“What struck one in reading Eichmann in Jerusalem . . .was the surging contempt with which she treated almost everyone and everything connected with the trial, the supreme assurance of the intellectual looking down upon those coarse Israelis.”
Memories of Hannah Arendt
Deporting Terrorists Could Do More Harm than Good
Last November, in response to an ongoing wave of attacks, the Israeli defense ministry announced that it was considering deporting terrorists, possibly along with their families, from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. Is this an effective deterrent? Contrasting the example of the 415 Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives whom Israel expelled to Lebanon in 1992 with other cases, Adam Hoffman suggests that the evidence is mixed:
Israel deported [these] activists from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in trucks to southern Lebanon, but Lebanon refused to accept them into its territory. As a result, they settled in a tent camp in Marj al-Zohour, [which] was controlled by Hizballah. The Shiite organization welcomed the deportees with open arms and [saw] an opportunity to forge connections with the Palestinian terrorist organizations. . . .
Hizballah trained the deportees, supplied them with food and equipment, taught them new fighting tactics, and upgraded their terrorism capabilities. It also taught [them] how to make the explosives and car bombs needed for suicide attacks—a terrorist tactic that was hitherto unique to Hizballah among Middle East terrorist organizations but that became a strategic weapon for Hamas after the Oslo Accords were signed. . . .
Before the deportation to Lebanon, Hamas, [as a Sunni organization], was averse to connections with Shiite Iran. However, according to Sakr Abu Fakher, a Lebanese researcher specializing in Palestinian politics, . . . the “psychological taboo against Shiism was broken in Marj al-Zohour, where the Palestinians came into close contact with Hizballah.” . . .
Despite the negative effects of deportation in these two cases, however, not every act of deportation necessarily leads to ideological extremism or to the improvement of terrorist capabilities among those deported. For example, most of the members of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade who barricaded themselves in the Church of the Nativity in 2002 and were deported to European countries and the Gaza Strip did not return to terrorist activity. . . . It appears that the effect of the deportation of terrorists depends mainly on the nature of the regime and the degree of governance in the country to which the terrorists are expelled.