Chapter 8 



During 2003-2004, there was an 'avalanche' of writing – at least nine books – about bombers. The world was fascinated and at the same time repulsed by them. This chapter looks at the bombers, their senders, and those who 'manufacture' and equip them for their acts of mass murder. 

It looks at the characteristics, motivation, and backgrounds of bombers. It considers how bombers are seen from Palestinian and Moslem perspectives, and what Islam says about suicide bombing. It looks at incitement, and ways in which children have been encouraged to become 'martyrs'. It considers how bombers are financially rewarded for killing civilians. It asks why the relatively few international attempts to condemn suicide bombing have been so unsuccessful. It considers as the phenomenon of suicide bombing continues to extend in the world, how these human 'bombs with eyes' continue to wreak havoc against civilian targets. Bombers, their dispatchers, the inciters, or families of bombers were not interviewed for this project as it was not relevant to the project objectives. But their voices are nevertheless reflected in this chapter, which has been constructed largely from published 


"According to Israeli security sources, there is usually a core of three people behind even the simplest 
suicide operation: the bomb-maker, the driver and the dispatcher. The bomber himself is just material, a 
rocket, a bullet, locked into a commitment by the famous videotaped farewell made by all suicide bombers. 

The key to the suicide bomber phenomenon is really the dispatcher, says Anat Berko, a criminologist at 
Herzlia's International Policy Institute for Counter Terrorism" (Schecter, 2004). 

An Israeli journalist interviewed a 27-year-old Fatah member who personally dispatched four suicide 
bombers, including the one who killed 11 people in Jerusalem's Beit Yisroel neighbourhood in March 2002. 
Many children died in that bombing, including a baby burnt to death in its stroller. The dispatcher had no 
regrets. "The Israelis, the enemy itself," he growls, "they are the ones who caused me to do what I did." 

Throughout much of the interview he used the same passive language, as if he was a blameless cog in a 
machine much larger than himself. The dispatcher considered that when Palestinians killed civilians, they 
did so because they lacked the hi-tech weaponry to fight the IDF. The children who died along with their 
parents in these attacks were just accidents. But such rationalizations work in only one direction. The 
dispatcher said, 'Israel does not kill Palestinian children by accident, Israelis kill intentionally. They smash into a house in Gaza with a bulldozer and bring the house down on its residents. What's that?' For all his hostility he warms noticeably when I pull up my left pants leg and show him some of the scars from the bus bombing I survived in January. It's as if I have been admitted into the exclusive, all-Palestinian club of the suffering, and we have become old friends" (Schecter 2004). 

Another 27-year-old prisoner interviewed by the same journalist admitted to recruiting suicide bombers at Ber Zeit University. This man, according to Israeli security sources, was an explosives expert and was the man behind the Sbarro Bombing in August 2001. "Though the funding for the operation came from a more senior Hamas commander, it was reputably Marwan Barghouti's nail-packed bomb, hidden in a guitar-case bought by one of his agents" that a male bomber carried into the Jerusalem Pizzeria. Fifteen people, including seven children, died in that suicide bombing and 130 people were wounded. Coaxed to look at photos of the murdered kids the dispatcher said "I do not accept responsibility for their deaths. I feel pain of course. They are little children, but the government of Israel is solely responsible'. Later he shifts the onus to the suicide bomber" (Schecter 2004). 


Former commander of the Israeli air force described suicide bombers as 'highly accurate guided missiles' 
(Jerusalem Report, 9 September 2002). In 2003, Israeli researcher Dr Anat Berko presented the results of a six-year study of the moral code which allowed recruiters to send fellow Palestinians to blow themselves up and kill civilians, the first study of its kind. She considered the suicide bomber was a missile; but who fired the missile? 

The five recruiters she interviewed were responsible for launching multiple suicide bombing attacks between 1993 and 1996, including one in a Tel Aviv cafe and one in a Jerusalem bus. Berko found 
that the five terrorist recruiters interviewed had a bipolar moral structure, average 'Mohammads' when it 
came to moral standards in their family lives, but violent monsters filled with hate when it came to Israel and the West. One recruiter explained that the laws that governed nations do not bind Palestinians." A nation has to abide by a certain standard of behaviour, but we who don't have a state, don't have to abide by these codes" he said. 

Another said "We intend that the ones killed will be women and children (because) on (our) side I see Arab women and children killed and hurt". Said another "Israelis have raped my soul, why shouldn't I want to hurt them?" Another said "If a (Palestinian) mother cries here, a mother also has to cry there' (Arabic saying)". Another said "I saw terror attacks against Israel on TV, but I couldn't watch if they showed a dead or injured child. I remember the child that was killed (in a Tel Aviv restaurant) and it feels like a knife in my back" (Knopf 2003). 

The recruiters attached importance to their family circle unlike a control group of five Palestinian murders 
and seven minor criminals who were often bitter against their families. Recruiters and criminals were all 
between ages 21 and 35. A common theme among recruiters was loss of a father (all five) when young. 
Three fathers had died, one was in an Israeli jail and another had left to remarry. The five were educated, some in the middle of academic studies. Religion played a large role in their lives. Other motives were feelings of inferiority and sense of victimization by Israelis, events of 1948 and loss of lands. Regarding recruiting and dispatching, they said it was a matter of hierarchy, "There are people who do the sending – there are people who get blown up" (Knopf 2003).

There was an impregnable barrier between the two worlds that enabled them, on the one hand, to be good family men, and at the same time to send human bombs to blow up Israeli civilians. "They denied the damage and neutralized the victim," said Berko, "They viewed themselves and their society as the real victims. They had turned themselves into avengers in the name of their society" (Knopf 2003). 

During the final session with the recruiters whenever one of (them) expressed some human identification 
with his victims, Dr Berko gave him positive verbal reinforcement. The results surprised her. Tests 
administered at the beginning and the end of the final interview showed the recruiter's moral judgment 
towards Israelis softened and that they were able to see their victims as human beings. But in the control group that did not happen (Knopf 2003). 


Eric Schecter suggested that there are various myths about suicide bombers: 

Myth 1: All suicide bombers are religious extremists. 

Truth: At least three leftist secular groups have also employed suicide bombers: the Syrian Social 
Nationalist Party, Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam. In fact, it was a 
Tamil separatist in Sri Lanka who invented the explosives belt, notes Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism expert at Singapore's Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies. 

Myth 2: Suicide bombers are poor and uneducated. 

Truth: RAND corporation economist Claude Berrebi, in his study of 285 Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists killed between 1997 and 2002, found that "they were more educated and wealthier than the average Palestinian". 

Myth 3: Suicide bombers have lost family members. 

Truth: Surprisingly few suicide bombers were injured or had a close family member killed by the army, 
says professor of sychology Ariel Merari, head of Tel Aviv University's Programme on Political Violence. 
Instead, martyrs are motivated more by a collective sense of hurt. "They always mention national 
humiliation. They always mention the occupation" (Knopf 2003). 

Myth 4: Suicide bombers are reacting to foreign domination. 

Truth: Yes and no. Examining 187 suicide bombings from 1980-2001, University of Chicago political 
scientist Robert Pape argues that they are almost exclusively used in campaigns by militant groups to rid 
their homelands of foreign armies. But, curiously, the enemy is never a full-fledged dictatorship, and the 
suicide bomber, far from being a horrifying outcast, is a national hero (in his homeland), his parents are 
honoured members of society. His/her face graces many of the martyr posters commemorating the 
Palestinian fallen that cover walls and store-fronts in the West Bank and Gaza (Schecter 2004). 


"Suicide bombing is the crack cocaine of warfare. It doesn't just inflict death and terror on its victims; it 
intoxicates the people who sponsor it. It unleashes the deepest and most addictive human passions – the thirst for vengeance, the desire for religious purity, the longing for earthly glory, and eternal salvation. Suicide bombing isn't just a tactic in a larger war, it overwhelms the political goals it is meant to serve. It creates its own logic and transforms the culture of those who employ it. This is what has happened in the Arab-Israeli dispute. Suicide bombing has dramatically changed the nature of the conflict" (Brooks 2002).

Saddam Hussein was quoted as having said, "Human bombs have done more damage to the enemy than all the combined Arab forces since 1948" (Jerusalem Report 2002). Former commander of the Israeli air force described suicide bombers as 'highly accurate guided missiles'. 

A year earlier a Wall Street Journal journalist had written that in order to understand what drives suicide 
bombers psychological profilers could usefully examine suicide notes and poems founds on the hard drive of an al-Qaeda computer seized by U.S. backed troops in Kabul in 2002. 'By the time you receive this I will be in the craw of birds God willing, after performing a martyrdom operation against the land of the infidels", Faisal al Yusuf, a 26-year-old computer programmer from Saudi Arabia, wrote to his wife. Another letter revealed a mix of nihilism, rage and gushing sentimentality as both men appealed to their mothers to understand 'Our bodies have left you, not out of indifference but out of love'. 

These notes showed a striking similarity to the mentality fostered in Japan for the Kamikaze pilots in the last months of world War 11. The first kamikaze pilots were young and educated and saw themselves as human sacrifices to God and country, appealing to their families for understanding. The ranks of the college-educated kamikazes were soon depleted, and the Japanese subsequently recruited pilots with much less education. 

The Japanese public schools of that era, like many schools that are training grounds for Islamic 
terrorists today, were drenched in the propaganda of achieving virtue through the sacrificing of life. But, 
unlike the Islamist human bombs, the kamikazes were promised no virgins in the afterlife, but were told over and over that they would find in death an eternal happiness. (Fields S. 2003). Radical Muslims believe that 72 virgins await bombers in Paradise. When they go to Paradise, will they really be greeted by 72 virgins with whom to indulge their sexual fantasies? Or, instead, might the bombers be greeted by 72 dead children, such as the babies and young children blown up or shot through the head and featured in the Israeli Ministry of Education publication, "Target Israeli Children", 2002. By 2006, 123 Israeli children had been killed in the Intifada. 

In June 2002, a 22-year-old Hamas Bomber left his relatively well off home in a refugee camp (ostensibly) to go to university to prepare for final exams on 18 June 2002, and left a note saying " How beautiful it is to make my bomb shrapnel kill the enemy. How beautiful it is to kill and be killed – not to love death, but to struggle for life, to kill and be killed for the lives of the coming generations" (Najib 2002). 

A 2006 report highlighted the concept of battlefields as "areas populated by Israelis, crowded streets, 
shopping malls, buses, restaurants, etc. It is a modern term which is not found in classic or medieval Islamic literature, but which is very popular today in Palestinian society and the Arab world" (CSS 2006). 

