BURNING FLOWERS, BURNING DREAMS
CONSEQUENCES OF SUICIDE BOMBINGS
ON CIVILIANS IN ISRAEL 2000-2005
"The Long Trail of Blood" – Examples
|April 1983 – LEBANON
A car bomb at American Embassy in
Beirut kills 63.
| November 2003 - TURKEY
String of suicide car bombs kills 62 & wounds
700 in Synagogues, consulate and bank.
|February 1993 – UNITED STATES
Truck bomb in parking lot of World Trade Center kills six.
| November 2003 - KENYA
Car bomb at coastal Paradise Hotel kills 13.
|June 1996 – SAUDI ARABIA
Fuel truck bomb kills 19 people.
| March 2004 – SPAIN
13 knapsacks detonated on 4 commuter trains
kill 191 and wound 1,500.
|August 1998–KENYA & TANZANIA
Two car bombs at American Embassies in Nairobi & Dar as Salaam kill 224.
| April 2005 – EGYPT
Triple bombings in Dahab kill 34, wound 70.
|September 11 2001–UNITED STATES
Terror attacks in New York & the Pentagon kill 3000.
| July 2005 UNITED KINGDOM
Four bombers on rush-hour subway kill 52 and wound 700.
|October 2002 – IRAQ
Suicide car bomb at UN headquarters. Kills 63 holidaymakers.
| November 2005 - JORDAN
In Amman 4 bombers kill 57 people in three hotels.
|October 2002 – INDONESIA
Suicide car bomb at UN headquarters. Kills 3 and wounds 86.
| December 2005 - EGYPT
At Sharm-al-Sheikh resort bombers kill 63 holidaymakers.
|May 2003 –SAUDI ARABIA
Three suicide bombings in housing compound for westerners kill 29.
| April 2006 - EGYPT
Bomber hits car carrying peacekeepers in Sinai
|Sources: Los Angeles Times: “Al-Qaeda Strikes Again” quoted in the Jerusalem Post, 16 May 2003, plus other sources|
OTHER SUICIDE ATTACKS 2002-2004
In October 2002, civilians were terrorized in the siege of a Moscow theatre in Russia and 800 people held
hostage by Chechen rebels. Women terrorists with explosive belts strapped to their waists took part in the raid. After four days of siege, Russian special forces stormed the building after flooding the theater with an aerosol version of a powerful painkiller. One hundred and twenty-nine hostages died along with the forty-one terrorists. Some hostages were diabetics, needing treatment - but unable to get it. Some were epileptics. Some were already bloodied by terrorists who reportedly declaimed, "We love death as much as you love life."
In May 2003, simultaneous strikes on three foreign housing compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,
carried out by 15 Saudi terrorists killed 35 and wounded 150, including 7 Americans. Those behind the car bombings were part of an Al Qaeda cell which had at least 50-60 members and was formed in the kingdom after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. According to Intelligence officials, hundred Qaeda fighters were told to flee Afghanistan to their home countries and to target American, Jewish and other Western interests independently. "The Riyadh explosions were similar to other bombings in Tunisia, Pakistan and Indonesia as well as deadly shootings in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Jordan and the Philippines all of which have been linked to Al Quaeda or local allies.' (Washington Post and Associated Press contributions printed in the Jerusalem Post 15 May 2003).
On 14 May 2003, a suicide bombing in the Russian Republic of Chechnya killed between 14 - 30 people and wounded 150. Thousands of people had gathered to mark the birth of the Prophet Mohammed "The attack by suicide bombers appeared to target the republic's pro-Kremlin leaders, officials in Chechnya said. The attack occurred around 3 pm in a village about 30 kilometres east of the Chechen capital Grozny. It came two days after a truck bombing in a town on the other side of the republic which killed 59 people. Some politicians had begun to refer to the 'Palestinization' of the war because of the suicide bombers and the inability of Russian military and police forces to stop them. The force of the blast scattered flesh and bones across a field outside the religious shrine. The explosives had been hidden either in a belt or in a video camera (Lee Meyers.S, 2003).
In May 2003, suicide attacks also left 41 people dead and 10 people wounded in Morocco. The thirteen
attackers were killed along with 28 other people, including three French nationals, two Spaniards and an
Italian. The Friday night blasts damaged the Casa de Espana, a popular Spanish restaurant, a Jewish
community centre, its cemetery, and a hotel. The fifth attack damaged the Belgian consulate, which faces a Jewish-owned restaurant. "The government said most attackers were from a shanty town known as a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, all were Moroccan and had spent time abroad before returning to Morocco" (Keaten. J 2003).
The attack had begun in savage fashion: "the doorman, poor thing, they cut his head off with a big knife...then they left one, two bombs," said an official at the Casa Espana club (Reuters in Haaretz, 18 May 2003).
In August 2002, a suicide car bombing at UN headquarters in Baghdad killed
twenty-three people and wounding eighty-six. A workforce of three hundred was employed in the
headquarters. Eighty-six UN staffers were seriously wounded. Among those killed was the UN's chief envoy
to Iraq, Siergio Viera de Mello. On 8 October 2003, a suicide car bomb in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killed 17
people, including foreign workers. In November 2003, a string of suicide car attacks in Turkey killed 62 and
wounded 700 people in two synagogues, a British consulate building and a London-based bank.
Suicide bombings are savage actions targeting unarmed civilians. But, in this era of 'terror' there is additional savagery being directed against civilians. Witness the hostage taking and beheadings in Iraq. This is a form of torture preceding death. Recent reliable website reports indicate that electric drills have been used by insurgents in Iraq to penetrate the joints of captives preceding their murder.
