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An Israeli terrorist is the same as a Syrian one

An Israeli terrorist is the same as a Syrian one

An Israeli
Terrorist Is The Same As A Syrian One

By Robert Fisk

July 31, 2014 "
- "
I think it's a good idea that the lads in blue are
keeping their eyes open at Heathrow for British
citizens who've been fighting in the Middle East. I
hope they are doing a thorough job of it – and I
mean thorough.

I don't want to bump into a chap who's been firing
missiles at Christian families in Syria. But on the
other hand, I also don't want to bump into a chap
who's been firing tank shells into the homes of
Palestinians in Gaza.

In other words, I trust that the Met is keeping its
watch for all potential criminals, whether their
foreign military organisations carry the terrorist
label or not. I don't know of any Palestinians
who've been firing rockets at Israel and hold UK
citizenship – Mr Plod should check them out too.

But it would be very interesting to know if the
British Government is taking as close an interest as
it should in any UK citizens – even if they have any
other passports – who have been fighting in Israeli
uniform in Gaza in the past couple of weeks.

Let me be frank. Dozens of British supporters of
Israel do serve in the Israeli army. The same
applies for Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the

And they don't necessarily gravitate to being war
criminals. This may not be what an Arab would say –
and it is certainly not what Israelis would suggest.
But there is plenty of evidence – from 1982 in
Lebanon, from 1996 in Qana, from 2008-9 in Gaza and
again in Gaza these past two weeks – that individual
Israeli soldiers and pilots have committed acts
which, under international law, are war crimes.

I'm struck by the words of the co-director of the
Israeli veterans' movement Breaking The Silence,
Yehuda Shaul, who spoke at a meeting in Tel Aviv a
couple of weeks ago about the brutalising effect of
occupying other people's lands. Mass arrests, the
liquidation of even a suspicious "silhouette",
families paralysed with fear during searches.

"You adapt to it all," Shaul said. "The first time,
you're in a state of shock, the second time, a bit
less, and at the end of the week, you do it quite
naturally." Interesting. It sounds as if Shaul is
talking about being radicalised.

Isn't that what we say about certain other young
British citizens with weapons who head off to the
Middle East? But what are we to expect when
Major-General Gadi Eizenkot – now a deputy chief of
staff in the Israeli army – pointedly said in a
newspaper interview six years ago that he would use
disproportionate force on a village or city from
which rockets were fired, famously adding that "from
our standpoint these are not civilian villages; they
are military bases"?

Which explains a lot of what happened over the past
two weeks in Gaza. And as Muhammad Ali Khalidi,
philosophy professor at York University in Toronto,
points out, intentionally striking civilians in
order to accomplish political ends is "the
dictionary definition of terrorism". After all,
isn't that what Hamas also does?

Let us hope and pray that no UK citizens have been
involved in such terrible deeds. But it wouldn't be
a bad idea, would it, if the lads in blue had a
friendly word with them when they arrive back at
Heathrow – and insist on knowing exactly what they
were up to when they wore another country's uniform.


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