In 2002, the eight-year report of German reporter Christopher Reuter, international correspondent for Stern magazine, was published in the book My Life is a Weapon. In his chapter on 'Israel and Palestine' he writes, "The author's interviews with would-be Second Intifada Palestinian suicide bombers reveals that more and more bombers are self-selected. The role of terror organizations has declined, and the time between a decision to do a mission and the execution has vastly decreased. Eight of the 15 interviewees volunteered for missions; five began to execute the mission within 10 days of committing to it, and more than 90% undertook their missions within one month. 

Bombers describe their decision to undertake a mission as conferring a sense of control: the ability to take life and what their communities perceive as sometimes random death into their own hands. They want to make the seemingly invincible 'other' feel their pain. If correct, these motivations are more about expressive purpose than strategic gain." Reuter's book closes with the observation that "if an entire society is so inspired by the battle against an occupying or invading enemy that the struggle itself begins to count for more than life itself, targeted liquidation of suicide brigade leaders only serves to strengthen the resolve of such groups" (Knopf, 2003). 

The majority of suicide bombers in 2000-2006 were between the ages of 17 to 24 (CSS 2006). According to Dr Ariel Merari, "The suicide bombers are generally speaking marginal people. They are not leader types. Some of them are suicidal but not most. They are led to do it by public pressure, what they perceive as the public atmosphere that makes this act the most upwardly mobile way to gain public recognition. Once they express their willingness, they are caught by the group pressure and it is practically impossible to change their minds. There is very strong social and psychological pressure" (Kopf, 2003). 

In addition, there are various 'perks' involved. The shaheed will be exempt from the terrors of Judgement Day, forgiven all the sins he committed during his lifetime and entitled to recommend up to 70 relatives to enter Paradise, where the man will marry 72 black-eyed virgins and the woman a single shaheed (CSS 2006). 

According to most experts, the crucial factor informing the behaviour of suicide bombers is loyalty to the 
group, and the training of bombers is designed to augment group loyalty. The bombers are organizedinto 
small cells and given countless hours of intense and intimate spiritual training. Recruits are sometimes made to lie in empty graves, so that they can see how peaceful death will be. The bombers are instructed to write or videotape final testimony. Once a bomber has completed his declaration, it would be humiliating for him to back out of the mission. He undergoes a last round of cleansing and prayer and is sent off with his bomb to the appointed pizzeria, coffee shop, disco or bus" (Brooks, 2002). 

There are 'suicide bombers' and 'no-escape attackers', the latter striking mainly targets in the West Bank.
The suicide bombers are most likely to attack inside Israel's pre-1967 borders. In a no-escape attack the 
chances of staying alive after firing on an army position or a settlement are considered next to zero. In 2002 over forty settlers in the West Bank were killed by such attacks. A Hamas spokesman justified the killing of civilians by saying it was a necessary act of defence, the only weapon they had to protect Palestinian women and children. "If we should not use suicide bombing, we shall be back in the situation of the first week of the Intifada when the Israelis killed us with impunity' (Avishai, "The Suicide Bombers", New York Review of Books, 16 January 2003). 

A report by Amnesty International in July 2002 summarized the arguments cited by the Palestinians as 
reasons for targeting civilians. The Palestinians claimed that they were engaged in a war against an 
occupying power and that religion and international law permitted the use of any means of resistance to 
occupation; that they were retaliating against Israel killing members of armed groups and Palestinians; that striking at civilians was the only way that they could make an impact on a powerful adversary; that Israelis generally or settlers in particular were not civilians. The report considered Palestinian reasons for targeting Israeli civilians unacceptable and that "the deliberate killing of Israeli civilians by Palestinian armed groups amounts to crimes against humanity". The report also considered Israeli violations of human rights so grave that many of them met the definition of crimes against humanity under international law (Amnesty International, July 2002). 

In 2002, Israel's National Security Council began a first-of-its-kind research study of the motivation of 
suicide terrorists. Some 20 terrorists incarcerated in Israeli prisons were interviewed for the study. These 
were terrorists captured by security forces while en route to suicide bombing attacks. 'Clear-cut' cases were interviewed for the study, people caught with explosives while headed for sites in Israel. The research concluded that the main component of the terrorist's decision was ideological, and that the aim was to harm as many Israelis as possible. 

The main argument used by those interviewed to justify their decision to become suicide bombers was the high level of support for such terror actions displayed by the Palestinian public. Another was the ample financial support provided to the terrorist's families by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and Islamic organizations. Many also desired to avenge a personal trauma or losses, such as the suffering of relatives caused by IDF acts which had resulted in the deaths of their own relatives and friends. Perhaps the main motivating factor for suicide bombers is a lethal blend of four elements: desire 
for personal sense of control; sociological pressures such as group pressures and group loyalty, revenge for perceived wrongs and desire to liberate what they see as their land. A 2005 article asserts that there are two separate aspects of the current wave of bombings: use of suicide as a tactic of war; and the tendency to deploy it recklessly against soft or civilian targets outside the theatre of conflict (Bunting, 2005). 

Pierre Rehov, French documentary filmmaker who filmed six documentaries on the Intifada by going 
undercover in the Palestinian areas, concluded, "We are facing a neurosis at the level of an entire 
civilization" (MSNBC "Connected" programme, 15 July 2006). 


Suicide bombing is a highly communitarian enterprise initiated by tightly run organizations that recruit, train and reward the bomber. In the case of the Palestinians, there is a society-wide embrace of martyrdom.

History continues. By the mid-1990s, Hamas was using suicide bombing to undermine the Oslo Accords, 
intended as a peace process. "The assassination of the master Palestinian bomb maker Yahya Ayyash, 
presumably by Israeli agents in January 1996, set off a series of suicide bombings in retaliation. Suicide 
bombings nevertheless remained relatively unusual until 2000, after the late Yasser Arafat walked out of the peace conference at Camp David – a conference at which Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak had offered to return to the Palestinians parts of Jerusalem and almost all of the West Bank. The red passions of the bombers obliterated the rays of the peace process" (Brooks, 2002). 

An opinion poll in 2002 found the support rate more than 80% in Palestinian refugee camps in contrast to the 24% of Palestinians who supported terror in 1997 (Gutman, 2002). One of the reasons for the lack of intra-Palestinian debate about suicide bombers, claimed Bir Zeit political scientist Professor Ali Jirbawi, was because of the Palestinian perception that the vast majority of Israelis were soldiers (it is said by some Palestinians that in Israel, people are soldiers from the age of one to one hundred). "The daily lives of the Palestinians were far removed from the pony-tailed Israelis sipping coffee on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv. 

The only Israelis most Palestinians knew were soldiers. It was hard for them to imagine Israelis as anything other than military targets, especially because that was the way Israelis viewed Palestinians. Terror," he said, "had devolved past the rational and the logical. It had descended to the ugliest and most basic of emotions – revenge – though not everyone would admit it. The majority of Palestinian society which supported the bombings found it necessary. It was not a question of whether they found it good, bad or moral, or a detriment to Palestinian national interests; they found it necessary. For an Arab," he said, "it was better to die fighting than to live without dignity" (Gutman, 2002). 

The chairman of the Gazan Mental Health Program, Dr Eyad el-Sarraj, said in 2002 that "suicide bombing 
was how Palestinians expressed tribal mentality of taking revenge. Palestinian society's wide-scale 
attachment to suicide bombing was a three-step process: first, they lost hope in the peace process, then they forsook the PA; then they lost hope in Arafat, a figure that they always hoped would pull them out of this mess, but he did not. The hero was (no longer) Arafat, nor the stone thrower, but the suicide bomber. The bomber provided the only contact with Israelis. It was the ultimate test of fate and courage for Palestinians. It was somehow an ultimate form of power. Out of despair it was power, and with this power you could control a whole country – Israel" (Gutman 2002). 


In 1988 one of Islamic Jihad's founders al-Shikaki was among the first to publicly advocate a strategy of 
'exceptional martyrdom according to which Palestinian militants would penetrate 'enemy territory' and set off explosions that the Israelis would be unable to prevent (HRW 2002). A Hamas leader was quoted as saying "With an explosive belt or bag, the bomber has control over vision, location and timing". (Hassan. N . 2001). 

Hamas and Islamic Jihad had begun the suicide bombing campaign of the Second Intifada, and were joined a year or so later by Arafat's Fatah organization (Harel. A. 2002). In 2002 a Palestinian peace activist told an Israeli journalist that the Palestinians had discovered a strategic weapon: suicide bombers. Once anathema, they were now considered heroes. These Shahids, once seen as religious fanatics, were now considered nationalist freedom fighters. They were growing in legitimacy all the time.

The Arab world understood them, and even some Europeans seemed to. He said that the Israelis had F-16s, and the Palestinians had suicide bombers The equivalency, according to him, was obvious to all'. (Goodman. H. 2002) 

Some military analysts have suggested that suicide bombing was being used as a deterrent effect to dissuade Israel from going after Palestinian militants or assassinating Islamic leaders. After that, terror groups could, theoretically, push the army out of the 'occupied territories' and consolidate their gains under a 'Hudna (ceasefire). Only then suicide bombing as a tactic might subside. But the analysts also considered that the fundamentalists would still try to hammer away with suicide bombers because Israeli society was seen as soft and fragile, and suicide bombing was an effective tool to destroy the state' (Schecter. E 2004) 

Any military action the Israeli Defence Forces took against terrorist commanders was criticised as fueling the 'cycle of violence', that it would provoke another suicide bombing. For example, the Beersheva double bus bombing in September 2004, which killed 16 people and wounded one hundred, was ostensibly for revenge following the Israeli assassination on March 2004 of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and a month later of Yassin's heir Dr Abdel Aziz Rantizi. (Schecter. E 2004) 

In July 2002, there was a Palestinian attempt to re-evaluate suicide bombing as a strategy. "The head of the Political Science and History Department at Bir Zeit University in the West Bank signed a petition calling for those who stood behind the attacks on civilians inside Israel to re-evaluate their positions and the results of their actions. Those actions only deepened the hatred between the two peoples and gave the Sharon government an excuse to continue with its 'war of aggression' He continued, "Those who are against me have a good argument, which is, even if we stop, the Israelis will continue. For example, a few weeks ago there were no (suicide bombings) for a while, but the Israeli checkpoints all remained in place." He meant that the West Bank territories were closed, Israeli planes were used against PA installations and other targets, there were targeted killings of 'terror operators', military incursions into all the major West Bank cities and curfews for days and even weeks" (Kershner 2002). 


