Israel and State-sponsored Terrorism
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Israel and State-sponsored Terrorism

The State of Israel has been accused of being a state-sponsor of terrorism,[1] and also committing acts of state terrorism.[2]

Several sovereign countries have at some point officially alleged that Israel is a proponent of state-sponsored terrorism, including Bolivia,[3] Iran, Lebanon,[4] Saudi Arabia,[5] Syria,[6] Turkey,[7] and Yemen.[8][non-primary source needed]

1950-51 Baghdad bombings

1950-1951 Baghdad bombings refers to a series of bombings of Jewish targets in Baghdad, Iraq, between April 1950 and June 1951. There is a dispute around the true identity and objective of the offenders behind the bombings, and this issue remains unresolved.

Two activists in the Iraqi Zionist underground were found guilty by an Iraqi court for a number of the bombings, and were sentenced to death. Another was sentenced to life imprisonment and seventeen more were given long prison sentences.[9] The allegations against Israeli agents had "wide consensus" amongst Iraqi Jews in Israel.[10] Many of the Iraqi Jews in Israel who lived in poor conditions blamed their ills and misfortunes on the Israeli Zionist emissaries or Iraqi Zionist underground movement.[11] The theory that "certain Jews" carried out the attacks "in order to focus the attention of the Israel Government on the plight of the Jews" was viewed as "more plausible than most" by the British Foreign Office.[12][13] Telegrams between the Mossad agents in Baghdad and their superiors in Tel Aviv give the impression that neither group knew who was responsible for the attack.[13] Israel has consistently denied involvement in the bombings.[14]

1954 Lavon Affair

The 'Lavon Affair' is an unsuccessful Israeli covert operation, code named 'Operation Susannah', conducted in Egypt in the Summer of 1954. As part of the false flag operation,[15] a group of Egyptian Jews were recruited by Israeli military intelligence to plant bombs inside Egyptian, American and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centers. The attacks were to be blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, "unspecified malcontents" or "local nationalists" with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to maintain its occupying troops in Egypt's Suez Canal zone.[16] The explosions were timed to happen several hours after closing time, and did not cause any fatalities. However, an operative died when a bomb he was taking to a movie theater ignited prematurely in his pocket. In addition, two operatives committed suicide after being captured and two more operatives who were tried, convicted and executed by Egypt.

The operation ultimately became known as the 'Lavon Affair'. Following this operation the Israeli defense minister Pinhas Lavon was forced to resign. Even though Israel denied any involvement in the operation for 51 years, the surviving members were honored by Israeli President Moshe Katzav in 2005.[17]

Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners

After the 1979 massacre of an Israeli family at Nahariya by Palestine Liberation Front militants, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan instructed Israeli General Avigdor Ben-Gal to "Kill them all," meaning the Palestinian Liberation Organization and those connected to it.[18] With Eitan's approval, Ben-Gal charged Meir Dagan with running the operations.[18] The operations, approved by the Chief of Staff, were kept secret from the IDF's General Staff and many other members of the Israeli government.[18] David Agmon, at the time head of Israel's northern command, was one of the few people who was briefed on its operations.[18] Lebanese operatives on the ground from the Maronite, Shiite and Druze communities were recruited. The aim of the series of operations was to "cause chaos among the Palestinians and Syrians in Lebanon, without leaving an Israeli fingerprint, to give them the feeling that they were constantly under attack and to instill them with a sense of insecurity."[18]

Beginning in July 1981, with a bomb attack on the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offices at Fakhani Road in West Beirut,[19] these attacks were claimed by a group called the Front for the Liberation of Lebanon from Foreigners. The FLLF was itself a front for Israeli agents,[18] and it killed hundreds of people between 1979 and 1983.[20][21]

By September 1981, the Front's operations consisted of car bombs exploding regularly in the Palestinian neighborhoods of Beirut and other Lebanese cities.[18] Particularly deadly attacks include an October 1, 1981 attack in Beirut that killed 83 and a November 29, 1981 attack in Aleppo that killed 90.[21] FLLF operations came to a sudden halt just prior to the June 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon,[21] only to be resumed the following year: first a 28 January 1983 strike on a PLO headquarters at Chtaura in the Syrian-controlled Beqaa Valley, killing 35,[21] coupled by a second on 3 February at West Beirut that devastated the Palestine Research Center offices and left 20 people dead, including the wife of Sabri Jiryis.[22][23][24] A third bombing occurred on Syrian-controlled Baalbek on 7 August 1983, which killed about 30 people and injured nearly 40,[21][25] followed by another on 5 December 1983 at the Chyah quarter of the Southern suburbs of Beirut that claimed the lives of 12 people and maimed over 80.[26]

