Monday, June 9, 2014

Difference Between Terrorists and Defenders

Nadene Goldfoot                                                
                                        Avraham Stern of the Stern Group

Don't ever think that our groups in pre-Israel days were terrorists.  The Stern Gang/Group were not terrorists.  They were fighting against Arabs that had attacked Jewish families and homes and people on the streets in their resistance to having Jews back in the land again.  The movie, Exodus, made in 1960,  tells about this.  Sal Mineo was a main character of someone who joined the defenders of the Jews.

The difference between the PLO, the main terrorists that Israel was facing and the Stern Group or Haganah was their method and reasoning of fighting.  The Stern group only went into a village after warning them and only because they had been harboring terrorists, people who had been attacking them.  They shot back at those who shot at them first, wanting to skip any talk.  They did not harm anyone unless they were first attacked.  They practiced ethics.  They did not try to make people suffer.

They did not terrorize people but had organized themselves as a defensive unit.  The Balfour Declaration awarded a Jewish Homeland to the Jews and they intended to help keep Jews alive.

The Haganah, which in Hebrew means "defense" was a clandestine organization for Jewish self-defense in Palestine, clandestine because Britain was still the law and was against such things.  Before this group existed Ha-Shomer in 1920 which existed until 1948 when members were transferred to Tzeva Haganah le-Israel.  It came about when Jews realized they weren't being protected at all by the British.  After the Arab riots of 1929 , the British appeased the Arabs.  It was in 1931 when the Haganah split up, and the right-winged groups formed their own separate groups, then reunited with Haganah in 1936.  However, Irgun Tzevai Leumi did not rejoin them.  Military commando units were the Palmah.  From the end of 1947 the Haganah worked on defense against Arab attacks only and did not attack the British.

My cousin, Stanley Goldfoot, left South Africa at age 18 for Palestine in 1932.  On the ship, the Nazi swastika was raised.  He wasn't sure he'd get to see Palestine at that rate, but he did.  He was immediately approached by someone to join the Stern Group when he arrived. He soon became the Chief of Intelligence for the Stern Group.  The Stern Group put a bomb in the King David Hotel.

  Avraham Stern was the man who started his group.  He was born in 1907 and died in 1942.  He left another group, the Irgun Tzevai Leumi where he had been a leader to create his own group.  He did this because the other had refused to continue anti-British activities in Palestine during WWII.  The Stern Group was an underground organization later known as Lohame Herut Israel.  It was Britain who dubbed it the Stern Gang.  What they did basically was to carry out acts of sabotage.   Stern was killed by the British police while he was arrested, so who were the terrorists at that point?   Maybe he was trying to get away then.    All the Jewish defense groups were made up of amateurs.  Fighting was going on from November 1947.  Palestine was invaded by regular Arab armies in May 1948 when on the 15th, Israel was announced as a state.  It caused civilian villages to face each other armed with rifles, grenades and homemade Stens.

Teen aged Jewish girls and even children of 10 and 11 fought side by side with the men.  Arab peasants with just a few hours or maybe one day of training stormed into Jewish settlements blindly.  The only professional soldiers were Jordan's British-commanded Arab Legion.  Invaders came with artillery, tanks, planes but didn't know how to use them correctly.  The new Israelis  didn't  receive arms from abroad until the middle of the battle for survival.  They only won due to their unyielding spirit.

 A man named Yizernitzky of the Stern Group said that his view had always been that "a man who goes forth to kill another whom he does not know must believe one thing only--that by his act he will change the course of history."  It's not an easy thing to do for Jews, to suddenly kill others after 2,000 years of trying to stay alive without a country of their own and live on the whims of others.

They did decide to do one terroristic type thing, and that was to assassinate Count Bernadette because he was such a threat to the future state of Israel.  They saw no way out and no way to change Bernadette's attitude.  To them Bernadotte was a symbol of foreign interference.  Almost all the Sternists had been in the British  jail. Stanley had been held in Acco with others.  He was a journalist.   Joshua Cohen, who reminds me of  Daniel Silva's hero, Gabriel Allon, at the young age of 19 was already a leader in the group. His feeling, which was the feeling of all of them, was that he did not hate or need to hate his enemies in order to kill them in cold blood and in good conscience.  But, he was reluctant to kill unless he thought this action was absolutely essential.  This was indeed, a war of survival, and they had been  waiting patiently for 2,000 years for such a day to come.  They couldn't be wishy-washy now.

