We do not support terror

In his July 1 article in the Australian, Ilan Grapel, researcher with the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), accused Green Left Weekly and Resistance of supporting terrorism and violence by calling for Palestinians to resist oppressive Israeli rule.

Terrorism is the use of violence to create fear for political ends. Perhaps the most publicised incident of international terrorism was the September 11, 2001 attack on the US, in which almost 3000 people were killed by right-wing Islamic fundamentalists.

But terrorism is not merely limited to individuals or groups with extreme views. The state of Israel has committed numerous acts of terrorism against the Palestinian people in the 60 years since it was created. Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories and acts of aggression against its neighbours are in violation of international law and countless UN resolutions.

And the US, which has used the September 11 attacks as a pretext for aggression overseas and repressive laws at home, has a long history of supporting terrorist regimes and organisations — so long as they support US interests. Ironically, this includes the right-wing Islamic fundamentalists responsible for the September 11 attacks.

Terrorism is often directed at innocent civilians. For example, most of the people killed in the September 11 attacks were ordinary working people. Likewise, most of the victims of Israel's attack on Gaza in December and January were civilians; the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights estimates that at least two thirds of the 1417 killed were civilians. By contrast, only three of the 13 Israelis killed were civilians.

In his article, Grapel implicitly equates GLW's support of the right to resist Israel's illegal occupation with support for terrorism. However, this ignores the fact that most Palestinian resistance is non-violent and fails to differentiate between terrorism and armed resistance to violence oppression.

Since 1948, Israel has systematically used violence against the Palestinian people to create fear for a political end — the creation of an exclusively Jewish state that controls all of historic Palestine but has no place in it for Palestinians. All the major Palestinian organisations, including Hamas, have recognised the right of Israelis (Jewish migrants to Palestine and their descendents) to live in the country with equal rights.

The willingness of some Palestinians to carry out suicide attacks reflects the desperation caused by the inhumane conditions in which they are forced to live by Israel. Most suicide attacks are the work of individuals or small groups, not the main Palestinian organisations.

Grapel condemns the Flame, the GLW's monthly Arabic-language supplement, for "inciting its Arabic readers with imagery of 'slaughter', and a 'waterfall of Palestinian blood washing the streets'" ignoring that this imagery accurately describes the acts of terror that Israel was perpetrating in Gaza.

Despite the pro-Israeli bias of the Western media, a June Roy Morgan poll found that more Australians sympathised with Palestine than Israel. This is hardly surprising — the overwhelming majority of casualties in the January invasion of Gaza were Palestinian civilians. It is not hard to see who the true aggressors are.

That does not mean, however, that acts of individual terrorism can win the struggle for freedom and independence. Suicide bombings against the population of Israel do little to further the cause of Palestinian independence from Israel's imperialist occupation.

Imperialist governments use acts of terrorism to justify attacks on civil liberties and foreign countries alike.

Resistance opposes terrorism of the individual. However, we also oppose the far greater violence from terrorism by imperialist states. We stand with the Palestinian people because they are struggling against a racist state that uses terrorism to drive them out of their own country. This racist state, Israel, is an obstacle to peace. Ironically, Grapel slurs Resistance as "terrorist supporters" because we oppose Israeli violence.