Israel and state-sponsored terrorism

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The State of Israel has been accused of being a state-sponsor of terrorism. Several sovereign countries have officially alleged that Israel is a proponent of state-sponsored terrorism, including Iran, Syria,[1] Lebanon,[2] Turkey,[3] Saudi Arabia,[4] and Yemen.[5]

1950–51 Baghdad bombings[edit]

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.[6] The allegations against Israeli agents had "wide consensus" amongst Iraqi Jews in Israel.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9][10] 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.[10] Israel has consistently denied involvement in the bombings.[11]

1954 Lavon Affair[edit]

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,[12] 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 bombs were timed to exploded several hours after closing time. 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.[13] The operation caused no fatality, except for operative when a bomb he was taking to place in a movie theater ignited prematurely in his pocket; for two members of the cell who committed suicide after being captured; and for two 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.[14]

Proxies Against Iran[edit]

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.[15]


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.[16][17] 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.[18] US officials confirm that MEK was financed, trained, and armed by Israel in killing Iranian nuclear scientists.[19] According to The Atlantic, the incident initiated a debate among American commentators: Should Israel be classified as a state sponsor of terrorism?.[20] 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.[21][22][23]


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.[24][25]


According to Eric Draitser, "thanks to WikiLeaks, it also now documented fact that Israel has long since attempted to use Kurdish groups such as PJAK ... against Iran."[26]

Syrian Civil War[edit]

Israel provides medical assistance to wounded Syrian rebels[27] crossing the border of "the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights"; most of this assistance has gone to Al-Nusra Front (now Tahrir al-Sham).[28] 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."[29] Israeli officials stated that they provide humanitarian aid to wounded combatants and civilians regardless of their identity.[30][31] According to a March 2015 report in The Wall Street Journal, two-thirds of "the Syrians treated in Israel" were military-age men.[28] 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.[30] Israel is believed to share intelligence with the rebels, although it is unknown whether it has provided weapons.[32] "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."[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ "Siniora says Israel's attacks "state-sponsored terrorism"", Kuwait News Agency, 30 July 2006
  3. ^
  4. ^ Angus McDowall, Rania El Gamal and Sami Aboudi, 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”.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Morris & Black, 1992, p. 91
  7. ^ Klausner, Samuel (1998), "The Jewish Exodus from Iraq 1948-1951", Contemporary Jewry, 19 (1): 180–185, 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.
  8. ^ Ian Black; Benny Morris (1991). Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services. Grove Press. p. 92.
  9. ^ 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."
  10. ^ a b Tom Segev. Now it can be told. Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2008-05-04.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  11. ^ To Baghdad and Back Archived 2009-03-14 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ James M. Lutz; Brenda J. Lutz (2004). Global terrorism. p. 46. ISBN 0-415-70051-5. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Israel honors 9 Egyptian spies". Ynetnews. Reuters. 30 March 2005.
  15. ^ International Journal of Middle East Studies, 19, 1987, p. 261
  16. ^ Hasan, Mehdi (12 January 2012). "Iran's nuclear scientists are not being assassinated. They are being murdered". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  17. ^ Meikle, James (12 January 2012). "Iran: timeline of attacks". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  18. ^ Vick, Karl; Klein, Aaron J. (13 January 2012). "Who Assassinated an Iranian Nuclear Scientist? Israel Isn't Telling". Time. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  19. ^ 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 6 December 2014.
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran's nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News". 22 February 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  22. ^ Pillar, Paul R. (June 1987). "Deeper into Terrorism". The National Interest. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  23. ^ "Just who has been killing Iran's nuclear scientists?". The Independent.
  24. ^ Perry, Mark (2012-01-13). "False Flag". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2016-10-30.
  25. ^ "'Israeli Mossad agents posed as CIA spies to recruit terrorists to fight against Iran' -". 2017-06-25. Archived from the original on 2017-06-25. Retrieved 2017-07-10.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ "UN Reveals Israeli Links With Syrian Rebels". HAARETZ. 7 December 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  28. ^ 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 2016-11-19.
  29. ^ Al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad (2017-07-03). "Israel's Relations with the Syrian Rebels: An Assessment". Middle East Review of International Affairs. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
  30. ^ a b MAYA SHWAYDER (12 July 2014). "New UN report reveals collaboration between Israel and Syrian rebels". THE JERUSALEM POST. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  31. ^ Johnlee Varghese (December 7, 2014). "UN Report: Israel in Regular Contact with Syrian Rebels including ISIS". International Business Times. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  32. ^ Berman, Lazar (2016-08-16). "Bibi the Strategist". Commentary. Retrieved 2016-10-30.