In an International Herald Tribune op-ed Monday, freelance journalist Jonathan Cook argued that for Palestinians violence is the “surest way to get their struggle noticed” (“Nonviolent Protest Offers Little Hope for Palestinians”).
His position is based on the fallacious statement that “for most of the 37 years of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinians were nonviolent–and it did them little good.” He indicates that Palestinians “turned violent” in the first intifada when they began “to throw the stones,” as if the population had previously been engaged solely in peaceful sit-ins, petitions, and strikes. The notion that Palestinians were nonviolent from 1967 (when Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt respectively) until the late 1980s is an outright error which requires a retraction.
Various Palestinian groups have carried out countless terrorist atrocities–in Israel and around the world, including international hijackings–during the period in which they were supposedly “nonviolent.” A partial list of these terrorist incidents follows:
* July 23, 1968: An El Al plane en route from Rome to Israel was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists and landed in Algiers.
* Feb. 18, 1969: Five terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) attacked an El Al plane in Zurich, killing one crew member.
* Feb. 21, 1970: A Christian American tourist was killed when PLO terrorists shot at a busload of tourists in Halhoul
* May 4, 1970: Asuncion, Paraguay. Two armed Palestinians broke into the office of the Israeli Consulate and fired at the employees. An Israeli secretary, Edna Pe'er, was killed, and a local worker was injured.
* May 22, 1970: Palestinian terrorists attacked a bus carrying schoolchildren from Moshav Avivim, killing nine students, two teachers, and the driver.
* Jan. 2, 1971: A Palestinian terrorist threw a hand grenade into the Arroyo family car in Gaza, killing two young children and seriously wounding their mother.
* July 7, 1971: Palestinian terrorists launched Katushya rockets on Petach Tikva, killing three women and one child
* May 8, 1972: Palestinian terrorists hijacked a Sabena plane en route from Belgium to Israel
* May 30, 1972: Three terrorists of the Japanese Red Army carry out a massacre in Lod airport, spraying waiting passengers with automatic fire and hand grenades. Twenty-six were killed, including 16 tourists from Puerto Rico, and 78 were injured. The attack was planned and supported by the General Command of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
* Sept. 5, 1972: Eight members of the Black September terrorist group took 11 Israeli athletes hostage in the Munich Olympics, killing them all in what become known as the “Munich Massacre.”
* Sept. 10, 1972: Brussels, Belgium. An employee of the Israeli Embassy was assaulted and wounded. Fatah/Black September claimed responsibility.
* Sept. 19, 1972: London, England. Agricultural counsellor/ attache Ami Shechori was killed by the explosion of a letter bomb sent to him. Black September claimed responsibility.
* March 2, 1973: An eight man Black September hit squad kidnapped two American diplomats from the Saudi embassy in Khartoum. Under orders from Yasir Arafat, they executed U.S. officials Cleo A. Noel, Jr., and G. Curtis Moore.
* Sept. 28, 1973: Palestinian terrorists kidnapped Soviet immigrants who were staying in an Austrian transit camp on their way to Israel. The terrorists demanded that Austria shut down the camp, and their request was granted.
* March 5, 1974: Eight PLO terrorists reached Tel Aviv by sea and took over a hotel, killing three soldiers
* April 11, 1974: PLO terrorists attacked Kiryat Shmona, killing 18, including eight children
* May 15, 1974: PLO terrorists attacked the Netiv Meir School in Ma'alot, killing 21 students and three adults
* Nov. 19, 1974: PLO terrorists entered an apartment block in Bet She'an, killing four people and wounding 20.
* Nov. 20, 1974: PLO terrorists infiltrated from Syria into Ramat Magshimim, killing three students and wounding two
* Jan. 1, 1976: Frances E. Meloy, U.S. ambassador in Lebanon, and Robert O. Waring, U.S. economic counselor, were shot to deth by PLO terrorists in Beirut
* June 27, 1976: Members of the PFLP and the Baader-Meinhof Group seized an Air France airliner and its 258 passengers, forcing it to land in the Entebbe airport in Uganda. On July 4, Israel staged a successful rescue operation, in which one passenger died
* Aug. 11, 1976: PLO terrorists attacked an El Al plane in Istanbul, Turkey, killing four and wounding 21
* Dec. 8, 1977: PLO terrorists launched a Katushya rocket at Nahariya, killing one woman
* March 11, 1978: A Fatah terrorist shot to death Gail Rubin, niece of U.S. Senator Abraham Ribicoff, on the Tel Aviv beach
* March 11, 1978: PLO terrorists seized a bus on the coastal road, killing 35 men, women and children
* March 17, 1978: PLO terrorists launched a Katushyas on the Western Galilee, killing two and wounding two
* June 2, 1978: A PLO terrorist bombed a Jerusalem bus, killing six and wounding 19
* Aug. 20, 1978: PLO terrorists attacked El Al crew members in the London airport, killing a stewardess and wounding eight
* Dec. 21, 1978: PLO terrorists launched a katushya rocket, killing one and wounding 10 in Kiryat Shmona
* April 7, 1980: PLO terrorists attacked Kibbutz Misgav Am, killing three and wounding 16
* May 2, 1980: Fatah terrorists attacked worshippers walking home from synagogue in Hebron, killing six
* March 6, 1981: A Palestinian windsurfer beached in Israel and took a hostage
* June 3, 1982: PLO terrorists shot Israel Consul Shlomo Argov in the U.K.
* Sept. 23, 1982: The Israeli Charge d’Affaires in Malta, Esther Milo, was injured in an attempted kidnapping attributed to the Abu Nidal terror group
* Jan. 8, 1983: PLO terrorists wound 11 after throwing a hand grenade at a bus
* July 1, 1983: PLO terrorists stabbed an American to death in the Hebron marketplace
* Dec. 6, 1983: PLO terrorists attacked a Jerusalem bus, killing six and wounding 50
* April 2, 1984: A Palestinian indiscriminately opened fire in Jerusalem, killing one and injuring 60
* April 12, 1984: PLO terrorists hijacked Bus #300, killing one
* June 27, 1985: Fatah terrorists shot to death an Israeli man and woman near Beit Shemesh
* Oct. 7, 1985: Palestine Liberation Front terrorists hijacked the Italian Achille Lauro cruise ship, drowning a wheelchair-bound American
Thus, the Palestinian movement has never tried the nonviolent “Gandhi” approach, contrary to Cook’s claim. Moreover, Palestinian terrorism was alive and well before 1967. Between 1951 and 1955, for example, Arab terrorists operating inside Israel’s 1949 borders killed 967 Israelis. In a particularly gruesome example, terrorists shot to death two farm workers in full daylight on Oct. 9, 1956. As a trophy of their act, the murderers cut off their victims’ ears.
There were other inaccuracies in the column, but Cook’s fallacious claim that the Palestinians were nonviolent from 1967 to the first Intifada goes to the core of his contention–that nonviolent protest does not work for Palestinians opposed to Israeli policies.