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PMW op-ed: How the PA makes suicide bombers

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook  |
(This Op-Ed was also published in the Ottawa Citizen Apr. 22, 2006)

What drives a young Palestinian to turn his body into a bomb? Suicide terrorists such as the man who killed nine people in Tel Aviv this week are not born hating. It is something they learn -- and the Palestinian Authority has been the ideal teacher. It has perfected the arts of fomenting hatred and promoting suicide terror.
 
The first step in creating a terrorist is to promote hatred within the society by demonizing a target group. This target group is portrayed as so evil and threatening that killing its members is seen not as murder, but as justified revenge and admirable self defense.
Examples of the PA's incessant demonization of Jews and Israelis include a recent article in the official PA daily that describes Israeli military actions against missile launching sites in Gaza:
"It seems that the rivers of blood in our cities, villages and refugee camps are not yet satisfying the thirst of the blood-thirsty for Palestinian blood among the Israeli politicians and military officers..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida (Fatah), March 4, 2006]

PA TV has been running daily video clips in recent weeks with actors depicting Palestinian prisoners going through horrific torture at the hands of Israeli guards. Hate libels are common, including the "drug libel" that Israel intentionally poisons and addicts Palestinian youths by spreading drugs throughout PA society. This was repeated on PA TV just two days ago by the PA Mufti, Ikrima Sabri.

Another component of this demonization is to depict Israel's very existence as a nation as being illegitimate and temporary. This also continues unabated. One example is a documentary, broadcast twice in recent months, in which the Israeli city of Jaffa is defined as a stolen Palestinian city. The documentary includes the words:

"Palestine was attacked by invaders. It is time for you [Israelis] to be gone. Live wherever you like, but don't live among us (pictures of Jaffa). It is time for you to be gone. Die wherever you like, but don't die among us. We have the past here. We have the present, the present and the future. So leave our country, our land, our sea, our wheat, our salt, our wounds. Everything. And leave the memories."

The totality of this first PA message is to turn Israelis into the ultimate enemy: Israelis are evil and dangerous. Their very existence is illegal, and so they must be defeated and destroyed. Killing them is transformed into justice and self defence.

But it's not enough to establish Israel as the enemy. The terrorists who kill Israelis must be seen as heroes and leaders of society - and that's the second component of the PA's creation of suicide terrorists.

There are no greater heroes and role models in PA society than terrorists. Summer camps for children have been named for Wafa Idris and Ayyat Al Akhras - female suicide terrorists. Sporting events are routinely named for terrorists, including a soccer match for 14 year-olds named after the terrorist who killed 30 Israelis four years ago at a Passover Seder in Netanya.

The PA Ministry of Culture recently produced a poetry collection named after Hanadi Jaradat, the female terrorist who killed 21 in a Haifa restaurant.
And just last month, the PA announced it was granting honorary citizenship to Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, who is serving a life sentence in an Israeli jail. Smadar Haran, wife and mother of Kuntar's murder victims, wrote in The Washington Post:

"It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty. The terrorists took (husband) Danny and (daughter) Einat down to the beach. One of them shot Danny in front of Einat. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar."

The message the PA is sending to its people and its children by honouring Kuntar and other terrorists is that killing Israelis is a ticket to honor and eternal glory.

A special program broadcast just last week on PA TV captures the essence of this message - and its acceptance within the highest levels of PA leadership. This is part of the poem a young girl chanted on Palestinian Children's Day:

"Even if all the Jews arrived (in Israel) seeking refuge with the monkeys [as Jews are commonly called]... we will never accept compensation for our land. There is no substitute for Jerusalem!... Our death is like life, My homeland is the invaders' grave... I will walk 1000 miles even if I die in it as a Martyr..."
[PA TV (Fatah), April 10, 2006]

Her audience included PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, seated in the front row along with senior PA officials. Their reaction to these words of hate from the mouth of a young girl? A round of applause.
With messages to children fomenting hatred of Israelis and glorifying terrorists, and when the supposedly moderate Mr. Abbas appears on TV to applaud a young girl's message of hatred and martyrdom, is it any wonder that young Palestinians become suicide terrorists?
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