The 2002 Human Rights Watch Report observed that "The PA failed to investigate, arrest, and prosecute 
persons believed to be responsible for (suicide) attacks and did not take credible steps to reprimand, 
discipline or bring to justice those members of its own security services who, in violation of declared PA 
policy, participated in such attacks" (HRW 2002). 

It also observed that while the post-Oslo negotiations continued there was a significant level of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces. For example, a March 2000 Hamas attempt to carry out attacks in Israeli cities was thwarted by the capture of two of its' leaders in Nablus by Palestinian forces (Schweitzer.Y. 2000) 

But, after the political relationship between Israel and the PA deteriorated, cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces also deteriorated. The PA continued to publicly condemn suicide terror attacks, but took little action to prevent them, especially when they enjoyed popular support. HRW reported that "on at least two occasions, individual members of the PA intelligence service assisted perpetrators in carrying out (suicide) attacks and PA security forces' gunfire was responsible for a total often Israeli civilian deaths in Israel (B'tselem 2002 in HRW report) The West Bank head of the PA General Intelligence Services) was alleged to be responsible for the shooting attack on a Bar Mitzvah celebration in Hadera on 17 January 2002. (Two survivors of that attack are interviewed in this report.) 

The HRW report observed that 'as (attacks) continued and intensified, the Israeli attacks targeting Palestinian security services, infrastructure, places of detention and security personnel, along with curfews and stringent restrictions on movement, gradually undermined the PA's enforcement capabilities'. These attacks were generally carried out as retaliation for Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets. For example, after the Passover Massacre in Netanya in March 2002 which killed 29 and injured more than 140 Israeli civilians, Israel attacked PA security installations in Gaza, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarem (HRW 2002). 


In 2002 it was reported that unemployment was rampant in the PA areas, especially in Gaza, where more that 50% of the population was jobless. Per capita income had dropped precipitously, plunging Palestinian society deep into third world-style poverty. By 2003 it was reported that 90% of Palestinians lived below a poverty line of US$300 monthly or US$10 a day, and an estimated 1.8 million people lived off charity organizations. A USAID and CARE international report indicated in 2002 that 22.5% of Palestinian children suffered from acute malnutrition (Gutman, 2002). Many of the poor, it was said, continued to support suicide attacks because they stood to lose little. The director of the film "Paradise Now", Hary Abu Assad, considers that "the suicide attacks are a consequence of oppression, which first has to stop". 

"Are Jenin and Nablus refugee camps the only places where abject poverty and destitution reign supreme? There have been, in recent memory, other young people who might have felt desperate – who could be more desperate than the Jewish people after the Holocaust? And yet, young Jewish people did not go about killing innocent European children on buses in ravished post-1945 Europe because they felt desperate. ... Nor did Indian patriots or Egyptian nationalists go around blowing themselves up on the streets of London. Yes, Palestinian youth may be desperate. But don't they have an alternative, like turning their despair into a constructive force instead of a fascist-like fascination with death? ... But, for some strange reasons that social scientists, historians, and theologians fail to explain, only among Palestinian youth and among the relatively well-off Egyptians and Saudis who committed the September 11 massacres have justified feelings of frustration, anger and alienation turned and transformed themselves into a murderous rage " (Avineri 2002). 

Another article asked whether the Palestinians are more frustrated than others have been such as the 
Tibetans, East Timorese, Algerian Berbers, African Sudanese, who don't glorify bombers determined to kill as many civilians as possible (Heller 2002). It is not the 'Three D's – Despair, Deprivation and Desperation' – which fuel suicide bombers (Heller 2002). 

When prominent people promote 'despair' as the fuel driving suicide bombers and suggest that young people have no hope, that all that is left to them is to blow themselves up along with their victims, there is something disturbingly flawed about their arguments. Around the world, there are uncounted millions, even billions, of people who live with multiple deprivations and histories of conflict and dispossession, the poor of the world. They know injustice, poverty, despair. Nevertheless, they do not usually rampage to kill unarmed civilians. 


The world watched with revulsion and horror in September 2004 as female suicide bombers were among 
those who terrorized Russian theatre-goers, and then the small, naked and terrified children in the siege of a school in Beslan. The female of the species is traditionally associated with compassion, especially for children. What are the elements which have eroded and deformed this sentiment in the suicidal females who commit mass murder? Is it religious fanaticism? Is it continuing domination by males? Have they have been brainwashed to regard their enemies as sub-humans? Women across the globe look with sadness and outrage at these women who have thrust backwards efforts by women worldwide to develop avenues for advancement and justice for women. 

A global World Health Organization initiative called 'Making Pregnancy Safer' aims to reduce the estimated 600,000 deaths of women worldwide from pregnancy-related causes. While the world is trying to make pregnancy safer for women, along comes a woman who straps explosives to her belly, disguising herself as pregnant, and commits mass murder of civilians. Pregnancy has become a terror weapon. Yet, pregnancy is basically about new life not about savage deaths. 

This phenomenon of the 'pregnant bomb' is a tragic example of how male-dominated fanaticism continues to influence many Muslim women. Back in 1990 a pregnant Palestinian woman had been killed when a bomb she was going to plant in a crowded Jewish market exploded as she was preparing it in a public toilet in Jerusalem (Lahoud. L 2002). 

In March 2002 a 26-year-old Palestinian woman planning to carry out a suicide bomb attack inside Israel disguised herself as pregnant, and was arrested by soldiers in Tulkarm. She was the divorced mother of an eight year old daughter. In August 2002 a 25 year old female would-be bomber was allegedly planning a suicide attack in Nazareth. The code name for the operation was 'Wedding Tomorrow'. (Dudkevitch. M, 2002) 

Male martyrs are promised 72 virgins in paradise. Will female 'martyrs' be rewarded with 72 virginal men in paradise? 


Violence and the rising popularity of fundamentalist Islam has intensified feelings of hatred against Israel and desire of women to become involved in acts of violence (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem, 2003). Even before they were suicide bombers, Palestinian women were involved in attacks on Israeli civilians.

For example, in the spring of 2001 a Palestinian woman went into a shoe shop in Jaffa road in Jerusalem. A young Israeli shop assistant went to get her a pair of shoes. When she returned, the customer took what looked like a water bottle from her bag, and threw the liquid in the shop assistant's face. The liquid was an acid so caustic that it burned through her face. The customer fled. Even army doctors, veterans of burn wounds, were horrified by the burns. Over a year later, the shop assistant was still wearing a half mask. One ear had fallen off. Her female attacker was never apprehended (Sofer 2002). 

Between 2000 and 2003 there was a growing trend to use women to assist in or carry out suicide bombings, such as the female Fatah-Islamic Jihad bomber who detonated her bomb in a shopping mall in Afula on 19 May 2003, killing three civilians and wounding 50 (A vascular surgeon who survived that attack but was partially blinded is interviewed in this report). 

By the end of 2003, sixteen Palestinian women who had assisted in terrorist operations had been arrested (IDF sources, 25 January 2003). "Since January 2002, women have been involved in 83 acts of terrorism, 67 of them involving suicide bombing attacks…Of all the suicide bombers, 155 were men and boys and only 8 were women" (CSS 2006). 

Islamic organizations have apparently overcome religious and social objections to using women as bombers (Haaretz, 21 May 2003). Senior members of terrorist organizations have expressed their support for women to perpetrate suicide bombings when it appeared legitimized by religious and military leaders. For example, in August 2001, the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin stated in an interview with an Arab journalist in London, "Palestinian women do not need a religious ruling in certain circumstances. Islam permits it". But the families of some female bombers have been shocked or upset by the suicidal actions of their young women. 

In 2004 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs observed that women were increasingly being used by Palestinian 
militant organizations as suicide bombers under the assumption that a female was considered to be soft, gentle and innocent, and therefore would arouse less suspicion than a man. Some female terrorists had attempted to 'Westernize' their appearance by wearing clothes that were not conservative, such as short skirts and maternity clothes, and by sporting modern haircuts. 

Most of the women were from two poles of Palestinian society which did not fit the accepted image of the average Palestinian woman: either well-educated professionals or young women lacking education or profession. However, in twenty cases examined, every one of these women appeared to have been carrying a large amount of 'personal baggage' (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2004). 


In the early 1970s a number of Palestinian women managed to rise to prominence in the secular and 
socialist-leaning terror organizations such as Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). For 
example, Leila Khaled led an attempt to hijack an El Al plane with 158 people aboard in September 1970. After trying to set off a grenade she was overpowered and taken into British custody after the plane eventually landed at Heathrow. The next day, her PFLP colleagues negotiated her release by blowing up three more planes which they had commandeered. 

At the end of 1970 educated middle class Palestinian women began to establish their own committees and, according to Professor Eileen Kuttab, Director of Women's Studies at Bir Zeit University, promoted social welfare and cultivated leaders in the refugee camps and villages. They were said to have tied the national liberation struggle to their struggle for social liberation. Public discussion also began on issues which concerned women, such as bride-price, spousal abuse, and choice of husband. Women also began to deliver medical, agricultural and other services in place of men who had been arrested. Women joined the struggle for independence because they felt that a more just, democratic society would benefit them.

During the First Intifada women played active roles commanding activists, assumed neighborhood leadership roles, and took part in non-violent demonstrations. It was reported that Israeli soldiers did not want to hurt the women or arrest them, so women would be placed at the forefront of every demonstration. 

In the Second Intifada women have had limited or no representation in organizations such as Hamas. Yet some women have been reported to be more 'hard-line than the men. An Israeli journalist in 2002 quoted a Gazan mother as saying 'I am instructed by God to continue the struggle. We should all die for God, and you men should be the first to do it" (Gutman 2002). 

"The power of the women's organizations, which could have once been able to lobby for an increased role for women, has considerably diminished. When the late Yasser Arafat established the PA in 1994, it is said that the women's committees were too independent for his tastes. He brought them under PA control, limiting their agendas and budgets and losing many members in the process" (Shaviv 2002). 

It is also said that women were disillusioned by Oslo and their limited role in the Second Intifada. For example, of 88 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in 2002 only five were women. Even where women did organize non-violent demonstrations, marches and petitions, they did not receive much press attention. Basically, most Palestinian women have had to attend to family survival and increasing poverty. 


