There is a persistent political belief that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has generated the wave of terrorist acts in the Middle East and beyond. Such claims require thorough research of the political situation in the world, as well as the history of violence between Israeli and Palestine. International politics in general, and Western foreign policies, in particular cause serious irreversible effects on international terrorism. It is easy to see, how terrorist groups react to major political decisions made outside the Middle East.
It is easy to see, how terrorist groups make use of the latest technological solutions to spread Islamic ideas and terrorist threats. However, all these processes and phenomena require thorough profound research. Objectivity is required to fully understand the roots of the Middle Eastern terrorism in connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, if such connection exists. The connection between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and terrorism in the Middle East and beyond It is a widely accepted notion, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become the source of terrorism and violence in the Middle East.
The threat of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to peace in the Middle East and beyond is well-known, but one hardly knows the real roots of this violence. The connection between terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is so multifaceted, that there is no single answer whether this very conflict has become the direct source of international terrorism. On the one hand, Palestinian and Arab spokesmen commonly claim that the recent Palestinian terrorism is the result of the Israeli’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, adding that the violence will cease only when the ‘occupation’ is ended.
(Lukacs 2001, p. 11) However, the occupation of the West Bank did not generate terrorism. Terrorism is connected to persistent Palestinian hatred towards the Israeli people as a nation. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, terrorism has predominantly “Palestinian” face (Lucaks 2001, p. 12). Moreover, Arab and Palestinian terrorism have initially been directed against Israel, and not the Western world. Since the Six Days War in 1967, Palestinian terrorism has served the expression of Palestinian anti-Jewish attitudes.
“The threat of Palestinian terrorism is well known and their motivation is high, though most of their attacks are being thwarted” (Mishal & Sela 2000, p. 30). There is a growing confidence that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Jihad, and radical attempts to attack Western countries are closely interlinked, and form one single area of violence. However, “Islamic radical groups that joined the global jihad had nothing to do with Israel when they were established” (Mezvinsky 2003, p. 151).
The 9/11 events have become a good basis for turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the propaganda tool. Here, the conflict is rather the source of local, than international terrorism. On the other hand, not the conflict itself, but the U. S. involvement and the U. S. interests in the Middle East have caused the proliferation of terrorism and violence to the West. “”Regarding attacks against the U. S. , 73 percent of those polled favor suicide attacks against U. S. interests in the Middle East” (Baker 2003, p. 31).
Thus, there is also an indirect connection between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and terrorism. There is clear interdependence between the U. S. foreign policies in the Middle East and the growing violent opposition to the U. S. involvement into the conflict between Palestine and Israeli. Not the conflict in itself, but its separate components in the form of Western foreign policies actually shape the terrorist attitudes towards Western civilization in general, and the U. S. , in particular. Western foreign policies and the proliferation of terrorism worldwide
In this context, there is a close explicit link between the Western foreign policies and the proliferation of terrorism worldwide. It seems that the U. S. foreign policy has turned into an extremely unbalanced ideology, with military interventions and active involvement into foreign political conflicts being the best means of addressing terrorist threats. International terrorism has become a traditional response to economic sanctions, military acts, and vague diplomatic attempts to settle down the territorial and civil conflicts in the Middle East.
“The effects of the economic measures are uncertain because much of the flow of terrorist funds takes place outside the formal banking channels” (Perl 2003, p. 3). Economic sanctions do not simply fail to prevent proliferation of terrorism; unwise foreign economic approaches heat terrorist intentions of Islamic groups against the West. Military interventions are the traditional displays of the Western foreign policies. In the Middle East, they are not taken as the instruments of combating terrorism.
Millions of Muslims refuse to believe that the American bombing of Afghanistan is a war against terrorism or in a favor of any universal values – instead they see it as an imperialist aggression by a rich and powerful nation, out for revenge, not justice. (Campbell 2006, p. 26) Here, terrorism becomes another aggressive response to the external intervention. The problem is that the war against terrorism which the U. S. has initiated carries a distorted anti-terrorist image, and looks more like a global war against Islam.
Another problem is that justice in the Western foreign policies is no more accompanied by peace. Western countries clearly realize that they cannot totally eliminate terrorism as a notion. “They accept permanent existence of conditions throughout the Muslim world that nurture Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism” (Campbell 2006, p. 27). It seems that the U. S. foreign policies use the notion of terrorism for their own purposes. These unbalanced political strategies generate hatred towards the West as a whole.
Terrorism remains the only means to make the U. S. see its flaws and failures in its foreign politics not for, but against the Middle East. Al-Qaeda and the advances of media and Web technology The discussion of terrorism will not be objective, if we do not mention the importance of web technologies in proliferation of the Islamic ideas by terrorist groups similar to Al-Qaeda. Terrorist groups like Al Qaeda have quickly realized how web technologies can increase the scope of their terrorist activities.
“To get the latest news and current events from a jihadi perspective, interested viewers have a number of options” (Thomas 2003, p. 48). First, online forums provide links to Al-Qaeda online broadcasts. These news broadcasts shed the light onto the goals of jihadi movement, criticize the collaboration between the Arabs and Jews, or evaluate the most recent terrorist attacks. Second, “jihadi web forums provide links to several al-Qaeda magazines, which outline step-by-step instructions for communicating with cell members, defining tactics and procedures, and constructing explosives” (Ulph 2005, p.
7). Al-Qaeda uses web technologies and the Internet for the proliferation of knowledge – the knowledge which ranges from simple news and criticism to manuals on kidnapping or creating nuclear explosives. To make the use of online technologies more effective, Al-Qaeda has recently launched its own web browser, similar to Internet Explorer, which searches only particular websites and particular information related to jihad (Ulph 2005, p. 7). One might think that by using web technologies, Al-Qaeda facilitates international surveillance procedures.
However, everything is not as simple as it may seem. Al-Qaeda does not simply use the technological achievements of western civilization. It uses the western technological solutions as the basis for its own technological progress, which separates jihad from the rest of the cyberspace. Al-Qaeda not only turns technology into a weapon against western civilization, but develops and improves this weapon to serve the needs of Islamic jihad. Conclusion The roots of terrorism do not always stem from the political conflicts in the Middle East.
In many instances, Western foreign policies generate mass terrorist responses, when Middle Eastern nations oppose to the external political involvement and violence. Terrorism has become more evasive and less identifiable. Terrorist organizations use web technologies for the proliferation of their ideas. Politics, terrorism, and technologies create an explosive mixture of Islamic attitudes, which will hardly change in the nearest decades. References Baker, R. W. (2003).
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