The Spectator

What motivates them?

What motivates them?
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So, how much—if at all—does the Israel/Palestine conflict ‘cause’ terrorism? Matt argued yesterday that it is a “great error” to think that there’s a “causal link between the growth of Islamism and the Middle East conflict.” To which, Anthony Barnett over at Our Kingdom responds:

“Of course there is a causal link between the growth of Islamism and the Middle East conflict. Even if Israeli policy had nothing to do with the origins of bin Ladinism, the latter’s appeal feeds off the continued violence and injustice of the Middle East.”

I doubt very much if any of the people involved in the various Islamist terror attacks we’ve seen these past few years would have been dissuaded by a Middle East peace deal. (Indeed, 9/11 was planned when the Israeli/Palestine issue was the closest it has ever been to a resolution.)  As Matt notes the “cosmic, theocratic scale of their ambition and the breadth of their grievance” means they won’t be brought off by anything less than the restoration of the caliphate, the elimination of Israel and the imposition of Islamic theocracy everywhere Muslims live. Considering this, it seems perverse to say—as Barnett does—that we shouldn’t use phrases such as “a fundamentalist battle over our very mode of existence”. What else is it, then?


This is not to say, though, that an Israel-Palestinian peace deal shouldn’t be deeply wished for on its own merits. It would also undercut one of Osama’s “wedge issues”. But it wouldn’t stop this current madness.