In January 2003 the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that at least 20 women had been involved in 
terrorists activities, including suicide bombings (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2003). Four of the suicide 
attacks were in Jerusalem, and included a 20 year old female student and English-speaking journalist who escorted a male bomber into the Sbarro Pizzeria in 2001, and a 21 year old female bomber from Bethlehem who blew herself up at a bus stop near Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda market killing four people, and wounding 60. Another 26-year-old mother of four, guided a male bomber to an attack in Jerusalem's King George Street. Three people died and dozens were wounded. The bomber had purchased a bouquet of flowers and held it to blend into the crowds as it was 'Mother's Day'. One female bomber in 2003 was an apprentice lawyer. 

The apprentice lawyer in blue jeans and a pony-tail 

Early on the morning of 4 October 2003 27-year-old Hanadi Jaradat waved goodbye to her parents 
and hurried off down the street. She had some business to do, something about a land transaction. An 
apprentice lawyer, she was only a few days away from finishing her internship and opening her own 
office. 'She was happy,' her father said later. 

But Ms. Jaradat's true business lay elsewhere. She slipped across a lightly guarded part of the security fence that now separates large parts of the West Bank from Israel and made her way to a busy Arab-Israeli restaurant in Haifa called Maxim. It was full of families. Somehow she dodged the security check that all restaurants have these days. 

Inside, she detonated her body belt full of explosives. She murdered 21 people, killing herself and three 
generations of two Israel families, and injured dozens more. Five of the dead were Israeli Arab 
Christians and three were Jewish children. 'Everyone was happy and proud of her,' said a neighbour 
in Jenin, the refugee camp where she lived. 'We are receiving congratulations for her,' said her 15-
year-old brother, 'Why should we cry? It is like her wedding day, the happiest day for her.' The usual 
explanation for what motivates people like Ms Jaradat is revenge. There was plenty of that. A few 
months ago, Israeli soldiers had killed her brother and a male cousin. The family say they have no 
idea why – but Israelis say they were Islamic Jihad terrorists. It was Islamic Jihad which claimed 
credit for Ms. Jaradat's murderous mission. 

Sources: Wente, "How Martyrs Are Made" The Globe and Mail, Canadian newspaper on Saturday, October 11, 2003 

A 21-year-old female student from Tulkarm who knew the coastal town of Netanya agreed to guide a male bomber to his destination. On the day of the attack, she entered Netanya wearing a white shirt and tight pants and sunglasses, with hair tied back with a ribbon. Another 20-year-old female student had aided the male bomber who detonated in the Rishon Lezion pedestrian mall, killing two and wounding 36. She was also supposed to have detonated a second bomb once people started running in panic. A 26-year-old woman from Nablus was killed when she exploded prematurely while transporting a bomb to the coastal city of Hadera to attack a restaurant. She had been engaged to a Fatah militiaman and was known to have romantic ties to other operatives in the organization. 

A 24-year-old academic thwarted from carrying out a suicide attack stated that she had intended to marry a Tanzim operative from Bethlehem, but discovered he was a womanizer and abandoned the idea. Due to additional home problems, she became suicidal – and the operative persuaded her that if she was going to end her life she might as well 'do it for a good cause'. 

The female bomber who killed two civilians and wounded 90 in January 2002 in the Jerusalem Jaffa Road 
bombing was an academic and a nurse by profession. Divorced due to being barren, she had previously 
worked at the Red Crescent Society. Three of her brothers were connected with Fatah. She herself had been wounded twice by rubber bullets while treating wounded Palestinians, a fact which may also have played a role in her motivation to perpetrate the suicide bombing attack (Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2003).



There appeared to be a trend among female bombers and dispatchers of women coming from problematic 
social and economic backgrounds, such as divorcees, infertile women, women related to collaborators with Israel, and women with reputations of promiscuity. Many female bombers appeared to have had romantic relationships with men who were members of terrorist organizations. Any hint of impropriety, no matter how minor, can have serious consequences for the woman involved, even prompting male family members to murder her in a so-called 'honor' killing. 

For example, one 20 year old woman from the Bethlehem area was blackmailed into recruitment as a bomber after she had an illicit personal relationship. In some cases, rape and pregnancy have also been used to coerce young women into becoming bombers. Fatah had made efforts to recruit as bombers young women who found themselves in distress due to social stigmatization. "This emotional and social blackmail of socially vulnerable young women to not only kill themselves, but 
also civilian victims, is a vile exploitation of the fundamental rights of women to freedom, equality and life" (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem 2002,2003). 

Another reason why these women have participated in terrorist attacks may have been to elevate their status and image in Palestinian society. 

The 27-year-old divorcee and paramedic, Wafa Idris, was the first of seven female suicide bombers when 
she detonated her explosives belt on the Jaffa road in Jerusalem in January 2002 killing an old man and 
wounding 175 people. However, "far from being a landmark for feminism, the attack actually reinforced the traditional roles of mother and wife", says Dr Anat Berko, a criminologist at Herzlia's International Policy Institute on Counter-Terrorism (ICT). "Idris was an independent woman with a job at the Palestinian Red Crescent, but because she could not have children she was nothing in Palestinian society.

On the face of it, suicide is not an option for these social misfits since it is prohibited by Islam, yet 'martyrdom' wipes away all sins and stigmas'. Another female suicide bomber felt spurned by her mother, another could not marry the man she loved because their families could not agree on a dowry sum, and yet another who joined a militant group and enjoyed new-found freedoms, (leaving her house, riding in a car, mingling with the boys), found she had to become a bomber because otherwise she posed a liability to the group because of her inside knowledge. Either she agree to detonate herself in some Israeli city, or they would kill her themselves. They forced her to sign a document that she had volunteered, so her family would not seek revenge" (Schecter 2004). 

On 14 January 2004, a 22-year-old Palestinian woman, Reem Al-Reyashi, mother of two, blew herself up at the Erez crossing from the Gaza Strip to Israel. She was the first Hamas female suicide bomber. One story surrounding the bombing was that she approached the crossing on crutches. In Israeli accounts of the bombing, no crutches were mentioned, only a metal plate which the dead woman had claimed was planted in her leg and accounted for the security scanner's beeps. She came from one of the richest families in the Gaza Strip, owners of the biggest car battery factory in the region. Afterwards, her husband expressed surprise at her action, but appeared to have generally little interest in her fate. Hamas controllers were reportedly shocked and disappointed that their first female suicide bomber did not fire the imagination of the Gaza Strip residents and inspire large numbers of women to follow her example (Debka file 18 January 2004). 


Some female suicide bombers have achieved acclaim as 'cult objects'. A Saudi Arabian Ambassador to 
London wrote a poem extolling the virtues of Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber. (The Saudi 
Government said it did not reflect the position of their government and it was the Ambassador's personal 
opinion.) Several European filmmakers arrived to cover her story. Other reporters sought out those wounded by her attack, 'so that they could show off her handiwork' as an Israeli writer put it. 

Suicide bombers have even been the inspiration for art exhibits. "Israeli blood and body parts became the creative elements of 'artists' at Al-Najah University in Nablus in the West Bank in September 2001 when a student exhibition recreated the scene of the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem. 'Blood' was splattered 
everywhere, and mock body parts hung from the ceiling as if blown through the air" (Brooks 2002). 

In January 2004, at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in Stockholm, a strange exhibit appeared. It was entitled "Snow White and the Madness of Truth". It featured a small ship carrying a picture of "Snow White" – Islamic Jihad female bomber Hanadi Jaradat – sailing in a rectangular pool filled with bloodcoloured water. Classical music was played in the background. The creator was an Israeli artist married to a Swede. Israel's Ambassador to Sweden at that time, Zvi Mazel, sparked a diplomatic incident when he wrecked (the) museum display that he said glorified the suicide bomber who murdered 21 people, including four children, and wounded over 60 others at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa on 4 October 2003 (Kleinon 2004). 

He said later "I felt that I was standing in front of a horror, I felt that I was standing in front of an 
exhibit that, while it was in an historic and big museum in the heart of Europe, was glorifying genocide. I 
was standing in front of an exhibit calling for genocide, praising the genocide of me, you, my brothers and sisters. I pulled the plug on the three spotlights and plunged the exhibit into darkness. I think one of the spotlights fell into the water. As he was later escorted out he said "You created a pool of blood of my brothers, and you told me to do nothing. The murderer was Snow White". Israeli civilian opinion was that the whole episode was symptomatic of some attempts to glorify suicide bombers. They continue to feel a debt of gratitude to their Ambassador. 


In many cultures children's heroes are movie stars, television personalities, soccer stars. But to Palestinian children heroes are often suicide bombers. In 2002 a public opinion poll indicated that 80% of Palestinian children sought death as 'martyrs'. During the Intifada the PA have employed children's TV broadcasting, the educational system, cultural programs, directives from political and religious leaders and even encouragement of their families to achieve such goals. ("Bending Twigs' in A Time To Speak: Messages About Israel, 2003). 

Fourteen year olds have written farewell letters to their parents proudly describing their desire to be shahids, and including phrases taken directly from the propaganda films like "Mother Don't Cry 
For Me". PLO-TV broadcasts are reported to beam out for hours a day poems like "How sweet is the 
fragrance of the shahids, How sweet is the scent of the Earth; Its thirst quenched by the gush of young 
blood; Flowing from the youthful body." The actions of children who intentionally died as shahids are 
presented as model behaviour: a broadcast stated on one occasion 'Dead Palestinian children, shahids, are the 'greatest message to the world'. The PLO media featured a mother of a suicide bomber who said "The best Mother's Day present I got this year was the death as a shahid of my son, Praise to Allah, I gave birth to heroes". One of her hero sons murdered five Israeli teenagers to achieve his shahada (Palestinian Media Watch 2003). 

It should be noted that not all Palestinian families agree with this philosophy. In January 2004, the family of a Palestinian teenager who was killed when an explosive belt he was wearing exploded prematurely, 
demanded that the PA find out who had recruited their son to carry out the suicide attack. His father accused those who dispatched his son as a suicide bomber as exploiting his grief over the death of his brother and cousin, one killed two weeks earlier during IDF clashes with stone-throwers in Nablus, and the other killed during clashes around a funeral procession. 

In 2005 a journalist interviewed eight families of suicide bombers and asked how they were feeling now about their children's deeds, as the Intifada was supposedly ending. "Despite initial proclamation of pride in their martyrdom, the eight families she interviewed admitted feeling sad, angry and unfairly disadvantaged. Several were disgruntled that the decision of their family member to serve as a human bomb had been less than efficacious, considering the increased incursions by Israel and building of the fence. Others felt inconvenienced and literally put out – their homes were destroyed, business was bad and family members were stopped at checkpoints when they wanted to enter Israel. 