Beheadings — A form of torture preceding death
|It is said that thirty-five years ago, when the radical leader Juayman seized the grand Mosque in
Mecca, the response (by the authorities) was fairly direct. Lop off their heads. Nearly 70 plotters were
ultimately beheaded (MacFarquhar 2003, "A Bombing Shatters the Saudi Art of Self Denial" The New
York Times 18 May 2003). During the present Iraq war, television and Internet viewers have watched
with revulsion grisly video footage of human beings in the process of being beheaded. What really
happens when a person is beheaded? Is he/she blindfolded? Are they aware that their last moment
has arrived? Are they bound hand and foot and lain on the floor or sitting? Is their beheading
accomplished with one blow of a sharp sword – or is their hair jerked backward so that a knife can be
sliced through their necks, as blood spurts from their life-sustaining carotid arteries? But the knife
cannot slice through their vertebral columns. Do the murders hack away until the head drops onto the
floor? What does the victim think, what does he/she feel? They can do nothing. There are no
international rules governing this type of sub-human behaviour. It has been reported that in some
countries viewers have actually danced for joy at such scenes.
What century are we living in – or have we regressed by thousands of years?
On 28 November 2003, a suicide car bomb packed with explosives plowed into the Paradise Hotel, 20
kilometres north of Mombasa on Kenya's Indian coast killing eleven Kenyans and three Israeli tourists.
Minutes before the bombing unidentified assailants fired two missiles which narrowly missed an Israeli
charter plane just taking off at Mombasa airport to return to Tel Aviv.
In January 2004, a suicide bomber in an explosive-laden truck detonated outside the headquarters of the US-led coalition in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 20 people and wounding 60, most Iraqi civilians. Several of the
wounded squatted helplessly on the ground, while some, shocked and weeping, were comforted by
bystanders. Suicide attacks became an almost daily occurrence in Iraq. The next bombing of civilians was
not a suicide attack, but its ferocity and brutality against unarmed civilians justifies its place in this
chronology of terror.
On 11 March 2004, thirteen knapsacks loaded with dynamite were placed on four
commuter trains converging on Atocha station in downtown Madrid. Ten of the knapsacks exploded,
detonated by signals from cell phones. One hundred and ninety-one people were killed and 1500 wounded.
Spaniards dubbed the event "3/11." Islamic militants, mostly from Morocco and other North African
countries, claimed responsibility for the attack in the name of Al-Qaeda.
On 21 April 2004, in Saudi Arabia, an explosion set off by a suicide car bomber ripped through the headquarters of Saudi Arabia's police force
in Riyadh, killing at least 9 people. Estimates of the number of wounded varied from 60 to 125. "The
explosion resulted from two car bombs that were parked about 50 feet from the building. The force of the
explosion was felt by residents more than three miles away" (Neilan, Car Bombs Hit Saudi Police Target:
Blasts Also Take a Heavy Toll in Iraq, International Herald Tribune, 22 April 2004).
In September 2004, the world watched in horror as suicide bombers in Beslan, a small town in the Russian Republic of North Ossetia, invaded a school and took it hostage on the first day of the new school year, usually a happy day when children bring balloons and flowers to give to their teachers..
"Half-naked children, some burned or wounded, streamed out of the school."
|"On 1 September 2004, parents and children had gathered in the pleasant courtyard of school number
1, an imposing century-old building...They were just lining up in the schoolyard when terrorists,
heavily armed and wearing black ski-masks and camouflage, stormed in. 'This is a seizure!' they
shouted as terrified children tried to flee; a lucky few hid behind boilers and got away. The rest were
herded into the gym; the rebels mounted a room-by-room search of the school and brought stragglers
back... There was utter panic in the gym. One of the parents tried to calm people down, and a guerilla
put his assault rifle to the man's head and killed him...Two of the terrorists were women wearing
explosive 'martyrs' belts'...To avoid being overwhelmed by narcotic gas like their comrades in the
October 2002 Moscow theatre siege – in which 41 Chechen terrorists and 129 hostages died – the
(terrorists) quickly smashed the school's windows.
That made the (terrorists) very nervous. From the bombs came tangled wires snaking through the tight
The terrorizing and torture of children in Beslan moved the phenomenon of suicide bombing into a new
phase. If the siege of Beslan was not a wake-up call to the world, maybe nothing else would be. What are countries doing to try to protect their civilians from suicidal madness?
By March 2003, it was reported that at least 40 cases were pending in Israel, the USA and Europe, mostly against the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization and its affiliated groups, and other Palestinian terrorist organizations. They were based on the contention that PA security forces and Arafat were personally involved in planning, financing and executing terrorist activities, and that terrorist activities carried out by the Islamic Jihad or Hamas were acting as part of the PA's policy of making systematic use of violence against innocent civilians. At least two cases have been filed against the European Union charging that it's economic assistance indirectly aided and abetted terrorism.
"We want to prove to the world that children in the Palestinian authority are taught to kill and destroy Jews and that is
how I lost my mother" says Devorah Stein whose mother was killed in the 2002 suicide bombing attack at
Passover in the coastal town of Netanya. "The cases are all part of a new worldwide trend of terrorism law...
Since the Oslo Accords Israel has collected sums of money in taxes, customs duties, and VAT for the PA
and routinely transferred them to the PA. But since September 2000 Israel has withheld most of these funds, reportedly totaling about 400 million shekels (approximately 93 million US$). The cases gained momentum when the Israeli Attorney General issued a legal opinion that the PA does not enjoy the 'sovereign immunity' that prevents individuals from suing foreign governments for damages incurred in acts of war. They received a further push in 2002 when a Jerusalem District Court judge placed a pre-emptive lien on the monies owed by Israel to the PA, ensuring that, if the PA is found responsible, there will be PA assets available for compensation...The criminal proceedings in Belgium against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and other Israelis paradoxically opened up new opportunities to pursue criminal accusations against the Palestinians." (Prince-Gibson. E ,2003).
NEW FIELD OF TERRORISM LAW
The Israeli bus company Egged filed an 11-million-dollar lawsuit against the PA and Arafat for damages
and losses of revenue, as did an association of hotels and hotel owners. None of these cases had been
decided by March 2003 and no compensation or damages had been awarded. Several judges placed
temporary liens on the monies Israel owed the PA. In the Jerusalem District Court, the presiding judge
grouped many cases together and put them on hold pending preliminary decisions regarding the use of these monies.
