A Brief History of Terrorism in Palestine


…by Jonas E. Alexis

One can historically say that Jewish terrorism began during the Second Temple era with the Hashmonai family. During the Hellenistic period, they “conducted an ongoing campaign of guerilla warfare against Hellenistic rule in Israel,” though terrorism was a small fraction of their campaign.[1]

Their first terrorist act was the assassination of a Hellenistic envoy named Apelles, who was sent to the town of Modi’in to remind the inhabitants of the policy of assimilation advanced by Antiochus IV.[2]

Although this particular band of terrorists did not last long, many such terrorist cells came and went throughout the first century, recruiting for one purpose or another. Members of one band, Bar Giora, “were involved primarily in robbing and pillaging the property of the local aristocracy.”[3]

Another group, particularly well known among scholars and historians of various stripes, is the Sicarians, who rose to prominence around 52 AD.[4] Some scholars argue that they were active long before that period,[5] but the consensus is that these bandits were terrorists, insurrectionists and revolutionaries.

They were “the first group to systematically engage in terrorism…The origin of the name of the sect is still a source of dispute. One school claims that they were named after the dagger (sicca), which they used to kill their opponents. Another school asserts that the origins of the name come from the Latin word sicarius, which means killer-assassins.”[6]

The metaphysical worldview of this group can still be found in one form or another in present-day Israel.

“The Sicarian worldview can be discerned even in the ideological fundamentals of Jewish terrorist associations nearly 2,000 years after the disappearance of the original sect.”[7]

They “did not refrain from terrorizing moderate Jews who sought to prevent the situation from deteriorating into a major confrontation. Like other groups of zealots, the Sicarians engaged in guerilla warfare, but at the same time they also perfected operational methods that can be equated with those of modern-day terrorist groups. Their principal operational tactics were political assassinations and kidnappings as bargaining chips.”[8]

More often,

“assassinations were carried out in Jerusalem on holidays, when the city was swarming with pilgrims. The assassins mingled with the crowds of celebrators and stabbed their victims with small daggers in broad daylight.

“In this fashion, the Sicarians murdered the High Priest Yonatan, who had tried to prevent the rebellion against the Romans, and later, during the course of the rebellion, they took the lives of the priest Hanan Ben Hanan and his brother Hezekiah.”[9]

When the Sicarians got into Jerusalem in AD 66, “they burned the archives containing the records of debt.”[10]

The Sicarians were largely responsible for the war which started in A.D. 66, during which the Temple was burned to the ground and which ended in the tragedy of Masada, where 967 Jewish individuals committed mass suicide.[11]

Some scholars have claimed that the Zealots and Sicarians were almost indistinguishable or that the Zealots were offshoots of the Sicarians.[12] Others have argued that while they were similar, both being “mutually hostile,” they had their distinct features.[13]

A common denominator that united both groups was that no one was exempt from assassination, and Christians were also a primary target.[14] It was a time of great persecution against the church.[15]

The Roman’s destruction of the Temple left an indelible mark on many Jews.

“The failure of the Great Revolt and the subsequent forced exile left deep scars in the Jewish collective memory. The fear that violence might lead to a similar tragedy remained so profound among the Jews that the Halacha (Jewish law) adopted a specific directive aimed at avoiding any future signs of rebellion that might again provoke the anger of the gentiles.”[16]

After the fall of Jerusalem, most of the Sicarians fled to Egypt, where they continued to engage in subversive activities.[17]

Bolshevik-Revolution During the nineteenth century, the ideological foundation of the Sicarians, though not in its first-century form, was resurrected during the Bolshevik Revolution, where Jewish revolutionaries attempted

“to undermine the tsar’s rule. One of the most famous insurgents was Dmitri Bogrov, who came from a Jewish family in Kiev. On September 14, 1911, Bogrov shot dead the tsar’s prime minister, Pyotr Stolypin, while he was attending a performance at the Kiev Opera House.