One parent blamed terrorist leaders for inciting and recruiting the children of others, but never their own.. .none of (the) interviewees expressed guilt or remorse, neither for their children's violence nor over their part in it... The Palestinian parents didn't suffer nightmares over the people their children had murdered or disabled, nor did they lose sleep over the sowing of destructive seeds within the next generation of Palestinian children" (Sofer 2005). 

Golda Meir once said, "the Arabs will make peace with Israel when they love their children more than they hate us". But, in the decades that have since passed, the prospect of love overcoming hatred is a mirage that fades even further beyond the horizon. Every phase of a child's life has been exploited by the PLO to implant hatred of Israel and Jews, and to inspire a yearning to die for the sake of destroying the enemy. 

The PLO regime has raised a generation indoctrinated from infancy with the belief that the purpose and goal of life is to die for the sake of destroying Israel. Else why would they be training cadet terrorists who will not even reach the age for mass homicide for another decade? One video report cited two eleven-year-old girls interviewed in the studio of PA TV. It is striking that their desire for death was expressed as a personal goal, not related to the conflict with Israel. One girl was asked, 'What is better, peace and full rights for the Palestinian people or shahada?' Replied the eleven year old, 'I will achieve my rights after becoming a shahida'. What has caused this compelling desire for death among these children, a desire that conflicts with the basic survival instinct of every human being? (A Time to Speak website 2003). 

A representative of the Palestinian Children's Aid Association said in a television interview in 2003 that part of the educational policy was to teach children to aspire to death for Allah because 'The concept of shahada for (the child) meant belonging to the homeland, from a religious point of view. Sacrificing for his home, achieving shahada in order to reach Paradise, and meeting his God is the best (Wente 2003). In games and in conversations, the yearning to die for Allah is an integral component of the Palestinian child's world view. 

In 2002 the Canadian Toronto Star reported that youngsters in the Balata refugee camp adjoining Nablus had replaced their once precious 'Pokeman' cards with a less innocent craze, necklaces with pictures of martyrs. "They are our idols," said one 14 year old. The 'hottest' item at that time was a pendant of an 18-year-old bomber who was the camp's first suicide bomber when he blew himself up, killing an eighteen-month-old Israeli baby and her grandmother in Petach Tikva. Teachers had grudgingly allowed students to wear their martyrs necklaces in class (Jerusalem Post, 6 June 2002). 

In March 2004 a mentally retarded 16-year-old boy, Husan Abdu, was recruited by Fatah in Nablus to blow himself up at a busy Israeli checkpoint. Wearing a bomb belt under his heavy coat, he tried to run when apprehended by soldiers, and was disarmed. '"He said he had agreed to the suicide bombing in order to become famous – he said he did not have friends in school, and expected to have endless sex in heaven" (Schecter 2004). His senders had relied on the 'compassion' of soldiers to let a boy through the checkpoint. 

Palestinian children are thus victims of the PA's indoctrination and propaganda, often believing that their 
death for Allah in war is the highest achievement attainable in life. This education is an indelible stain on Palestinian society, and places the Palestinian Authority among the greatest child abusers in history. 

Death, power and religion are intertwined. "The message has not changed – it is being dispensed in smaller doses. The ideology must change. Peace must be taught. Israel must be recognized in PA high schools and graduation ceremonies. Israel must appear on PA maps Hate education must be totally eradicated. A few more hours of Mickey Mouse (cartoons) just isn't going to be enough" (Itamar M. 2003).



In September 2002, in Ramallah an Israeli Defence Forces documentation team found posters glorifying 
suicide attacks, armed struggle and leaders of the terrorist wing of Hamas. (Independent Media Review and Analysis). A report published in the Hizbollah weekly journal also exposed new evidence of children's 
active involvement in the Jenin refugee camp in 2002. The children had confessed to their involvement in 
the manufacturing of weapons, and to their participation in active warfare alongside armed terrorists. The children, taught from a young age to throw stones at IDF soldiers, had begun to replace stones and rocks with hand grenades and small explosive charges. One group of children assisted in the manufacturing of arms, a second group placed them strategically around an area specified by a senior terrorist operative, and a third group was instructed to set up ambushes at street corners carrying bags filled to the brim with explosives. 

In one incident 'a child threw 50 explosive charges towards the IDF soldiers'. During the battle in Jenin in 2002 the sounds of explosions were heard all over the refugee camp area. The residents, upon hearing the explosions ran out of their houses in fear that the IDF was firing grenades, when in fact the explosions were charges being detonated by the militant children who had planted them there (IDF Briefing 2002). 

Perhaps this is why 'children' are so often cited by the PA as 'casualties' or 'innocent victims of Israeli 
aggression'. It may also help to understand why "there is a feeling that the Israeli soldiers are quicker on the trigger and are willing to employ more force against demonstrators than they did a decade ago because of the increased risk to their lives" (Shaviv 2002). 

International human rights and international humanitarian law have long prohibited the recruitment and use of children under 15 years of age in hostilities. The PA too has endorsed international mechanisms that prohibit the use of children under the age of 18 in hostilities". But by October 2002 at least three suicide bombings had been carried out by children/persons under the age of eighteen, one in an orthodox 
neighbourhood of Jerusalem in March 2002 (11 people killed and 50 wounded), another in a park in Rishon Lezion in May 2002 which killed two civilians and wounded 40, and one in central Jerusalem at a felafel stand in July 2002 where five civilians were wounded (HRW 2002). 


In 2001 the BBC shot a film sequence about 'Paradise Camps' in which children as young as eight were 
being taught military drills and about suicide bombers. Rallies commonly featured children wearing 
bombers' belts. Fifth and sixth graders studied poems celebrating bombers. 

In 2003 it was reported by the Arab media that the PA was running summer camps attended by thousands of children during which a dominant theme was shahid and suicide bomber adoration. Schools, sporting events, educational programs and institutions were named after them. In January 2002, a soccer tournament under the auspices of the PA Ministry of Education was named after the suicide bomber who murdered 30 civilians and wounded 140 during the Park Hotel Passover massacre in Netanya in 2002. A summer camp was named after the founder of Fatah Aksa Martyr's Brigade and children visited his home while at summer camp. 

During one televised lecture by Dr Hassan Khader, founder of the Al-Quds Encyclopaedia, he quoted the prophet Mohammed as having said " The (day of resurrection) will not arrive until you fight the Jews (until a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree) and the rock or the tree will say "O Muslim, servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me – come and kill him". This 'hadith', which elevates the murder of Jews to a mandatory religious obligation, has been cited by PA leaders during the current conflict. (Marcus 2003). Dr Eyad el-Sarraj, the Director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, warned in 2004 that children in the West Bank and Gaza now dream of martyrdom or shahada "the way normal kids in the US dream of going to Disneyland" (Schecter 2004). 

A Jihad Soccer Team originated in 1998 as the project and passion of an Islamic bookshop owner in Hebron. Members wore blue and white soccer jerseys with 'Al Jihad – Prepare for Them' stenciled on them. 

Beginning in 2002 six active players and one former member of the squad, including the player-coach, 
carried out a wave of suicide attacks against Israel civilians. One blew himself up in a bus in central 
Jerusalem killing 17 people. Other team members were killed in no-escape terror attacks, including one 
against a couple who were at home eating their Sabbath meal. Even as its team members were dying off, the Jihad team continued playing soccer. 

In May another soccer player boarded a bus in Jerusalem dressed in white prayer shawl and skullcap, symbols of Jewish prayer. He also wore an explosive belt. The blast he detonated killed seven people and wounded dozens more. The father of one of the teenage soccer team suicide bombers said later he never imagined that the club had been an incubator for suicide squads. Standing beside the ruins of his house in Hebron (reduced to rubble by Israel) he said "If I had realized what was happening I would have tied up my son with wire" (Hammer 2003). 


During a Palestinian high school graduation ceremony in 2003 students chanted, "I am a Palestinian – my weapon is the stone and the knife; Palestine will soon be restored. The stone and the knife will take the victory". This joyous anticipation of Israel's destruction through armed conflict was acted out to hundreds of parents and students and broadcast on Palestinian TV. This was but one example of the great disparities between what was so often reported in Israel's press about the Palestinian world and what was really happening, as seen via the window of the Palestinian media. 

An Israeli newspaper, Ha-aretz, had claimed that changes had transpired in the Palestinian media. They said songs praising the shahids had been silenced and in their place was a new hit song the song of peace and freedom played on TV nearly around the clock. 

While the PA did produce a single video clip song "Song of Peace and Freedom" it was broadcast exactly 
once The few minutes of the peace song were completely overwhelmed by the continual broadcast of hate material albeit on a smaller scale" (Marcus I. 2003). 


Young people have been urged by a relentless stream of propaganda to choose violent death. This poison was manufactured not by Islamic Jihad or Hamas but by the Palestinian Authority itself. It included TV news shows and newspaper articles which glorified murderers, sermons from extremist Imams, and a unique invention of Palestinian culture – music videos celebrating suicide starring attractive boys and girls in western fashions and set to catchy music. These music videos have two themes. One is the wickedness and depravity of the Israelis. The other is the beauty of Shahada –dying for Allah – which is depicted as the supreme act of patriotism (Wente 2003). 

In these videos Israelis are depicted as monsters – cruel, sadistic people who murder mothers, children and helpless old men in cold blood. One video which ran on TV the entire summer of 2003 (after the PA had agreed to engage in the 'peace process') showed a mother who was alleged to have been targeted and murdered by Israeli soldiers. Her daughter mourns her death and sings sadly over her grave. In another, shot in a similarly gauzy, impressionistic style, soldiers shoot down Palestinian schoolchildren at a checkpoint in successive waves, until they are all dead. The last scene showed a graveyard where the ghostly children rise again, presumably to ascend to a sweet afterlife. 

Other music videos show children riding off on their bicycles to throw stones at enemy soldiers and falling happily to their deaths. 'Don't cry for me' they write in notes left for their parents (website of Palestinian Media Watch – http//www.pmw.org). These messages, which have been broadcast for years, are part of mainstream Palestinian culture. Although most Palestinians are poor, almost every family has a TV. The music videos, it is alleged, have been produced with money supplied by the European Union and other nations which subsidize the PA. 

