America, Israel: you spelled 'resistance against illegal occupation' wrong

America, Israel: you spelled 'resistance against illegal occupation' wrong
Israel and America denounced the deaths of four Israeli soldiers in a Jerusalem truck-ramming incident on Sunday as a 'terrorist attack'. They should look up the definition.
2 min read
09 Jan, 2017
Netanyahu and his US allies denounced the Jerusalem truck attack as "terrorism" [Getty]
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms today's horrific terrorist attack in Jerusalem," a White House statement read on Sunday after a Palestinian man drove a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers, killing four. 

"I strongly condemn today's cowardly terrorist attack in Jerusalem and pray for the victims, the wounded, and their families," Vice-President Joe Biden wrote on Twitter.

Such sentiments are a standard response from a world power wheeled out following "terrorist" acts. But was this a "terrorist act"?

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the first to play the terror card after the incident, claiming, without evidence, the "unprovoked attack" was perpetrated by a "supporter of Islamic State" - seemingly because, as he tweeted, the incident followed the "same pattern" as attacks in France and Germany.

But the only parallel that can be drawn is the method used.

Of course, the deaths of four people is tragic. 

But it was not a terrorist act and it should not be decontextualised as such.

The definition of a terrorist act is the calculated use of violence against civilians for political or religious reasons.

This was an intentional attack on Israeli soldiers - Israeli police force spokeswoman Luba al-Samri confirmed - not civilians. Soldiers; a military target.

Soldiers who enforce a stifling, oppressive and deadly occupation on Palestinians, with checkpoints, permits, blockades and demolitions, fuelling economic struggle and growing indignities.

Soldiers who rights groups such as Amnesty International have accused of carrying out "unlawful killings" against Palestinians and displaying "an appalling disregard for human life by using reckless and unlawful lethal force".

"Palestinians were deliberately shot dead, despite posing no imminent threat to life, in what appear to be extrajudicial executions," Amnesty has said.

Israel argues that most of the Palestinians it kills have allegedly carry out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks in a campaign of incitement.

But Palestinian frustrations with the near half-century occupation, daily and persistent violations of human rights, illegal, internationally condemned but relentless Israeli settlement-building in the West Bank, stalled peace efforts - and their own fractured leadership in Ramallah and Gaza - all go to fuel violent resistance.

Since October 2015, at least 246 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, at least 33 of them under the age of 18.

And that's the very definition of terrorism.

Follow Shams al-Shakarchi on Twitter: @shams_shakarchi