June 28, 2002
Palestinian family dresses up baby as genocide bomber

I was watching a report on Israeli TV last night. The journalist was describing how Israeli soldiers were going from house to house looking for Palestinian terrorists from the Islamic Jihad when they stumbled upon a picture of a Palestinian baby dressed up as a genocide bomber.



A Palestinian baby dressed
up as a genocide bomber

Ha'aretz (www.haaretzdaily.com) reports that a Palestinian journalist in the Hebron area said she did not believe the picture was a fake and expressed surprise at the furor it caused in Israel.

"I can find you many, many photos like this," she told DPA. "Many kids imitate adults and wear toy masks and guns, especially during marches. It's not strange at all.

She added that she had seen children as young as the one in the photograph wearing similar costumes. "In our society it happens a lot. It's a kind of phenomenon," she said.

"What is obvious is that Palestinians are feeding the hatred of Jews and Israelis to their children at the earliest possible age," said David Baker, an official in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

I copy the full article below.

Family of 'baby bomber' says photograph was 'just a joke'
By Ha'aretz Service and agencies
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=181370&contrassID=1&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=0

The family of Palestinian baby photographed wearing a mock suicide bomber's uniform - replete with sticks of 'explosives' and the traditional martyr's red headband - told Sky News on Friday that the costume was nothing more than a 'joke.'

The Israel Defense Force published the photograph Thursday, saying that it had been removed from an album found in the house of a suspected terrorist in Hebron. The house was later destroyed.

The authenticity of the photograph could not be verified, but its publication in Israeli newspapers on Friday triggered a new war of words between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

A Palestinian journalist in the Hebron area said she did not believe the picture was a fake and expressed surprise at the furor it caused in Israel.

"I can find you many, many photos like this," she told DPA. "Many kids imitate adults and wear toy masks and guns, especially during marches. It's not strange at all.

She added that she had seen children as young as the one in the photograph wearing similar costumes.

"In our society it happens a lot. It's a kind of phenomenon," she said, adding blue eyes were also not rare in Hebron.

The army did not release the name of the family or say whether it thought the bomb-belt was real.

"What is obvious is that Palestinians are feeding the hatred of Jews and Israelis to their children at the earliest possible age," said David Baker, an official in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Palestinian officials dismissed it as a propaganda trick.

"This is cheap Israeli propaganda. They are using this photo to justify Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and to go on with their occupation of the Palestinian territories," Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said.

"These photos can easily be forged and distributed, and this has been done by the Israeli media several times before."

Ordinary Palestinians said if the photograph were genuine it was likely the child had been dressed up for fun and did not mean Palestinians were about to use children in suicide bombings.

Children have been seen dressed up as suicide bombers at school ceremonies and rallies supporting militants spearheading a 21-month-old uprising against Israeli occupation.

Asked whether the army would take reporters to the house to verify the authenticity of the photograph, an army spokeswoman said this was not immediately possible because Hebron was a 'closed military zone' from which journalists were barred.

Posted by dmelle at 10:29 AM
Living with the threat of a Palestinian genocide bombing

CNN (www.cnn.com) published an article on the harsh reality of being a young Israeli, constantly being the target of Palestinian genocide bombers. The article interviews, among other people, Efrat Ravid, 21:

Efrat Ravid, who's turning 21, knows firsthand just how dangerous it can be to go out. She survived the March 9 bombing at Jerusalem's Cafe Moment, where a suicide bomber killed 11 people and injured dozens of others, including her.

The bones in Ravid's right leg were smashed, a major artery was severed and she suffered head wounds. She has had 10 operations, seven on her leg.

Now she goes to a local hospital three times a week for occupational and physical therapy.

"It hurts. Believe me, it hurts," she says.

After a Palestinian genocide bombing, we certainly hear about the number of victims, but not much thought is given to the injured. The physical pain is incredible for many, but emotional scars are also part of the package deal.

MidEastTruth.com has a video that shows what is the life of a survivor of a terrorist attack. It includes interviews with survivors, including children, and shows their suffering - for more information, click here.

Note: I have decided to use the term "genocide bombing" instead of "homicide" or "suicide" to describe the barbaric Palestinian attacks on unarmed civilians. It is clear that the Islamic Jihad (holy war), the Hamas, and Arafat's other terrorist groups such as Al-Aksa brigades have one goal: to destroy Israel and commit genocide against Israelis. Today, the explosives these barbaric Palestinians carry can only kill a few dozen Israelis at a time. But given the occasion, I am convinced Arafat and his thugs would not hesitate in killing as much Israelis as possible - genocide is what they are all about.

I copy the full article below.

CNN - Victims of Terror
Israeli youth: 'I don't want to die today'
From John Vause - June 28, 2002
http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/06/28/vot.terror.five/index.html

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Liat Margalit and her friends spend most of their free time at a Jerusalem mall, and not just so they can shop.

Tight security at the mall -- metal detectors, guards checking every car and searching bags -- can make it seem a safer alternative to what's outside.

"This is what we do for fun. The mall is pretty safe, and as you can see, the building is closed. ... Without putting your life at risk, this is what we do," Margalit says.

If they're not at the mall, they say, they mostly stay at home, behind locked doors, away from the threat of terrorist attacks. But safety comes with a price.

"Usual things that teen-agers do, we don't get to do. We don't get to celebrate our prom night, we don't get to celebrate our finals. We don't get to do anything really. It's like living in a cage," Margalit says.

Occasionally they still go downtown, they say, but they're always on guard.

In the early days of the Intifada, Margalit and her friends say they'd always feel safe heading out the day after a suicide bombing, because they figured there wouldn't be another attack for days, even weeks.

But that logic no longer applies, they say, because the terrorists now strike with such frequency.