"In most cases, the PA presented mostly formalistic defences, including contentions of sovereign
immunity, that Israeli courts have no jurisdiction in these matters, and that Israel is illegally withholding the monies from the PA. Victims and their family members with American citizenship are using another
strategy – they are going after the PA in the United States. Last fall a federal court declared that the PA
cannot claim sovereign immunity in the USA, an important landmark for these cases. Others have gone after the organizations that support terror, drawing on precedents in American law.
The USA holds at least 3.7 billion dollars in frozen assets of countries including Iran, Iraq, and Libya. One family whose daughter was killed in April 1995 in a terrorist explosion was awarded (financial compensation) and seven other American families who won similar judgments were jointly awarded $213 million. Others are testing whether the US federal law can be used to sue individuals or groups that allegedly provide financial support for terrorism by funding charitable contributions to terrorist groups that also run clinics and other social services.
Some believe that the Europeans should bear responsibility for terror too... Attorney Roland Roth has filed a suit in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the name of the victims of the Passover 2002 attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya... In 2003, in Paris, in the name of six plaintiffs with French citizenship, a petition was filed with the Dean of the Investigating Judges of the Tribunal of Paris against Arafat for crimes against humanity, grave violations of humanitarian law, genocide, murder and slaughter.
Representing more than a dozen survivors and victims' families, and backed by the Israel Terrorist Victims Association, a Jerusalem
attorney has filed a petition in Belgium, requesting an Investigating Judge to begin criminal proceedings
against Arafat and the PLO based on the precedents of the proceedings against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon" (Prince-Gibson, 2003).
The St. Petersburg Declaration of 1868 banned the use of bullets that explode on impact with the human
body, based on the legal notion of "superfluous injury or unnecessary suffering". In the 1890s, concern
mounted about the effects on human beings of other bullets, including British "Dumdum" bullets. This
concern opened a debate about how much injury civilized nations should inflict on their enemies. As a
result, in the Hague Declaration of 1899, the contracting parties agreed "to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core or is pierced with incisions. Since then, all military bullets have been covered by a full metal jacket, an example of successful international legislation"(Coupland 1999). As a bullet passes along its track in the body, it lacerates and damages surrounding tissues. The use of the bayonet and poisoned gas have also been banned.
How are wounds inflicted on civilians by suicide bombers classified in relation to the standard Red Cross
Wound Classification system? For example, is an estimation made of: the maximum diameter of the entry wound in centimetres; the maximum diameter of the exit wound in centimetres; whether the wound can take two fingers before surgery; whether there is a fracture; whether vital structures are involved like brain, viscera, major blood vessels; and whether bullets or bullet fragments are visible on radiography? (For bullets read shrapnel, for nails read screws and metal balls, as used by suicide bombers against Israeli civilians.)
Is it not time that the use of lethal weapons against unarmed civilians, such as suicide bombs, should also be prohibited? Will the UN, the International Court of Justice in The Hague or governments acting jointly take the necessary steps to outlaw suicide bombings? There has been a broad acclamation of acts of terror by many leading Islamic authorities. People who consider themselves religious perform those acts and many others of different cultural backgrounds who consider themselves religious condone them.
The UN Charter requires the equal rights of nations large and small, and UN credibility is dependent on
adherence to the Charter and equal participatory rights of every UN member state. In 2003, it was reported, "Israel was the only UN state which was in the degrading and debilitating situation of having to rely on other governments to pass it second-hand information about what is going on at the diplomatic level prior to public meetings of the UN Commission on Human Rights on any subject whatsoever." In other words, Israel was the only UN member state which could not participate in the substantive strategic and information-sharing sessions that take place in the regional group context of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The United Nations is divided informally into five regional groups. The regional groups are geographic except for one, Western European and Other Group (WEOG) with 28 member states. Israel geographically belongs to the Asia regional group, but the large number of Moslem and Arab states barred Israel's admission to the Asian group. Israel belongs in WEOG in terms of its democratic charter and common interests and values.
However, there was a caveat to Israel's participation in WEOG. Israel could not stand for election as a
WEOG member until May 2002, and it could only participate in WEOG in connection with UN bodies, such
as the Commission on Human Rights, elected in New York (Bayefsky 2003). As of March 2005 Israel can
participate in WEOG in the UN New York office only, not in WEOG meetings in Geneva or Vienna. Why
does the UN devote more resolutions to human rights abuses in Israel than to abuses in all other nations
More UN resolutions on human rights abuses in Israel than in all other UN nations combined The exclusion of Israel from the WEOG regional group meetings at the Commission of Human Rights is a violation of the UN Charter itself. The Commission on Human Rights has spent approximately 11% of its total substantive meeting time over 30 years on Israel alone, and approximately 25% of its critical country-specific resolutions over 3 years on Israel alone. In other words, the Commission spends more time discussing Israel and more time criticizing Israel than any other state. In comparison, for example, there has been a Commission resolution on states such as Syria or China. It's a gross violation of any semblance of democratic governance or fair procedural practice, that equal participatory rights are denied the very state which is the subject of such targeted attention.
The Holy See is a so-called non-member state with observer status in the UN. The Holy See is permitted to attend WEOG meetings during the Commission - even though it is not a UN member - while Israel, a UN member is refused admittance. Palestine has observer status in the UN. It is permitted to participate in the Asian regional group meetings at the Commission on Human Rights, while Israel, a UN member state is excluding from any regional group meeting (Bayefsky 2003).
The Durban Anti-Racism Conference held in September 2001 marked a major step in the campaign
to delegitimize Israel and promote anti-Semitism. While the US government had the moral fortitude to walk out, other groups stayed on and joined the process.
While Human Rights Watch did produce a report in 2002 which focused on suicide bombing attacks against civilians in Israel, many other humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations were either silent or appeared to acquiesce to those who sent the bombers. Back in 2002, an Israeli analyst considered, "The real humanitarian tragedy is that the number of individuals and agencies qualified to deliver aid (in PA areas) without engaging in destructive propaganda is very small. Many of the non-government organizations and aid agencies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, are tainted by their support of anti-Israel political agendas. UN agencies in general, and UNRWA in particular, provide poignant examples of this catastrophic situation.
