In an October 2001 video, Osama bin Laden said, "We swore that America would not live in security until we live it truly in Palestine. This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America will not get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula, and until it stops its support of Israel." He was reiterating motives he and others have expressed for years.
Bin Laden issued a 1996 Fatwa titled "Declaration of War against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places (the Arabian Peninsula)." It said "the people of Islam had suffered from aggression, iniquity and injustice imposed on them by the Zionist-Crusaders alliance and their collaborators. ... their blood was spilled in Palestine and Iraq." And it said their wealth was looted and "in the hands of the enemies." In 1998, bin Laden and others issues another fatwa.
The 1998 Fatwa lists three "crimes and sins" which motive them to attack the United States:
- U.S. occupation of the Arabian Peninsula.
- U.S. aggression against the Iraqi people.
- U.S. support of Israel
- Plunders the resources of the Arabian Peninsula.
- Dictates policy to the rulers of those countries.
- Supports abusive regimes and monarchies in the Middle East, thereby oppressing their people.
- Has military bases and installations upon the Arabian Peninsula, which violates the Muslim holy land, in order to threaten neighboring Muslim countries.
- Intends thereby to create disunion between Muslim states, thus weakening them as a political force.
- Supports Israel, and wishes to divert international attention from (and tacitly maintain) the occupation of Palestine.
In a 2004 video, again acknowledging responsibility for the attacks, bin Laden states that he was motivated by Israel's actions in the 1982 Lebanon War, for which he held the U.S. responsible for supporting Israel. He says he started thinking about attacking the Twin Towers "after things had gone too far and we saw the injustice of the US-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon." In the video, bin Laden also claims that he wants to "restore freedom to our nation," to "punish the aggressor in kind." Bin Laden explains, "security is an indispensable pillar of human life and that free men do not forfeit their security, contrary to Bush's claim that we hate freedom" and "even though we are in the fourth year after the events of September 11th, Bush is still engaged in distortion, deception and hiding from you the real causes." As noted above, Bin Laden has said the attacks will continue until specific foreign policies are ended, "We swore that America would not live in security until we live it truly in Palestine. This showed the reality of America, which puts Israel's interest above its own people's interest. America will not get out of this crisis until it gets out of the Arabian Peninsula, and until it stops its support of Israel."
"Bin Laden had been pressuring KSM (Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) for months to advance the attack date. According to KSM, bin Laden had even asked that the attacks occur as early as mid-2000, after Israeli opposition party leader Ariel Sharon caused an outcry in the Middle East by visiting a sensitive and contested holy site in Jerusalem that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews. Although bin Laden recognized that Atta and the other pilots had only just arrived in the United States to begin their flight training, the al-Qaida leader wanted to punish the United States for supporting Israel. He allegedly told KSM it would be sufficient simply to down the planes and not hit specific targets. KSM withstood this pressure, arguing that the operation would not be successful unless the pilots were fully trained and the hijacking teams were larger." Philip Zelikow's testimony before the 9/11 Commission
The 9/11 Commission Report determined that the animosity towards the United States felt by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the "principal architect" of the 9/11 attacks, stemmed "not from his experiences there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel." The same motivation was shared by the two pilots, Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, who flew into the WTC: Atta was described by Ralph Bodenstein—who traveled, worked and talked with him, as "most imbued actually about... U.S. protection of these Israeli politics in the region." "When someone asked why he and Atta never laughed, Shehhi retorted,"How can you laugh when people are dying in Palestine?" - 9/11 Report Abdulaziz al-Omari, a hijacker aboard Flight 11 with Mohammed Atta, said in his video will, "My work is a message those who heard me and to all those who saw me at the same time it is a message to the infidels that you should leave the Arabian peninsula defeated and stop giving a hand of help to the coward Jews in Palestine." - Guardian
The Bush Administration and Others Lie About Motives
The Bush administration insists that Al-Qaeda was motivated by hatred of the freedom, democracy and civil liberties exemplified by the United States. In a speech in 2001, President Bush lied, "They hate what we see right here in this chamber - a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." Responding to Bush's claim that they hate freedom, Bin Laden said "the Mujahideen saw the black gang of thugs in the White House hiding the Truth, and their stupid and foolish leader, who is elected and supported by his people, denying reality and proclaiming that we (the Mujahideen) were striking them because we were jealous of them (the Americans), whereas the reality is that we are striking them because of their evil and injustice in the whole of the Islamic World, especially in Iraq and Palestine and their occupation of the Land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries, " in his Feb. 14, 2003 tape. Bin Laden remarked in 2004, "Let him tell us why we did not strike Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have proud souls, like the souls of the 19 people [killed while perpetrating the 11 September 2001 attacks], may God have mercy on them. We fought you because we are free and do not accept injustice. We want to restore freedom to our nation. Just as you waste our security, we will waste your security. "
Former CIA Bin Laden Unit Chief Michael Scheuer has bluntly stated that politicians are lying to the American people about the terrorists' motives, "The politicians really are at great fault for not squaring with the American people. We're being attacked for what we do in the Islamic world, not for who we are or what we believe in or how we live. And there's a huge burden of guilt to be laid at Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton, both parties for simply lying to the American people." - Lou Dobbs CNN
During the 9/11 Commission hearings, Vice Chair Lee Hamilton asked, "What motivated them to do it?" FBI Special Agent James Fitzgerald answered, "I believe they feel a sense of outrage against the United States. They identify with the Palestinian problem, they identify with people who oppose repressive regimes, and I believe they tend to focus their anger on the United States." - 9/11 Commission testimony
Also see Exposing the fact that politicians and pundits are lying about "why they hate us."