"When we do go out, we are very afraid, and if we go to a restaurant, for example, we always think about, 'OK, do we want to sit next to the front or do we want to sit in the back?' Because a suicide bomber might come in, and I don't want to die today, because I am only 18," Margalit says.

Margalit says she feels torn when her parents urge her to stay home, warning it's too dangerous to go out.

"What should I do?" she asks. "If I miss my youth, what else do I have in life? I don't want to feel like my youth has been taken away from me."

'It hurts'

Efrat Ravid, who's turning 21, knows firsthand just how dangerous it can be to go out. She survived the March 9 bombing at Jerusalem's Cafe Moment, where a suicide bomber killed 11 people and injured dozens of others, including her.

The bones in Ravid's right leg were smashed, a major artery was severed and she suffered head wounds. She has had 10 operations, seven on her leg.

Now she goes to a local hospital three times a week for occupational and physical therapy.

"It hurts. Believe me, it hurts," she says.

Once a week there's trauma counseling, and every month she visits her doctor -- quite different from her old routine.

"I went out a lot. I went to coffee shops, and pubs and discos, like the situation in Israel was OK," she says.

She figured it could never happen to her.

"That was the reason why I got into this situation -- a cup of coffee," she says. "So I am not going to go on the same mistake again. I don't want the slightest chance that something can hurt me again."

Next month, Ravid will find out how the bones in her leg have healed -- whether she'll ever be able to walk without crutches. But right now, she's more worried about her upcoming 21st birthday, usually time for a big celebration.

"I can't do anything," she says. "Probably if I were healthy, I would go to a disco, drink a lot. ... But I can't do it. The only thing I can do is go to my friend's house and sit all the time."

Ravid says she used to be very independent.

"It's like they took my life," she says. "It's very hard."

On CNN television this week, watch for this and other stories.

Posted by dmelle at 08:58 AM
June 25, 2002
Israeli Paramedic cries when seeing babies burning after Palestinian homicide bombings

CNN, the Cable News Network (www.cnn.com), has published an interview with an Israeli Paramedic who had to deal with Palestinian terrorism almost on a daily basis.

Shai Shapiro, a Jerusalem paramedic for five years, has stopped counting the number of terrorist attacks he has worked. He guesses it's about 20.

Shapiro is typical of paramedics in Israel: always on call, always the first on the scene.

"The worst thing in the terror attacks, in my point of view, is to see young babies, who have done no harm," he said.

"If they are alive, shouting, burns all over their body. They are experiencing pain, very big pain. There is no stronger pain than having burns."

When he sees a baby who has been killed, he cries.

I copy the full interview below.


Terror attacks take toll on Israeli paramedics
From John Vause, CNN - June 25, 2002
http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/06/25/vot.terror.two/index.html

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Shai Shapiro, a Jerusalem paramedic for five years, has stopped counting the number of terrorist attacks he has worked.

He guesses it's about 20.

Driving down Jaffa Street in the heart of Jerusalem, he gives a reporter a guided tour of grim landmarks. He calls Jaffa the "horror street" because there have been six suicide bombings there in a little more than a year and a half.

"Right here is where the bus exploded," he said, pointing toward one intersection.

Farther along: "Two explosions were here." Then: "There was an explosion right here. Luckily no one was killed.

There was an explosion here as well, killing two."

Just driving on Jaffa Street makes Shapiro afraid, he said.

"You just drive as fast as you can, just to get out from this area," he said. "You remember bodies. You remember lots of dead bodies."

Shapiro is typical of paramedics in Israel: always on call, always the first on the scene.

"The worst thing in the terror attacks, in my point of view, is to see young babies, who have done no harm," he said.

"If they are alive, shouting, burns all over their body. They are experiencing pain, very big pain. There is no stronger pain than having burns."

When he sees a baby who has been killed, he cries.

"That makes me stronger," Shapiro said. "I am not ashamed of crying."

But paramedics must deal with more than the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Often they find themselves in the firing line, attacked by stone throwers in an Arab suburb, or worse.

In some cases, the first bomb explosion isn't the last. There can be two, sometimes three blasts.

"The rule is actually not to go inside the bus, or the zone before a policeman's clearing it for us. But we cannot do it. I cannot sit and watch a young girl or someone shouting for help," Shapiro said.

Two of his team members are armed for protection.

Israeli authorities have given paramedics the option of carrying firearms, and most do. They have bulletproof vests with them wherever they go, and some of their ambulances are protected with plates of heavy armor.

'Meetings with inhumanity'

Rony Berger, a clinical psychologist with Israel's largest trauma center, said with so much stress, on such a regular basis, many of those who are first on the scene are suffering burnout. The long-term effects on the immune system are unclear.

"Those meetings with inhumanity, death -- some people call them death prints -- do stay with us for a very long time," Berger said.

There is also the impact on the families of emergency workers. Shapiro is typical of many.

"When I am finishing a shift after a terror attack ... I don't want to talk to anybody. Not my parents, not my wife, not even my little baby," he said.

Shapiro's wife, Annie, is an operating room nurse. So when there's an attack they both can be called out. The couple constantly watch the news, waiting, and their 3-year-old daughter, Noah, already has a keen sense of what is happening.

"She can feel it," Annie Shapiro said. "She knows that there is something wrong going on. And she asks, 'Mom, mom, is there any bombing again?' "

Shapiro said his daughter spends more time with her grandparents than with her father and mother.

"It is very hard to work as an EMT nowadays," he said.

Like so many others here, Shapiro said he longs for the everyday, when his work is routine -- when he no longer has to treat the victims, the babies, the innocent lives scarred by suicide bombers.

