Naim Ateek: Suicide Bombing from a Palestinian Christian Perspective

Enrico from Al-Awda Italia forwarded me some very interesting Italian sites on Palestinian Christians. I will visit them one by one as soon as I can, for I found the content of consistently high quality.

Following a link to Sabeel, I found this outstanding article by Naim Ateek about Suicide Bombing from a Palestinian Christian perspective, although he addresses the Jewish and Muslim perspective very well. I most earnestly suggest for all interested to read the entire document, for it is quite long, yet amazingly informative. I excerpt only a few salient passages.

What is theologically and morally wrong with suicide bombings? A Palestinian Christian perspective

Naim Ateek

The Revend Dr. Naim Ateek is the director of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.

Iit is important to help the readers, whether Palestinians or expatriates, to understand the phenomenon of suicide bombings that tragically arises from the deep misery and torment of many Palestinians. For how else can one explain it? When healthy, beautiful, and intelligent young men and women set out to kill and be killed, something is basically wrong in a world that has not heard their anguished cry for justice. These young people deserve to live along with all those whom they have caused to die. This article is, therefore, addressed to all people of conscience urging them to work for a speedy termination of the illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories. Such an act will, most certainly, bring this tragic phenomenon of suicide bombing to an end and ensure security for both Israel as well as Palestine.

These young people were not born “terrorists”. No one is born a terrorist. They were born in the image and likeness of God. They were born human beings with love of life and freedom. All of them, with no exception, were born under the Israeli military occupation. The only Jews they knew were Israeli soldiers carrying guns and dehumanizing them. It was in the crucible of the occupation that they were shaped and formed. And if Israel labels them as terrorists, they are, after all the product of its own making.

Moreover, these young Palestinians did not blow themselves up because they simply wanted to commit suicide. Before 1993, they were resisting the occupation of their country through the traditional methods available to them. All they wanted was the end of the occupation and the establishment of their own state along side the state of Israel. However, with increasing Israeli oppressive and punitive measures against them — the use of helicopter gun ships to assassinate Palestinian leaders, F-16 fighter planes to kill people and destroy homes, the mushrooming of military checkpoints to control and humiliate people, closures and siege of Palestinian cities and towns, army incursions into Palestinian areas, and much more — suicide bombings came to be perceived as a more potent tool of resistance that can reciprocate the pain and hurt they were experiencing. And as they were driven deeper into despair, their desire to hit back in any way possible grew in intensity. From a Palestinian perspective, therefore, the real sequence of the cycle of resistance has been this: Israeli occupation, Palestinian resistance, greater Israeli oppressive measures, and greater attempts on the Palestinian side to increase the resistance, and the vicious circle goes on.

Besides the basic political injustice and the oppressiveness of the occupation, there are four major areas that constitute the breeding ground for suicide bombers. To begin with, many young men have become permanently unemployed. Even when other older men were able to find employment within the pre-1967 borders in Israel, most young men were barred from entering because Israel considered them a security risk. During the second intifada, the unemployment rate soared to an alarming 75% in some quarters. This led to the fact that approximately 65% of the Palestinian population was living below the poverty line. It has been extremely difficult for many people to find any form of work. Unemployment creates frustration and despair, and could lead to extreme action.

Moreover, it is the young men more than others who are humiliated, harassed, and provoked by the Israeli soldiers. Some of the worst humiliation takes place at checkpoints. The occupied areas have become infested with them. Some reports have mentioned more than 180. Many of them have become permanently fixed, others are arbitrarily mounted at whim. The occupied territories have been literally segmented into numerous small cantons where it is impossible to move from one area to another without running into military checkpoints. It takes hours to pass through areas that normally take a few minutes. Humiliation is perhaps one of the worst methods used by Israel to dehumanize the Palestinians. It is clearly a policy that strips people of their self worth and dignity. It is directed at all echelons and age groups of Palestinian society.