Another common media message is that all of Israel, not just the 'occupied territories', really belongs to the Palestinians. Palestinian textbooks don't even show the state of Israel. The entire region is instead depicted as 'greater Palestine'. One music video did show a map of Israel, but over it there was a heart dripping with blood. Then, arms with stones sprouted from the ground, and in the final shot, the Palestinian flag covered the whole map. The death wish for the annihilation of Israel is another aspect of their cult of death. Fifth-grade textbooks depict dead children draped in a Palestinian flag with a poem to death: 'I hasten my steps towards it.. .this is the death of men, and who asks for a noble death, here it is.' It is hard to imagine another society in history that has so systematically attempted to brainwash its children into loving death and murder (Jerusalem Post Editorial, January 2003). 


In the year 2000, two days after the PA began the Second Intifada, thousand of Israeli Arabs throughout 
Galilee joined the battle on the side of Israel's enemies, supported locally by some leaders and passively by the general population. They threw stones, firebombs, burned tyres, killed an Israeli Jew, injured many others and closed down the main roads of the north of Israel for days. Israel, it seemed, had lost the allegiance of 20% of its citizens who in time of war sided with the enemy. While there were many 
contributing factors, there is ample evidence that this transfer of allegiance was a primary goal of the PA 
long before the start of the 2000 war (Marcus 2003). 

The late Yasser Arafat's Office had a special unit, The Committee for Contacts with the Residents of 
Occupied Palestine, a euphemism for Israeli Arabs. Twenty percent of Israel's population (1.2 million in 
2005) is Arab, mostly Muslim. Then there are Druse and Bedouin. The Druse serve in the Israeli Defence 
Forces (IDF), often achieving officer status, and also in the police force (the family of a Druse police officer who was killed in a Tel Aviv suicide bombing attack is interviewed in this report). The Bedouin also serve in the IDF and are renowned for their expertise as trackers. The PA was careful to send representatives to specific Israeli Arab events. For example, numerous graduation ceremonies in Jerusalem and the Galilee had no representative from the Israeli Ministry of Education but did have a PA representative. 

At some eremonies the Palestinian anthem was played. Arab Israeli members of Knesset marched with Israeli Arab youth waving PA flags. Their story was that if such young people lost their Palestinian identity, all that would remain would be family and tribal ties. The PA initiated the process of 'de-Israelizing' Israel's Arabs and sometimes found them willing partners. It happened openly, under the eyes of the Israeli government, which did nothing to try to win the allegiance of its citizens (Marcus 2003). 

On 24 June 2002, a 24-year-old Israeli Arab resident of Baka al-Gharbiya, which lies east of the coastal 
town of Hadera, was arrested and interrogated. It emerged that he had been planning to drop four suicide bombers inside Israel. One bomber was to be dropped off at the Haifa cable car station, one at the Netanya beachfront promenade, one in Hadera and one on the Tel Aviv beachfront. It appeared that terrorist organizations were trying to take advantage of the mobility of Israeli Arabs inside the so-called 'Green line' (the line dividing Israel and the Palestinian areas before 1967) and their familiarity with the various characteristics of Israeli society in order to better carry out suicide attacks" (O'Sullivan 2002). 

In November the same year, a would-be suicide bomber was captured near Ben Gurion International Airport on his way to a major terrorist operation, and next morning police captured four Palestinians in an apartment in the Israeli town of Lod, near the international airport. The four Palestinians were linked to the previous day's incident (Debkafile.com, 2002). 

Reuters reported on 31 July 2003 that 'Israel shut down an Israeli Arab summer camp Thursday after a 
television report showed children enrolled there shouting "We want bombs" and supporting a Palestinian 
uprising for independence. Israel's Channel Ten television showed elementary children marching to pro-
Palestinian chants of "Don't want flour, don't want sardines – we want bombs". 

But the establishment of the summer camp in the northern Israeli Arab town of Kabul had angered some residents, who had denounced the activities. That Muslim village in fact had hosted Jewish-Arab summer camps in the past, including children from Jewish communities in the area. The local Council Head said of the summer camp, 'I am against this and I denounce these activities completely. We don't want this sort of thing in Kabul. Some of these (organizers) are people from outside the village. We don't want them here and we don't want their activities, which besmirch the good name of the village and our residents. We are all citizens of the State (of Israel) and we have to live alongside one another in peace and harmony" (Rudge 2003). 


In 2003 the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs examined the 'Palestine Children's Welfare Fund (PCWF) '. 
The fund claimed to be a non-political, non-religious enterprise whose aspirations were purely humanitarian. 

Some 250 individuals and organizations were listed as donors during the six months from January to June 2003. Over US$40,000 had been raised in five months from individuals and groups, including a Presbyterian Church in Texas and the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee. The PCWF had organized a children's drawing contest, awarding prizes to entries featuring fierce and violent hatred of Israel. The winning drawing was of a bonfire in the shape of a map of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with fire consuming the Star of David with the world 'Israel' written inside the map. Another entry depicted a Palestinian flag dropping flames on an Israeli flag and burning Israelis standing next to it. 

The Jerusalem Centre For Public Affairs observed, "There is no 'humanitarian' justification for publishing drawings by small children depicting the burning of maps of the state of Israel (and) on the basis of this evidence, it could be concluded that the PCWF raises its funds on false premises, and that its activities are a far cry from the purely humanitarian mission claimed in its mission statement" (Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, 2003). 


A number of so-called' charities' have been reported to have been channelling some of their funds to terrorist organizations and activities. 

For example the U.S. based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was forcibly closed by the U.S. government back in December 2001 on the grounds that it was a Hamas front organization. It reportedly listed revenues of $13 million on its tax return for the year 2000, and allegedly channelled funds to Hamas through local charity committees in the West Bank and Gaza (Levitt, "Charitable and Humanitarian Organizations in the Network of International Terrorist Financing", testimony before the Subcommittee on International Trade and Finance, Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban 
Affairs, 1 August 2002). The U.S. government had argued that Hamas's charitable activities provided a 
benign cover through which funds could be transferred from abroad to Hamas-controlled institutions. 


Who is funding the bombers and their dispatchers? Who has rewarded the killing of civilians and how? 
Shortly after the suicide attack at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem in 2001 that left seven Israelis dead, the late Yasser Arafat met with Fatah activist Mohamed Naifeh from Tulkarm giving him US$20.000 to be used for operations of Fatah's military wing (Harel A. ,2002). 

In April 2002 documents captured in Arafat's compound in Ramallah showed a handwritten letter asking Arafat to allocate financial aid to three Fatah terrorists, including the suspected mastermind Zid Muhammed Daas, commander of a Tanzim terror cell in Tulkarm, who was believed to have been involved in the suicide bombing attack at the Bar Mitzvah ceremony in Hadera on 17 January 2002. (Two women who both lost their husbands in that bombing are interviewed in chapter seven of this report.) Scrawled on the bottom of the letter was the note 'Allocate $600 to each of them", with Arafat's signature. This document was shown to the international media during a briefing. 

Then there was another document, a fax, sent to West Bank Tanzim leader Marwan Bargouti (now in Israeli custody), who attached a note to forward to Arafat: "I request of you to order allocation of a 
thousand dollars for each of the fighter brethren (12 Fatah activists)" (Da Fonseca-Wollheim & Kleinon, 

Documents uncovered by the IDF in Ramallah showed Saudi support for Hamas and Islamic Jihad 
'charities'. For example, documents showed payments to families of terrorists killed in attacks on Israel. An Israeli official said at the time that it was commonly believed the Saudis had curtailed their support (to extremist Islamic organizations) since the September 11 suicide attacks on New York. (Fifteen of the 
terrorists involved in that attack, which killed nearly three thousand civilians, were Saudis.) 

The documents found in Ramallah indicated Saudi Arabia had paid some $5000 each to the families of 102 terrorists killed in attacks on Israel, but with some of the payments coming after September 11. According to the documents, Saudi Arabia paid the family of a suicide bomber who carried out an attack in Afula in November 2002 in which two civilians were killed and 46 wounded, and also paid the family of the terrorist who went on a shooting spree in the coastal town of Hadera killing four people and wounding 31. One of these documents, listing payments of some $545,000, included names of a number of high-profile terrorists, some killed by Israel in targeted killings (Keinon, 2002). 

Syria and Iran are the most important patrons of terrorist organizations that engage in suicide bombings. In 2006, it was reported that Iraq sent, sometimes through 'charitable societies', larger sums (initially $15,000 and later $25,000) to the families of suicide bombers (with a special certificate) than to those of ordinary shahids ($10,000) (CSS 2006). 


In May 2002 the European Union's Head Office denied Israel's claims that millions of euros were being 
spent on funding suicide bombers. An EU spokesman told reporters that the aid, which totalled 367 million euros over the previous two years, was being spent on civilian purposes only, and that the E.U. closely monitored where the money went and what it was used for. But Israeli Minister without portfolio Dan Naveh said at that time that ten million euros worth of EU aid was being 'used indirectly to finance terrorist acts'. 

EU donations to the PA since the Oslo Accords have included demands for accountability and similar 
demands were attached to the EU's direct budgetary assistance since the PA launched the Second Intifada in 2000. Even the Palestinian legislative council itself complained about lack of adequate monitoring. In 
February 2003 it was reported that 170 members of the European Parliament had signed a petition to open a parliamentary investigation into the PA's use of EU funds. 

In August 2004 a report was released entitled "Managing European Taxpayer's Money: Supporting 
Palestinian Arabs – A Study in Transparency". The report, by the Funding for Peace Coalition, highlighted 
the utter failure of European organizations to monitor where their funds had been directed, and published evidence which substantiated a compelling connection between European funding and ongoing Palestinian corruption and terrorism. 

The report documented dozens of disclosures, many from Arab sources and little reported in Europe and the West. The report detailed theft, nepotism, and embezzlement on the part of the PA, supported by incompetence and apathy on the part of the European agencies. It stated that since 1993 the European Union had contributed over 2 billion euros directly and indirectly to the Palestinian Authority. Member states had donated a further 2 billion euros in the same period. Thus a total of 4 billion euros has 
been poured into the PA in eleven years. European aid, said the report, had not reached its intended target – the Palestinian people. It had been diverted towards graft, terrorism, and incitement to hatred. 

Despite repeated denials from senior European politicians and civil servants, terrorists were on the payroll of the PA. This included in particular, members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades who openly admitted their direct roles in acts of murder. The salaries of these murderers came directly from budgets provided by European government aid, even though the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades have been officially classified as terrorists by Europe. The PA payroll had been found to be bloated with fictitious names or comprised of groups adjudged as terrorists by the EU itself. European taxpayers' funds had not been managed transparently in everything connected with aid to the PA and to the Palestinian people, said the report. The facts had been concealed and continued to be concealed from European taxpayers. The methods used to fund the PA might even be considered to be money laundering. The report assumed that providing aid to the Palestinian people was important and helpful to the cause of peace (Funding for Peace Coalition "Managing European Taxpayer's Money: Supporting the Palestinian Arabs – A Study in Transparency" August 2004). 