Posted by dmelle at 05:16 PM
June 24, 2002
CNN creates site in memory of Israeli victims of Palestinian Terror

CNN (www.cnn.com) has published a site that lists Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism.

Last night on Israeli TV, CNN’s President gave an interview where he apologized for some of the mistakes CNN has made covering the Middle East.

This came after a lot of criticism on CNN last week: the parents of 5-year-old Gal Eizenman, killed in one of last week’s homicide bombings, had been interviewed by CNN, but when the story was shown, CNN decided not to show Gal’s parents but instead showed an interview with the mother of the homicide/suicide bomber! Gal’s mother (who also lost her mother in the attack) was interviewed on Israeli TV and told the whole story. For more information on Gal and her Grandmother, click here.

The latest site on Israeli victims of terror is probably a result of CNN trying to clear its image, particularly after Ted Turner said last week that Israel is involved in terrorism. The site is well done and covers victims since killed since January 1st 2002 - you may find it here

You may also want to check “Faces of the victims” which has been publishing the stories of the victims since October 2000 (when Arafat and his thugs decided to turn down the offer for a Palestinian State and decided to kill unarmed Israeli civilians instead, see the history page for details):

http://www.walk4israel.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Victims

I copy CNN's introduction to the site below.

Terror takes enormous toll in Israel
CNN - June 24, 2002
http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/06/23/vot.terror.one/index.html

(CNN) -- If you went to a baseball game tonight and looked around, and say, half the stadium was filled, you would see about 25,000 other fans. If you were living in Israel, it is likely that one of you would be killed in a terrorist attack in the next six months.

Since January 2002, about 225 Israeli citizens have been killed in terrorist attacks, suicide bombings or shooting rampages targeting innocent civilians at home, on buses, on city streets, at weddings, in discos or pizzerias. Living with the fear and pain of terror has become a part of daily life for Israelis in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Netanya and in neighborhoods in the West Bank and Gaza.

One of every 26,392 Israelis has been killed in a terrorist attack in the past six months. The same ratio applied to the population of the United States would equate to 10,888 American citizens. That's more than three times the number of people killed in the September 11 attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and aboard United Airlines Flight 93.

In Israel, people still move about their daily lives. But the impact of the attacks that have seemed constant for the past two years is taking its toll.

Whether it affects mothers whose children are at school, or friends concerned about going out for coffee or to a wedding, it has changed people's lives.

In this, the first part of the series "Victims of Terror," CNN tells the story of one family whose lives were recently shattered by terror.

For the Eisenman family, the evening of June 19 started with a children's concert. After the show, the family was waiting at a crowded bus stop in northern Jerusalem when a suicide bomber jumped out of a car and detonated a powerful explosive.

The bomb killed seven people, including 5-year-old Gal Eisenman and her grandmother Noa Alon, a retired kindergarten teacher.

The little girl's mother, Pnina Eisenman, and her 18-month-old brother, Saguy, were badly wounded in the blast. Her father, a doctor, had to identify the body.

Eisenman said she does not remember the explosion -- only waking up in a hospital and asking where her children and her mother were. She said she did not learn what she calls the "cruel truth" until her husband, Isaac Eisenman, broke the news several hours later.

Eisenman is still recovering from her wounds -- her left arm was burned, the other hit by flying pieces of shrapnel, her face was scarred, her ear drums burst and she suffers constant headaches. But she said she was glad that she was able to shield Saguy from the brunt of the explosion.

Once she has healed, she said she would think about having more children.

Eisenman said her daughter was a perfect, beautiful girl with blonde curly hair and green eyes. She said her mother knew everything about her, and they spoke every day.

The Eisenman family tried to take precautions -- avoiding crowded places and cafes and keeping an eye out for anyone suspicious.

When the intifada began almost two years ago, Isaac Eisenman even suggested leaving Israel -- but his wife insisted on staying.

Pnina Eisenman said she is now a broken person because of the attack and said she believes there is no God, because God would not have taken her most precious things.

She said she has to keep telling herself that she will never see her mother or daughter again.

On CNN television this week, watch for this and other stories.

Posted by dmelle at 08:44 AM
June 22, 2002
Islamic Jihad and Hamas recruit depressed Palestinians for their murders

The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) has an interview with Arien Ahmed, a 20-year-old Palestinian woman who was going to murder unarmed Israeli civilians by blowing herself up, but changed her mind at the last moment.

A clear picture comes out: the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas and Arafat's terror groups, such as the Al-Aksa brigades, do not send their own members to commit their despicable homicide bombings. Instead they locate young Palestinians who are depressed, already willing to commit suicide, and convince them to kill unarmed Israeli civilians, including children.

Such pressures within Palestinian society are intense. The "infrastructure of terror," as the Israelis call it, has fragmented into small cells throughout the West Bank, each fighting its own parallel war. Separate, mid-level leaders emerge briefly, to be cut down by Israel and swiftly replaced. Such men are more than willing to seize on emotional turmoil, weakness of character or zealotry, to give someone a lethal backpack and to send him on his way, Israeli intelligence agents said.

Ms. Ahmed said the only Palestinian she had ever heard criticize suicide bombing was her uncle, Omer Shaibat, a mechanical engineer trained in Long Beach, Calif.

I copy the full article below.

Ha'aretz (www.haaretzdaily.com) also reports that Benjamin Ben-Eliezer interviewed Mrs. Ahmed and another would-be Palestinian murderer. Mr. Ben-Eliezer says:

"Eighty-six percent of terror attacks are foiled and prevented. Also, understanding the enemy is always helpful, knowing the behind-the-scenes mechanisms. The enemy is not just Rasan Stiti and Arin Ahmed. It's mainly who sends them. Here we have a female terrorist who came to her senses at the critical moment. She realized that they had sold her a virtual world that doesn't exist at all and that she was about to die. Then she went home. Now she's talking and others are listening. This is significant.