Furthermore, there is hardly any Palestinian family in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that has not experienced some kind of pain or injury. Many families have lost their loved ones – a spouse, a sibling, a child, a relative, or a close friend. The level of bitterness and hatred keeps rising daily. Almost every aspect of Palestinian life is controlled by the Israeli army and many people have lost the ability to dream of a better future or envisage a better life. Therefore, the desire to avenge their wasted life, take revenge against the occupation, and at the same time take away with them as many Israeli lives as possible becomes an objective.

There is another group of young Palestinian men and women that must be mentioned. Many of these have been arrested and tortured in Israeli prisons and “concentration” camps. In fact, Israeli prisons have become the “factories” for creating and “manufacturing” collaborators. Young men are detained for indefinite periods of time and are pressured into becoming spies and collaborators. They are simply trapped and some of them do not know how to shake it off. This phenomenon causes some of them to exist in constant self-contempt and scorn for having betrayed their own people. Forced collaboration has stripped them of their self worth. They are ready to become suicide bombers in order to purify and redeem themselves and express their utmost loyalty and patriotism for their country and people.

To sum up, these young people’s daily life has become an experience of death. It is vividly symbolized in the daily funerals of their colleagues that they have to attend. Indeed, many of them feel that Israel has practically pronounced a death sentence on them. It is only a matter of time. Death is surely coming to them whether through a slow economic strangulation, or harsh political negation, or daily personal dehumanization. Since they have been stripped of their human dignity, their only possibility for existence is to exist as slaves under an Israeli apartheid system of domination. They feel they have no options and very little to lose. Consequently, they are willing to give themselves up for the cause of God and the homeland (watan) believing that with God there is so much to gain.

From the perspective of those who believe in and carry out these suicide operations, there is a simple and plain logic. As Israeli soldiers shell and kill Palestinians indiscriminately, Palestinian suicide bombers strap themselves with explosives and kill Israelis indiscriminately. They perceive every Israeli as the enemy who has robbed them of their land and is responsible for their misery. If Israel can carry its incursions with the most sophisticated American-made war machinery, the Palestinians carry out their resistance with even the most elementary crude homemade explosives. If Israel drives its tanks to destroy and devastate Palestinian areas, the suicide bombers use their own bodies as tanks and shells to destroy and devastate Israeli areas. If the oppressors have the heart (or should one say lose the heart) to kill women and children and to make the life of Palestinians miserable, the suicide bombers are not going to spare Israeli lives as well.

Moreover, Sharon has insisted repeatedly that Israel is involved in a war with the Palestinians. In war, soldiers give themselves up on behalf of their country whether their country is the aggressor or fending aggression. Officially speaking, some countries argue that the Palestinian suicide bombers are not proper soldiers that belong to an internationally recognized state and their resistance, therefore, cannot be considered legitimate. Some Palestinians would, however, argue that if what is going on is a war as Israel claims it is, then in war the whole nation is mobilized and different militia groups become engaged in resisting the occupation of their country as happened in France during the 2WW. Furthermore, in war, most armies and militias do not always comply with codes of war ethics and many civilians as well as military are killed. Some have argued that the suicide bombers are also fighting a war and killing as many of the enemy as they can so that the psychological warfare can create panic and fear as well as contribute to weakening and capitulation. In this same vein, how does one view the US atomic bombing of two major cities in Japan during the 2WW and the killing of over 170,000 most of them civilians?

The militants go on to argue that what they are doing is precisely like a soldier in battle who carries a heroic act by storming a club within a military camp and blowing himself up killing soldiers as well as women and children who happen to be enjoying a party. If one looks at it in this context of warfare, then it happens all the time. No war has been free from such acts and its actors were labeled heroes and were awarded medals posthumously. They were not called terrorists. In the West such acts are deemed heroic, but in Islam, due to the close ties between God and country, they are given a religious character and the people involved are considered “shuhada” (martyrs); their act is martyrdom and its prize is paradise rather than a human military medal. When one considers it from this angle, then being engaged in war and the defense of one’s homeland, these militants would argue, the suicide bombings could be a legitimate way of resistance.