In the 52 years of its 'temporary' existence, UNRWA has become part of the problem rather than providing a solution. In addition to the humanitarian aid, including food, health, education, housing and other services, UNRWA has also become a central component in the Palestinian political structure. UNRWA is allowed to operate in the refugee camps as long as it cooperates with the political 'rules of the road' determined by the gunmen, thugs and terrorists from Fatah, Hamas and other militias.
In UNRWA-operated schools the texts of anti-Israeli incitement and rejectionism are part of the standard curriculum. UNRWA facilities have been routinely used as ware-houses for weapons storage and for bomb-making factories. UNRWA director Peter Hansen once stumbled through an interview with the BBC's Tim Sebastian in Hardtalk, unable to dispute the evidence. Any director who would not have been willing to do Arafat's bidding would have been forced out long ago" (Steinberg. G 2002).
As a suicide bomber detonates amid families enjoying their lunch he screams "Allah Hu Akbar!". He or she invokes the Almighty as an act of mass murder of unarmed civilians is committed. The world - or at least those parts of it committed to reversing such abominations - watches, and hears this invocation.
What are the terrorists doing to the image of God? What spiritual wounds will remain and how will they be healed? In an
era of spiritual terror where is the monotheistic world heading? The bloodied 'doves of peace' lie comatose
on the floor of their cage of delusions. Only the raucous carrion crows wheel above in the darkening skies.
The gangrenous horror of spiritual decay is becoming daily more evident. But can the still breathing spiritual body not yet so contaminated begin to reverse the stench and visions of spiritual decay? Of all the horrors of war the entwining of the Almighty with the Powers of Darkness is the most tragic. That is why those who cling to a God of love and hope, of peace and healing, have to fight - and have to win.
In January 2004, a multinational delegation of 29 Catholic bishops, priests and lay leaders visited Israel on their fifth annual mission to the Holy Land to see for themselves the conditions under which Christians of all denominations are living. The Roman Catholic Latin Patriarch recalled the declaration against violence signed by an earlier interfaith group in Alexandria, Egypt, and said that in doing so Christian and Muslim religious leaders had not really asked themselves why their two peoples are at war. "The Israelis will say terrorism, and the Palestinian Muslims and Christians will say occupation. So we have to ask ourselves what do we say about terrorism and occupation. As religious leaders we have to say no to occupation and no to terrorism. We have to tell the political leaders that terrorism is wrong and that occupation is wrong" (Cashman 2004).
The Latin Patriarch cited the Pope who had said terrorism should be fought in every way,
but so should the root causes of terrorism, and that one of the root cause of terrorism is occupation.
Declaring the Catholic leaders to be as sensitive to the suffering of the Israeli people as to that of the
Palestinians, the Latin Patriarch suggested that if the sufferings of occupation were to be eased somewhat, it
would pave the way for the Israeli and Palestinian governments to take a common position against violence
thus conveying a message to both their peoples that they sincerely want peace. He pledged that he and his colleagues would continue to fight for Israelis to live in security, but they wanted the same for the
Palestinians. If the 'occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip is often referred to as one of the smoldering resentments of the Palestinian people that produces suicide bombers, the other is the "right of the return of refugees".
One of the major complications in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is different interpretations of the same
historical events. An Israeli analyst considered in 2003 that "This acts as a swamp, undermining any
negotiations, because there is no firm and jointly understood historical base from which to hold discussions" (Honig 2003).
This phenomenon has been apparent for some time. For example, in 1936 a rumor spread in
Tel Aviv that four Arabs had been killed and their remains taken to a local hospital. Thousands of Arabs
converged on the British Mandatory Headquarters' hospital. A delegation was shown around the hospital to
prove no bodies were there. But the spreaders of the rumors continued to insist that maybe the police had
hidden the corpses. " Thus started the great, three year Arab revolt that cost thousands of lives and
paradoxically fortified the embryonic Jewish state which would be born a dozen years later The Arab
aggression against the Jews was based on an outright lie, but no-one sought the truth. The lie, if believed, becomes reality. Fraudulent reality then takes on a life of its own. If nurtured, it grows, multiplies and becomes an axiomatic premise for a searing sense of injustice and inflamed passions. The lie that binds.
Spurious grievances confine and scourge those they ensnare. The Arabs were the victims of their own revolt. They murdered their own brethren and ruined their own economy. It was a self-produced disaster, a precursor of the greater one which would follow the onslaught by seven Arab states on the day-old Israel. The Jewish state would be blamed for surviving and would fill its thwarted would-be destroyers with yet more frustration and festering rage. Instead of abating, genocidal hate would intensify and magnify for 55 years" (Honig 2003). Another example illustrates further complications of historical interpretation.
The issue of the 'right of return' for Palestinian refugees is frequently quoted as a factor motivating suicide bombers. There are various perspectives regarding the issue of the return of Palestinian refugees. An estimated 1.2 million Arabs lived west of the Jordan river in 1948, and some 600.000 stayed put during the 1948 War of Independence, as did 140,000 Arabs living inside what became the state of Israel.
When claims are made of the 'forceful and illegal expulsion in 1948 by Jews of 900,000 Palestinian refugees' (The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, 2003), and that there are today five million Palestinian refugees in the world - the statistics do not appear to correlate with the facts. " Not even all recognized refugees in 1948 were bona fide Palestinians. UNRWA conferred refugee status on any transient Arab worker (to Mandatory Palestine) from anywhere in the Middle East who said he was employed there between 1946-48. Laborers had been attracted from far flung corners of the Arab world by Jewish-generated 'prosperity', and were particularly numerous on the coastal plain, from which most refugees fled.
Moreover, Palestinian refugees are indistinguishable from their kin in the three-fourths of
Palestine that became Transjordan in 1922, and then Jordan. Elastic estimates assume that no refugee ever
died or emigrated... there will be no peace until an Arab leader dares to tell his people that they have been
brainwashed for more than a century, victimized by lies, rather than by Jewish injustice (Honig. S 2003).