“The killing took place in the presence of Tsar Nicholas II, who was sitting close to the prime minister, and it was designed to incite political instability and ultimately inspire revolutionary fervor in Russia.”[18]

Ten days later, Bogrov was executed.

Terrorist activity did not die out with Bogrov. The Weatherman Underground movement was another largely Jewish terrorist group that sought to undermine American involvement in Vietnam.

“Members of the movement, many of them Jews, did not hesitate in engaging in classic terrorist tactics such as planting explosive charges and committing arson in order to advance their ideological goals.

“The Jewish terrorists who operated in tsarist Russia and those in Nixon-era America shared the fact that they were young men and women with a developed sense of political awareness and were wholly committed to the political concerns that plagued their compatriots.”[19]

They justified their terrorist acts “by claiming revenge for the harm done to their people or the need for self-defense.”[20]

Yet again Jewish terrorism continued “with the resurgence of the Jewish settlement project in modern-day Eretz Israel (Land of Israel).”[21]

holodomorBoth violence and terrorism were considered “a crucial component in the evolution of the Jewish nation,”[22] and both violence and terrorism, as we shall see, eventually morphed into ethnic cleansing. “By the time the Arab Revolt began to flag in 1939, Etzel had become highly skilled in executing acts of terrorism.”

During the span of three years, the group carried out sixty operations that took the lives of more than 120 Palestinians and injured hundreds more.”[23] Etzel also “targeted British police and army men known for their tough attitudes toward Jewish prisoners.”[24]

From the formation of Israel all the way to our modern era, terrorism has played a central force in the political and ideological landscape of Israel, and Israel’s support of terrorist groups such as the MEK, assassinated Iranian scientists over the years, is a manifestation of that tradition.

The late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir was a member of a terrorist organization called the Stern Gang that led to the assassination of British Resident Minister in the Middle East Lord Moyne in August 1944. Moyne was Winston Churchill’s representative in Cairo.[25]

Since the British did not keep their promise of helping the Jewish people establish a Jewish state, British ambassadors such as Moyne had to go.

“The target of Lord Moyne was not chosen at random. The notion of assassinating a high-profile British figure in the Middle East had already been conceived by Avraham (Yair) Stern, leader of the Lehi [a terrorist group], as far back as 1941 and three years before Moyne had even assumed his duties in this role.”[26]

One of the organization’s jobs was to get involved “in clandestine activities,” including terrorist acts “against the British.”[27] Three months earlier, they attempted to assassinate British High Commissioner Sir Harold MacMichael.

Shamir was implicated in those terrorist acts,[28] as well as being linked to the death of Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte and the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 that took the lives of 91 people. To save his skin, he fled to Ethiopia and French Somaliland until 1948.[29]

When Shamir passed away in the summer of 2012, Shimon Peres declared that he was a “brave hero.” Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Shamir

“belonged to the generation of giants who established the State of Israel and fought for the freedom of the Jewish people on their land…

“He fought with courage against the British mandate in the days of the underground and his incredible contribution to the State of Israel during his time in the Mossad will remain forever enshrined in the tales of bravery of our nation”[30]

Both the New York Times and CNN avoided mentioning Shamir’s terrorist acts, despite the fact that they were well known. Instead, the New York Times declared that Shamir was part of a “Jewish militia”![31]

As Julian Ozanne of the Financial Times put it, Shamir’s penchant for terrorist organizations “often appeared to have defined his core character.”[32] But this “core character,” which seems to jive with Netanyahu’s policy with respect to the Palestinians,[33] will not see the light of day in the media any time soon.