"Secondly, it shows that once they're on this satanic conveyor belt, they don't have a moment to think about the price they're going to pay. In most cases, it's a lost cause by this point. Before they manage to think about for whom and what they're dying, they're already dead, along with all their innocent victims."

I copy below this article as well.

The New Suicide Bombers: Larger and More Varied Pool
By JAMES BENNET - June 20
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/21/international/middleeast/21SUIC.html?pagewanted=1

JERUSALEM, June 20 — Her face adorns no martyr's poster, but Arien Ahmed, a 20-year-old Palestinian student of business administration, has one of the many profiles of the new suicide bomber.

She did not go through months, or even weeks, of indoctrination before setting out last month on a suicide bombing mission. She had no connection to the militantly Islamic groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad that once orchestrated most such attacks. She received little more preparation than a demonstration of how to push a button.

Her case is becoming typical. Palestinian society itself, under pressure from the grinding conflict with Israel, appears to be providing the only necessary indoctrination, experts on both sides say.

Indeed, a survey by Israel's national security service of Palestinian suicide bombers has concerned Israeli officials precisely because it identified no particular pattern. All the suicides and would-be suicides have been Muslim, and most have been unmarried, but their ages and levels of education vary.

Since the first female suicide bomber struck here on Jan. 27, groups tied to Yasir Arafat's Fatah faction have sent at least seven more women as attackers, at least four of whom were arrested by Israel, including the mother of a 3-year-old.

In the case of Ms. Ahmed, reasons as personal as lost love and as political as the hate-soaked conflict led her to act. Last month, as she described it in a jailhouse interview, she found herself walking through an Israeli town wearing a T-shirt that was too tight and a backpack that was too heavy, laden as it was with nails and a bomb.

A chain of events was dragging her down with a speed that left her frozen, unthinking.

It was only five days before that she had offered her services and maybe her life to a member of a violent Palestinian group in Bethlehem. It was only the day before, she recalled, that her offer had been suddenly, even greedily, accepted.

It was only on this day, Wednesday, May 22, that she had been pulled away from a marketing lecture at Bethlehem University, shown the backpack and how to trigger the bomb inside, put in a beat-up car with another would-be killer, and sent on, dressed to pass as an Israeli woman.

She wondered if she was in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. She was actually in the town of Rishon le Zion.

Ms. Ahmed was out to avenge the death of her fiancé, a leader of the Bethlehem group that sent her, which was part of the Tanzim, the militia connected to Al Fatah. She believed that he had been killed by Israeli forces, though Israeli intelligence agents said he had accidentally blown himself up.

But Ms. Ahmed was now starting to wonder, as she walked along the pedestrian mall, if she was doing the right thing, or if hell rather than heaven awaited her.

"I look at the sky," Ms. Ahmed recalled this week, speaking English as she described a kind of awakening. "I look at the people." She said she remembered a childhood belief, "that nobody has the right to stop anybody's life."

Ms. Ahmed, a rare exception among suicide bombers, turned back. Her companion, Issa Badir, confided second thoughts to her, she said.

But he ultimately went ahead, killing himself and two Israelis. Issa, the son of a lawyer educated in Wisconsin, was just 16, one of the youngest suicide bombers.

It used to take months of training to prepare a Palestinian terrorist from the West Bank or Gaza Strip to commit suicide in the course of killing Israelis. The attackers were strictly from the fundamentalist Hamas and Islamic Jihad, envisioning a covey of virgins and automatic passes to paradise for loved ones left behind.

But the who, why and how of Palestinian suicide bombing have changed, and the changes alarm not only Israelis but also Palestinians concerned for the impact on their own society. Palestinian militants and Israeli experts warn that the changes could reverberate overseas, should the target list in this metastasizing conflict continue to grow.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad continue to conduct devastating attacks. But since early this spring, most of the attacks have been conducted by more secular groups, by Fatah-linked organizations like the one that sent Ms. Ahmed.

The range of recruits to suicide missions continues to broaden in often bewildering ways. This week, Israel's forces arrested a 12-year-old Palestinian boy its intelligence had identified as planning an attack.

Dr. Iyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist in Gaza City, has watched the trend toward suicide bombing with growing alarm. He said that having grown up with the idea of suicide attacks, Palestinian children were equating death with power.

"They are creating a new kind of culture," he said, arguing that they were in part compensating for the powerlessness of their parents in the face of the restrictions and frequent humiliations of Israeli occupation.

To this psychiatrist, the development is comparable to a fad for body-building, gathering adherents by presenting an ideal that is embraced, even unconsciously. "Once you create such a culture," Dr. Sarraj said, "you create something automatic."

But like many Palestinians, he said even he could not challenge the social acceptance of this ideal by directly criticizing the martyrs themselves. "You can say, `I condemn terror, I condemn killing civilians,' but you can't say, `I condemn martyrs,' because martyrs are prophets."

In her interview, Ms. Ahmed did not dwell on the glories of martyrdom. She said she had expected training, as well as questioning from her recruiters about why she wanted to kill and die. Instead, her recruiters simply told her that she would rejoin her slain fiancé, Jaad Salem, in paradise, a notion she recalled thinking stupid even at the time.

"They abused me," she said from her confinement.

But though she called suicide bombing a mistake, she said she understood it. "It's a result of the situation we live in," she said. "There are also innocent people killed on our side."

Ms. Ahmed was interviewed in the presence of agents from the Israeli Internal Security Agency, known also as the Shin Bet, who objected only to questions about her interrogation. Asked how she had been treated, Ms. Ahmed said that she had not received prompt dental treatment for a toothache, but that she had otherwise been treated as she expected a prisoner would be.

