So, let’s say that at least part of the point of the 9/11 attacks was to get the American people to focus on the plight of the Palestinians. I think we can support such a supposition by looking at bin-Laden’s 1998 Fatwa in which he made the following assertion:
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.
The al-Aqsa Mosque sits atop the ruins of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed by Vespasian and Titus in 70 CE. Because Muslims still control the Temple Mount, bin-Laden’s language was symbolic and meant that Jews would be expelled from East Jerusalem (at the very least). It’s important that Americans realize that al-Qaeda is trying to kill them (in part) because of our support for Israel and Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It has nothing to do with our freedoms. In any case, (via Yglesias) here is how bin-Laden’s message was received by the American people.
While bin-Laden did achieve his goal of expelling U.S. troops from the land of the two mosques (Mecca and Medina), he absolutely destroyed support for the Palestinians with the American people, whose support is crucial to getting American politicians to force Israel into making needed concessions. If the name of the game is to sway American public opinion, the Intifada and the Second Intifada (combined with 9/11) had the exact opposite effect, making the use of terrorism about the most counterproductive and pointless exercise imaginable.