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We Need a Precise Definition of Terrorism Essay

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We Need a Precise Definition of Terrorism

In early 1974, the Secretary General of the United Nations, U Thant, invited the Palestinian Liberation Organization to attend the General Assembly gathering on November 13, 1974, and in doing so gave legitimacy to the Palestinian Liberation Organization as a governing body. In Yasser Arafat’s speech to the General Assembly, he thanked the United Nations for recognizing his organization and its legitimacy. When Arafat addressed the General Assembly, he made the argument that the actions taken by his government were not acts of terrorism, but these were acts of revolution and their purpose was to regain control of Palestine’s occupied original territory. The problem we confront is, there is no internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism and the international community should be able to come up with one. The major hurdle in defining is the states’ ideas of what terrorism is.

When Yasser Arafat addressed the United Nations General Assembly, he tried to articulate the actions the Palestinian Liberation Organization had taken and to justify those actions. Arafat points out that the struggles with Imperialism and Zionism began in 1881 when the first large wave of immigrants began arriving in Palestine. Prior to this date, the Muslims, Jews (20,000) and Christians all cohabitated peacefully (pop. 1/2 million). In 1917, the Belfour Declaration authorized increased immigration of European Jews to Palestine. 1 From 1917 to 1947, the Jewish population in Palestine increased to 600,000 and they rightfully owned only 6% of the Palestinian arable land. Palestine population at this time was now up to 1,250,000. 1

After the signing of the Belfour Declaration, England tried to ...


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...ges of 18 up until the age of 41 to 51 are in the military reserve, so one could say that the children and adults over 51 years of age could be considered collateral damage.

The compelling need for the international community to come up with a comprehensive definition of terrorism is so that all nations have the same understanding of what is and what is not terrorism. By having an internationally agreed upon definition by all nations, it will make it easier for the country that experiences acts of terrorism to prosecute the perpetrators of the terrorist acts. In doing this ‘people’ who are trying to achieves international notoriety by committing ‘illegal’ acts which they see as terrorist acts to gain recognition in the international community, would be less likely to commit these illegal acts. It would also not gain them the worldwide recognition they seek.


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