U.S. terrorism report praises Israel, blasts settler attacks

The State Department’s annual report on terrorism said Hamas and Hezbollah continued to destabilize the Middle East, described Israel as a “resolute” partner in counterterrorism and listed as “terrorist incidents” extremist settler attacks on Palestinians.

“Both Hamas and Hezbollah continued to play destabilizing roles in the Middle East,” said the executive summary of the report for 2011, which was released July 31.

The country report on Israel was unusually robust in its praise, for the first time describing Israel as a “resolute counterterrorism partner” and noting, for instance, Israel’s cooperation with the international community in tracking financing for terrorists.

The country report also unequivocally listed settler attacks on Palestinians as “terrorist incidents,” scrubbing distinctions in previous reports between “settler violence” and terrorism.

The report continued to list Kahane Chai, an extremist settler group, as a designated terrorist group, as well as five Palestinian groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and two affiliates of the Palestine Liberation Organiza-tion.

The report also listed the following four state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria. — jta