Back in 1996, Ambassador Philip Wilcox, then the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism in the U.S State 
Department, said that Iran's assistance to Islamic Jihad was at that time some two million dollars per year (Human Rights Watch 2002). 

In 1993, a IDF report stated that Hamas was receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Iran (IDF Spokesman 1993). In 2002, Human Rights Watch reported that "Syria provides safe haven as well as logistical support, and serves as a conduit for funds to several groups that perpetrate suicide attacks against civilians. Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the PFLP all have headquarters or a high level presence in Damascus" (Human Rights Watch 2002). 

In September 2002, Syria reportedly rejected U.S. efforts to include specific mention of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in a draft U.N. Security Council resolution. Each had claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Israel the week before, which were to be mentioned in the draft" (Preston. J. 2002). 

Arab sources themselves reported, "Iran has been financing Islamic Jihad ever since its founding by 
Hizbollah, whose budget exceeds US$ 200 million. In 2001, disagreement arose between those in charge of Hizbollah's finances and their Islamic Jihad counterpart, the latter demanding that its budget come directly to Islamic Jihad. At some point the separated budget was boosted by another 70% to cover the expense of recruiting young Palestinians for suicide operations" (Jerusalem Post, 2002, "The Arab Voice" – Sources: London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al Aswat, Al Manar, Hizbollah TV channel broadcasting from Lebanon and London's A-Hayat newspaper, quoted in the Jerusalem Post, 19 June 2002: "Jubilant Jihad Warriors"). 

In 2002 Human Rights Watch reported that Iraq had expressly endorsed and encouraged suicide bombing 
attacks against civilians. Arab sources claimed that families of suicide bombers received US$ 25,000, and 
that Iraq had provided $20 million in aid to Palestinians since clashes began in September 2000, but it is not known what portion of that amount was provided to the families of suicide bombers. President Saddam Hussein had made it clear that (suicide) attacks must be considered the utmost act of martyrdom. A 'martyr' was generally defined as an individual who had been killed, disabled or imprisoned during the attacks (Nidal al-Mughrabi, 2002). 

In 2002, an Australian reporter claimed that $15,000 payments were being made to encourage more volunteers for suicide missions" (McGeough P, 2002). 

In 2002 Human Rights Watch quoted Israeli officials' figure of $33,000 as going to families of suicide 
bombers, made up of payments from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the PA and the United Arab Emirates (Human 
Rights Watch 2002). 

In 2002, Gaza-based psychiatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj was quoted as saying "as a Palestinian, as an Arab, as a Muslim, and as a human being I cannot leave their children in poverty; I have to do what I can do to leave them some hope and dignity. This is why we support the families – certainly not to encourage suicide bombing". The report concluded that, "Under international law, those who assist, aid or abet crimes against humanity are individually responsible for the resulting crimes: Both governmental and private organizations have provided financial and logistical support to groups responsible for suicide attacks against civilians. Others have given funds to groups that may have been diverted to fund such activities; or, through the provision of large cash payments to perpetrators' families, have rewarded those who carried out such attacks" (HRW 2002). 

The Human Rights Watch report also quoted Israeli intelligence experts as saying that Hamas's annual 
operational income topped at least $20 million dollars a year. It noted that in contrast to Hamas's complex and varied financial structure, Islamic Jihad was generally thought to derive almost all of its funding from state sponsors, particularly Iran. In addition, it noted that "according to the Israeli government, documents captured by the IDF in PA offices in April 2002, Islamic Jihad appears to have received 'massive financial aid from the group's headquarters in Damascus, but documents supporting this assertion had not been made public ...the transfers included financial assistance for the families of Islamic Jihad members in prison or killed, as well as support for Islamic Jihad's military operations. The al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades appear to have benefited from the routine misuse of PA funds. Arafat and other senior PA officials, as well as many rank-and-file Fatah members, have overlapping identities as employees or officials of the PA, on the one hand, and as members of Fatah on the other. This dual identity appears to have facilitated the use of PA resources to fund Fatah activities directly and indirectly, including payments to individual al-Aqsa Brigades activists" (Human Rights Watch 2002). 

In contrast to the cost involved in supporting families of suicide bombers, a Saudi adviser to Prince 
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said on TV on 2 June 2004 that the financial cost of funding the 9/11 suicide 
attack on New York had been around $500,000, and the cost of the June bombing in Riyadh the previous 
year around $ 50,000. 


Rifat, aged 25, was given a 15-kilogram explosives belt by the Ramallah cell of the Palestinian Islamist 
group. That same day he was smuggled into Tel Aviv where he made his way to the seaside Cafe Tayelet. At the entrance a security guard got suspicious and the would-be bomber fled the scene. Interviewed in prison, he said, 'I listened to the Muslim preachers on television. They were my main authority' (Schecter 2004). 

In 2002, the Middle East Media Research Unit (MEMRI) had quoted a Muslim cleric as saying 'Muslims 
must...educate their children to Jihad. This is the greatest benefit of the situation: educating their children to Jihad and to hatred of the Jews, the Christians, and the infidels." Palestinian religious leaders have been a driving force, through their religion classes and televised sermons, in calling for Palestinians to kill Jews, especially through suicide bombings. In 2003, an Imam in a Saudi mosque was heard asking for 'God to purify Jerusalem from the footprint of the Jews' The US State Department had sent employees to five mosques with strong ties to the government to find out what was really going on inside Saudi mosques. Two of the five mosques called for the 'destruction of Americans', four called for ' destruction of the Jews' (Jewish World Review 2003). 

President George W. Bush said that Islam inspires countless individuals to lead lives of honesty, integrity 
and morality (12 May, 2002), it is a faith based on love, not hate (9 October 2002) and it teaches the value and importance of charity, mercy and peace (11 May 2001). But, "in the suicide attack on 9/11 when the Twin Towers crashed to the ground killing nearly 3000 civilians, it was reported that some Muslims in New York danced in the street, laughing, shouting to each other and shaking hands... (while as American citizens they were free to express their judgement) they were also the followers of Islam, religion of oppression, violence, terror, war , superstition, intolerance and prejudice. ...the Koran states ' Kill the disbelievers, wherever we find them (2:191), 'Strike off the heads of the disbelievers (make a) wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives (947:4) ... It is not by accident that (militant Muslims) call the coalition forces in Iraq the Crusaders. To Islam, the war which they lost centuries ago continues. The enemy is modernity itself and the forces of change that have made them irrelevant. Muslims, married to a failed past, offer little hope for integration into modern society. Israel giving them land to which they are not entitled or the United States punishing them for criminal acts will not assuage their rage. Historically, use of strength, swift and certain punishment, and resolve of purpose are all that is left to us to effectively deal with their primitive madness" (Mason J & Felder R, 2004). 


It is said that Islam prohibits the killing of non-combatants (e.g. women, children, monks) so tactics and 
weapons that killed indiscriminately were prohibited or, at the very least, frowned on. Women were to be 
protected in war because, in the seventh century, they were not seen as potential combatants (Ebrahim 
Moosa, Professor of Islamic Thought, Duke University). 

Obviously, that is no longer the case. The Organization of Islamic countries has an Islamic Law Committee but its rulings are not mandatory on member states (Schecter, 2003). Suicide bombing has been condemned by a prominent Indian Muslim scholar and a former grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. By contrast, Muhammad Sayad Tantawi, head of Egypt's venerable al-University of Qatar, lauded suicide bombing as 'the weapon of the wretched weak in the face of powerful tyrants'. 

However, the Koran is clear in its opposition to suicide. In An-Nisa 4:29 it states, 'O you who believe. Do not consume your wealth in the wrong way – rather only through trade mutually agreed on, and do not kill yourselves'. In the compilation of the ninth century scholar, Sahih Bukhari, the stated punishment for suicide is the endless repetition of the fatal act in hell. So, instead of enjoying the company of 72 dark-eyed virgins, the suicide bomber in our imaginary scenario would spend eternity being repeatedly 
torn apart (Schecter, 2003). 

In 1997 the PA-appointed grand mufti in Jerusalem said, "The person who sacrifices his life as a Muslim 
will know if God accepts it and whether it is for the right reason., the measure is whether the person is doing that for his own purposes or for Islam". But, at an interfaith dialogue conference at the University of Malaysia in 1997, sociologist Syed Hussein al-Attas noted that at least the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of World War II attacked enemy warships. 'How does anyone justify throwing a bomb into a bus filled with people who are non-belligerent, let alone kill oneself in the process?' he asked. 

At a European conference in July 2003, a dean of Qatar University cited both necessity and the justice of the Palestinian cause in defending the killing of civilians. He also went on to argue that in modern war there are no longer any innocents, since all of (Israeli) society is mobilized behind the effort – an argument that would apply equally to the Palestinians. He placed all Israelis in the category of 'ahl al-kital' or 'men of war' or unarmed irregulars. His regular sermons were beamed by the al-Jazeera television network to 45 million viewers, who have only the faintest notion of Israeli society (Schecter E. 2003). 


In February 2003, far away from international media centres, in the capital of the newly independent Muslim Republic of Kazakhstan, representatives of six Muslim nations, including three presidents and three foreign ministers, convened to condemn militant Islam, showcase their moderation, and encourage greater interaction with the West. Also present at that International Conference on Peace and Accord was the invited delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. The six countries included Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Afghanistan. The Afghani delegate said "Terror must be rooted out at its source and sadly that source has been my country. Terrorism has destroyed Afghanistan more than any other place. We know what intolerance means. We have a ruined country to show for it". 

A US delegate pointed out at the same conference that "Eighty percent of the Muslim world are non-Arabs. They live in countries like Indonesia, where militant Islam is dangerous but marginal, in India where they are a minority in a democratic country; in north Africa where they are still living at the subsistence level; and in the Central Asian Republics where they are enjoying a large measure of freedom and are reaching out a hand of friendship to the West". 

Unlike their neighbouring Muslim states of the Arab world, the central Asian states have large non-Muslim minorities, their populations are largely secular, highly educated and recently freed from the Soviet yoke. The Caspian basin (near the Caspian Sea) is the site of the greatest oil rush in history. Combined oil and natural gas value of the finds in the Central Asian republics is estimated at up to US$10 trillion. In Kazakhstan nearly 45% of the country's 16 million citizens are non-Muslim, including about 30,000 Jews. In early 2003 there were said to be 20 synagogues being built across the country, paid for by the state. The government was helping Jewish schools and providing security to Jewish institutions. Another American delegate said that those countries presented the opportunity to provide living proof that moderate Islamic societies are able to produce real social and political development (Rose 2003). 