It is noteworthy that the foreign correspondents at the time wrote about the flight of Arab refugees but did not suggest it was involuntary. Monsignor George Hakim, then Greek Catholic bishop of Galilee, the leading Christian personality in Palestine for many years, told a Beirut newspaper Sada al-Janub in the summer of 1948, "The refugees were confident that their absence would not last long, and that they would return within a week or two. Their leaders had promised them that the Arab armies would crush the 'Zionist gangs' very quickly, and that there was no need for panic or fear of a long exile. ..When four months after the invasion, the prospect of the flightlings' return 'in a few weeks' had faded, there were some recriminations." (Honig.S 2003)
Emil Ghoury, a member of the Palestinian Arabs' national leadership said in an interview with Beirut's Daily Telegraph, "The fact that there are those refugees is the direct consequence of the action of the Arab states in opposing partition of the Jewish state. One of the Arabs who fled later succinctly summarized the story in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Difaa 'The Arab governments told us to 'get out so that we can get in. So we got out - but they did not get in'...
Later, after the fighting began many Arab villagers who believed the false rumours of a massacre at the village of Deir Yassin panicked and fled before they were threatened by the progress of the war...
The total number of Arabs who evacuated, even according to the British Mandate's
statistics could not have been more than 420,000. This figure conforms roughly also to the figure published
from Arab sources and by the UN.. .As soon as the UN Disaster Relief Organization started providing food,
shelter, clothing and medical attention to the Arabs who had fled Palestine, a mass of (other) needy Arabs
descended on the camps from all over the Arab states. The organization had no machinery for identification,
so the arrivals simply signed the register as refugees and received free aid. Already in December 1948 it was
reported the organization was feeding 750,000 refugees. By July 1949 the UN reported around a million.
The Red Cross International Committee joined the party. It pressed for the recognition of any destitute Arab in Palestine as a refugee. Thus about 100,000 were added to the list
So, we have in the third generation a large amorphous mass of Arabs, all of them comfortably lumped together in UN lists as Arab refugees, and
described as 'victims of Israeli aggression' and demanding 'the right to return'". (Katz. S 2003). An Israeli
analyst considered in 2003 that "any Israeli consent to take in even a fraction of those refugees would break
the wall of Israeli refusal and open the way, under added Western and Arab pressure, for more and more,
until Israel sinks under the flood of refugees" (Israeli 2003).
For Israeli civilians the 'right of return' of millions of refugees is a non-starter. The tiny country is already
short of land, and space for the existing population. It is also difficult to understand why the refugees would not want to move to a newly created independent Palestinian state, and dream new dreams, rather than live inside the neighboring state of Israel, regarded as an enemy for more than half a century. Palestinians have been systematically educated in a flagrant campaign of hatred against the state of Israel from childhood.
What kind of citizens would they make of a state they love to hate?
A Palestinian specialist in conflict resolution provided some insight into the Palestinian viewpoint. " I have been asked many times what I think of the right of return. Usually I avoid answering because I do not want to stir controversy or misunderstanding among my people. Until recently I was more exposed to the Jewish story, their fear of extinction, their concern over the demographic problem in the country, and their opposition to the right of return into the state of Israel. On the other hand I do not have much contact with Palestinian refugees to hear their stories personally rather than through television or the press. I do not want to be judgmental. Like others I thought the problem was solvable with reparations. I accepted Israel's difficulty in absorbing the refugees from Jordan and Lebanon and Scandinavia. The right of return is the result of the migration or mass exile of 1948. Historians may argue among themselves whether people fled or simply left, but there is only one thing that cannot be argued and that is that there are more than 5 million Palestinians defined as refugees and they will not be able to return to their homeland despite Resolution 194 unless there is an overall political settlement.
The possible solution, according to the Palestinian leadership, and from things heard among the refugees themselves or on the Palestinian street in the territories is that the Palestinian refugees would first of all demand that Israel recognize the refugees' right of return and then take responsibility for the injustice it caused the refugees for more than 50 years of exile.
Most of the refugees will prefer not to realize the right of return because they will not want to live under Israeli sovereignty, and actually the dream of returning to their villages with their keys will be abandoned. Just a few hundreds of thousands of refugees will want to return to the Galilee, and those are the Lebanese refugees, who have a real problem, who do not have citizenship of any country and have no civil rights in Lebanon. It is a matter of souls, of dreams, of memories and longings to return to the same garden with the fig trees and pomegranates and savory herbs. And the need to realize a human existential right of the first order, which is to live in a home that provides shelter and dignity. This may be their right by law, but before the law is the human need, something to which all of us can relate" (Massarwi. K 2003)
"The renowned UN Security Council resolution 242 of November 1967, which has become the sacrosanct
point of reference of any 'peace process' from Madrid, Oslo, and into the latest road map, speaks not of a Palestinian state and not of the Palestinian people, but merely of settling the 'refugee problem' in the Middle East, both Arab and Jewish refugees. That did not envisage the return of the Arabs to Israel, much less the return of the roughly equal numbers of Jewish refugees to their Arab countries of origin.
It did however envisage permanent settlement of the refugees of each side in their respective new countries, without any
'right of return; and certainly any right to statehood for any of them. ...Peace was certainly (after Oslo) and
still is, possible in less than five minutes, if we make the same territorial concessions that (Prime Minister)
Barak did (in 2000) and we top them with our consent to the right of return, which means the entry into
Israel if some 4.5 million Palestinians who together with the Arabs of Israel (1.2 million) will instantly
achieve their goal of turning Israel into a third Palestinian state, after their statehood has been attained in the
territories and after the take over of Eastern Palestine, now called Jordan, where they already constitute a
two-thirds majority. In the Palestinian scheme then, there is room for three Palestinian entities, later to be
merged into Greater Palestine, but the Jews - to whom the Palestinian charter denies statehood (article 20)
would remain stateless and would have to submit once again to Dhimmitude'... why should Israel accede, of
its own volition, to simply vanish for the sake of peace" (Israeli, R 2003).
For Israeli civilians there has also been 'occupation', the occupation of Israeli buses, restaurants, shopping malls, hotels, by suicide bombers. The present conflict is not about terrorism or occupation, it is about survival - and there is nothing between survival and annihilation. On some maps in the Middle East Israel has already been erased. Such visual images are indelibly imprinted on the minds of Israeli civilians.