The FLLF disbanded after 1983.[20]

Proxies Against Iran

Israel and Iran are belligerent enemies. Though they have never been at war, both nations make efforts to undermine the other's influence in the region through various means: diplomatic, economic, and military. This includes the use of (often armed) proxies, which facilitate indirect conflict between the powers, and in the case of Iranian proxies Hamas and Hezbollah, outright war. The Israeli government supports various armed groups in its conflict with Iranian government.[27]


Four Iranian nuclear scientists--Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan--were assassinated between 2010 and 2012. Another scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi, was wounded in an attempted murder.[28][29] Two of the killings were carried out with magnetic bombs attached to the targets' cars; Darioush Rezaeinejad was shot dead, and Masoud Alimohammadi was killed in a motorcycle-bomb explosion.[30] US officials confirm that MEK was financed, trained, and armed by Israel in killing Iranian nuclear scientists.[31] According to The Atlantic, the incident initiated a debate among American commentators: Should Israel be classified as a state sponsor of terrorism?.[32] Several commentators including Richard Engel and Robert Windrem suggested that the assassinations have been the joint work of Israel and the then Foreign Terrorist Organization-listed group MEK.[33][34][35]


Abdolmalek Rigi, who according to Iranian officials, admitted to his extensive contacts with the Israeli Mossad.[36]

According to a 2012 report in Foreign Policy, Mossad agents disguised as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers recruited members of Jundallah--"a Pakistan-based Sunni terrorist organization ... responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children"--to carry out "false flag" operations against Iran, straining Israel's relations with the United States.[37][38]


According to Eric Draitser in New Eastern Outlook, "thanks to WikiLeaks, it also now documented fact that Israel has long since attempted to use Kurdish groups such as PJAK ... against Iran."[39]

Syrian Civil War

Israel provides medical assistance to wounded Syrian rebels[40] crossing the border of "the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights"; most of this assistance has gone to Al-Nusra Front (now Tahrir al-Sham).[41] Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi notes that "this[,] however[,] does not prove that it is a matter of Israeli policy to provide treatment for Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham members."[42] Israeli officials stated that they provide humanitarian aid to wounded combatants and civilians regardless of their identity.[43][44] According to a March 2015 report in The Wall Street Journal, two-thirds of "the Syrians treated in Israel" were military-age men.[41] One UNDOF report stated that two boxes of unspecified content were transferred from Israel to Syrian rebels and that the soldiers of IDF met with Syrian rebels in the east of the border.[43] Israel is believed to share intelligence with the rebels.[45] "Former head of Israel's military intelligence Amos Yadlin explained Israel's rationale: "There is no doubt that Hezbollah and Iran are the major threat to Israel, much more than the radical Sunni Islamists, who are also an enemy."[41]

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has acknowledged that Israel has provided weapons to rebel groups in Syria.[46]