Shamir was a flaming Zionist.[34] He had little regard for international law and “a deep hatred for Arabs.”[35] Israeli writer Uri Avnery called Shamir “the most successful terrorist of the 20th century.”[36]

Like Shamir, Avnery joined the underground Irgun organization. Avnery knew Shamir personally, but eventually Avnery became disenchanted with the organization and embraced peaceful solutions. Avnery writes,

“Many years later I asked [Shamir] which historical personality he admired most. He answered without hesitation: Lenin.”[37]

The bombing of the King David Hotel
The bombing of the King David Hotel
Shamir’s acts of terrorism were one thing, but Israel continued to commit acts of terrorism without any substantial reprimand from the West. In the summer of 1946, British soldiers arrested 2,700 members of an underground group, which led to its abandonment.[38] Yet one month later:

“On July 26, members of an Etzel cell disguised as Arabs infiltrated the kitchen of the Café La Regence at the lavish King David Hotel in Jerusalem. The hotel had originally opened its doors in 1931 and seven years later was transformed into the nerve center of the British Mandate.

“Members of the cell placed milk containers full of explosives in the southern wing of the hotel and then quickly left the vicinity. Despite the fact that the Etzel gave warning of the explosives, the hotel management was not able to evacuate all its occupants.

“The ensuing explosion caused the collapse of the southern wing of the hotel; 91 Britons, Arabs, and Jews were buried under the ruins, and 476 more were injured.”[39]

The terrorist pattern continued in 1947, when the United Nations General Assembly Resolution authorized the establishment of two states. The terrorist group the Lehi responded

“with a series of terrorist attacks, which included the bombing of the offices of the British shipping company in Haifa, shooting attacks on police in Jerusalem, and a brazen attack on the Astoria Café in Haifa.

“In the latter incident, which targeted British soldiers and police who frequented the café, three Lehi members equipped with machine guns and grenades stormed into the restaurant, began spraying gunfire in all directions, and then made their getaway in a car waiting outside for them.”[40]

Yet even though the band was dismantled, the spirit never died out. It rose from the ashes, and assassinations of dissenting Jews became ubiquitous—the most notable was the assassination of Israel Kastner in 1957.[41]

Terrorist activities were reincarnated shortly after the establishment of Israel among the terrorist group Brit Haknaim, whose name meant “Covenant of the Zealots.”[42] After Brit Haknaim, we had Gush the Emunim and the Kahanist movements, two religious and terrorist groups.[43]

The terrorist spirit moved into different zones from the late 70s to the 90s. For example, when the book Confidential was released—a book which showed that both Netanyahu and Peres have been using espionage against the U.S. through Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan—Netanyahu told Milchan to “avoid any public discussion of the book Confidential, asserting that the matter is too sensitive at this time.”[44]

As I have already shown, the Mossad has been involved in underground operations such as this for decades. We know that Israeli officials have been propagating fabrications against Iran for months in order for the West to strike Iran.

We know that Israel has a long history of “stealing passports and other IDs to carry out false flag operations.”[45] In New Zealand in 2004 Mossad agents Eli Cara and Uriel Kelman attempted to steal New Zealand passports, which created friction between Israel and New Zealand.[46]

Fran O’Sullivan of the New Zealand Herald wrote, “Israel was caught using Canadian passports as part of a botched attempt to assassinate a Jordanian leader in 1997.”[47] O’Sullivan continued to say that the New Zealand Herald has found that, among other things:

“A high-profile Israeli MP believes the state of Israel ‘wants to do killings’ but should penetrate hostile countries using identities gained with the help of friendly intelligence agencies.

“Charges of anti-Jewish sentiment against the Clark Government within New Zealand and Israel could just as easily be laid against most European nations, judging by their UN voting records.

