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REVISING THE TERMINOLOGY OF TERROR:

Reader comment on: Fatah and the Gaza Crisis

Submitted by Graham Sullivan (United Kingdom), Jan 6, 2009 13:41

A significant consequence of the escalation of armed Israel-Palestinian violence is that events on the ground are able to speak with a startling clarity as to the wider realities of this on-going conflict. Over time both sides have built up an armoury of words with which to battle for justification and control of the historical, legal and humanitarian context of this war. Many of us have drifted in accepting this lexicon of crafted terminology, however it is now looking very exposed indeed.

Perhaps one of the most striking illustrations of actual events is the ratio of 1:100 Israelis to Palestinians killed in the conflict. In this stark light talk of 'Proportional Response', 'Precision Targeting' and 'Unfortunate collateral damage' is very hollow indeed. It has become evident to the majority of observers how the words 'Proportional' 'Unfortunate' and 'Precision' are both misleading and not relevant in describing the situation.

This reveals a broader issue for the Israeli military and political establishment as they struggle to find a new global/US friendly narrative with which to align the cause and update their PR lexicon. The 'War on Terror' had proved a strong geopolitical narrative to replace the 'Cold War' and use in aligning Israel's interest closely with the US. The 'War in Terror' lexicon is now looking pretty barren and suffering from extreme exhaustion courtesy of the Bush administration. So what next?

More of the same mantra of ‘Terror'-

"A necessary war on terror does not end with an agreement. We don't sign agreements with terror; we fight terror." (Israeli foreign minister January 2009). Tzipi Livni very succinctly excuses Israeli aggression as defensive, with 'terror' as a justification for Israel's rejection of any form of peace process to end the occupation of Palestinian land.

However events on the ground provide a stark revision of who now owns the word 'Terror'. If the Palestinians are clearly the more 'Terrorised' party, it surely begs the question who are the real 'Terrorists'. There has been an assumption that 'Terrorists' work outside the structure of the nation state, do not come in the form of a disciplined uniformed national army. However the Israeli army's 'Terrorising' of a dense civilian area and its stated strategic aim of using this military action to achieve a long term deterrence effect, does require us to reconsider the Israeli army as one of the best organised, equipped and most powerful 'Agents of Terror' in the world. Hamas' action against the citizens of Sderot, makes them look like home-spun amateurs by comparison.


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Other reader comments on this item

TitleByDate

Israel needs to deal on both fronts [11 words]

Shahid Syed 

Jan 8, 2009 01:04

⇒ REVISING THE TERMINOLOGY OF TERROR: [419 words]

Graham Sullivan 

Jan 6, 2009 13:41

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