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“Another suicide bombing has taken place in Israel,” said the TV announcer. “But this isn’t just any suicide bomber. This time it is a young girl.” What? A girl in her teens, yet to blossom and venture into life, has put her soul at the mercy of God. (Aiat Al-Khras blew herself up to try to calm her anger and frustration and to lessen her own pain and that of her people by killing some Israeli soldiers and civilians.)
A girl? It boggles my mind that a girl my age has sacrificed her life. A girl – no offense at my going on and on that this was a girl – of course I’m into girl power and all that. But what would make her give up her life so definitely?
What were her motives? Were they hatred? Were they humiliation? Or did they spring from the need to prove a point? Is it a religious upbringing with promises of paradise in reward for acts of martyrdom? Is it the parental support she received for her convictions? Is it brainwashing, or rather encouragement from a Palestinian society with no other means of fighting back against oppression and humiliation from Israelis?
On April 6, 1994, 40 days after a Jewish terrorist shot dead 29 Palestinians praying in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, the first Palestinian suicide bomber struck in the Israeli town of Afula, killing nine.
Unlike the Japanese kamikaze, Palestinian suicide bombers are neither products of a passive and unquestioning obedience to political authority nor pressed into service against their will. Religious or ideological fervor appears to offer only a partial explanation. And from what is known about their personal backgrounds they are also not social misfits or clinical psychopaths.
Without exception, the suicide bombers have lived their lives on the receiving end of a system designed to trample their rights and crush every hope of a brighter future.
In the eyes of many Palestinians and others the Israeli occupation is virtually indistinguishable from South African apartheid. Confronted by a seemingly endless combination of death, destruction, restriction, harassment and humiliation, they conclude that ending life as a bomb – rather than having it ended by a bullet – endows them, even if only in their final moments, with a feeling of purpose and control previously considered out of reach. The resort to suicide bombings also has a technological aspect. Unlike Israel, the Palestinians possess neither tanks nor Apache helicopters.
Since the signing of the Oslo Agreements in 1993, Palestinian Resistance Movements have sent more than 70 suicide bombers on missions against Israeli targets. Here are some statistics:
47% of the suicide bombers have an academic education and an additional 29% have at least a high school education.
83% of the suicide bombers are single.
64% of the suicide bombers are between the ages 18-23; most of the rest are under 30.
68% of the suicide bombers have come from the Gaza Strip.
Most of the bombers are affiliated to the Resistant movements Hamas or Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian movements resemble the Lebanese Hezbollah in that they are acutely media-conscious and the timing and positioning of attacks are carefully considered to achieve the maximum public impact.
Such attacks are, according to analysts, planned meticulously, along the lines of a military operation. In some cases, support teams transport the bomber by van or car to the location minutes before the detonation. The explosives usually have a hand-pulled detonator rather than a button, because it is less likely to go off accidentally.
Recruits are picked out from Mosques, schools and religious institutions. They are likely to have shown particular dedication to the principles of Islam, and are singled out for deeper study.
Eventually, many of them will volunteer for a suicide mission, hoping for greater glory. They are sent out with just a day or two’s notice on how and where to blow themselves up. Faced with men who embrace their mission with such zeal, Israeli security forces will have to be extra vigilant to stop them.
The suicide bombers go forward to avenge, with a whole people blessing them and rejoicing at every Israeli killed, soldier or settler.
Suicide bombings forbidden in Islam? Well the “SUICIDE BOMBER” , carries out an operation called “AMALIYAT ISHTISH-HADIYA”, which in ARABIC means “a request for MARTYRDOM through self-sacrifice operations”. Here, the bomber is sacrificing his or her life, not out of despair and hopelessness, but out of the hope that he or she can LIBERATE the oppressed, and contribute to the DECAPITATION of OPPRESSION. This operation is carried out in the hope that they will make a difference to those whom they choose above themselves. This bomber affirms all this prior to undertaking the mission, in a ritual called the “NIYAT” or INTENTION. He only seeks God’s felicity and the liberation of his fellow beings. This type of activity contradicts the meaning of suicide as we know it, hence it can’t be called suicide. It should be called “self-sacrifice operations” or martyrdom operations.
The Israeli public is dumbfounded by this phenomenon. It cannot understand it, because it does not know (and perhaps does not want to know) what has happened in the Palestinian towns and villages. Only feeble echoes of what really happened have reached it. The obedient media suppress the information, or water it down so that the monster looks like a harmless pet.
Israeli generals look helplessly at a struggle they do not understand and make arrogant statements divorced from reality. Pronouncements like “We have intercepted attacks”, “We have taught them a lesson”, “We have destroyed the infrastructure of terrorism” show a lack of understanding of what they are doing. Far from “destroying the infrastructure of terrorism”, they have built a hothouse for rearing suicide-bombers.
When these women and men strike terror in the hearts of their oppressors, they are called “TERRORISTS” by the minority that have been TERRORISING or helping others TERRORISE the deprived majority. How ironic! To those that are being oppressed, these women and men are called “LIBERATORS” or “FREEDOM FIGHTERS” that die as MARTYRS, the most honourable and dignified of deaths. This is the only reward they seek.
If anyone motivates and controls Palestinian suicide bombers it is Ariel Sharon, not Yasser Arafat. Sharon repeatedly screams he is “at war.” Being at war means that extreme measures such as terrorism are tolerated, when these same measures would be intolerable in a non-war situation.
Palestinians are entitled to believe that giving their lives in the hope it will bring their country freedom is a noble pursuit and a great sacrifice. Few of us are capable of committing, or even understanding, such a sacrifice. It reflects desperation. But it should also be a warning for the west. As long as the west allows Israel to employ war tactics as a means of controlling the occupied area, the occupied people have a result to respond to war with war, and terror with terror.
Why is it so hard to believe that young Palestinians would sacrifice their lives to kill Israelis when they see Israelis killing their family and friends, and when they witness a brutal and endless Israeli occupation?
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