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Taking On Terrorism

Taking On TerrorismTufts graduate and terrorism expert Matthew Levitt is advocating for countries to take a “no excuses” approach to terrorism.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.22.05] With terror tragedies spanning the globe this summer, from the London bombings to the Egypt attacks, one Tufts graduate believes it’s high time for countries like Britain to stand tall against terrorism and practice - on their home turf - what they preach to the rest of the world.

“As Britain presses its fellow United Nations member states to oppose all acts of terrorism, whether conducted as part of a campaign to undermine the West and establish a global Caliphate or to ‘resist occupation’ in the West Bank or Iraq, it still has far to go to address the scourge at home,” Matthew Levitt, director of the Terrorism Studies Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, wrote in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal in July.

According to Levitt, a network supporting Hamas, an Islamist terrorist group, is still alive and well in Britain.

Levitt pointed out that London-based Interpal, “a purportedly charitable organization designated as a Hamas front organization by the United States Treasury,” has been accused of funding Hamas operations in the West Bank and Gaza. As recently as 2003, he wrote, the British Charity Commission gave the organization a “clean bill of health,” even though other governments, including the United States and Israel, had gathered evidence linking Interpal has with Hamas.

More countries than just Britain stand in the way of wiping out terrorism, Levitt explained.

“Efforts to establish a global anti-terrorism treaty date back to 1996, but have stalled in the face of objections from several Arab and Muslim countries over the classification of suicide bombers engaged in ‘resistance to occupation,’” Levitt wrote. “According to these member states, suicide bombings should not be considered acts of terrorism – even if they target civilians and non-combatants – if conducted for a sufficiently legitimate cause.”

He added that some nations have a different view.

“Still others believe that groups that carry out acts of terrorism are not to be considered terrorists if they also participate in the political system or provide social-welfare support,” Levitt wrote in the opinion piece.

But Levitt doesn’t agree with either line of thinking.

“As recent attacks in Britain, Turkey, Israel and Egypt all attest, these are morally bankrupt positions,” he wrote in the Journal. “The international community must stand firm in its condemnation of all acts of terror, no matter what cause or injustice such attacks are intended to remedy and no matter what other political or humanitarian activities these groups engage in.”

And Levitt wants to make that message clear.

“Let’s say it openly and honestly: nothing undermines the legitimate goal of establishing a secure and independent Palestinian state that lives in peace side-by-side with its neighbors more than Palestinian terrorism,” Levitt wrote. “There is no excuse for terror.”











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