Shamai Leibowitz on June 27, 2002 wrote a letter entitled, “An Israeli Officer’s Response To President Bush”. He introduced himself in the following way, “I am an Orthodox Jew and a criminal defense attorney in Tel Aviv. I am also a tank gunner in reserve duty, and part of a group of 1000 soldiers who have refused to serve in the occupied territories. Many of them were imprisoned in military jails in the past few months.” Then he added the words, “Now that President Bush has enlightened us with his new ‘Plan’ for the Middle East, we can only wonder how long it will take him to realize that his plan is useless and meaningless….”. “His [Bush’s] failure to understand that no progress can be made while a whole nation [Palestinian] is being brutally occupied is the basic flaw in this policy…. Bush fails to comprehend that the suicide bombings are a product of mass starvation and humiliation of the Palestinian people. Bush’s aides are doing us so much harm by refusing to acknowledge that only an immediate end to the Israeli occupation will bring an immediate end to the Palestinian uprising.”

“We are now witnessing a situation in which 3.5 million people have no future, no hope, no vision, other than to become terrorists and avenge the continued harassment and shelling by the Israeli army’s helicopters, tanks and artillery. While Bush has never set foot in this region, we have been living here, watching how the Palestinians were trampled and denied basic rights on a daily basis, besieged and occupied in every possible way. Our Jewish sources teach us that where there is no justice, there is no peace…. Most Israelis know deep in their hearts that once we stop humiliating and oppressing this nation, we will return to become a safe and secure democratic Israel living next to a viable Palestinian State…”.

Although some people in our Palestinian community admire the sacrifice of the suicide bombers and view it as the penultimate in the offering of oneself for the sake of the homeland and the liberation of the people; and although we understand its deeper motivation and background, we condemn it from both our position of faith as well as a legitimate method for resisting the occupation.

Ultimately, there cannot be room for hate if we want to live together. And live together we must. The sooner we put an end to the occupation the better our life will be. Ending the occupation will certainly end the suicide bombings. All peace-loving people, whether people of faith or not, must exert greater concerted effort to work for the ending of the occupation. Ultimately, justice will prevail, the occupation will be over, and the Palestinians, as well as the Israelis, will enjoy freedom and independence.


6 responses to “Naim Ateek: Suicide Bombing from a Palestinian Christian Perspective

  1. Let me respond to these lies.
    This Palestinian terrorist supporter says.

    Bush fails to comprehend that the suicide bombings are a product of mass starvation and humiliation of the Palestinian people.

    You are wrong about the motivation of the suicide murderers. It is not depression. It is the idea that this will bring the end to the Jewish state.
    Just read the Charter of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fateh.

    On Abu Mazen’s Fateh site, it says this about Fateh’s constitution.

    Article (12) Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.

    Article (19) Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
    The principles of the Hamas are stated in their Covenant. On Hamas charter, it says.
    Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.
    Dec 12, 03
    Islamic Jihad leader Shaik Nafez Azzam on making peace

    “You the Jews are invited to live in safety in Palestine, the whole” “But until then the terror attacks will continue. The Jihad will agree to 1967 border, and will continue to resistance from there to liberate all 1948 lands.”

    Hamas on making peace. Dec. 8, 2003

    We are not ready to give them (the Palestinian Authority) authorization to sign a new agreement,” said senior Hamas official Mohammed Nazzal. Nazzal also made
    clear his group’s stance towards the Jewish state. “”Every centimeter of the land of Palestine from 1948 onwards is occupied land and we will continue our resistance against Israeli targets in every place.
    Arafat’s speech in front of 40 Arab diplomats in the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 30, 1996. Was called “The Impending Collapse of Israel”.
    Arafat said, you understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State . . . I have no use for Jews; they are and remain Jews. We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Muslim domination!”
    Kaddoumi: PLO charter was never changed
    Jerusalem Post, Apr. 22, 2004, KHALED ABU TOAMEH

    Farouk Kaddoumi, the PLO’s hard-line “foreign minister,” said Thursday that when Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat talks about the need to pursue the struggle against Israel, he is referring to the armed struggle. Kaddoumi said the armed struggle was the only way to force Israel to accept the demands of the Palestinians.

