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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

November 14, 2002

Fighting Terror without Fighting the Palestinian People: Does Israel’s massive military presence in the territories prevent terror?

This piece, found at Americans For a Third, addresses the occupation as a method of controlling terrorism, and discusses this issue from a number of perspectives. You decide.
The tragic story of the lone Palestinian gunman who murdered five people on Kibbutz Metzer last Sunday night has dominated the Israeli press over the past few days. The degree of outrage has exceeded what has sadly become “the usual” following a terror attack. The images of this attack are particularly disturbing – a mother killed as she tried to shield her two children in their bedroom, the children murdered beneath her, a woman shot in front of her boyfriend as she enjoyed a late night stroll. The setting was also ironic – Metzer is a kibbutz particularly proud of its good relations with neighboring Arabs; a left-leaning community that has been outspoken for Palestinian rights.

According to Israeli Ambassador Danny Ayalon, who spoke to Israel Policy Forum on Tuesday, the Metzer attacks were carried out by two members of the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, a military wing of Yasir Arafat’s Fatah faction. “Terror,” the Ambassador said, “still goes straight to the top.”

Whether unable or unwilling to prevent terror, Arafat’s impotence in stopping Palestinian terror attacks is the main justification offered for the seven month long Israeli military occupation of the West Bank. Towns like Ramallah, Tulkarm, Jenin, Nablus, and Qalqiya, which had been under Palestinian self-rule since the signing of the Oslo accords, have been under house arrest since April, when Israel launched Operation Defensive Shield.