Missing from many contemporary analyses of the causes of terrorism is any mention of the role of U.S. foreign policy, an examination of which is seen by some critics as inherently unpatriotic. Even less attention is paid to the role of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Gerteiny, who has lived in the Middle East and has studied the region for more than four decades, does not shy away from such controversies. In this book, he discusses the seminal causes of contemporary transnational terrorism, particularly the grievances inherent in the persistent Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Gerteiny examines state and anti-state forms of terrorism, and he carefully distinguishes between terrorism carried out in pursuit of national liberation by the Palestinians and the theologically driven jihadism that feeds on it. He considers anti-Western Islamism as being reactive to a U.S. Middle East policy inordinately influenced by the Zionist lobby. He reflects on Muslim and Islamist world views and assesses the U.S. reaction to terrorism after 9/11, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Israel’s unchecked expansionism at the expense of Palestine and its suffocating grip over its population, carried out under the cover of U.S. protection, constitute ethnic cleansing in Gerteiny’s view. This, and the ill-conceived U.S. strategy in the Gulf region, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lack of communications with Syria and Iran are perceived by most Muslims as harbingers of an ongoing new crusade. They constitute the main pernicious elements upon which the wider-reaching vengeful Islamist theopolitical jihadism thrives, ultimately threatening the spread of democracy, the survival of Israel in the Middle East, and peaceful coexistence with the Muslim world.