Palestinian terrorism

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Template:Message box The term Palestinian terrorism is commonly used to describe acts of political violence committed by Palestinian individuals or groups against Israelis, Jews, and nationals of other countries.

The wreckage of a commuter bus in West Jerusalem after a suicide bombing on Tuesday, 18 June, 2002. The blast killed 20 people.
The wreckage of a commuter bus in West Jerusalem after a suicide bombing on Tuesday, 18 June, 2002. The blast killed 20 people.

Palestinian groups that support and carry out acts of political violence include Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Abu Nidal Organization, all of which are officially listed as terrorist organizations by the United States and the European Union. Until 1993, the PLO was also listed as a terrorist group by the United States.

Like much violence, the perpetrators say that their attacks are justified, while the victims say otherwise. Regardless of the moral, political, or tactical justifications, these attacks are defined as terrorism when they are indiscriminate or directed at non-combatants, according to all academic definitions of "terrorism," and definitions used by the United Nations. It has been argued that the destruction and demoralization of the enemy's populace is often considered a legitimate wartime strategy (e.g. the allied bombing of Japanese and German cities during World War II). Attacks directed at Israeli military personnel do not fit the definition of "terrorism".

Past Palestinian terrorism (1920 - 1987)

The Great Uprising in Palestine. A Jewish bus equipped with wire screens to protect against rock, glass, and grenade throwing
The Great Uprising in Palestine. A Jewish bus equipped with wire screens to protect against rock, glass, and grenade throwing

The attacks on Jews by Arabs predating the establishment of the state of Israel culminated in the Jerusalem pogrom of April, 1920, the riots in Palestine of May, 1921, the 1929 Hebron massacre and the Great Uprising of 1936-1939. Prominent leaders of the militant Palestinian groups were Sheikh Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, who was shot and killed by English soldiers, and the pro-Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Al-Husseini, who was deported.

Until 1956, Israel had suffered hundreds of attacks from the West Bank. In 1964, the PLO was founded in order to "liberate all of Palestine".

After Black September in 1970, the PLO and its offshoots waged an international campaign against Israelis. Notable events were the Munich Massacre (1972) and the hijacking of several civilian airliners. During the 1970s and the early 1980s Israel suffered numerous attacks from PLO bases in Lebanon, such as the Maalot massacre in 1974. Following the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, called "Operation Peace for Galilee" by the IDF, and the exile of the PLO to Tunis, Israel had a relatively quiet decade.

Current Palestinian terrorism

More than 1,000 Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian millitants since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Targets of attacks include restaurants, discotheques, shopping malls, flea-markets, buses, universities, and civilian homes, especially those in settlements within Palestinian territories.

Several polls have shown support by the Palestinian public for acts of violence against Israelis, as part of what they see as resistance. Some Israelis and their supporters allege the Palestinian Authority (PA) does not do enough to prevent attacks or reduce Palestinian public support for acts of violence. Some accuse the Palestinian Authority of sponsoring groups that carry out acts of violence, such as Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and using the official PA television, radio, press, and education system to facilitate attacks upon Israel. Palestinians assert that it is not realistic to expect the kind of control Israel demands from the PA to curtail these groups, as the PA does not have adequate law-enforcement resources, and has suffered infrastructural damage to much of its security apparatus during confrontations with the Israel Defense Force (IDF).

An , the weapon of a suicide bomber. This is an explosive vest presumably captured by Israeli police.
An Explosive belt, the weapon of a suicide bomber. This is an explosive vest presumably captured by Israeli police.

Palestinian terrorists have also exploited children in the aid of terror, mainly as human shields and bomb-transporters but also as suicide bombers. On March 24, 2005 — eight days after an Israeli border guard found a bomb in the school bag of 11-year-old Abdullah Quran at a checkpoint near Nablus — 16-year-old Hussam Abdo was captured wearing an explosive belt, having been paid by Fatah's Tanzim branch to blow himself up at the checkpoint. The world's media watched as an EOD team disarmed the explosive belt with a police-sapper robot. [1] ( A video documenting the incident can be found here (

Most reports of Palestinian violence concentrate on shooting and bombing attacks. These are a small proportion of all attacks. The most common are the use of fire bombs and large stones against passenger cars traveling on Israel's roads. These attacks have resulted in the deaths of a number of Israelis, though more frequently they result in property damage.

On March 16, 2004, Palestinian terrorists associated with Yasser Arafat's Fatah group tricked a 12-year-old boy into carrying a large bomb in his school bag into a checkpoint near Nablus. Abdullah Quran's life was saved only because a cell phone rigged to detonate the 13-pound bomb failed to set off the explosive at the checkpoint as it had been designed to do. The border guard heard the cell phone and opened the bag.

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