Security forces in Syria
Photo: EPA
Copt funeral in Cairo
Photo: AFP
The state terrorism myth
Op-ed: Arab leaders falsely accuse Israel of state terrorism to hide their own crimes

Threatening its own civilians is a traditional mode of state terrorism in parts of the Muslim world. A second type of state terrorism - the murderous one - has recently increased significantly. A few among many examples: On July 11th, Syrian soldiers shot and killed 10 participants in a funeral procession in the town of Homs. During the funeral of Kurdish leader Mashaal Tammo on October 8th in Qamishli, Syrian security forces fired indiscriminately at the crowd and killed five mourners and wounded three. A day later, 24 Copts were killed by Egyptian security forces in Cairo and more than 100 were wounded.


One can add many more examples of homicidal state terrorism, including in Libya or Yemen. The principle remains the same: Arab government forces not only threaten their own civilians, but also kill them intentionally.


A third type of state terrorism is trying to murder foreign civilians abroad. Recent examples were the planned attacks on the Saudi ambassador and the Israeli embassy in Washington, both ordered by Iran.


Murderous state terrorism has extremely vicious precedents. In 1982, the Syrian regime of President Hafez Assad killed at least 10,000 people - and probably many more - in the town of Hama. The murdered were mainly civilians. In 1988, Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi air force released poisonous gas over the Kurdish city of Halabja in Northern Iraq, killing thousands. Even more murderous was the al-Anfal campaign of that year, where an estimated 100,000 Kurds in Northern Iraq, mainly civilians, were killed by Iraqi forces.


A major case of homicidal state terrorism by a Muslim state abroad was carried out in 1994 when the Jewish AMIA center in Buenos Aires was bombed. Eighty five people were killed and 300 wounded. It was the largest attack on Jews outside of Israel since World War II. In 1992, there was the bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in which 29 people were killed. The attackers were never found.


Only in 2006, Iran and Hezbollah were formally charged with the AMIA murders by Argentinean Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Among the eight suspects the prosecutors requested to be arrested was former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani. Another of the accused was Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. After he visited Bolivia in May, the Bolivian government apologized to Argentina for having invited him.


Erdogan’s accusations  

Threatening to use violence against foreign civilians is yet another type of state terrorism. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davotuglu at the beginning of October that if Syria would be attacked by NATO, it would shoot hundreds of missiles and rockets onto Tel Aviv. Assad said that he would also call on Hezbollah to launch an intensive rocket and missile attack on Israel. This also has its precedents in the Muslim world: In 2001, then Iranian President Rafsanjani threatened to annihilate Israel with an atom bomb.


To draw attention away from the widespread state terrorism in the Muslim world, some of its leaders attack Israel instead. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of state terrorism during his trip to Africa in May.


A few weeks ago at the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting, Syrian UN envoy Faisal al-Hamwi also pointed a finger at Israel. He said that according to Syria's state news agency SANA, Israeli human rights violations reported by Palestinians proved "the reality of state terrorism practiced by Israel."


And as far as Western friends of the Hamas genocide promoters go: Two extreme leftist Norwegian doctors, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, published a book claiming that Israel had entered Gaza in order to kill women and children. Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and former Prime Minister Kare Willoch lent them credibility by writing back cover comments.


In contrast to all of these false accusers, Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, said that the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza did "more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”


Israel has done virtually nothing about publicizing Muslim state terrorism. The result is this: Whoever behaves like a verbal vegetarian becomes an easy victim of the inverted truth.


Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism



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