"In 1948 when the State of Israel was declared there was an estimated 870,000 Jews in Arab countries. By 1976, a generation later, this most ancient Diaspora of the Jewish people had virtually disappeared. Only about 20,000 remain, mostly in North Africa. Of these refugees (from Arab lands) some 200,000 opted for the Americas and other western countries. The majority emigrated to Israel where today they and their progeny comprise nearly 45% of the population" (Hillel Shulewitz. M. 2000). Israel was a major place of refuge for Jewish refugees, fleeing persecution in Arab countries.
In an International Herald Tribune article in 2002, Terje Roed-Larsen the U.N. Undersecretary -General's
special envoy to the Middle East recalled the atmosphere of hope which had surrounded the Oslo talks, but he never mentioned that "it was Arafat's refusal at Camp David, and later at Taba, to accept the Clinton-Barak proposals that doomed Oslo. For those who have forgotten: had Arafat accepted these proposals, he would have come back from the negotiations as president of an internationally recognized Palestinian state, with around 95% of the territories reverting to Palestinian control, with dozens of Israeli settlements dismantled and with Jerusalem re-divided with its Arab part the capital of an independent state of Palestine.
Roed-Larsen said only that both sides deviated from the Oslo principles, Israel expanded the occupation and built new settlements while Palestinian groups resorted to terror. Such sanitized language is not only a falsification of the historical record but also assumes a moral equivalency between new settlements and suicide bombings. Anyone who compares settlement activities to suicide bombings is a moral cripple. One can understand the moral sensibilities of a person of Roed-Larsen's stature for the plight of the Palestinians and there are a lot of issues on which Israel can be criticized" (Avineri 2002).
A report by the World Health Organization in 2002 considered that the roots of violent conflict are generally deep and may be the result of long-standing tensions between groups. (W.H.O 2002) A feature of some contemporary violent conflict, particularly the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, is the use of suicidal strategies.
How are civilians worldwide coping with exposure to suicide bombings and suicide attacks? Is there a
difference between Israeli civilians bombed by suicide bombers and Russian, Spanish, Iraqi civilians
bombed by suicide bombers? The consequences on civilians may be broadly the same, but there may be
subtle differences in the ways civilians and their societies perceive those who perpetrated the bombings and those who dispatched the bombers. For example, are Russian, Spanish and Iraqi civilians regarded as 'innocent' collateral damage, while Israeli civilians are regarded as collectively guilty of 'oppression of
innocent Palestinians'? .
"Because it is so pervasive, violence is often seen as an inevitable part of the human condition - a fact of life to respond to, rather than to prevent. Moreover it is commonly considered a 'law and order' issue in which the role of health professionals is limited to dealing with the consequences. ..a wide range of public health practitioners and researchers in the United States and around the world have set themselves the task of understanding violence and finding ways to prevent it" The public health approach is science-based. Everything - from identifying the problem and its causes, to planning, testing and evaluating responses - must be based on sound research and informed by the best evidence. The public health approach is also multidisciplinary" (Krug et al. Eds, "World Report on Violence and Health" World Health Organization, Geneva 2002).
One question which health professionals are asking is what has happened to guidelines relating to the killing and wounding of civilians in conflict? Perhaps after such guidelines emerge it may be possible to look at definitions and guidelines for human security.
One of the poisoned fruits of conflict is the inability to see beyond the present and consider future needs.
What kind of consensus could Israelis and Palestinians reach regarding joint definitions of what is needed to
achieve human security? At what points would there be consensus - and at what points seemingly
unbridgeable gaps and aspirations? Could they identify the 'minimal essentials necessary for joint human
security'? Where extremists continue to exercise power to destroy and disrupt - basic constructive thinking on human security is interrupted.
Sadly, the world appears 'hooked' on human insecurity. Conflict makes
better television viewing than the less visual paths of peace and human development. On a day-to-day basis
people have lost confidence in the concept of human security - but instead are constructing feasible survival
patterns against a backdrop of basic human insecurity. Can there be new mechanisms for cooperation
between Israelis and Palestinian civilians in the first instance which could become new 'bridges for listening'
to the other side, for understanding the point of view of the other, and for identifying feasible and modest
steps aimed at social reconciliation?
Many who are already involved in reconciliation work between Arab Israelis and Jewish Israelis argue: "We persist because of commitment and perhaps because of instinct, because our sanity depends on maintaining contact with people of goodwill and because we believe that Israel cannot remain a healthy, viable society if 20% of its population doesn't share the most minimal sense of identification with the nation. But we know we are up against overwhelming resistance. Yes, hundreds of brave dialogue projects have persisted through these terrible years, and many thousands of ordinary Arabs and Jews maintain the ordinary decency of neighbors, especially in mixed cities such as Haifa and Ramle. But the mutual alienation, and suspicion and fear have never been more exposed.
Once the participation of Arab citizens in terrorism made headlines; today it is hardly shocking. Our homegrown Islamic movement draws tens of thousands of Arab citizens to hysterical rallies intending to prevent a contrived Jewish threat to Arab hegemony on the Temple Mount.
Arab Members of the Knesset vie with each other in identifying with Israel's worst enemies... At the same time, many Jews routinely boycott Arab areas, partly from fear, partly from rage... Jews and Arabs are caught in a complex majority-minority dynamic. Jews and Arabs are the spoilers in the other's vision of wholeness... Arabs see our commitment to a Jewish state as a threat of permanent peripheralness. Jews see Arab opposition to a Jewish state as an internal threat to our intactness, a long-term danger to our very survival. Every so often an event occurs that reminds us of that truth" (Klein Halevy, 2003).
At the end of May 2003 a group of 260 Arabs and Jews went on a four day pilgrimage to Auschwitz. It was an Arab initiative. The group included Israeli left-wingers and right-wingers, Arabs, Beduin educators and former communists, devout Muslims and Christians. "Our goal was simply to enter the abyss together, suspend expectations and trust the process. We were forbidden by the wise organizers to discuss politics, avoiding comparisons over who suffered more. While no one could censor our thoughts, suspending the Arab-Israeli discourse was the equivalent of a vow of silence. Both sides were taking enormous emotional risks. One Arab participant was warned by her friends 'You will lose your victimization'. And one Jewish participant was warned by his friends ' You're giving away our history'. Both warnings understood the subversive nature of our journey.