See also


  1. ^
    • Crenshaw, Martha; Pimlott, John (2015), "Western Sponsors of Terrorism", International Encyclopedia of Terrorism, Routledge, p. 680, ISBN 9781135919665, Israel has been involved in sponsoring terrorist groups in Lebanon. In its struggle against Palestinian and Shiite terrorists, Israel generally relied on assassinations carried out by its special forces or on military reprisals, but also provided arms, training and military assistance to local militias such as the right-wing Phalange. Like other militias involved in Lebanon's civil war, Phalange carried out numerous terrorist attacks. The most notorious was the massacre of Palestinian civilians at Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps near Beirut in 1982.
    • Johnson, Dale L. (2017), Social Inequality, Economic Decline, and Plutocracy: An American Crisis, Springer, p. 123, ISBN 9783319490434, Israel, a nation that engages in state-sponsored terrorism in the extreme, has received more American military and economic aid than any country in the world, allowing the continuation of the Palestine occupation and violent repression of the resistance.
    • Wright, Robert (13 February 2012), Israel and Proxy Terrorism, The Atlantic, retrieved 2019
    • Greenwald, Glenn (10 February 2012), "Israel, MEK and state sponsor of Terror groups", Salon, retrieved 2019
    • Paul, Michael (2005), "State-Sponsored Terrorism", Pan Am 103 and State-Sponsored Terrorism, Gareth Stevens Publishing, p. 29, ISBN 9780836865592, Other countries that have been accused of sponsoring terrorism include Pakistan, South Africa and Israel.
  2. ^
    • Grinberg, Lev (May 2002), "Israel's State Terrorism", Peace Research, Canadian Mennonite University, 34 (1): 1-2, JSTOR 23608008
    • Hagopian, Elaine C. (Spring 2017), "Reviewed Work: State of Terror: How Terrorism Created Modern Israel by Suarez, Thomas", Arab Studies Quarterly, Pluto Journals, 39 (2): 861-864, doi:10.13169/arabstudquar.39.2.0861, JSTOR 10.13169/arabstudquar.39.2.0861
    • Nasr, Sandra (2009), "Israel's other terrorist challenge", in Richard Jackson; Eamon Murphy; Scott Poynting (eds.), Contemporary State Terrorism: Theory and Practice, Routledge, pp. 68, 74, 81-82, ISBN 9781135245160, From the foregoing, it is surely indisputable that Israel is committing acts of state terror of many kinds on a daily basis in the Occupied Territories... It is reasonable to conclude that until all appropriate steps to prevent IDF abuse against unarmed Palestinian civilians are taken by authorities, Israel is culpable and guilty of using state terror tactics.
  3. ^ Bolivia declares Israel a 'terrorist state', Times of Israel, Associated Press, 31 July 2014
  4. ^ "Siniora says Israel's attacks "state-sponsored terrorism"", Kuwait News Agency, 30 July 2006
  5. ^ Angus McDowall; Rania El Gamal; Sami Aboudi (August 2014), Mark Heinrich (ed.), "Saudi king labels Israeli offensive in Gaza a war crime", Reuters, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah broke his silence on Friday over the three-week-old conflict in Gaza, condemning what he saw as international silence over Israel's offensive and describing this as a war crime and "state-sponsored terrorism".
  6. ^ History Behind the Headlines: The Origins of Conflicts Worldwide, 5, Gale Group, 2002, pp. 313, 319, ISBN 9780787659110, Clearly Syria sees Israel as a terrorist state and has even suggested to Washington that Israel be added to the U.S. government's list of state sponsors.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Yemeni Statement (PDF), United Nations, We demand the Security Council to ensure the physical safety of the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and to provide protection for the Palestinian people against Israeli state-sponsored terrorism, in addition to showing respect for the wishes and the will of the Palestinian people.
  9. ^ Morris & Black, 1992, p. 91
  10. ^ Klausner, Samuel (1998), "The Jewish Exodus from Iraq 1948-1951", Contemporary Jewry, 19 (1): 180-185, doi:10.1007/BF02963432, JSTOR 23455343, Most of the 120,000 Iraqi Jews, transported to Israel through Operation Ezra and Nemehiah in 1950-1, believed they had been stampeded into fleeing by the Israeli Mossad. Many still believe that when registration for emigration slowed, members of the Zionist underground tossed hand grenades into Jewish institutions. This suspicion has contributed to the alienation of Iraqi immigrants from successive Labor governments.
  11. ^ Ian Black; Benny Morris (1991). Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services. Grove Press. p. 92. ISBN 9780802132864.
