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date: 31 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Treating modern terrorism discourse as an important political problem in the history of Western legal theorizing and national security policy, this chapter examines the impact of the end of the Cold War and September 11 on political debates on terrorism at the United Nations. Surveying the framing of Palestinian terrorism at the General Assembly and Security Council between the 1960s and late 2000s, it argues that the disavowal of the legitimacy of non-sovereign political violence at the end of the Cold War, and the association of political Islam with terrorism following September 11 have facilitated the discursive construction of a universal enemy in the image of the “Islamist terrorist.” The chapter shows that this discursive formation is laden with, and thus perpetuates, politically significant normative presumptions that are related to anxieties concerning sacrificial violence with which political Islam is widely associated.

Keywords: terrorism, suicide bombings, Islam, international law, United Nations, 9/11, Cold War, Palestine

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