Last updated on: 11/23/2015 9:33:11 AM PST
Does Israel Commit Acts of Terrorism?



PRO (yes)

Lütfü Türkkan, Member of Parliament in Turkey, in a Nov. 24, 2014 speech to the Turkish Parliament, reported in a Nov. 26, 2014 article by Lori Lowenthal Marcus for The Jewish Press website titled "Turkish Legislator Pens Bill Naming Israel Terrorist State," stated:

"Israel has intentionally targeted civilians in Gaza, killing mostly women and children. Most recently, on 7 July 2014, Israel launched a military operation in the Gaza Strip by air and sea, on 17 July, the operation was expanded to an Israeli ground invasion. The number of causalities has been increasing because of continued attacks. The State of Israel aimed killing children, senior citizens, and women living in Gaza; when this is taken into consideration, Israel's crimes meet the definition 'terrorism'. It has become an undeniable fact that Turkey should recognize Israel as a terrorist state."

Nov. 26, 2014 - Lütfü Türkkan 



The Parliament of Jordan, in an Oct. 10, 2015 statement published in part by the Express Tribune in an article by AFP titled "Jordan Parliament Accuses Israel of 'State Terrorism'," available from the Express Tribune website, stated:

"The Israeli enemy, sapping the rights of the Palestinians on their own lands… and over their holy places, is exercising state terrorism before the eyes of the whole world…

[We condemn] the crimes committed by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza."

Oct. 10, 2015 - Parliament of Jordan 



Richard Falk, SJD, Albert G. Milbank Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and former United Nations' Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, in a Jan. 9, 2015 interview with Nora Barrows-Friedman for the Electronic Intifada titled "Israeli Attack on Gaza Was 'Massive State Terror': Former UN Official," stated:

"I think what we see now is a humanitarian emergency of the highest order, which is worse than normal humanitarian emergencies because it comes after this catastrophic [Israeli] attack of the summer [2014], which I regard as a form of massive state terror directed at the entire population of Gaza.

One shouldn't measure the human loss just by the [number of] people killed and wounded; the entire population was subject to this terroristic warfare. And from what I've heard, as many as 425,000 children in Gaza are needing treatment for severe stress. So one needs to grasp the magnitude of this occurrence which really has to be viewed, in my opinion, as an atrocity of the first order."

Jan. 9, 2015 - Richard Falk, SJD 



Ramtane Lamamra, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, in a 2014 speech reported by the Moroccan Times under the title "After Bolivia, Algeria Labels Israel a 'State Terrorism Country'," stated:

"Algeria continues to closely follow the tragic developments of the situation in Gaza having occurred during the Eid al Fitr days, which saw an escalation in horror and a significant increase of the Palestinian martyrs of the Israeli aggression…

By reiterating its… strong condemnation of the Israeli acts of violence and State terrorism against a population, supposed to be protected by the international humanitarian law, Algeria calls on all the players likely to have influence on the perpetrators of those killings to assume their responsibilities before History, facing the genocidal aims revealed by nature, extent and the impact of the Israeli military operations."

2014 - Ramtane Lamamra 



The Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations in New York, in a July 14, 2014 letter titled "Israel's Brutal Aggression against the Palestinian People," available from their website, wrote:

"The number and facts surrounding Israel's latest war crimes and acts of State terrorism against the Palestinian people are beyond alarming.

The grave violations of human rights instruments by Israel, the occupying Power, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Israel is a signatory, are too numerable to list in this letter...

This letter is in follow-up to our 506 letters regarding the ongoing crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, which constitutes the territory of the State of Palestine… For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations being committed against the Palestinian people, Israel, the occupying Power, must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice."

July 14, 2014 - Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the United Nations 



Yonatan Shapira, MA, former Israeli Air Force Pilot and Cofounder of Combatants for Peace, in a Feb. 10, 2015 interview with Ryan Rodrick Beiler of the Electronic Intifada titled "I Was 'Part of a Terror Organization,' Says Israeli Pilot Turned Activist," in response to the question "When Did You Begin to Question the [Israeli] Military's Actions?" stated:

"I realized something was rotten when the Israeli government started what was called the 'assassination policy' in 2001-2003...

Pilots would be sent with missiles to shoot the car of this person. In the beginning, this car could be driving outside of town where just the car was hit. Later they would allow shooting suspects when they are closer to the city. Eventually the assassination would be even if he's in the middle of the market, or in his house at night with all of the family around.

In July 2002, Salah Shehadeh, head of the armed branch of Hamas in Gaza, was bombed in the middle of the night with an F-16 dropping a one-ton bomb on his house where he was sleeping with his children and his wife. The bomb killed fifteen people, most of them children, and about 150 were injured. If I needed some answer for my questions and doubts, that was clear: this is a terror attack. And I'm part of a terror organization."

Feb. 10, 2015 - Yonatan Shapira, MA 



Rashid I. Khalidi, DPhil, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, in a June 3, 2010 opinion piece for the London Review of Books' blog titled "State Terrorism," available from the London Review of Books website, wrote:

"It has become a pattern. Israel takes shocking action, as in Lebanon in 2006 where it killed 1000, Gaza in 2008-9 where 1400 people died (mostly civilians in both cases), and now its act of state terrorism on the high seas against a humanitarian mission to relieve the siege of Gaza. Then Israeli leaders complain that those who criticise their actions are 'delegitimising' the state of Israel. A real friend of Israel would tell its leaders that it is mainly their own actions that are undermining Israel's standing in the world – actions that are not legitimate by any standard of international law, morality or even common sense."