“Some New Zealanders living in Israel are prepared to ‘lend’ their New Zealand passports to Mossad to help fight terrorists. Israeli security analysts believe Mossad was operating a ‘passport factory’ here and in Israel, using disabled people’s identities.”[48]

Israel in 2005 admitted that the Mossad had a black operation in New Zealand.[49] Lord Rothschild did the same thing in Britain, stealing

“‘all major UK/US weapons developments in the Second World War,’ including biological warfare, the atomic bomb and radar.”[50]

Rothschild, who died in 1990, “was involved ‘in so many aspects of spying that he seemed like a superagent, sabotaging every Western intelligence initiative for 20 years after the war.’”[51]

In 2010, the Mossad used fake passports from Britain, Ireland, and France to assassinate Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.[52] The Iranian dissidents who assassinated the Iranian scientists have since confessed that they were trained by the Mossad in Israel.[53]

We are seeing how Israel has instructed its embassies in at least ten European countries to recruit 1,000 members to promote pro-Israel activist propaganda.[54]

In a nutshell, Israel is a master of black operation. Zionist groups in Israel have supported terrorist organizations and groups since the inception of Israel. And supporting the Syrian rebels/terrorists is another manifestation of that pattern.

Although some Syrian rebels are also members of Al Qaeda,[55] neither the United States nor Israel has said a word about this precisely because the Zionist state pretends to fight terrorism but in practicality supports it. Of the 300 rebel groups, a quarter of them are reported to be inspired by Al Qaeda.[56] It is also reported the same Al Qaeda groups are behind bombings in Syria.[57]

Despite all of that, the CIA was still sending aid to the Syrian rebels.[58] It was obvious for countries like Russia to implicate the United States in all of these acts, most specifically in the bombing of Damascus on July 18, when the United States refused to acknowledge that it was an act of terrorism.[59]

In 1976, the BBC recounted that the Israel was behind the hijackers at Entebbe airport in Uganda who took control of an Air France flight with Israeli passengers. Israel collaborated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in order to hijack the plane and blamed it on other entities. Three Israeli civilians died in the process.[60]

When the hostages were finally rescued, Israel was praised for the mission, called “Operation Jonathan.” Yonatan Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother, was the unit leader who was killed in the false flag operation.[61]

In a document from the National Archives, D.H. Colvin of the Paris embassy wrote that Israel was involved in this terrorist act for a specific reason.

“The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO’s standing in France and to prevent what they see as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans.”[62]

Even in the United States, Jewish terrorist groups such as the Stern Gang tried to assassinate Harris Truman, according to Truman’s daughter Margaret.[63] As Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich puts it, “When it comes to Israel’s political agenda, no sacrifice is too great.”[64]


[1] Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel (New York: Columbia University. Press, 2011), 1.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 5.

[4] J. Julius Scott, Jr., Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1995), 214.

[5] See Emil Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (New York: Scribner, 1891); Mark Andrew Brighton, The Sicarii in Jusephus’s Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observation (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009).

[6] Pedahzur & Arie, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 6.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid., 7; also Rodney Stark, The Triumph of Christianity: How the Jesus Movement Became the World’s Largest Religion(New York: HarperOne, 2011), 43, 63; Scott, Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 214.

[10] Stark, Triumph of Christianity, 43.

[11] Ibid.

[12] See Emil Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891).

[13] See Mark Andrew Brighton, The Sicarii in Jusephus’s Judean War (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009).

[14] Stark, Triumph of Christianity, 63.

[15] Ibid., 63-65.

[16] Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 8.

[17] Scott, Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament, 214.

[18] Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 8.

[19] Ibid., 8-9.

[20] Ibid., 9.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid., 11.

[23] Ibid., 13.

[24] Ibid., 14.

[25] Julian Ozanne, “Unflinching Supporter of Greater Israel,” Financial Times, June 30, 2012; Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 18-20.

[26] Ibid., 19.

[27] Black & Morris, Israel’s Secret Wars, 196.

[28] Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 21.

[29] “Yitzhak Shamir,” Telegraph, June 30, 2012.

[30] “Yitzhak Shamir, Former Israeli PM, Dies,” CNN, July 2, 2012; Gil Hoffman, “Former PM Shamir Passes Away at Age 96 in Tel Aviv,” Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2012.