    Kaddoumi’s remarks were made in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab. He admitted that the PLO charter, which denies Israel’s right to exist, was never changed.
    FATEH Statement on Geneva Accord, 1 December 2003

    We remind those who play with the future of our people that an independent Palestinian State on the 1967 occupied land is not part of the strategic consensus, but only a transition program adopted by the PLO at the 1974 meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

    1974 Phased Plan
    Arafat said, since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”
    April 24, 2004
    Mahmoud Zahar, the top Hamas leader said this.
    Hamas would continue to struggle for the elimination of the State of Israel. “We are not willing to accept Israel as a legitimate state in this area. This is not our political attitude. This is a standing contradiction with Islam,” he said.
    The Late Faisal Husseini: Oslo Is A Trojan Horse

    In Husseini’s last interview with the the popular Egyptian newspaper el Arav in 2001.
    Husseini said, it is the obligation of all the Palestinian forces and factions to see the Oslo Accords as “temporary” steps or “gradual” goals, because in this way, “We are setting an ambush for the Israelis and cheating them.”

    He also differentiated between, “strategic,” long term, “higher” goals, and “political,” short term goals dependent on “the current international establishment, balance of power, capabilities, and variable considerations that change from time to time.” Nevertheless, the Palestinians have been forced to temporarily concentrate on “gradual diplomatic goals.” However, the main goal is the “liberation of all Palestine from the river (Jordan) to the sea (Mediterranean),” even if this requires a struggle that will continue “1,000 years, or generations upon generations.”
    Monday, November 25, 2002
    The Hamas advocates Killing Jews, simply for being Jews
    24 November 2002

    The Iz-Adin Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas, published
    (23 November 2002) a bulletin on their official website, advocating the murder of Jews simply for the fact of that they are Jews.

    The bulletin was published to commemerate the anniversary of the death of Imad Akal, a senior Hamas official, killed in the Gaza Strip on November 24, 1993. The bulletin quotes Akal as saying: “We will knock on the doors of Heaven with the skulls of the Jews”. The bulletin depicts an axe shattering the word “Al-Yahud” (Jews) and splintering the skulls of Jews. The words Al-Qassam are engraved on the axe. French reporters came out with a video called The “Israel and the War of Images” is a French-produced video documentary that demonstrates, through exclusive footage of Palestinian leaders themselves — including Yasser Arafat — that their goal remains the eradication of the Jewish state.
    Palestinians consider Oslo ‘Trojan horse’
    Leaders consistently speak of process as means to destroy Israel

  2. Palestinians want two things: that Hamas and Fatah will continue killing Israeli civilians.

    The routine mass-murders and crimes committed by the Palestinians only decreased significantly when Israel reocuupies the cities and started destroying the houses of suicide bombers and of terrorists operatives, and killing the terrorist leaders.. Proving that these are effective steps.

    The fact is that this conflict is EXISTENTIAL- NOT TERRITORIAL. Arafat doesn’t accept Israel within ANY borders, and THIS is why Arafat didn’t sign on the dotted line in 2000.

    The PLO assumed that Israeli society couldn’t tolerate a conflict, where Israeli civilians were murdered on a daily level; that Israel was weak- that they would capitulate to Arab terror.

    Now, what has Sharon done? He fought back on THEIR terms. The World reacts to Jews defending themselves, as though the Palestinian terrorists are the victims.

    I say to you. “Would you tolerate a neighbor orchestrating, funding, and blessing homicide murderers targeting your civilian population?

    Would you tolerate a situation in which women and children were being blown to pieces in your cafes, pizzeria’s and shopping centers?

    Would you tolerate street side celebrations by your neighbors, frequently displayed on your TV screens, rejoicing at the carnage that they had inflicted on your people?”