Poised and seemingly at ease, she was dressed in street clothes — dark corduroy pants and a blue-and-white striped tunic — and she smiled and joked easily during almost two hours of conversation.

Ms. Ahmed said she wanted to be interviewed to discourage other Palestinians from conducting suicide attacks, and to gain sympathy for herself. The Israeli Security Agency appeared eager to illustrate how easily militants manipulate susceptible people and send them to kill and die.

But as much as any manipulative militant leader, it appears to be the very culture of a ravaged and disoriented Palestinian society that now feeds the recruitment of suicide bombers.

Ms. Ahmed said the only Palestinian she had ever heard criticize suicide bombing was her uncle, Omer Shaibat, a mechanical engineer trained in Long Beach, Calif.

"It is becoming a social phenomenon," Mr. Shaibat said, sadly but unconsciously echoing the words of an Israeli intelligence agent as he sat in the family living room in Beit Sahur, a Christian town beside Bethlehem. "Every time I wake up, I think, `What should I have done?' You always think this isn't going to happen to you; it's going to happen to someone else."

From 1993 until the beginning of this conflict in late September 2000, Israeli officials counted 61 attempted and successful suicide attacks; from the beginning of this conflict until the middle of this month, it counted almost twice that number, 116.

"The bottleneck on the Palestinian side is not the suicide attacker," said a senior Israeli security official. "It's the bomb."

Mr. Shaibat repeatedly returned to Ms. Ahmed's upbringing: Her father died when she was 6 months old. Her mother remarried when she was 6 and left her in Beit Sahur; she now lives in Jordan. Ms. Ahmed made friends and was an excellent student, earning a partial scholarship to Bethlehem University. But it seemed to her family that she hid a great deal behind her bright smile.

The family resisted her liaison with the Tanzim leader, fearing precisely what proved his fate. Within a month of his death on March 8, Israeli forces invaded Bethlehem. Though Ms. Ahmed baked sweets and helped around the house during the 39-day Israeli siege, she was often glued to the television, following the Israeli offensive.

Then she quarreled bitterly with an aunt shortly before she undertook her mission, without a word to her family.

Ms. Ahmed's uncle and aunts repeatedly said they felt guilty, and wondered if she was trying to punish them, using the kind of language that the families of suicides and attempted suicides in the United States often invoke.

"There is a saying in America," Mr. Shaibat said. "I didn't see the writing on the wall."

In an effort to understand the changing nature of suicide bombing, the Israeli defense minister, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, recently met separately with Ms. Ahmed and a would-be suicide bomber who was intercepted. He said he found little commonality but despair.

Ms. Ahmed was composed during the interview. Tears sprang to her eyes only when she recalled the death of her fiancé. "So I lost all my future," she said simply.

She insisted that the man she loved, Mr. Salem, attacked only soldiers — an account disputed by Israel — and said he had refused even to discuss with her the details of his operations. "He didn't want to put me in this," she said. "He was telling me all the time that I am his life."

Scared for him, she tried to persuade Mr. Salem to stop fighting, but he replied, "It's too late." His comrades would think he had become a collaborator, she explained.

Such pressures within Palestinian society are intense. The "infrastructure of terror," as the Israelis call it, has fragmented into small cells throughout the West Bank, each fighting its own parallel war. Separate, mid-level leaders emerge briefly, to be cut down by Israel and swiftly replaced. Such men are more than willing to seize on emotional turmoil, weakness of character or zealotry, to give someone a lethal backpack and to send him on his way, Israeli intelligence agents said.

Palestinian intelligence officials say the speed with which bombers are now primed makes intercepting them almost impossible. It used to be that during the long preparation, word of a planned attack might get around.

Israel rejects such accounts, saying Mr. Arafat's Palestinian Authority is either cooperating or doing nothing to stop the suicidal killing.

Arien Ahmed and Issa Badir would not have made anyone's list of likely killers. His brothers said Issa, like Palestinians in general, had been upset by watching images of Israeli military operations on television. But he seemed most passionate about swimming.

While attending a Lutheran high school in Bethlehem, Ms. Ahmed took part in joint discussions with Israeli students, and she made some friends among them, she said. "Maybe if I check my e-mail, I will see e-mail from them," she said, smiling.

Just as the bombers are becoming individually harder to identify and to stop, the broader cultural phenomenon of suicide bombing may prove difficult to restrain, experts say.

It appears that violent groups have seized on the method specifically because it is an effective means of killing but also one with an intrinsic political message of desperation and despair, which a car bomb or kidnapping might not convey.

"Our aim first is to show the world that we no longer love this life without our land," said Dr. Nizar Rayan, a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip. One of Dr. Rayan's sons died last fall in a suicidal shooting attack on a Jewish settlement, Eli Sinai.

Dr. Rayan, who studied martyrdom as a graduate student, brought his Toshiba laptop to a recent interview in Gaza City, so that he could call up relevant Islamic scripture.

He questioned what he described as American hypocrisy on the use of suicide as a weapon, saying Palestinians were at war with Israelis and had no other choice. "If we had weapons like the Israelis, we would kill them in a way that is acceptable to Americans," he said wryly.

In Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp, Salah Othman is known as the "live martyr." In the service of Hamas, Mr. Othman joined in a suicidal attack on a Jerusalem bus almost nine years ago, during the first intifada, or uprising. He was shot in the head and back. Israel returned his nearly dead body to Gaza, where he recovered, married and now works in a Hamas rehabilitation center.

Mr. Othman said he required a great deal of psychological preparation. He prayed and fasted, he said, and tried to "look at this life the way God looks at it."

