Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks and the Ever Present Spectre of Terrorism

Although we tend to associate modern-day terrorism exclusively with Islam, as Israel and Palestine prepare for a new round of peace talks, one previously influential terror movement is now almost forgotten; Zionist terrorism.

At one point after WWII, and after the creation of the Jewish state of Israel in 1948, Zionism was synonymous with subversive activities and terrorism. Documents of the British Foreign Office from 1949 highlight this emerging concern of the time.

“While we are not of course concerned with the activities of Jews as such…activities of some of Zionism’s extremist supporters qualified beyond doubt to be described as secret, subversive or illegal and thus a danger to security”.

The Semiramis Hotel bombing helped solidify the idea that Zionism was simply Jewish terrorism
The Semiramis Hotel bombing helped solidify the idea that Zionism was simply Jewish terrorism

This suspicious sentence emphasises an important point. The British author of the report implicitly suggests a mistrust of the Jewish race because of extremist elements within the Zionist movement. Such a sentiment is remarkably similar to the way Muslims are portrayed in elements of society and the world media today; because of Islamic extremism, all Muslims must be treated with caution and suspicion.

In the Israel-Palestine debate, the association of Hamas with the Palestinian Territories leads to an assumption in the Western media that one ‘side’ predominates in the use of terrorism. This ignores isolated acts of Jewish terrorism and the unilateral targeting of Palestinian civilians by Israeli militants or even the Israeli Army.

Israeli rockets don't always target Hamas installations
Israeli rockets don’t always target Hamas installations

“The Jewish terrorists are unfortunately not logical people”, the post-WWII British report continues. “There has not in the past been much evidence of reason in their selection of persons or buildings [to attack]”. Such crude delineations characterise the treatment of contemporary terrorist suspects and fail to move towards an understanding of the motives and desires of these groups.

Terrorism is indefensible yet it occurs for a reason and to dismiss terrorist atrocities as illogical will only exacerbate violent action. By the 1950s, anti-Zionism had proliferated not just amongst Arab states but in many countries in the West. Such is the state of anti-Islamism today.

Needless to say, the ever-looming spectre of terrorism plagues the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and unfortunately there will always be those supporters on both sides unwilling to compromise sufficiently for an amicable settlement to be reached. Invariably, this inability and refusal to compromise will spawn more terrorist attacks.

What we should not forget is that the terror flows two ways and is not an exclusively-Muslim preserve, just as the Jews were not the only ones to commit atrocities after WWII.

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Mugabe Rigs Election: keeps Zimbabwe on path of reverse development

Robert Mugabe has secured a ‘huge majority’ by rigging Zimbabwe’s 2013 presidential election. His main opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, has decried the election as fraudulent, merely voicing what all international observers already know.

Mugabe ensured that the democratic choice was only illusory
Mugabe ensured that the democratic choice was only illusory

The result, whilst inevitable, is a huge disappointment for a country whose people have been denied progress by the megalomaniacal rule of Mugabe. Some in Zimbabwe may still be fooled by his promises of land redistribution and wealth creation yet he can point to few, if any, real ‘achievements’.

Greater patience is often shown to ‘liberation leaders’, people deemed to have freed their country from the imperial yoke. A key figure in the Rhodesian Bush Wars against the white-minority government that preceded the Zimbabwean state, Mugabe is still revered by many Africans. As with many other ‘liberation leaders’, however, he has failed to live up to expectations.

Mugabe became leader of an independent Zimbabwe in 1980. His rise coincided with the mysterious deaths of many of his ZANU colleagues
Mugabe became leader of an independent Zimbabwe in 1980. His rise coincided with the mysterious deaths of many of his ZANU colleagues

It is interesting to note the observations of two Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) investigators who visited detained leaders of the Zimbabwean African National Union (ZANU) in 1972. This was part of the Pearce Commission, which had been established to listen to public opinion regarding proposed settlement plans for Rhodesia, whose leader Ian Smith had unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965.

Under the terms of the settlement, increased aid and support for black Rhodesians was to be provided by Britain and plans were to be laid out for the future transfer of rule to the black majority. Such a future seemed too distant for many of the blacks, who largely opposed the settlement.

This was certainly what the two FCO monitors discovered on their Zimbabwean tour. They were presented with eloquent handwritten letters of obstinacy by many ZANU campaigners who were detained in prison. Several pointed to the gross inequalities between white and black citizens. For instance, in 1970 there were 5.2 million black Africans in Rhodesia, compared to 249,000 whites yet there were only 2,545 black school leavers with four years secondary experience in comparison to nearly 5,000 whites.

Additionally, European land in Rhodesia amounted to 44,948,300 acres (168 acres per capita) compared to 44,949,100 acres for blacks (only 9 acres per capita). Such disparities would not disappear under the proposed settlement, the ZANU campaigners argued.

One detainee railed against the agreement between the British government and the ‘illegal regime in Rhodesia’, claiming it had ‘shocked the African people of this country’. ‘The entire investigation was carried out without the participation of the African people’, the man argued.

Such anger was reflected in other testimonies yet, despite being mentioned on the detainee list, Robert Mugabe provided no such incendiary material and did not even speak to the monitors.

Many ZANU leaders wrote passionate appeals to the Pearce Commission. Mugabe did not
Many ZANU leaders wrote passionate appeals to the Pearce Commission. Mugabe did not

Like so many other dictators, Mugabe appears to be driven far more by the lust for power than by any political or social philosophy. His whole rule has been geared towards a retention of the power granted to him by a grateful populace who saw in him a liberation leader prepared to listen to the common man.

His disgraceful, selfish rule – enabled by his ability to repress the population with physical and emotional intimidation – has ruined Zimbabwe which, like so many African countries, has the natural resources and manpower to become prosperous.

Rather than addressing the issues put before the Pearce Commission in 1972, he has enriched a select few cronies (especially those in the army) whilst the majority of the population has been forced to suffer in silence.

Now, they must tolerate another five years of his rule. It can only be hoped that, at 89, Mugabe’s time for tyranny is running out.