The difference between Palestinian resistance and terrorism: Hamas aren’t freedom fighters

I am heeding to the baseless statement of every Muslim organisation and individual that advocates that the Palestinians are resisting for their rights, their freedom and their stolen land. I asked them many questions regarding the difference between terrorism and resistance, but they could not satisfy me.  We cannot label any individual as a terrorist or a freedom fighter but have to examine them through a clear definition of terrorism and Guerrilla warfare.

No doubt, there are 109 definitions of terrorism in the universe but the basic elucidation of terrorism is that mostly civilians have been targeted to attain a political goal. The majority of Muslims experts understand that terrorism and killing of innocent people is prohibited in Islam. Therefore, they do not support any type of terrorism but when the matter of Israel-Palestine raises, they change their posture and support Palestinian terrorism and justify it by stating that Israel is committing atrocities against the Palestinians. Why do they have a double standard when the situation comes to the Israel?

I have seen many well educated teachers, professors, historians, counter-terrorism experts and many more academic personalities supporting the terrorism against the Jewish state of Israel.

This is the ideology of anti-Semitism. I call it an ideology because hatred towards Jews is their religious obligation to perform whatever the social condition of the person, s/he gives birth to hate Israel and its Jewish citizens.

From my understanding, Palestinian resistance is the root cause of terrorism against Israel, they are not any more interested in their separate state, but the devastation of Israel and Israeli citizens. Most people still do not know what terrorism or resistance is. But they defend it because it is against the Jewish nation and it is permissible for them by any means. Not only the Islamic world, but the western world is also anti-Semitic as well. The western media is more bigoted towards Israel than any other region’s media. Some people do not conceive in the definition of terrorism that without a definition of terrorism, it is unacceptable to establish international tarries against terrorism. One must recognise the basic definition of terrorism, according to Dr Boaz Ganor, founder of ICT – Israel and my counter terrorism course tutor who has defined the proposed definition of terrorism:

Terrorism is a form of violent struggle in which violence is deliberately used against civilians in order to achieve political goals (nationalistic, socioeconomic, ideological, religious, etc.).

No one would believe that terrorism in which perpetrator’s intention is to kill innocent civilians of the enemy is resistance or justifiable, but when Hamas or Fatah deliberately kill the innocent people of Israel, the Islamic world not just consider it resistance but emotionally support it by making it justifiable. This is a flawless hypocritical double standard of the world, especially the Islamic world.

The stimulation of freedom fighting also needs a definition to support it. Without the definition, it may not complete the aim or make it justifiable (depends on the root cause of it). I cannot combine the definition of terrorism with resistance/guerrilla war. We must distinguish the resistance and terrorism; the freedom fighter must follow the pattern of resistance in order to accomplish his political end.

There are many dissimilar ways to achieve the same goals. However it must not be the same definition. Revolutionist, anarchist and freedom fighter have totally different ideological objectives and destinations. The political goal of the guerrilla and terrorist is the same but the target made them different.

1- Terrorism is a calculated attack against civilians to accomplish political ends.

2- Guerrilla war is a calculated attack against military personnel to accomplish political ends.

These are the main targets which made them different actors of the same field of operations. In this instance, the resistance of the guerrilla is completely different than the act of terrorism. Those who intentionally attack civilians to accomplish their political ends are called terrorists, not guerrillas.

Hamas is no doubt a terrorist organisation because it attacks the civilian population of the state of Israel. Now the question arises, what is an Intifada (Uprising)? Was Intifada a resistance movement or a wave of terrorism? Hamas and PA leaders are billionaires, living in luxurious places and most expensive hotels, but the people of Palestine suffer starvation.

Again, whatever the name terrorist calls for their action, we can smell them once we match their activities with the definitions. If the Intifada is only against the military infrastructures and governmental installations, we will refer it as a movement of resistance but if their target is solely to harm and damage civilian the population in order to create fear, then it is a gross act of terrorism whatever its shape is.

According to Brian Michael Jenkins, a decorated Vietnam vet and author of “International Terrorism:

What sets terrorism apart from other violence is this: terrorism consists of acts carried out in a dramatic way to attract publicity and create an atmosphere of alarm that goes far beyond the actual victims. Indeed, the identity of the victims is often secondary or irrelevant to the terrorists who aim their violence at the people watching. This distinction between actual victims and a target audience is the hallmark of terrorism and separates it from other modes of armed conflict. Terrorism is theater.”

Resistance is not theater. It may perpetrate violence in the same way that our own military does, or by whatever irregular/asymmetric/guerrilla means are available to it. It fights for what it believes is the good of its country or cause. The Palestinian leadership chose terrorism instead insurgence or guerrilla warfare; they know they cannot strike against the powerful IDF. So they deliberately chose Israeli civilians, their most easy and prime target, in order to achieve their political propose which is not a statehood but a complete destruction of Israel.

The Islamic world, especially the Pakistani community, must understand the difference between the resistance and terrorism. The wave of terrorism in the Jewish state of Israel is boosting up day by day and we must not support psychologically or socially the terrorists of the state because, as we don’t support the BLA (Baluch Liberation Army) in Pakistan, because the aim of the BLA and Hamas is the same: to destabilise the Islamic State of Pakistan and the Jewish State of Israel. The sole difference between both organisations is that one hides their actions under the umbrella of religion and others below the umbrella of nationalism BUT their target is the same: to hurt the civilians of both countries.

The Pakistani community acknowledges one organisation (BLA) as a terrorist organisation and the other (HAMAS) as a resistance movement. This double standard must be stopped by any means. Terrorism is terrorism, whatever people call it. The act of terrorism not only damages the civilian infrastructure, but the country’s economic and fiscal system as well.

The Islamic world and particularly the Pakistani nation need to consider that the menace of terrorism is no path in favour of any country or nation, whether it is the Muslim nation or a Jewish nation.

We must intend beyond the enmity, unite and fight together against the peril of terrorism, which is a combined horror to destroy the pillars of the state. In summation, I must suggest that the people of Palestine must denounce the Hamas leaders in the business of killings on their soil and within Israel.

About the Author
Mr. Noor Dahri is the Founder and Executive Director of Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism- ITCT, a UK based Counter Islamist Terrorism Think Tank. Noor was born and raised in Pakistan. Noor Dahri has also worked with the London Police department for the last seven years. He has studied Forensics and Criminal Psychology from Oxford – UK and Counter Terrorism from International Institute for Counter Terrorism ICT- Israel. He is an author of "Terra Nullius: The Rebirth of a Land Without Peace"
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