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Why Terrorism Works By: Alan M. Dershowitz
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 08, 2005

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Within a day of the horrific multiple bombings in London, the G8 announced a $3B grant to the Palestinian Authority.  The symbolism of this connection may be lost on some Westerners, but it clearly sent a powerful message to terrorists and potential terrorists: namely, that terrorism works. 

There were no grants announced to the Tibetans, who have been occupied more brutally and for a longer period of time than the Palestinians.  The Tibetans, however, have never resorted to terrorism. 


The Palestinian Authority, and its leaders, are the godfathers of international terrorism.  They developed airplane hijacking into a high art.  They invented the high-profile murder of athletes and other prominent public figures.  Were it not for their employment of terrorism, the Palestinian cause would today be regarded as the fifth-rate human rights issue that it rightfully is.  But because the Palestinian leadership has always used terrorism (from the 1920's on) as the tactic of first resort, their cause has received worldwide recognition.

The primary cause of terrorism is not occupation, humiliation, or desperation.  If it were, the Tibetans would be the greatest terrorists.  The primary cause of terrorism is that it works.  And it works because the craven international community gives into it and rewards it.  It also works because too many Islamic leaders praise it and too few condemn it.  Terrorism will continue as long as potential terrorists believe they will benefit from using that tactic.

Alan M. Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies.”

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