Countries targeted by Islamic terrorism:
Tony Blair omits Israel

Published: 12 July 2005
Briefing Number 149

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On 7 July 2005 terrorists bombed central London, killing over 50 people and injuring 700. In a statement before a sombre British Parliament on Monday 11 July, Prime Minister Tony Blair stated as follows (taken from BBC website):

“It seems probable that the attack was carried out by Islamic extremist terrorists of the kind who over recent years have been responsible for so many innocent deaths in Madrid, Bali, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, Pakistan, Yemen, Turkey, Egypt and Morocco and, of course in New York on September 11th, but in many other countries too….”

Mr Blair is aware of the toll which Palestinian terrorism has taken on Israeli society in the last 5 years. Yet he omitted Israel from the named countries on his list, relegating it to the status of “other country”.

Here are some facts about Islamic terrorism targeted against Israel:-

  • Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs, three of the five main Palestinian terrorist groups, are explicitly driven by Islamic principles (as they apply them)

  • Their “religious” worldview calls for the elimination of Israel as a nation-state (see Briefing 74, on Hamas founder Sheikh Yassin)

  • Together these three groups have carried out an intensive wave of suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, stabbings, car bombings and other attacks against Israeli civilians since 2000

  • In total, Israel has suffered over 21,000 acts of violence of all types since September 2000

  • Over 1000 Israeli civilians have died in this onslaught (proportionately, that is the equivalent of over 9000 British citizens)

  • Between 1994 and 2004, Hamas alone carried out 42 suicide bombings, killing 446 Israeli men, women and children (See Beyond Images Briefing 78), and injuring and traumatising thousands more

  • Hamas means ‘Islamic resistance movement’

  • These Palestinian groups bomb “soft” civilian targets, without warning. A large number of Israeli victims have been teenage girls and boys

  • Since 2000 these groups have bombed Israeli restaurants and pizzerias, bars and coffee houses, passenger buses, the entrance of a synagogue, a hotel Passover feast, a discotheque, university bus stops and a campus cafeteria, shopping centres, open-air fruit markets, pedestrian precincts, railways and bus stations, a snooker hall, a barmitzvah party and an ice-cream parlor: (once again, see Beyond Images Briefing 78)

  • The perpetrators of these atrocities are typically hailed within Palestinian society as “martyrs” (see Beyond Images Briefing 104)

  • Palestinian groups have attempted to maximise Israeli casualties by the use of so-called “mega-terror” attacks. Their targets since 2002 have included the Teddy Kollek sports stadium, a fuel storage facility in the port city of Ashdod; and the Azrieli skyscrapers in Tel-Aviv (see Beyond Images Briefing 3)

  • The Hamas attempt in 2002 to blow up the Pi Glilot gas storage depot in North Tel-Aviv (see Beyond Images Briefing 4) could, by itself, have caused more Israeli fatalities than America suffered on September 11 2001

  • The terrorist groups display complete disregard for the rights of Palestinians whom they claim to be “defending”: see for instance Briefing 126 – Sabotaging crossing points for Palestinian workers; Briefing 143 – the recruitment of a 15 year old Palestinian suicide bomber; or Briefing 146 – the attempt to bomb an Israeli hospital.

  • The victims of Palestinian Islamic terrorism include Israeli Arabs, beduin and druze, as well as Israeli Jews

  • The victims include citizens from the following 18 countries who were in Israel when caught in attacks (see Beyond Images Briefing 79): United Kingdom, Ecuador, USA, France, Australia, Greece, Ukraine, China, Bulgaria, Ghana, Rumania, Argentina, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Philippines, Turkey, Switzerland and Sweden.

  • Hamas and Islamic Jihad have also launched over 500 indiscriminate Qassam rockets attacks against Israeli towns since 2003 (see Beyond Images Briefing 130).

Beyond Images conclusion

Mr Blair proclaims himself a friend of Israel, and his policies and previous speeches have sought to demonstrate this.

His omission of Israel on this occasion may have been driven by political expediency. He may have feared that the very mention of Israel could cause antagonism among some members of Parliament at a time when the need for unity was paramount.

Nevertheless, it is a moral travesty that in a list of nations targeted by Islamic terrorism, Israel should be relegated to the status of “another country”.

It is also a grievous rewriting of history, and distressing to victims’ families.

The Palestinian groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs are not only part of the global phenomenon of “Islamic extremist terrorism” – they are at its forefront. They are fanatical in their goals, barbaric and ruthless in the methods they adopt.