The P.A. has routinely condemned suicide bombings against civilians – largely for the benefit of the 
international press (Myre, 2002). On 19 June 2002, a Masters student from Al-Najah University in Nablus 
exploded himself at Jerusalem's Patt-Gilo junction, killing 19 Israeli civilians and wounding 70 others. 
Afterwards a full-page petition/ advertisement appeared in the leading daily Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper. 

The petition/advertisement said that such attacks would never lead the Palestinians to their goal of 
independence, but would only increase the number of countries supporting the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people. Fifty-five Palestinian academics and public figures signed the petition asking those who stood behind the attacks on civilians inside Israel to reevaluate their positions and the results of their actions. 

Though hundreds subsequently added their names to the petition, Palestinians downplayed its potential, 
declaring the signatories to be respected individuals with no influence. Israelis criticized the language of the petition that made no reference to questions of morality or terrorism. The targeting of children and old people was only mentioned in the context of 'Israeli aggression' against Palestinian towns and villages (Kershner, 2002). 


In August 2002, Human Rights Watch had urged Palestinian factions to "immediately stop all attacks on 
civilians, as international humanitarian law explicitly prohibits reprisals against civilians" (Human Rights 
Watch 2002). They made the appeal after a particularly bloody weekend in which multiple shooting and 
bomb attacks had killed at least 13 civilians and wounded scores of others. These included a bus bombing in northern Israel, and the bombing at the Hebrew University cafeteria which killed seven students and wounded 80. Hamas said the attacks were in retaliation for an Israeli air strike on Gaza City in which 15 people were killed, including a Hamas military leader. 

Hamas has carried out the largest number of suicide bombings of all the Palestinian terrorist organizations: 58 attacks, or about 40% of the total. The various Fatah factions have carried out 33 (23%) of the total (CSS 2006). By targeting public places, suicide bombings affect all sectors of Israeli society, Jews, and foreign workers. Their target is everyday life. The bombings also kill and wound Israeli Arabs. For example, fifteen of twenty-nine people wounded in a suicide bombing which blew apart a bus near Umm al-Fahm near the coastal town of Hadera were Arab Israelis. 

The 2002 Human Rights Watch report concluded that" High-ranking PA officials, including President Arafat, had failed in their duty to administer justice and enforce the rule of law in compliance with international standards. Through their repeated failure to arrest or prosecute individuals alleged to have planned or carried out suicide attacks against civilians, they contributed a climate of impunity, and failed to prevent the bloody consequences". The actions and disregard by suicide bombers for basic human rights has tainted and undermined the wider struggle for Palestinian human rights (HRW 2002). 

By early 2005, there was much pressure on Israel to release Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. The problem is that previous released prisoners have returned to attacking Israeli civilians. "In May 1985 in the 'Jibril Deal', more than 1000 prisoners were released; of 238 prisoners released to the West Bank and Gaza, 48% or 114, resumed their terror activities" (Dudkevitch 2005). The release of prisoners with the blood of suicide bombings on their hands cannot be considered for reasons of justice and morality. 

The tsunami-like suicidal waves did not subside. The immorality and cruelty of suicide bombing attacks 
against unarmed civilians spread like an evil virus, and seems to have become 'mainstreamed' into the 
contemporary world. The uncontrolled 'downstream spending' of organizations and countries that supported the PA and terrorists organizations could also be precisely what funded suicide bombings. The streams which have flowed changed from money to the blood of Israeli civilians. 


When Osma Bin Laden's cache of audio-cassettes and CDs were discovered in an underground hideout in 
eastern Afghanistan in 2001, they included a video which showed in detail the beheading with a knife of a hostage in Chechnya and a prisoner being tortured with a sizzling piece of metal. Another close-up showed a victim's tongue actually being cut out. This type of savage barbarity has been enacted during the past three years in many locations. In Pakistan the American journalist Nick Berg was beheaded. In Iraq graphic video footage showed twelve bound Nepali hostages being shot at close quarters. Another video showed the beheading of yet another American hostage. 

"Small cruelties are perhaps comprehensible; large ones are not. The gargantuan cruelty that characterizes this very hour is perhaps the most incomprehensible of all: the malevolent frenzy of fanatical spite that undertakes to turn young men and women, some barely past childhood, into self-detonating bombs. Two societies appear to accept this: on the one hand, the Palestinian Arabs and Muslim nations in general, who celebrate suicide for the purpose of raw murder; and, on the other hand, the West – the civilized, humanitarian, psychoanalytical West which, by giving false answers to spurious questions, effectively ratifies, with scarcely a murmur, the radical reinvention of savagery in our time.

Suicide bombing is incomprehensible because it goes against nature. It is unnatural for human parents, however ideologically brainwashed, to endure – let alone to favour – the destruction of a child. Yet, as all the world has seen, there are Palestinian mothers who not only laud the self-shattering of a child, but lay their hands fondly on the head of another, piously hoping he will be the next murderer. Not even the vanity of communal prestige, not even insidious greed – the sure knowledge of a reward of thousands of dollars from Iraq and Saudi Arabia – can account for this perversion of nature. As for the suicide bombers themselves, nature intends its cry for continuity of life to beat persistently and invulnerably, especially in the pulse of the young. 

It is all beyond nature and beyond understanding, like any madness. But it is not the madness of individuals alone. It is the madness, the corrupting socialization of a people that has adopted both self-destruction and gratuitous killing as its credo. It is a metaphysical movement. It is Moloch masking as Allah" (Ozick 2002). 

The intensity of the suicide bombings in 2002 prompted some of the most eloquent writings, analyses and comments. An article on the website of Channel NewsAsia in 2003 predicted, "Suicide bombing is such an abominable act that every time it occurs, it fills us with so much revulsion that only the horror remains. The cause and origin of the conflict get increasingly obscured" (Tsering Bhallah, 2003). From 2003 to 2004, even though the suicidal bombing waves continued, less was written about suicide bombings in Israel, as if the ongoing suicide bombings were to be expected and were hardly newsworthy.

Attention had turned to other horrors and crimes against humanity, such as the suicide attackers in the Moscow theatre siege, the regular suicide car bombing atrocities in Iraq, and particularly the massacre of children by suicide attackers in a school in Beslan. If the latter cannot act as a wake-up call to the world – what will? Can the cruel and twisted psychology of the terrorists and suicide bombers be allowed to continue? 


The eyes of the suicide bombers – the bombs with eyes. The eyes of fanatical hatred. The eyes which look at you as they detonate. Sometimes they are even smiling. 

Posters have been made in Israel during the past four years portraying hundreds effaces of victims of suicide bombers. Most of them are smiling – the family photos provided by those who grieve their passing. That is perhaps how they would prefer to remember them. There are no pictures of faces blown apart by the bombers, or babies with bullet holes in their foreheads. Or faces burned from the force of the bomb blasts and searing flames. Or eyes filled with the irreparable loss of a child they will not see grow up, or a spouse who will be absent from the remainder of their lives. 

When the survivors and families of victims were interviewed for this project no photos were taken of their faces. The expressions of their eyes were often fleeting, and very private. Such photos would have shown eyes still full of pain in wounded bodies still trying to heal; eyes scarred by memories of carnage in a bus or cafe; eyes now sightless from flying shrapnel. These are the faces which find it hard to smile. It is those eyes, the windows of the soul, which tell the story of the real consequences of suicide bombings against civilians. 

8. 33 Update 2009 - the Sbarro Massacre - and aftermath 

This whole book was arduously researched and written over four years in response to the outrageous bombing of the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem on on the afternoon of 9 August 2001. The popular restaurant was filled with families and children enjoying their pizzas. 

A 20-year-old young Arab woman, Ahlam Tamimi, carrying a camera to pass as a tourist, entered the restaurant ahead of her guitar-carrying male colleague Abdallah Jamal Barghouti. What they had
in mind was far from music or joyfulness - but massacre and mayhem. Inside the guitar case were explosives, prepared by Hamas 'operatives'. Along with explosives they had placed metal screws and nails to magnify the devastation.

When the guitar-case bomb exploded fifteen people were killed - and 130 wounded. The bombers' relatives honouredtheir son by week after the massacre by distributing sweets and praising him publicly. Six weeks later a triumphant exhibit at Al Najah University in the West Bank featuured a mock-up of the Sbarro restaurant including chewed pizza crusts and bloody plastic body parts suspended from the ceilinjg as if they were blasting through the air. 

Just four years ago in 2005, hundreds of students attended a Hamas rally at Bir Zeit University where they called for more suicide attacks. "Oh suicide bomber, wrap yourself withy an explosive belt and fill the scene with blood".

At the end of 2009 what do we find? We hear that Tamimi is among those terrorists considered for release as pass of a swap for the release of Kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Yes, she survived because she escaped from the Sbarro massacre scene. Her imprisonment in Israel has included, 'comfortable conditions that Israel lavishes on female prisoners, including freedom to dress in clothes of her choice, opportunities to grant interviews to writers and documentary film-maker, freedom of religious practice, etc etc. During filming, as she was informed that the number of children she had murdered was higher than she herself had presumed, she smiled with pleasure into the camera.

At the time of writing it is unclear whether the Israeli government will commit the unpardonable crime against humanity of releasing Tamimi. 

The Sbarro bombing killed and maimed unarmed civilians. A young mother was wounded so badly that she remains in coma -until now - (as of Dec 2009)

Has the world learned nothing since 2001? Do television viewers , bored with the regularity of horrific suicide attacks around the world, avoid the cowardly and superficial shots of the carnage by turning over to the sports channel?

Apparently the suicide bombers are still smiling, WHEREVER they have detonated --Madrid, London, Iraq
Afghanistan, Turkey. This book is about civilian casualties. All around the world civilian casualties have increased dramatically. Until the extremist ideologies are dealt with it will be hard to wipe the smiles off their faces. the 'virus' of extremist ideologies continues to expand, reaching more 'parts of the world body'. What will it take to erase this spiritual and psychological cancer? 

Why does the world remain so silent over the targeting of unarmed civilians........ wherever they may be? Get out there, cowards, and interview the survivors and families of victims so that YOU can hear their own narratives (if they can still speak, and look hard at the electronic images of the dozens of metal balls and pieces of shrapnel - STILL embedded in survivor's bodies. Yes, it does still hurt when they walk.

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