.

    I do believe that both the Palestinians and the Israelis can come to a peaceful, compromise resolution despite their respective terrorist elements and history. Conditions do not favor this now, of course, but it remains the central truth and necessity over the longer-term, and the majority of the people who count most in the matter -- the Israelis and Palestinians themselves -- seem to agree with this.

    Cheers, Lawry

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []On Behalf
    > Of Scott Chase
    > Sent: Sunday, November 24, 2002 12:23 PM
    > To:
    > Subject: RE: Islam and Europe and the Palestinians and the Left and the
    > anti-American Lawry
    > >From: Jeremy Bradley <>
    > >Reply-To:
    > >To:
    > >Subject: RE: Islam and Europe and the Palestinians and the Left and the
    > >anti-American Lawry
    > >Date: Sun, 24 Nov 2002 12:05:53 +1100
    > >
    > >At 06:56 PM 23/11/02 -0500, you wrote:
    > > >Lawry wrote:
    > > >What about LEHI and Irgun and the events at places such as Deir Yassin?
    > >Jeremy:
    > >There was the Stern Group as well.
    > > Lawry:
    > > >I haven't been able to delve into Benny Morris's historic treatment of
    > >the
    > > >nakba of 48 yet, but have read that things are not quite as
    > dandy as the
    > >Der
    > > >Judenstaat creation myths make them out to be. There was an
    > Arab majority
    > >in
    > > >the Palestinian portion of the Ottoman empire previous to the aliyahs.
    > > >Organized Zionism resulted in an influx of diaspora Jews. Still the
    > > >proportions as I recall favored the Arabs. Then during Israel's War of
    > > >Independence (aka the Palestinian nakba) there was a displacment of
    > > >Palestinian Arabs from Israel proper. This was best for the fledgling
    > > >Israeli state if they were to be democratic, since demography favoring
    > >Arabs
    > > >would not be in their interests at the voting booth.
    > > >
    > >Jeremy:
    > >As I have said before, Israel was born through terrorism, and it was
    > >sponsored by USAnian Zionists - with the knowledge of all, including the
    > >Administration.
    > >"The Jews of America (sic) are with you. You are their champion. You are
    > >the grin they wear. You are the feather in their hats...Every
    > time you blow
    > >up a British arsenal, or wreck a British jail, or send a British train
    > >sky-high, or rob a British bank, or let go with your guns and
    > bombs at the
    > >British betrayers and invaders of your homeland, the Jews of
    > America (sic)
    > >make a little holiday in their hearts." (Ben Hecht, New York
    > Herald Tribune
    > >5/15/47. In 'The Palestinians' Jonathan Dimbleby, Quartet Books, London,
    > >1979, p.83)
    > >"I am sorry gentlemen, but I have to answer to hundreds of thousands of
    > >those who are anxious for the success of Zionism; I do not have
    > hundreds of
    > >thousands of Arabs in my constituents." (FDR addressing Arab
    > leaders at the
    > >White House. In 'FDR meets Ibin Saud', New York, 1954, p.37)
    > >Virtually all of Israel's first Cabinet was wanted for crimes of terror
    > >against the British, including Ze'evi whose assassination lead to the
    > >current round of 'eye-for-an-eye' killings. Doubtless Osama will be a
    > >legitimate target for the rest of his days, but that's different.
    > >There are two sides Joe, and therefore two perspectives.
    > >
    > Jeremy,
    > You were replying to what I said, not Lawry.
    > LEHI and Irgun were Jewish terror groups, but I don't think it's valid to
    > cast the entirety of Zionism or the early Israeli state this way. I will
    > have to dig deeper into this, but I recall that Ben-Gurion and his Labor
    > Zionists weren't exactly on the same page as Begin or Shamir.
    > Plus, Haganah
    > (and Palmach) could probably be seen as distinct from the terror
    > groups as
    > Haganah was the precursor to the IDF.
    > One incident, of note, might be that concerning the Altalena ship
    > which was
    > a battle between the Irgun and the emergent IDF.
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