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June 26, 2005
The Dreams Of Palestinian Women

Manuela Dviri of the Telegraph follows up on the story of Wafa Samir al-Biss, the young Palestinian woman who tried to repay the Israelis for their generosity in providing her medical assistance for her burn scars by becoming a suicide bomber for Fatah. Dviri interviewed Biss about her attempt to kill Israelis and the motivation for suicide bombing:

The girl had big, brown eyes and her black hair was tied in a ponytail, but it was the strangeness of her gait that attracted the attention of the security officials at the Erez crossing, the main transit point between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

When a soldier asked her to remove her long, dark cloak, she turned to face him. All her movements were taped by the military surveillance camera at the checkpoint: calmly, deliberately, she took off her clothing, item by item, until she looked like any normal young woman in T-shirt and jeans. It was then that she tried to set off the belt containing 20lb of explosives hidden beneath her trousers. To her horror, she did not succeed. Desperate, she clawed at her face, screaming. She was still alive, she realised. She had failed her martyrdom mission.

That afternoon, on June 21, the 21-year-old, Wafa Samir al-Biss, was brought before the press by Israeli intelligence. Her neck and hands were covered with scars caused by a kitchen gas explosion six months earlier. The ugly scars - which had been treated in a hospital in Israel - had probably helped turn her into the perfect would-be huriia (virgin), the ideal martyr, since they would make it difficult for her to find a suitable husband.

Biss told Dviri that she had not decided to kill herself over her scarring, but that martyrdom had long been a dream of hers. "I believe in death," she tells Dviri, in an admission that perfectly encapsulates the entire problem with the Palestinians in charge of the territories. Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad -- these groups have never offered anything else other than death for decades. When one scans the political landscape of the Palestinian Authority, no one argues for life; one only finds varying degrees of support for terrorists and militias that teach nothing but hate and death to their children.

That's why a young woman like Biss dreams of killing children rather than bearing them. She told Dviri that her attempt to blow herself up was intended to kill twenty or fifty Jews, even babies at the hospital which the attack targeted. In almost the same breath, she asks if the Israelis will have mercy on her because she still hasn't killed anyone. It's this dislocation from reality, the disconnect between their obscenity of indiscriminate bloodthirstiness and their expectation of mercy from their enemies that also gives the best representation of the difference between the two societies, and why the notion of statehood for the Palestinians holds out little hope of creating a peace between them.

Dviri then extends her interview to other women who tried to become martyrs and failed, held at the same facility that Wafa Biss will no doubt spend a significant portion of her life. When Dviri interviewed a would-be bomber named Kahira, the conversation suddenly turned uncomfortably personal. Kahira actually did conduct a successful attack, one that did not kill her but did kill a pregnant Israeli and her husband, and wounded 80 others:

Kahira was given three life sentences and another 80 years. She looked pale, sad, anguished. I asked her if the dead tormented her during the night. "No," she said. "Anyway, the actual attacker would have blown himself up even without me. I didn't kill anyone myself, physically."

Who do your children live with? "With my mother-in-law, my husband is in jail, too."

Aren't you sorry you ruined their lives as well as your own? "I did it to defend them. I'm not sorry, we're at war. But perhaps I wouldn't do it again. It was an impulse," Kahira answered balefully. ...

What did you do? "I helped the attacker to get into Jerusalem. I gave him some flowers to hold in his hands."

When? "I don't remember the exact date, only that it was Mother's Day. That's why I prepared him some flowers."

Then it was February, I told her.

"How can you remember it so well?" she asked.

Because my son was killed on Mother's Day, I said, and I watched as she grew pale and seemed to stagger.

No, it wasn't you, I explained. He was killed in 1998, while your attack was in 2002. But we certainly have an anniversary in common.

At this, Kahira gave me a look that I'll never be able to describe. She didn't utter another word.

Incredibly and to her credit, Dviri ends with the statement that neither side should be punished as a group for the acts of their extremists. However, Dviri doesn't have the courage to acknowledge that the difference between the two sides is that the Palestinians have allowed their extremists to take charge for decades, and now have no other voices to lead them away from their culture of death.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 26, 2005 9:14 AM

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» SATAN IS ALIVE AND WELL from Rabbi Philosopher
SATAN IS ALIVE AND WELL - and, as is common to him, he's found people to act as his agents. But Satan is limited to only certain types of people. [Read More]

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