    The PLO who rejects all offers of peace, including Camp David and Taba, because the PLO entity represents a dictatorial oppressive and aggressive regime, whose goal is to eliminate the Jewish state by terror or diplomacy or by a combination of both.

    The Palestinians insisted on war.

    The Israelis have bent over backwards to try to accomodate the Palestinians including the best deal ever offered to Arafat by the Israelis during the Clinton Administration. All olive branch offered by the Israelis have met with more and more suicide (homicide) attacks.

    I do not blame the Israelis at all. If you suffered a 9-11 attack on an almost daily basis like the Israelis do, at some point you will not be so agreeable, diplomatic or willing to offer a olive branch.

    Palestinian terrorists intentionally target civilians, especially children.
    Bombs laden with nails and shrapnel, are intentionally detonated in crowds and public places to massacre hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians. By contrast, Israeli counter-terrorist operations have targeted specific installations and individuals, directly involved in the terrorist massacres. To imply a moral equivalence between the two, is an insult to the intelligence.

    If Palestinian civilians are harmed when Palestinian terrorists are targeted, then it begs the question “Why are the terrorists operating amidst civilians?” The answer is clear – terrorists use these civilians, including children, as human shields, and cynically manipulate their suffering to gain international sympathy.

    Terrorists who brag on Monday about killing Israelis, shouldn’t be allowed on Tuesday to claim immunity from counter-measures or demand international protection.

    Documents show Arafat paid for disco bombing
    September 15, 2004 Author: Aaron Klein

    Yasser Arafat paid $2,000 to the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber who attacked the beach front Dolphinarium dance club in Tel Aviv in 2001 and then sent the terrorist’s father a letter in which he praised his son’s murderous act, according to documents captured in a recent Israeli operation that were released yesterday.

    The attack on the Dolphinarium was one of the most brutal massacres of the Palestinian intifadah, killing 21 people, mostly teens, on a Friday night in June 2001. More than 120 people were injured in the powerful blast carried out by Hamas terrorist Hassan Khutari.

    It was disclosed in documents published yesterday by the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism unit at the Center for Special Studies that the Palestinian Authority transferred $2,000 to Khutari’s father, who resides in Jordan.

    The documents, seized from the Institute for Caring for Victims’ Families – a division of the Palestinian Welfare Ministry – were captured during Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002.

    Israel National News reported the funds were transferred to the family through a branch of the Arab Bank, in El-Bireh, near Ramallah.

    The bank is known to be the preferred channel of the PA and terrorist groups for funneling money to the families of imprisoned and dead terrorists and to terrorist operatives themselves.

    Days after the money was transferred to Jordan, a German television station reported Arafat, via the Palestinian ambassador to Jordan, sent the terrorist’s father a letter praising the act of his son, describing him as “an extraordinary model of strength, manliness and willingness for self-sacrifice.”


    Understanding Palestinian Poverty

    Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the international community has shown unprecedented generosity toward Palestinians, donating approximately $5 billion to the Palestinian Authority. The World Bank noted recently that ‘donor disbursements to the Palestinians currently amount to approximately $1 billion per year or $310 per person ¯ one of the highest per capita rates in the history of foreign assistance.’ (By comparison, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II provided $68 per year, in today’s dollars, to Europeans.)

    So where’s all the money going? A recent, in-depth study from the independent Funding for Peace Coalition (FPC) found overwhelming evidence that ‘European aid has not reached its intended target ¯ the Palestinian people. It has been diverted towards graft, terrorism and incitement to hatred.’

    While direct PA payments to terror gangs (with Yassir Arafat’s own signature as authorization) have been documented since 2002, the FPC continues to find a ‘compelling connection’ between EU aid and funding of Palestinian terror.

    Just one point of evidence cited by the FPC: An interview with PA officials and Fatah leaders on the BBC in November 2003 revealed that the PA had reimbursed $50,000 of monthly expenses to one of the deadliest terror groups, the Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades.