June 3, 2010 - Rashid I. Khalidi, DPhil 



CON (no)

Stephen Hoffman, Campaigns and Public Affairs Officer at the Zionist Federation at the time of the quote, in a Mar. 21, 2013 article for the Backbencher blog titled "It's Absurd to Call Israel a Terrorist State," wrote:

"Rather than being a terrorist state, Israel, throughout its existence, has had to frequently defend itself from terrorism. A terrorism, which as the Second Intifada showed indiscriminately targets Israeli civilians in nightclubs, buses, trains, cars, schools and restaurants amongst others. A terrorism, which as Hezbollah and Hamas's rocket attacks on Israel show aims to cause maximum civilian deaths, whilst putting their own civilians in harms way by firing from civilian areas and using their own civilians as human shields. In doing so committing a double war crime. Consequently, to paint a nation, which itself is besieged by terrorism, as a terrorist state is deeply wrongheaded."

Mar. 21, 2013 - Stephen Hoffman 



Lee Zeldin, JD, US Representative (R-NY), in an Oct. 15, 2015 press release titled "Rep. Zeldin Calls for Replacement of State Department Spokesman John Kirby," available from his website, wrote:

"It is absolutely disgusting and shameful that the Obama Administration not only refuses to stand strong with our ally in Israel, but actually has the audacity to claim that the Israelis are guilty of terrorism.

It was just 2 months ago when I walked these same Jerusalem streets where we are witnessing brutal terror attacks today. I'm praying for peace and strength for Israelis to overcome this new challenge. Israel is an important and strategic ally of the United States. The bond should be made stronger, not weaker, from America's response.

It is embarrassing and harmful that State Department Spokesman John Kirby is now claiming that Israel is guilty of terrorism. It's simply not true and dangerously creates more daylight between the United States and Israel during this critical time of need for our trusted friend and ally...

Innocent Israelis are being attacked and murdered by terrorists.

We must stand with Israel now more than ever."

Oct. 15, 2015 - Lee Zeldin, JD 



Aaron Jacob, Associate Director of International Affairs at the American Jewish Committee (AJC), in an Oct. 2010 report for AJC titled "The Campaign Against Israel's Legitimacy," available from www.ajc.org, wrote:

"They also accuse Israel of 'state terrorism' in its response to Palestinian 'resistance to occupation.' This view is not only morally reprehensible, but also legally invalid…

[A] strong set of international norms and laws - including the UN Charter and the Geneva Conventions - regulates and constrains states' decisions to use force. There is no similar normative framework regarding non-state actors.

Therefore - and without prejudice to states' obligations to refrain from harboring, sponsoring and financing terrorism - the term 'act of terrorism' technically applies only to non-state actors. Furthermore, Israel's actions are meant to defend Israeli lives against Palestinian terrorism. There is no moral equivalence between the former and the latter, just as there can be no moral equivalence between the arsonist and the fire fighter."

Oct. 2010 - Aaron Jacob 



StandWithUs, a pro-Israel nonprofit organization, on the "Israel Is an Evil State" section of its Ask Israel website (accessed Oct. 27, 2015), wrote:

"It is a perversion of any meanings of the term state terrorism to call Israel's actions state terrorism. The Palestinians in effect declared a terrorist war on Israel in September, 2000. Israel is responding to a direct and lethal threat to its citizens…

No nation can or should tolerate this assault on its people. No nation can neglect to take defensive security measures to protect its citizens...

Given the definition of 'state terrorism,' it is the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, that uses state terrorism."

Oct. 27, 2015 - StandWithUs 



Beyond Images, a pro-Israel advocacy and educational organization, in the "Israel Accused: 75 Concise Responses," section of their website, available from their website (accessed Oct. 30, 2015), wrote:

"There is no moral equivalence between Israel's use of force on the one hand, and the terror carried out by the Palestinian groups. The acts of each side are not in any sense 'tit-for-tat' actions. The motivations are different, the underlying culture is different, the methods used are different, and the political attitudes are different…

Terrorist attacks are targeted at Jerusalem's Jews by Arabs, not the other way round. Hundreds of Jewish residents of Jerusalem have been murdered in recent years."

Oct. 30, 2015 - Beyond Images 



Barry Morrison, MA, Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) at the time of the quote, in a July 25, 2002 letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer, available from the ADL website, wrote:

"Arjan El Fassed outrageously accuses Israel of state terrorism when is it [sic] the Israeli people who have been suffering from a constant onslaught of brutal Palestinian terrorist attacks…

Israel has a long record of seeking to minimize civilian casualties during defensive operations it undertakes in its war against terror, which is especially difficult when terrorists use civilians as human shields. It is Palestinian terrorists who deliberately target Israeli civilians throughout Israel, exploding bombs intended to maximize the number of innocent men, women and children who are killed. The purpose of the Israeli army's military actions is to root out the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure based in Palestinian population centers, not to inflict mass civilian casualties."

July 25, 2002 - Barry Morrison, MA