Terrorism: Violence against individual, community, and government, to achieve political, religious and ideological objective.
Root of terrorism is as old as human existence to achieve its political and ideological and religious greed. One of the earliest groups, ‘The Sicarii’, a jewish group, emerged to resist the Roman rule in the region, which began in 40 BCE. After Fifty years, 10 CE, Judea put under the control of Roman rule. Jewish groups began violent resistance and started guerrilla or terrorist tactics. The war ended with the devastation of Roman forces from Jerusalem.
The 18th century, France’s costly engagement in the American Revolution, imposition of heavy taxes and extravagant spending by King Louis XVI during 1754-1793 marked the severe poverty, unrest among society. It led a desperate attempt of rebels to overthrow the Louis regime.
The French revolution initiates the modern terrorism during 1791-93. ‘The Reign of Terror’ put in motion by Maxmilien Robespierre in 1793 in reaction of France’s first written constitution, setting a constitutional monarchy. He installed a dictatorship to stabilize the country and defended his approach for transformation of the monarchy to a liberal democracy. He was a member of the Jacobins, a political party, and attacked his political enemies, the Girondins. More than 17,000 people were tried and executed on record in era of Reign of Terror.
Declining of Colonial era marks: Internationalization of Terrorism:
Militant Islamic Terrorism rooted in Middle East & South Asia has taken a lead role in and after the colonial rule. Most of these extremist groups are religious and political motivated. The colonial era has played an important role in the growth of nationalism and anti western attitude among the Asian and African nations. Gradually, these anti western attitude, political and ideological gain stimulate some militant groups towards kidnapping, extortion, and contract killing. Post colonial era also worked as oxygen in the fire in these states during the independence and formation of states. Creation of Israel stimulates a series of pro Marxist philosophy, revolution, and anti western attitude throughout the Islamic world.
Creation of Israel, 1948, a spark of terrorism:
On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the State of Israel under the Balfour Declaration of 1917 after the end of British mandate in Palestine. The same was also recognized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman. While President Franklin D. Roosevelt had assured the Arabs in 1945 that the United States would not interfere in the internal matter of both the Jews and the Arabs unless their invitation. On the other hand, Palestinian Arab said that the same area had been promised to them in First World War for fighting against the Turks (a German ally).
“The Balfour Declaration of 1917: The Balfour Declaration was made in 1917. Which led the Jewish community in America and Britain by assuring that Great Britain would extend its support the creation of a new Jewish state in the Middle East. Balfour declaration was accepted by the Jewish community as Great Britain’s support for a Jewish homeland? Other nations that fought for the Allies in First World War also extended their support for the declaration. On the other hand, Palestinian Arab said that the same area had been promised to them in First World War for fighting against the Turks (a German ally).Once the war was over, Palestine was given to British for governing it as a League of Nation’s mandate. At the end of war both the Jews and the Arabs believed to be betrayed over same piece of land. After 1918, many Jews immigrated to Palestine under the Balfour Declaration. The Arabs perceived Jews emigration as threat on their autonomy and independence of Palestine. This marks the beginning of terror in Palestine.”
The British, having a colonial mandate for Palestine, also was not in favor of creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Palestine due to its political and economical relations with the Arabs. In 1946, Once Truman assumed his office, appointed an expert committee to study the Palestinian future. Soon Truman extended his support for the creation of a Jewish state. In 1947, United Nations Special Commission also examined the issue and recommended the partition of Palestine by adopting Resolution 181 (popularly known as the Partition Resolution) once the British mandate was scheduled to end. Under this resolution, the area surrounding of religious significance Jerusalem (a holy city) would remain under international control administered by the United Nations. British government and King Abdallah of Transjordan, other Arabian nations objected to the UN partition resolution. Hajj Amin al Husseini, charismatic leader in Jerusalem and Head of the Supreme Muslim Council strongly denied a single piece of Palestine for Jewish-Zionist community and started to use violence and terror against Jews, as well as against the moderate Palestinian Nashashibi faction that for many years cooperated with the Jewish community and recognized them brothers. Creation of Israel spark a civil war in Palestine, and later it turned into an Arab-Israeli war on May 14, 1948. Israel defeated both the Arab armies and militants of the Palestinian and occupied more land than allocated UN resolution.
“Palestine Liberation Organization PLO: the Arab League in Cairo Summit 1964, marked the creation of an organization representing the Palestinian people to carry out planning to resolve inter-Arab conflicts and to adopt common principles regarding the struggle against imperialism and the "aggressive policies"”
In 1960s, Palestinian secular movement began to establish an independent state of Palestine. This movement was popularly known as ‘Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)’ in 1964. The PLO was seen as a terrorist group by US and Israel until the Madrid Conference in 1991(The conference, initiated by US and Soviet Union, was aiming to resolve their rival territorial claims including the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Jerusalem). Now PLO is enjoying observer status at the United Nations since 1974 as the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people". In 1993, the PLO accepted Israel's existence by accepting UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, and gave up "violence and terrorism". Many extremist and terrorist groups like Popular Liberation Front of Palestine – General Command (PLFP-GC) associated with PLO started to isolate them after PLO’s acceptance of Israel in 1993.
The Oslo Accords: Creation of the Palestinian Authority (PA)
Oslo Accords are a set of agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), created the Palestinian Authority (PA). Palestinian Authority is limited to have self-governance over parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Oslo Accords acknowledged that the PLO is now Israel's partner in permanent status negotiations about the remaining issues like the borders of Israel and Palestine and military presence and the Palestinian right of return. However, Conflicts are still going on.
Emergence of HAMAS, A Militant Group:
Hamas was founded in 1987 an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. HAMAS, an organization, designated as terrorist group by some nations like Australia, Canada, Egypt, the European Union, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and is strictly banned in Jordan. On the other hand, it is not considered a terrorist organization by Iran, Turkey, Russia, China and some Arab nations. HAMAS got ground based on the principles of Islamism throughout the Arab world in the 1980s. Its aim is to liberate Palestine, including modern-day Israel to establish an Islamic state. This group is very active in Gaza Strip. Israel occupied the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the Six-Day War of 1967, which had been earlier occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively during the 1948 Israel and Arabian war, and has maintained control of them since.
HAMAS–PLO-affiliated FATAH party Conflict:
In the January 2006, HAMAS won a majority of seats in Palestinian parliamentary elections by defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. After election the Quartet (the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union) made future foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority conditional upon the future government's commitment to non-violence, recognition of the state of Israel, and acceptance of past treaties and promises. Rejection demand of Quartet led to the suspension of foreign assistance program.
In March 2007, a national unity government was formed under leadership of Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas but failed to regain international financial aid. After the formation of the Hamas-led cabinet on March 20, 2006, tensions between Fatah and Hamas militants progressively rose in the Gaza strip as Fatah commanders refused to take orders from the government while the Palestinian Authority initiated a campaign of demonstrations, assassinations and abductions against Hamas, which led to Hamas responding. Soon Israel and Egypt then imposed an economic blockade of the Gaza Strip; on the grounds of Fatah expulsion from Gaza Strip by HAMAS militants group. In 2011, Hamas and Fatah announced a reconciliation agreement after a long talk for providing a joint caretaker Palestinian government. Progress has stalled further agreement to form a compromise unity government, after elections to be held in late 2014.
Sachin Raj Singh Chauhan
Chief Sub Editor, Ground Report India