Two different ways of addressing terrorism

Israel is a paradox: a democracy that, alone in the heart of the world’s most contended area, fights the bestiality of terrorism as if it were matching foils; but while it obviously defends the entire Western world, the latter is attacking it with sharp weapons; and, also, it is a warrior in battle that despite this, leaves room for a continuous flow of questions on itself, a completely new paradigm for a country at war.

In these days the media are criss-crossed with the deliberate elimination in Damascus (according to foreign sources, as they say) of Samir Kuntar; and on the other side, with the search of the Israeli terrorists who are afflicting the conscience of the Jewish State with their crimes.

In honour of Samir Kuntar, a Druze who had recruited 280 of his own for the Hezbollah and therefore for the President Bashar Assad, the Hezbollah have set up an elaborate funeral accompanied by a speech by their leader, Hassan Nasrallah: we will retaliate for his assassination in the place, time and way we see appropriate, he said, while eulogizing the famous murderer.

Notice that, while the Syrian top management refrained from commenting, the Palestinian Authority, instead, that of Abu Mazen, in the official page on Facebook talks about Kuntar as a hero and martyr and several of his representatives attended his funeral.

Kuntar, killed by four air-launched missiles, was one of the most bestial terrorists ever. After killing her father first, he smashed the head of a four year old girl with the butt of his rifle while exterminating the family.

The great festivities that welcomed him in Lebanon in 2008, after his and other terrorist’s exchange with the bodies of two kidnapped soldiers, were bestial in their own way. Kuntar believed they prelude his being granted the position of commander, but instead he had to fight for his career head to head with Jihad Mughnyah, the son of Imad, another famous terrorist, who ended up getting the position Kuntar was aiming for: in Golan, following the war in Syria, Iranians and Hezbollah had formed an armed front to attack Israel, and Jihad was the chosen boss.

But Kuntar took over that role, accompanied by the reputation of being a crazy freelance, only after the elimination of Jihad. Israel had no intention of seeing Golan become a Syrian-Nasrallahnian fortress, and so Jihad and Kuntar, who, it seems, was preparing a large-scale attack, in succession suffered the same fate.

It is strange that the Palestinians of Fatah do not seem to understand that in praising Kuntar they underline their full choice for terrorism and their incapacity to step back from it even in the most outrageous and unusual cases. The post makes Fatah simply a reply by Hamas and is drenched in cruelty and hypocrisy.

But Palestinians, you know, enjoy a special safe-conduct: yesterday the Greek parliament passed a resolution in favour of the recognition of a Palestinian State, despite the fact that in the past few months Greece’s relations with Israel had considerably improved. So, how did it happen? Why, moreover, in the midst of a never condemned wave of terrorism against innocents, Greece puts out a hand to the fomenters? And of which Palestinian State is it thinking, which “two states for two peoples”?

One regular and one terrorist state? It actually looks more like a gesture inspired by a destructive and incoherent impulse that, mostly nowadays, places itself in contradiction with any fight against terrorism and does nothing but increase the setting for confusion and death and certainly not for the borders of a future pacific state.

On the other hand, Israel fights today with all of its might a battle on the front of internal terrorism that all the parties attending the Knesset condemn while investigations continue looking into the terrible case of the Palestinian family burned to death in a firebombing, the Dawabsheh family, while the accused accuse the Shin Bet of having tortured them to extract the names of other acolytes.

Moreover, in Beitillu, a suburb of Ramallah, two smoke grenades were thrown into a house where a nine-month old boy was sleeping with his parents. No one was hurt, but the Israeli public opinion severely condemned the act together with several, frequent act of extremism against Palestinians, mobilising the police, the Shin Bet and the justice system.

First Netanyahu himself, then Defence Minister Boogie Ya’alon and Minister Naftali Bennett, the prestigious and renowned leader of an Israeli right-wing party, have all denied that torture has been used to extract confessions and have strongly reiterated their condemnation of Israeli terrorism.

Terrorism is terrorism, is easy to define as attack against innocents, and the Israeli leading group, just as the people of Israel know very well. And they say it, and make no differences, and chase it with the due severity. Because for those who have eyes to see it, terrorism today is the enemy of the human race, and Israel knows it well, while many others, all over the world, are slow in grasping this elementary notion.

This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (December 23, 2015)

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.
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