    So the EU, now the single largest donor to the PA, literally contributes to keeping bands of terrorists on the PA payroll. Precious funds intended to ease Palestinian poverty are used instead for suicide bombs targeting Israeli civilians.


    But checks to terrorists are small change compared to Yassir Arafat’s record of personal theft. Over the course of his ‘revolutionary’ career, Arafat has siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars of international aid money intended to reach the Palestinian people.

    Estimates of the degree of Arafat’s wealth differ, but are all staggering. Last year, Forbes magazine listed Arafat in its annual list of the wealthiest ‘Kings, Queens and Despots,’ with an fortune of ‘at least $300 million.’ Israeli and US officials estimate Arafat’s personal holdings between $1-3 billion. Rachel Ehrenfeld, Director of the American Center for Democracy, arrives at a figure of $1.3 billion and laments:

    This money is enough to a) feed 3 million Palestinians for 1 year, b) buy 1,000 mobile intensive care units, c) fund 10 hospitals for a decade, and d) would still leave $585 million to fund other social projects.

    And while the average Palestinian barely subsists, Arafat’s wife Suha (at left) in Paris receives $100,000 a month from PA sources, as reported on CBS’ 60 Minutes. That CBS report also noted that Arafat maintains secret investments in a Ramallah-based Coca Cola plant, a Tunisian cellphone company, and venture capital funds in the U.S. and the Cayman Islands.

    Arafat also uses foreign aid funds to pay off cronies who bolster his autocracy: A recent International Monetary Fund report indicates that upwards to 8% ($135 million) of the PA’s annual budget is handed out by Arafat ‘at his sole discretion.’ The 2003 budget for Arafat’s office, which totaled $734 million, was missing $34 million that Arafat had transferred to pay unidentified ‘organizations’ and ‘individuals.’ And Ehrenfeld notes that this IMF report ‘did not take into account Arafat’s control of 60 percent of the security apparatus budget, which leaves him with at least an additional $360 million per year to spend as he chooses.’


    Bringing the Palestinian people out of poverty would require building an infrastructure that is no longer utterly dependent on foreign aid and jobs in Israel. But almost none of the PA budget has been directed to this end. The situation is best summarized by Mohammad Dahlan, former PA Interior Minister, who recently told The Guardian that of all the funds donated to the Palestinian Authority, a total of $5 billion ‘have gone down the drain, and we don’t know to where.’

    Education is one key to building a sustainable Palestinian economy. But Palestinian schools and universities are infested with terrorist ideology and incitement. This was the scene (at right) at back-to-school day at a West Bank university earlier this week ¯ huge portraits of terrorist ‘heros’ hovering over students perusing new schoolbooks.

    Why doesn’t the PA allow foreign aid to promote a sustainable Palestinian future by removing such incitement and educating toward peace?

  4. Pals are animals

    Following the murderous terrorist attack on Kibbutz Metzer, the PLO cold-bloodedly stated on its official website, “We will continue to strike in any place, targeting their children as well.” Five innocent Israelis, including a mother and her two little boys, were butchered in that attack, all of them, Fatah said, “Zionist colonizers” killed in a “qualitative operation in the settlement of Metzer.”

    Here’s how the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat al-Jadida headlined its coverage: “Five Israelis killed in an attack on the settlement Metzer.” The report continued, “A Palestinian infiltrated the settlement Metzer and opened fire on the settlers.” It is not well known that the Palestinian press frequently refers to towns in Israel, such as Holon and Kiryat Shmona, as “settlements.” Besides implying that all of Israel is an illegitimate colonial outpost, such references clearly are brought to justify the killings and distinguish them from terrorism.
    After the Tel Aviv massacre on January 12th 2003, where 2 Palestinian homicide bombers massacred 23 Israeli civilians. The PLO web site posted a statement — celebrating the attacks:
    “With faith in the calling of holy jihad,” it said, “two suicide attackers . . . succeeded this evening to infiltrate the Zionist roadblocks and to enter the heart of . . . Tel Aviv and carried out two consecutive suicide attacks… These suicide attacks caused a large number of fatalities and casualties in the center of the Zionist occupation of our land. We swear before our people that additional suicide operations will occur.”
    That is a view with which much of Arab opinion concurs., for example, datelined its story on the Tel Aviv attack “Palestine-Israel,” and reported that the bombings had killed “23 Israeli settlers.”