[31] Joel Brinkley, “Yitzhak Shamir, Former Israeli Prime Minister, Dies at 96,” NY Times, June 30, 2012.

[32] Julian Ozanne, “Unflinching Supporter of Greater Israel,” Financial Times, June 30, 2012.

[33] “PM: Shamir Saw, Understood Fundamental Truths,” Jerusalem Post, July 1, 2012.

[34] Gil Hoffman, “Former PM Shamir Passes Away at Age 96 in Tel Aviv,” Jerusalem Post, June 30, 2012.

[35] Ozanne, “Unflinching Supporter of Greater Israel,” Financial Times, June 30, 2012.

[36] Uri Avnery, “Two Faces: Israel’s Prime Ministers,” Antiwar.com, July 14,



[38] Pedahzur & Perliger, Jewish Terrorism in Israel, 23.

[39] Ibid., 24.

[40] Ibid., 26.

[41] Ibid., 29.

[42] Ibid., 33.

[43] Ibid., 37.

[44] Grant Smith, “Netanyahu Worked Inside Nuclear Smuggling Ring,” Antiwar.com, July 4, 2012.

[45] Sepahpour-Ulrich, “Bulgaria—Terror Attack on Rotten Fish?,” Veterans-Today.com, July 20, 2012.

[46] Fran O’Sullivan, “Goff Likely to Face Israel at UN Debate,” New Zealand Herald, September 21, 2004.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Ibid.

[49] “Israel ‘Admits’ to NZ Spy Mission,” New Zealand Herald, October 27, 2005; “Spies Law Overhaul,” New Zealand Herald, March 7, 2006.

[50] David Leitch, “Rothschild ‘Spied as the Fifth Man,’” Independent, October 23, 1994.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Ilene R. Prusher, “Was Mossad Behind Dubai Assassination? Israel Foreign Minister Isn’t Saying,” Christian Science Monitor, February 7, 2010; Dan Murphy, “In Dubai, Hit Squad Used Mossad-Style Tactics to Kill Hamas Leader,” Christian Science Monitor, February 16, 2010.

[53] “Iranians ‘Confess’ to Nuclear Scientist Murders on State Television,” Guardian, August 6, 2012.

[54] Harriet Sherwood, “Israel Recruits Citizen Advocates in Europe,” Guardian, November 28, 2010.

[55] Rod Nordland, “Al Qaeda Taking Deadly New Role in Syria’s Conflict,” NY Times, July 24, 2012

[56] Ken Dilanian, “CIA Absence from Syria a Setback for U.S., Officials Say,” LA Times, July 24, 2012.

[57] Jonathan S. Landay, “U.S. Officials: Al Qaida Behind Syria Bombings,” Mc-Clatchy Newspapers, February 10, 2012.

[58] Eric Schmitt, “C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition,” NY Times, June 21, 2012; Karen DeYoung and Liz Sly, “Syrian Rebels Get Influx of Arms with Gulf Neighbors’ Money, U.S. Coordination,” Washington Post, May 15, 2012.

[59] “Lavrov: U.S. Reaction to Terror Attack in Damascus a Direct Justification of Terrorism,” Kyiv Post, July 25, 2012.

[60] Dan Parkinson, “Israel Hijack Role ‘Was Queried,’” BBC, June 6, 2007.

[61] Sepahpour-Ulrich, “Terror Attack on Rotten Fish?,” VeteransToday.com, July 20, 2012.

[62] Parkinson, “Israel Hijack Role ‘Was Queried,’” BBC, June 6, 2007.

[63] Margaret Truman, Harry Truman (New York: Avon Books, 1993), 533-534.

[64] Sepahpour-Ulrich, “Terror Attack on Rotten Fish?,” VeteransToday.com, July 20, 2012.


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Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.


  1. A small point about Note 63. Margaret Truman’s book is Harry S. Truman, which I believe was first written in 1972. The 1993 edition is by Avon, all right. We like Harry over here in Missouri.