  12. ^ British Embassy in Baghdad, FO371, EQ1571, Baghdad to FO, 27 June 1951, "one theory which is more plausible than most is that certain Jews have endeavoured, by throwing bombs at certain buildings, to focus the attention of the Israel Government on the plight of the Jews in Iraq so that they would keep the airlift moving quickly, and, possibly as a second object, to induce those well-to-do Jews who had decided to remain in Iraq to change their mind and emigrate to Israel."
  13. ^ a b Tom Segev. Now it can be told. Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04.
  14. ^ "To Baghdad and Back". Archived from the original on March 14, 2009.
  15. ^ James M. Lutz; Brenda J. Lutz (2004). Global terrorism. p. 46. ISBN 0-415-70051-5. Retrieved 2011.
  16. ^ S. Teveth (1996). Ben-Gurion's spy: the story of the political scandal that shaped modern Israel. Columbia University Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-231-10464-7.
  17. ^ "Israel honors 9 Egyptian spies". Ynetnews. Reuters. 30 March 2005.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Bergman, Ronen (2018). Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations. Random House. pp. 234-247. ISBN 978-1400069712.
  19. ^ "Sudden Death: Bombings rock P.L.O. offices". TIME Magazine. 28 September 1981.
  20. ^ a b Bergman, Ronen (23 January 2018). "How Arafat Eluded Israel's Assassination Machine". New York Times Magazine.
  21. ^ a b c d e National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2018). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from
  22. ^ Masalha, Nur (2012). The Palestine Nakba: Decolonising History, Narrating the Subaltern, Reclaiming Memory. London: Zed Books Ltd. p. 144. ISBN 9781848139732..
  23. ^ Lee O'Brien, Campaign of Terror: Car Bombing in Lebanon, MERIP Reports 118 (October 1983), p. 26.
  24. ^ Middle East Record (MER), 2 October 1982, pp. 6-8.
  25. ^ O'Ballance, Edgar (1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 126. ISBN 0-333-72975-7.
  26. ^ O'Ballance, Edgar (1998). Civil War in Lebanon, 1975-92. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 134. ISBN 0-333-72975-7.
  27. ^ International Journal of Middle East Studies, 19, 1987, p. 261
  28. ^ Hasan, Mehdi (12 January 2012). "Iran's nuclear scientists are not being assassinated. They are being murdered". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  29. ^ Meikle, James (12 January 2012). "Iran: timeline of attacks". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016.
  30. ^ Vick, Karl; Klein, Aaron J. (13 January 2012). "Who Assassinated an Iranian Nuclear Scientist? Israel Isn't Telling". Time. Retrieved 2016.
  31. ^ Rock Center with Brian Williams (6 December 2014). "Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ Wright, Robert (February 13, 2012). "Israel and Proxy Terrorism". The Atlantic.
  33. ^ "Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News". 22 February 2018. Archived from the original on 22 February 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  34. ^ Pillar, Paul R. (June 1987). "Deeper into Terrorism". The National Interest. Retrieved 2018.
  35. ^ "Just who has been killing Iran's nuclear scientists?". The Independent. 2013-10-06.
  36. ^ Cherian, John (2010-03-13). "Iran: Arrest of a terrorist". Frontline. Retrieved .
  37. ^ Perry, Mark (2012-01-13). "False Flag". Foreign Policy. Retrieved .
  38. ^ Ravid, Barak (2017-06-25). "'Israeli Mossad agents posed as CIA spies to recruit terrorists to fight against Iran' -". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2017-06-25. Retrieved .
  39. ^ Draitser, Eric (17 March 2015). "Breaking the Resistance with Terrorism and Proxy Wars". New Eastern Outlook. Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
  40. ^ "UN Reveals Israeli Links With Syrian Rebels". HAARETZ. 7 December 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  41. ^ a b c Trofimov, Yaroslav (2015-03-12). "Al Qaeda a Lesser Evil? Syria War Pulls U.S., Israel Apart". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved .
  42. ^ Al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad (2017-07-03). "Israel's Relations with the Syrian Rebels: An Assessment". Middle East Review of International Affairs. Archived from the original on 2017-07-09. Retrieved .
  43. ^ a b MAYA SHWAYDER (12 July 2014). "New UN report reveals collaboration between Israel and Syrian rebels". THE JERUSALEM POST. Retrieved 2016.
  44. ^ Johnlee Varghese (December 7, 2014). "UN Report: Israel in Regular Contact with Syrian Rebels including ISIS". International Business Times. Retrieved 2016.
  45. ^ Berman, Lazar (2016-08-16). "Bibi the Strategist". Commentary. Retrieved .
  46. ^ Gross, Judah Ari. "IDF chief finally acknowledges that Israel supplied weapons to Syrian rebels".

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