Editor’s note: Below is the latest profile of Frontpage’s new series, “Voices of Palestine,” which will illuminate the core beliefs, in their own words, of leading figures in the Palestinian death cult. Click the following to view the profiles of Ahmad Bahr, Mahmoud al-Zahar, Ibrahim Mudayris, _Yasser Ghalban and Haj Amin al-Husseini_.
Despite getting her life back, death was foremost on her mind.
No sooner was Wafa al-Bis freed from jail last month – one of over 1,000 Palestinian terrorists and militants released by Israel as part of a prisoner swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – than she vowed to seize every opportunity to take up the terrorist cause that had landed her in prison six years ago. Arrested in 2005 after her suicide belt failed to detonate at a border crossing, Bis remained committed to killing Jews. Asked if she would be a suicide bomber again, she replied without hesitation: “Of course. Why not? This is an honorable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could.”
The dearth of an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement is the source of endless punditry and countless, fruitless presidential summits. Yet the underlying reason that Israel has been unable to come to terms with the Palestinians – the latter’s repeated failure to accept the legitimacy not only of a Jewish state but of Jewish life – is perfectly summed up in Bis’s grim story. As she herself says, her one purpose in life is to end it in the service of killing Jews. In that respect, Bis is tragically typical of a Palestinian culture that resembles nothing so much as a modern-day death cult, where dying while killing Jews is considered the holiest endeavor.
Not the least of the perversions of modern Palestinian society is how it poisons the minds of its youth. From an early age, children are taught that the murder of Jews is a glorious and praiseworthy achievement. The products of that hateful education do not recognize the basic humanity of Israelis and Jews, and seek to kill them, wherever they may be. Bis is a case in point. “I had wanted to be a martyr since I was a kid,” she has said. She got her chance at the age of 21, when she was arrested at an Israeli checkpoint after failing to explode her suicide belt. Her target was an Israeli hospital in Beer Sheva.
To seek murder in a place of healing bespeaks a unique kind of evil. But Bis’s target is particularly notable because she had actually been a patient at the hospital, where she received treatment, free of charge, for burns she suffered when a gas tank exploded in a cooking accident. Bis repaid the favor by returning to kill those who had attended to her. But for a malfunctioning detonator on her suicide belt, she would have achieved her aim. No matter that Israeli doctors had helped her. Bis’s moral code made no room for the legitimacy of any Jewish life.
In another place, Bis’s story might have served as a warning, deterring others from traveling down a dark path. So it speaks to the moral obscenity of the prevailing culture in the Palestinian territories that her life has instead become a lesson of inspiration and a model for other children to follow. “I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,” Bis told schoolchildren who came to cheer her return home. In response, the children chanted, “We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine.” In another society, this yearning for death and murder among children would be unimaginable. In Palestinian society, it is routine.
That Bis would urge children to follow in her footsteps is not surprising. She herself was encouraged to become a suicide bomber by her parents. Her mother in particular has said that she is happy with the choices her daughter has made. “This is Jihad, it is an honorable thing and I am proud of her,” she has said. Any attempt to understand the impasse in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations must grapple with the phenomenon of parents celebrating their children’s desire to become murderers.
Nothing could justify the actions of Bis and others like her, but one of the more unfortunate consequences of the recent prisoner exchange is that it has validated their methods in the eyes of many Palestinians. By making such a large concession, the Israeli government has indirectly rewarded the strategy of anti-Israel terrorism and violence that resulted in Gilad Shalit’s capture and ensured that it will continue. Whatever the merits of the deal, for the likes of Wafa al-Bis it is proof that the Palestinian cause demands death and terrorism. “You have to know that Palestine will never be liberated through negotiations,” she has said. In this belief, too, she is all too representative of a culture gone horribly wrong.
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