The Stern Group/ Irgun  put a bomb in the King David Hotel on July 22, 1946.  They warned them first, but they refused to listen and there were deaths that shouldn't have been.  .  Actually, the Stern Group broke off from  Irgun and formed Lehi later.  Stanley and I met each other at the King David Hotel in 1981.

The results of amateurs fighting were not perfect.  Thousands died.  Prisoners were killed after capture.  Soldiers didn't obey orders.  Battles were won because of beshert, like when a Molotov cocktail struck the leading tank, or lost because fighters of one side couldn't understand each other's language.

Israel lost 7,000 to 10,000 of its fighters which was more than one out of every 100 Jews living in Israel then.  The Arabs lost more.

Terrorists are bred in the Arab communities to terrorize others into complying with their laws.  Over the last 50 years, Arab leaders have imprisoned, tortured and murdered thousands of their own citizens, and waged unnecessary wars that cost the lives of millions for the sake of some point or other.  They don't mind spilling others' blood in the worst ways possible in order to insert fear on a group.  I used to live in Israel and watched shows on TV from Syria.  At the end of programming at night, they showed the same thing, the soldiers of Syria going through their routines.  One time the soldiers were all lined up holding various animals in their hands and they did terrible things with them with their mouths to kill them.  This turned my stomach and certainly did frighten me, but it also left me thinking they were absolutely inhuman.  Their actions certainly were.  Here they were soldiers belonging to a state, not rogue terrorists, and they were in truth terrorists.
The PLO were the leading terrorists in Israel.  Arafat was their leader.  They became the Fatah group, still practicing terrorism with suicide bombings, etc.  Then part of them broke away to become Hamas and they kicked Fatah out of their Gaza who retreated to Judea and Samaria.One million Arabs were coming under Israeli rule and they decided to attack Israelis.  Fatah had a campaign of terror going on from Judea-Samaria.  From September to December 1967, 61 attacks were launched, most against civilian targets like factories, movie theaters and private homes.  Fatah changed their tactics after they found out the army was protecting Jews quite well and started attacking Jews and Israeli targets abroad.  In 1968 the first of many airplanes was hijacked.  Jordan permitted terrorists to launch raids into Israel from 1950 to 1967.  The PLO had a long history of brutal violence against innocent civilians.  From 1965 to now, hundreds of Israelis and other civilians have lost their lives in PLO terrorist attacks.

1. May 30, 1972, shot up Lod airport, murdered 27 civilians
2. 1972, killed 11 Israeli Olympic athletes in Munich, West Germany
3. 1972, tried to mail letter bombs to Nixon, Wm Rogers and Melvin Laird
4.  March 1, 1973 murdered US Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel and George Moore
5. May 1974 took over a school in Maalot in northern Israel, massacred 2i7 Jewish schoolchildren and wounded 134.
6. March 11, 1978 PLO terrorists murdered American photographer on the beach, took a bus and shot and threw grenades from window at people they saw.  34 civilians dead and 82 wounded.
7. October 1985, murder of Leon Klinghoffer in a wheelchair on ship Achille Lauro
8. March 1988 Fatah almost got Sec.of State George Shultz with car bomb near Jerusalem hotel.

People practice terrorism on others for many reasons.  Mostly it is out of religious, political or ideological goals.  They deliberately target or disregard the safety of people they are not attacking like the neutrals or civilians.  Look at what Hamas is doing to the civilians of southern Israel, shooting rockets, missiles and mortars at them.  Usually the terrorists are politically motivated.

The Allies had promised the Jews a Jewish Homeland, thinking "if you can create and keep it," but we're not helping you.  They forced a people who were law abiding people, actually experts on following laws, and turned them into warriors.  That's what our Jews had to become, warriors, not terrorists.  They were once when they followed Joshua 3,5000 years ago  into Canaan and here they were again, following David Ben Gurion in creating a Jewish Homeland.  I bet they didn't know they had such a fighting spirit in them.

Now, Israel is facing the creation of Palestine by the Arabs, Arabs who are made up of the united Fatah-Hamas terrorists.  They plan a government like Lebanon's where Hezbollah is a major player.  So Hamas will be also in Palestine.  Just what the world needs.  a 49th Muslim majority state, and this one will be 100% radical Muslim.  They'd better watch their Ps and Qs, though.  The USA will be watching their actions.

Reference:  Genesis 1948, the first Arab-Israeli War by Dan Kurzman
The Strontg Horse, power, politics, and the clash of Arab Civilizations by Lee Smith
Myths and Facts, a concise record of the Arab-Israeli conflict by Mitchell G. Bard and Joel Himelfarb p 70, 84, 154, 159

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