"This life — whatever we see now — for God, it's not worth the wing of a mosquito," he explained, sitting with his wife in their comfortable home. "You cannot compare this life with the afterlife. It's like a drop in the ocean. Why should I waste the ocean for this drop?"

Like Dr. Rayan, he said he hoped his children would martyr themselves. "The new generation, they will be more fond of martyr attacks than the previous one," he said with satisfaction.

On Wednesday, a group of 55 Palestinian intellectuals published an advertisement in an Arabic-language newspaper, Al Quds, calling for a halt to attacks on Israeli civilians.

"We urge those behind military attacks against civilians inside Israel to reconsider their positions and to stop pushing our youth to carry out these attacks, which only result in deepening hatred between the two peoples," the advertisement read.

The group argued that "military attacks" on Israeli civilians were counter to the Palestinian national interest — the same approach that Mr. Arafat has recently used to distance himself from suicide bombing. A poster of Issa Badir, "martyr hero," now adorns walls around Bethlehem.

For her part, Ms. Ahmed said she expected to be in prison for several years. But the security agency has recommended that she not be charged because she regrets her act, an official said tonight.

Eventually Ms. Ahmed hopes to make a new life in Jordan, because if she is eventually released, "they will refuse me," as a coward. Asked who would refuse her, she replied, "My nation."


A near-death experience
While her co-bomber exploded himself in Rishon Letzion, Arin Ahmed was to wait nearby for the panicky people who would flee toward her, then detonate her bomb. Like Rasan who was to blow himself up in Tel Aviv, she never went through with her mission. Last week, the two were paid a visit in jail by none other than Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer
By Vered Levy-Barzilai
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=178487&contrassID=2&subContrassID=14&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

A young female Palestinian terrorist sits in a detention room opposite the Israeli defense minister and cries. "What will happen to me now?" she asks him. "What will become of me? What will my future be? Am I going to rot in prison for 20 years for something I didn't do?" Benjamin Ben-Eliezer's expression reveals nothing.

She wanted to be a shaheed [martyr], to blow herself up on an Israeli street and kill as many Jews as possible. The bomb was already strapped to her body. But on the way to the attack, she had a change of heart and returned home. Now the defense minister has come to ask her why: Why did she say yes at first - and why did she say no later? She looks into his eyes, searching for a hint of compassion.

"You've heard the story of my life," she says, her lips trembling. "It wasn't easy. But that wasn't the direction I was heading in. It was a momentary stumble. Yes, I faltered. But when the decisive moment came, I backed out. Please tell me, Mr. Minister, what will become of me?"

Ben-Eliezer sat there silently and kept looking at her. If something was going on inside him, it didn't show on his face. He cast a fleeting glance at the Shin Bet security services personnel in the room, and then his gaze returned to the young woman. "Kul wahad wanasibuhu," he said to her in Arabic. To each his fate.

Arin Ahmed was studying communications and computer programming at Bethlehem University. She speaks fluent English and a little Hebrew. Born 20 years ago in Beit Sahur, outside of Bethlehem, she is an articulate and intelligent young woman. Her father died when she was still a baby. For reasons that are not totally clear, her mother abandoned her and moved to Amman, Jordan, where she still lives. Arin was left in the care of relatives. Her aunts and uncles raised her and saw to her education. On March 8 of this year, she experienced another loss: Tanzim militant Jad Salem, her boyfriend of a year and a half, was killed. According to the Palestinians, he was killed by Israeli Defense Forces gunfire. The Shin Bet says: "He was apparently killed while attempting to prepare a car bomb."

Arin decided to avenge the death of her beloved by carrying out a suicide bombing. She conveyed a message to this effect to a senior Tanzim militant. On May 22, Tanzim activists Ali Yusef Mughrabi and Mahmoud Salem picked her up and took her to prepare for a suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion. They introduced her to a 16-year-old boy, Issam Badir, from Beit Jala. They were supposed to carry out the attack together. Mahmoud Salem instructed Badir to blow himself up amid the backgammon tables on the open plaza. Arin was supposed to wait on the other side of the street for the people who weren't killed or injured in the first explosion to run in a panic toward where she was standing. The expectation was that she would soon be surrounded by a large crowd. Then she was to choose the right moment and blow herself up.

The explosives were packed into black knapsacks, each weighing 35 kilograms. The bomb was light and easy to detonate, Mahmoud Salem told her. A switch coming out the back of the knapsack was connected to wires that activate the bomb. Arin said that she had already written a farewell letter to her family. She purified herself and prayed. Ali Mughrabi captured her final words on video. They explained to her that she had to pass for a young Israeli woman, and so she was asked to wear Western-style dress - tight pants and a midriff top. She did as she was told.

Then they met with Ibrahim Sarahne, Mahmoud's cousin, who explained how to get to the site chosen for the attack and described the place for them in great detail. Sarahne transported them nearby. When they arrived, Sarahne gave Arin and Issam precise instructions via cell phone: where exactly to stand so as to have the most lethal effect. They got out of the car with their knapsacks and headed for opposite sides of the street, as instructed. Arin stood in her position for about 10 minutes. Then she suddenly left the spot, returned to the parked car and told Sarahne that she had changed her mind and didn't want to go through with the bombing.

Her dispatchers were furious. They tried to convince her to carry out the mission to which she had committed herself. They reminded her of the lofty status she would achieve and of the great honor awaiting her in Paradise. Arin watched as the teenager ran and blew himself up right before her eyes. She again told her handlers that she wouldn't go through with it, and they brought her back to Bethlehem. The Tanzim men were enraged that she had backed out. Arin would later tell her interrogators that the Tanzim subsequently tried to enlist her for another suicide bombing on the Jerusalem pedestrian mall, but she refused.

