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3rd Session of the Human Rights Council

27 November 8 December 2006

 Terrorism Versus Resistance

Dr. Anis Al-Qasem LL.M.,Ph.D.

The right of self-defence is a right recognized under both municipal and international law. In international law, it arises mainly in two cases: the first to repel foreign aggression, and the second to resist foreign occupation. Aggression and occupation are unlawful under international law, and violate the right of self-determination, which is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Covenants on human rights, including the Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, to which most nations, including Israel, are parties. Since both aggression and occupation are unlawful, the use of force to resist them has been recognized under international law and the practice of nations and peoples.


In Europe, resistance movements to German occupation have arisen and were fully supported and financed by the Allies, including UK and USA, and were hailed as freedom fighters, and rightly so. Freedom fighters were not called terrorists. Liberation movements to end colonialism spread in almost all previous colonies, and succeeded in putting an end to colonialism. They were not terrorists, and, in this struggle, they received the support and recognition of the United Nations and the peoples of the world. The former colonies are now active members of this world organization, which has been active in its support of the right of self-determination for all peoples, regardless of who the occupier happened to be.


The fact that aggression and occupation are illegal, means that the use of force by the aggressor or occupier to maintain the aggression or occupation is unlawful, and the aggressor or occupying power would be state terrorists. At the present, the main problems facing the world are connected with Israel and its occupation of Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian territories. Instead of terminating this occupation, Israel has annexed Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights. This annexation has been condemned by the Security Council, and Israel was asked to retract it. Israel refused, and still refuses. More violations are committed, all of which have been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion on the Separation Wall. Massive force, including assassinations and massacres, the most recent of which are those of the Jenin Palestinian refugee camp and the city of Beit Hanoun, are being used in order to preserve these violations of international law and international humanitarian law. Yet, Hamas and the other Palestinian resistance movements to Israeli occupation and these violations are called terrorist organizations. The same applies to Hizbollah, the Lebanese resistance movement. It seems that wherever Israel is involved, legality and illegality are twisted to accommodate Israeli aggression and occupation. The recent use of the United States of the veto in the Security Council to kill a resolution condemning Israel for the Beit Hanoun massacre, is the latest flagrant abuse of the veto power, and constitutes an utterly irresponsible infringement of the rule of law and an encouragement of its violation.


The signatories to this Statement declare that the terrorist is the occupier, and the freedom fighter is the one who resists the occupation. The first is to be condemned and forced to retreat, while the second should be supported for its defence of the rule of law in international relations.