By acknowledging the suffering of the Jewish majority, Arabs risked diminishing their self-pity. And by admitting Arabs into the inner sanctum of their trauma, Jews risked forfeiting their exclusive claim on the Holocaust, conceding that it wasn't just a Jewish but a human drama.
Those Arabs and Jews who wept together in Auschwitz lost the ability to indulge in unrestrained rage
toward the other side. The pilgrimage to Auschwitz was a quest for our common humanity at the place
where the human story ended... we were conscious of the fact that, as Jews and Arabs, we were representing an existential conflict whose intensity has the power to destroy the planet" (Klein Halevy Y 2003).
"The good news is that the pilgrimage is continuing. The Auschwitz participants in 2003 spent a Sabbath
together in a Jerusalem hotel- within minutes from where bus number 14 had been blown up by a suicide
bomber two days earlier, to reciprocate the Arab journey into Jewish pain by undertaking a symbolic journey into Palestinian pain... (The leader of the Arab group) invited Jewish participants to the next phase (rather than a journey into Arab pain), a journey into the grandeur of Arab culture. The brilliance of this second phase is that, like the Auschwitz pilgrimage it is entirely unexpected... The Auschwitz initiative was motivated by the question;: What don't Arabs understand about their Jewish neighbors?
This new initiative is motivated by the reciprocal question: What don't Jews understand about their Arab neighbors? Taken
together, those two initiatives address the two great fears dividing the Arab and Jewish nations. ..For Arabs,
Jews are the latest incarnation of colonialists, expanding their borders, despite the presence of a rooted
people and often disparaging its culture as inferior. For Jews, Arabs are the latest incarnation of Nazis,
actively planning the destruction of the Jewish refuge and celebrating the suicide bombings as small pre-enactments of that genocidal impulse... The real meaning of our group's work is that peace depends on Jews
and Arabs no longer embodying each other's historical nightmares"
(Klein Halevy.Y 2003)
In a highly insecure world some global development agencies have been trying to define what 'human
security ' means. UNDP reports of 1993 and 1994 defined the concept of 'security of persons in seven
domains: economic security of persons (assured basic income); food security (physical, economic, access to food); health security (relative freedom from disease and infection); environmental security (access to
sanitary water supply, clean air and a non-degrading land system; personal security (security from physical violence and threats; community security (protection of basic human rights and freedoms; political security (plus protection of basic human rights and freedoms).
Analysts at the World Health Organization identified
5 domains of human security: income; health; education; political freedom and democracy, with identified
indicators for each domain (UNDP Human Development Reports 1993, 1994). Human insecurity in relation
to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines progress towards joint economic prosperity and stability. For
Israeli civilians the deluge of death and injury perpetuated by the suicide bombers has left a multigenerational
legacy of bereavement, family disruption, orphans, and disabilities - the wounds of war.
The wider world has heard little directly from Israeli civilians who are victims of terror, apart from cursory
interviews by the international media with bleeding survivors or dazed onlookers. Civilians are almost
'incidental' to the scene the dramatic 'extras'. Perhaps they will just get cleaned up and go home. But they don't. They represent the 'first in line of fire', the primary targets of the bombers and their dispatchers.
This report about Israeli civilian terror survivors and families of victims has attempted to illustrate the real consequences of suicide bombings on Israeli civilians and the contexts in which these outrages take place. It has outlined what exactly happens when 'the world explodes', what happens at the scene of the bombing to survivors, by-standers, and first responders at the scene. It has outlined what happens to civilians caught in the lethal blasts of the bombers, and medical challenges and innovations to assist them. It has sketched coping strategies activated by professionals, by society, by organizations and by individuals. It has explored some of the wounds of the mind which linger long afterwards. The testimonies of survivors and families of victims of the bombers have revealed the consequences of suicide bombing in a unique way. The motivation, organization and characteristics of bombers and their dispatchers has been outlined. Aspects of the role of the media have been explored.
The world has been slow to condemn suicide strategies targeted against Israeli, or other civilians. Like a spreading cancer 'secondaries' are now becoming more evident in the rest of the world body. An essential aim of terrorists and suicide bombers is to paralyze society with fear and inaction. They want to 'freeze' those societies they find politically and culturally unacceptable as a prelude to destroying them, and replacing them with their own political and religious agendas. So, where are those with the vision and moral strength to condemn suicide bombing as a gross crime against humanity? Where are the hands raised to condemn this blight, as a major contribution to reversing the 'tsunami-like' terror waves which continue to lash civilians worldwide?
If terror is like a spreading global cancer, is it possible to develop some degree of immunity to it? Have
Israeli civilians managed somehow to develop a degree of immunity to terror attacks? Is there something in the individual and collective Israeli psyche that operates like an 'immunization' against victory by bombers and terrorists? Perhaps it has to do with the legacy of two thousand years of dispossession and dispersal of the Jewish people, plus the post- Holocaust realization that there has to be a place on earth where the tribes of Israel can develop their own culture and be responsible for their own defence, as they try to do in Israel today.
There are 'war-mongers' and 'peace-mongers'. Both can be damaging to society because those who attempt to 'pour the peace cream' may fail to consider the real psycho-social context of the protagonists in a situation of chronic conflict. War and terror are not merely actions and consequences; they are physical and psycho-emotional experiences which leave scars on those involved. The 'peace-mongers' consistently fail to address this reality and try to 'pour cream over shards of glass ' - as if there can be some kind of return to pre-conflict times. The cream sours and shards remain. By the spring of 2005 there appeared to be some opportunities to reduce violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and try to rediscover alternatives. Indira Ghandi once said: 'You can't shake hands with a clenched fist.
