Before former Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, he said something like this: “There will be no peace in the Middle East until Palestine does to its terrorists what we have done to ours.”
What Rabin meant by — “what we have done to ours” — is “The Altalena Affair” and how members of the Israeli Irgun “terrorist” group were nullified and killed on order of ruling Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion as part of the newly-formed Israel Defense Forces (IDF):
It was Menahem Begin, the Irgun commander, who prevented a bloody civil war. He did not shrink from shedding Arab and British blood, but shedding Jewish blood was abhorrent to him. He forbade his men from reacting, and even during the worst days of the Saison, Irgun members did not defend themselves…
So what about the Altalena?
When Ben-Gurion proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel in May, 1948, he was determined to put an end to all the armed organizations except the Hagana, which became the IDF (official Hebrew name: “Israel Hagana Army”). He waited only for a suitable occasion.
It came when the Irgun sent a ship to the new state loaded with fighters, arms and ammunition. It was called Altalena (“see-saw”, the pseudonym of Vladimir Jabotinsky, the spiritual and political father of the Likud). The details of the “Altalena Affair” are still clouded in mystery, but the outcome is very clear: Ben-Gurion demanded that all the weapons be turned over to him, Begin refused. Fire was opened on the ship, which had reached the beach of Tel-Aviv. Yitzhaq Rabin commanded the attack. Menahem Begin, who had boarded the ship, was pushed by his men into the sea and escaped. Some of the Irgun men were killed, the ship sank with all the arms in its hold. Ben-Gurion publicly praised the “holy canon” that sank it.
All this happened in the middle of the war against the Arabs. By acting resolutely, Ben-Gurion put an end, once and for all, to the existence of private armies in Israel.
Will Palestine kill its “terrorists” to bring peace to the Middle East as Israel did to the Irgun on the Altalena?
What role can the USA play in this peace negotiation if we are resigned to killing our own people — terrorist or not — without Due Process?
In the events leading up to signing the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 — were the separatist, Colonial, guerrilla American rebels the standing army — or were they the terrorists?
The definitions of “Freedom Fighter” and “Terrorist’ are purely contextual — and wholly dependent upon which side of the battlefield you stand and aim your rifle and fire your bombs.