On May 29, acting on information obtained in the interrogation of Ibrahim Sarahne, Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrived at Arin Ahmed's home in Beit Sahur and arrested her.

Benjamin Ben-Eliezer decided several weeks ago that he wished to meet face to face with suicide bombers who had failed to carry out their plans. He asked the Shin Bet to arrange such a meeting for him. The Shin Bet chose to have him meet Arin Ahmed and another failed suicide bomber, Rasan Stiti from Jenin. Stiti was enlisted by the Islamic Jihad about six months ago. As part of his training for a suicide mission, he was sent to Ramallah where he was enlisted by intelligence chief Tawfiq Tirawi. He also attended high school in Ramallah, where he proved to be a bright student and got excellent grades.

During his time in the city, Stiti met Chris Awis, a captain in the Palestinian intelligence service there. Awis was a high-ranking Fatah suspect (who turned himself in to IDF forces during Operation Defensive Shield) and he was the one who persuaded Stiti to go on a suicide mission in Tel Aviv. Stiti first spent a month studying religion at a local mosque. Immediately afterward, he set off to carry out the bombing.

En route, he noticed combat helicopters hovering over his route and suspected that they were following him, so he decided to postpone the mission. A few days later, he made a second attempt, but this time the road was blocked and he had to turn back. The third time, he was stopped by members of Palestinian intelligence. And then, finally, he was arrested by the IDF during Operation Defensive Shield.

The meeting took place last week on Sunday at 2 P.M., in the detention room in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer was accompanied by his military secretary, Brigadier General Mike Herzog. He came straight from a cabinet meeting, dressed in a dark suit, light shirt and tie. The two men entered the room where the Shin Bet personnel were waiting. Rasan Stiti was led in first, in handcuffs. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He is very thin, with black hair and a short beard. His eyes had a glassy look. The little room was too narrow to comfortably accommodate all those present. They took their places around the table: Ben-Eliezer and Herzog on one side, and the terrorist, flanked by Shin Bet men, on the other.

After being given some brief biographical information about the young man, Ben-Eliezer addressed the terrorist in Arabic: "Who sent you?"

Stiti: "The Islamic Jihad."

Ben-Eliezer: "What did you want to happen?"

Stiti: "For Jews to be killed and to die as a shaheed."

Ben-Eliezer: "Now explain to me why you decided to commit suicide."

Stiti: "No, that's not it. That's not right. I didn't go to commit suicide. I went to die a martyr's death. I wanted to get the reward. I spent a month in the mosque. I learned there how important it is to be a shaheed. It is the loftiest objective. It's very important for the Palestinian people, nationally and religiously. It's the biggest and most holy thing you can do. And then you receive all the rewards in Paradise."

Ben-Eliezer: "You knew that you would kill innocent people - women and children. Do you hate the Jews that much?"

Stiti: "No, not at all. I don't hate Jews. That's not it. I just wanted to take part in my people's war of national liberation. It's a holy war for the liberation of occupied Palestine. That's what I was thinking all the time."

Ben-Eliezer: "But in the place you were supposed to blow yourself up, you would see with your own eyes the people whom you were about to kill. Did you ever ask yourself: Why them? What have they done? Why do they deserve to die?"

Stiti: "I wouldn't have seen that. We don't see them at all. What's before my eyes is [becoming] a shaheed. Everything is for the sake of the commandment. That's what I was told. The shaheed is on a very high level and everyone respects him. I wanted to participate in the liberation of my people, to fulfill the sacred commandment, to be a source of pride to my people and my friends."

Ben-Eliezer: "You have parents, brothers, sisters, family, friends. Did you think about them?"

Stiti: "Yes."

Ben-Eliezer: "Did they know?"

Stiti: "Yes. My parents begged me not to do it. My father told me that I'd be very sorry if I dared to go ahead, but it didn't convince me. What they told me at the mosque was more powerful. They told me to just think about the commandment and the reward, up above, in Paradise, with the virgins that would be waiting for me and all the honor I would receive."

Ben-Eliezer: "And you were prepared to break your father's heart? Your mother's heart?"

Stiti is silent and looks down.

Ben-Eliezer: "Look at me."

Stiti looks up, but remains silent.

Ben-Eliezer: "And what about you? Didn't you have any regrets about taking your own life? You're young, you're just starting out. You're a good student. You could have gone on to university, become something. Did you care about dying?"

Stiti: "No. Because they explained to me that life here is just a pathway to life in the next world. The loss of life here is not such a big thing. Here it's just preparation. The next world is the true life, for the holy ones who are worthy of reaching there."

Ben-Eliezer: "You mean the shaheeds, the ones who committed suicide bombings?"

Stiti: "Yes, right."

Ben-Eliezer: "If Yasser Arafat called for a halt to suicide bombings, would it have any effect on you?"

Stiti: "No. It's a religious imperative from Allah. It has nothing to do with whether Arafat says yes or no. Allah supersedes everyone." He thinks for a moment and continues: "But maybe if he did call for it to stop, we might think twice about it."

Ben-Eliezer: "If I let you go right now, would you go out to commit another attack?"

Stiti (looking down): "I don't think so. I made a mistake. Now I just want to go back to normal life. I want to study."

Ben-Eliezer: "Do you know whom you're talking to right now?"

Stiti: "Of course, I know. You're the defense minister. I see you on television every day."

Rasan Stiti is led out of the room. Arin Ahmed is brought in. Brigadier General Herzog comments later that there was a very big contrast between the strength that she projected and the fear projected by Stiti. He sat slouched in his seat and averted his gaze for most of the session, not daring to look Ben-Eliezer in the eye. Ahmed, in contrast, sat upright and looked straight ahead. He was stiff. She was very expressive. He spoke only Arabic. She sometimes switched to fluent English and occasionally used a few words of Hebrew.