"Somehow conditions must be established that would allow the frenzy of suicide bombings to burn itself
out. To begin with, the Palestinian and Israeli populations would have to be separated: contact between them inflames the passions that feed the attacks. Palestinian life would then no longer be dominated by
checkpoints and celebrations of martyrdom; it would be dominated by quotidian issues such as commerce,
administration and garbage collection" (Brooks, The Culture of Martyrdom, the Atlantic weekly, June
By the spring of 2005, return to the 'Road Map to Peace' was again being discussed as the best way to
proceed in resolving key aspects of the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. But for Israeli civilians the concept of 'going back' is curious. Their dead will not walk again. Their wounded are still in wheelchairs. In a tiny
country, the toll of death and trauma has been considerable. Opportunities to move forward with the
Palestinians in 2000 were 'thrown away' by the late Yasser Arafat's preference for war. Four bloodied years later it would be dishonoring dead and wounded Israeli civilians to imagine there can be a 'going back'.
The threads of hope were torn apart. In their place is greater caution regarding future steps. What might have
been possible in 2000 changed by 2002, the most traumatic year, and is again different from what may be
possible in 2005. Israeli civilians have paid a heavy price, one which entitles them to be skeptical about
tentative future forward steps. 'Trust' implies feelings of reliability, honesty, truthfulness, and confident
expectation. During the Second Intifada some maturing roots of trust between the sides were either torn up-
or poisoned. What we see now is often more like a barren wasteland. The soil of hope has eroded, leaving
often an emotional no-man's land. How long might it take for the poisoned soil to be purged of hatred, pain,
suspicion ? Perhaps the best that can be hoped for is reduction of levels of violence and a willingness to try
for a mutually functional relationship with a new Palestinian state. If, for example, after five years of relative
calm, it may be possible to plant a few more homegrown seeds of mutual trust between Israelis and
Palestinians, and see what shoots may yet grow.
Much has been made of the argument that suicide bombing is the only weapon left to the Palestinians in
their struggle with a stronger enemy. But, as has been already pointed out in this report, the Palestinians
were offered at Camp David the best terms they are ever likely to get. That was before the Second Intifada four years ago. If the terrorist spokespeople now maintain that it is the unleashing of terror which is bringing about Israel's proposed unilateral withdrawal and that therefore terror works, they are being extremely economical with the truth. It is clear to many Israelis that the Palestinian terror machine is not interested in terms to end the conflict, however generous. Instead, it seeks to terrorize and eventually erase the Jewish state, by making life not worth living in it. Yet it is highly dangerous because until it is demonstrated to the last bomber that Israel's back will not break, they will live in false hope.
Most Palestinians have not had a chance to take part in the debate over their future. Terror chiefs do not discuss, they intimidate. Now, with
the change in leadership, the possibility exists that Palestinians may be given their say through the ballot
box. This is the best last hope for the flowers and dreams of peace to flourish.
The late Pope John Paul II said that what is needed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a barrier, but a bridge. But a bridge needs two sides to support it. What will it take to create sides which can support such a bridge? How long it will take is not possible to predict. But both sides will need, as a first step, to conceptualize the 'flowers and dreams' which could emerge from peace before any effective bridge-building may begin. Those who support or condone terror must be made to realize that in so doing they are fanning the flames that burn the flowers and dreams of peace as assuredly as any self-immolating suicide bomber. If the dream were to prevail, the Middle East conflict would not only devolve its own solution, but be an example for peace elsewhere in the world.
It is not customary to include a poem in a report such as this, but sometimes poetry can achieve a level of understanding which is more difficult to arrive at than through prose. The following poem "Burning Flowers - Burning Dreams" was written in 1998 at the time of the Wye College talks in the USA when there was an optimistic glimmer of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It was written after the arson attacks on the Carmel mountain range near Haifa. Over ten years later the questions and issues it raises are still pertinent.
By June 2006, the use of suicide bombing against civilian targets in Israel continued periodically. It had
become an almost daily occurrence in Iraq. We felt it more important than ever to "tell the stories behind
the headlines" and reveal to the world the obscene dimensions of such civilian slaughter, suffering and
disabilities – which may last for a lifetime. This book is about Israeli civilians, but where is the book about civilians affected by suicide bombings in other countries around the world? Perhaps this book can be used as a model towards revealing the "anatomy" of suicide terror with a view to finally halting its nauseating flow.
Internationally, there continues to be obsessive interest in the use of suicide bombing as a strategy, and in the bombers themselves. During recent years, books and articles have been published about the origins and contemporary dimensions of suicide bombing, about bombers, and even one by the family of a bomber.
However, it is rarer to see a book about the effects of the bombers on their targets, with the exception of those who died or survived the 9/11 bombing of the Twin Towers in New York. Sadly, there remains
internationally a remarkable reluctance to focus on the impact of suicide bombing on civil society. When
will international organizations, non-government agencies, regional groupings of states and national
governments finally enable real debate and condemnation of this contemporary evil? By their silence, they continue to deny possibilities of social justice to civilians in many parts of the world.
In 2006, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had been overtaken by the Israel-Hizbollah war. There was still no acceptable basis for building bridges for peace between the sides. Fragmented realities and contradictory perceptions floated in a swamp of ever-changing political and terror-related initiatives. Hardly adequate foundations to build bridges that could last. "Flowers and dreams of peace" were still burning, like the half a million trees incinerated by the barrage of Hizbollah rockets.
Three years later, at the end of 2009.
Perhaps what we have to say finally to the readers of this report is 'stand up and be counted!' Civilians continue to die from suicidal terror around the world. Survivors continue to suffer from amputated limbs, blindness, and bodies embedded with metal balls and shrapnel. Their wounded minds and emotions will take a long time to heal -if they ever do. Their massacred loved ones will not return. We need to condemn suicide terrorism wherever it occurs, and take action against those who advocate, support, reward and perpetrate these gross crimes against humanity.
We must also hope, pray and work for the day when new opportunities will be seized by all sides to
nurture seeds from the ashes of all the conflicts. The dreams of peace must never be surrendered to those whose burning and poisonous terror agendas would deny mankind the right to nurture them.
The final word goes to a survivor of the suicide bombing at Maxim's restaurant near Haifa where 21 people died and 69 were wounded, including 10 children. Tony, the bereaved Christian-Arab restaurant owner of Maxim said
"If your heart is full of love, then there is no room for hate"
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