    Arafat calls Israeli-occupied Ashdod.”
    Massacre In Ashdod Was Preceded By Constant Palestinian Authority Incitement To Hatred Of Jews
    ZOA March 15, 2004

    NEW YORK – The Palestinian Arab massacre of eleven Israelis in Ashdod was preceded by constant incitement to hatred and violence against Jews in the official Palestinian Authority media, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) points out.

    ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “It is no mystery what inspires young Arabs to murder Jews. Their leaders, newspapers, and television tell them that killers of Jews are heroes; that all of Israel is ‘occupied Palestine’; that Israelis are ‘sons of apes and pigs’, terrorists, and abusers of Arab women; and that they ‘deserve death.’ The question is: why does the Bush administration continue to indirectly help sponsor this hatred, by giving the Palestinian Arabs $215-million each year?”

    Yasir Arafat’s Fatah-Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack along with Hamas, and an Al-Aqsa leader, Abu Qusai, praised the massacre as “a natural response to the massacres perpetrated against our people.” Large crowds of Palestinian Arabs in Jenin and Jabalya celebrated the attacks by honking their car horns, firing guns into the air, and distributing candy to passersby.

    The PA did not prevent the celebrations. (Jerusalem Post, March 14, 2004) Israel Television reported (March 14, 2004) that in describing the attack, Arafat’s Fatah referred to the site of the attack which is within pre-1967 Israel as “Israeli-occupied Ashdod.”

    Sermons by PA-appointed clergymen, and broadcast on the official PA media, have been inciting hatred daily. For example, according to the U.S. government’s Foreign Broadcast Information Services (FBIS), PA Television on March 13, 2004, carried a sermon by Sheikh Ibrahim Mudayris, from the Zayid Bin-Sultan Mosque in Gaza, in which he said that “the Jews” are “the sons of apes and pigs” and are “extremists and terrorists who deserve death, while we deserve life, since we have a just cause.”

    FBIS also reports that the PA’s Voice of Palestine Radio station on Feb. 6, 2004 carried a sermon by the PA-appointed Sheikh Yusuf Abu-Sneina, in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, in which he said that an Arab-Israeli agreement based on acceptance of Israel within the pre-1967 borders “violates the Islamic law. The land of Palestine is an Islamic land, which must not be relinquished.” He concluded: “O Allah, help Muslims improve their situation and defeat Your enemy and their enemy. O Allah, destroy the Muslims’ enemies.” (Translation courtesy of IMRA)

    Meanwhile, the official PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida marked International Women’s Day (March 9, 2004) by publishing a cartoon portraying Israel as mistreating Arab women. The cartoon showed Palestinian Arab women trapped by chains made of the Star of David.

    The PA media also continues to portray Israeli as terrorists, blaming Israel for bombings undertaken by Arabs. For example, after a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber exploded prematurely on March 6, accidentally killing two PA policemen, PA Television reported: “Yesterday two members of the Palestinian National Security were killed during a bombing by the occupying forces near the Bet Hanoun crossing.” (Translation courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch)

  5. Naim Ateek is a fraud. He’s just as guilty as the Palestinian Islamic leaders who send Palestinian children to die, but would never send there own children to die.
    In the last 10 years, not one single Hamas, Fateh or Islamic Jihad leader ever sent themselves or there children to be a homicide bomber.
    If being a suicide bomber is so glorious, why dont they do it themselves.

    I find it almost laughable that while the Palestinian leadership continues to cynically use its children as weapons, sacrificing them without second thought.
    The PLO continues to salt away millions of dollars in secret bank accounts while its people are poor.
    It almost seems that Palestinian leaders like the carnage they have created and look forward to more child victims as a means of entrenching themselves.

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