3
The Internationalization of Terrorism

The advent of what is considered modern, international terrorism occurred on 22 July 1968. On that day three armed Palestinian terrorists, belonging to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of the six groups then comprising the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), hijacked an Israeli El Al commercial flight en route from Rome to Tel Aviv. Although commercial aircraft had been hijacked before (this was the twelfth such incident in 1968 alone), the El Al hijacking differed significantly from all previous ones. First, its purpose was not simply the diversion of a scheduled flight from one destination to another, such as had been happening since 1959 with a seemingly endless succession of homesick Cubans or sympathetic revolutionaries from other countries commandeering domestic American passenger aircraft simply as a means to travel to Cuba. This hijacking was a bold political statement. The terrorists who seized the El Al flight had done so with the express purpose of trading the passengers they held hostage for Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel. Second, unlike previous hijackings, where the origin or nationality of the aircraft that was being seized did not matter (as long as the plane itself was capable of transporting the hijacker(s) to a desired destination), El Al -- as Israel's national airline and by extension, therefore, a readily evident national 'symbol' of the Israeli state -- had been specifically and deliberately targeted by the terrorists. Third, by engineering a crisis where the consequences of a government ignoring or rejecting the terrorists' demands could prove catastrophic, leading to the destruction of the aircraft and

-67-

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Inside Terrorism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface 7
  • Abbreviations 11
  • 1 - Defining Terrorism 13
  • 2 - The Post-Colonial Era: Ethno-Nationalist/Separatist Terrorism 45
  • Conclusion 64
  • 3 - The Internationalization of Terrorism 67
  • Conclusion 84
  • 4 - Religion and Terrorism 87
  • Conclusion 127
  • 5 - Terrorism, the Media and Public Opinion 131
  • Conclusion 154
  • 6 - The Modern Terrorist Mindset: Tactics,Targets and Technologies 157
  • Conclusion 183
  • 7 - Terrorism Today and Tomorrow 185
  • Bibliography 248
  • Index 279
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