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'Terrorist' is in the eyes of the beholder

Religious ConflictsWorld War II (1939-1945)BritainPalestine

Rafael Medhoff's commentary notes that when the British held the Palestinian Mandate there was much Arab unrest in the face of increased Jewish immigration, and mandate authorities resorted to punitive measures to suppress it and to deport its leaders ("Bombs in Palestine, then and now," Nov. 26). A fledgling Jewish underground was even recruited to supply intelligence on the Arab national movement.

After World War II the shoe was on the other foot. Britain had to suppress the Jewish underground terrorist movements as the end of the Mandate — and inevitable civil war — approached.

Like other imperial powers, the decline of the British Empire was fraught with the violent suppression of the peoples it governed. Were it not for the violent resistance of so-called terrorist groups on both sides, the goal of national self-determination among the subject peoples would never have been realized.

The conquerors had their "terrorists" and the conquered have their "resistance" — take your pick.

Donald Hart, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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