He never revealed his emotions, and expressed neither sorrow nor remorse. He was expressionless and spoke in a cold, monotonous tone, as if he were reciting slogans. The gut feeling of the others in the room was that Stiti was not being truthful, especially when he said that he would not be interested in attempting another bombing. Ahmed, on the other hand, seemed much more sincere and they tended to believe her. She sounded genuine, did not try to hide anything and was even bold enough to make a direct appeal to the minister sitting opposite her.

"Natural intelligence" and "a winning smile" were two of the phrases used by Ben-Eliezer and Herzog in describing her. Ahmed impressed them as a young woman with a charismatic personality.

Arin Ahmed was not handcuffed when she was led in to meet Ben-Eliezer. She sat at the table dressed in long pants and a gray sweater - a tall, full-figured young woman with long black hair and dark eyes.

Ben-Eliezer: "Explain to me why you wanted to commit a suicide bombing in Israel. Was it for religious reasons?"

Ahmed: "No, it was something personal. I was in distress. I was depressed."

Ben-Eliezer: "Why did you want to commit suicide?"

Ahmed: "You [Israelis] killed my friend."

Ben-Eliezer: "Was he a close friend of yours?"

Ahmed: "Yes. We were friends for a year and a half."

Ben-Eliezer: "Did you live together?"

Ahmed: "No, of course not. There's no such thing in our society. But we were friends. And he was killed."

Ben-Eliezer: "So what did you want to happen? Did you want to kill innocent Jews in order to avenge his death?"

Ahmed: "I don't know what I wanted. I was very hurt and angry. I have friends from the university who are active in the Tanzim. We get together a lot and go out together. We were sitting together one evening and they were talking about how they wanted to organize a reprisal action against all the military actions and everything that Israel had done to them in the last months. I sat and listened. I thought about Jad. And all of a sudden, I said to them, you know what? I'm going to do a suicide bombing. That was it. A moment earlier, I hadn't thought of anything like that. This was on a Friday. Afterward, I went home. I spoke with someone in the Tanzim and told him that I wanted to do it."

Ben-Eliezer: "And what happened then?"

Ahmed: "I thought they would take me to start preparing for it, that they would train me and teach me about weapons, something like that. I was sure it was a process that took several months. Then, suddenly, four days later, some Tanzim militants came and told me: We've chosen you. Congratulations. You're going to do a suicide bombing. Then some more senior people came. I was in shock. I never imagined it could happen so fast.

"But they didn't let me think about it too much. They pressured me and persuaded me. They told me: You'll gain a very special status among the women suicide bombers. You'll be a real heroine. It's for Jad's memory. You'll be reunited with him in heaven. You'll be with him in Paradise. They pushed me. They encouraged me. I did whatever they told me. They explained everything to Issam and me. This all happened very fast and then we set out."

Ben-Eliezer: "Did your family know?"

Ahmed: "No. I left on the day I wrote my farewell letter."

Ben-Eliezer: "And you didn't feel bad about what it would do to them?"

Ahmed: "I was only thinking about my boyfriend."

Ben-Eliezer: "And what happened then? Why did you change your mind?"

Ahmed: "I got out of the car. The place wasn't exactly like I'd seen on the map. I saw a lot of people, mothers with children, teenage boys and girls. I remembered an Israeli girl my age whom I used to be in touch with. I suddenly understood what I was about to do and I said to myself: How can I do such a thing? I changed my mind. Issam also had second thoughts, but they managed to convince him to go ahead. I saw him go and blow himself up.

"I decided that I wasn't going to do it. They were very angry at me. They yelled at me the whole way back. And they also tried to send me to carry out another attack in Jerusalem. But I'd already changed my mind and given up the whole idea. I stayed at home, until your forces came and arrested me."

Ben-Eliezer: "And now what?"

Ahmed: "And now I'm here. It was a mistake. It's wrong to kill people and children. Doing something like that is forbidden. There's no way I would do it. And the fact is, I didn't do it."

Ben-Eliezer: "If you're released, what will you do?"

Ahmed: "I'd leave this place immediately. I'd go to live in Jordan with my mother. I would draw a line across the past and never come back here. Yes, I faltered. But it was a momentary stumble. That's not me. I was swept up into this thing, but I came to my senses. In Jordan, with my mother and sisters, I would continue studying. I'd get a degree at the university. I'd never go near anything like this again. I'd continue my life normally."

At this point, Ben-Eliezer says good-bye and signals that the conversation has ended. Ahmed bursts out crying: "Please, Mr. Minister. Wait a minute. There's something else I want to tell you."

Ben-Eliezer turns around to listen.

Ahmed: "I'm finished with this. I swear it. Please, let me out of here. I want to ask you to transfer me to my family in Jordan."

He listens, but doesn't say anything. She sighs. "What will become of me? I have no future. I don't want my whole life to be ruined because of this. I'm at the beginning of life. I didn't do anything. Don't forget that. I didn't do it. I changed my mind. Please, let me out."

"To each his fate," Ben-Eliezer says, and then he leaves the room.

Last Thursday afternoon, in his office at the Defense Ministry, Ben-Eliezer says that from now on, he intends to keep interviewing other potential suicide bombers. He says his decision derives from the fact that the phenomenon is the main problem that the defense establishment has to contend with. "This is an efficient, quick, cheap and highly lethal kind of weapon that is very hard to overcome," the defense minister says. "That's why I wanted to meet them face to face."

There are professionals in the Shin Bet whose job it is to do this. Why was it important to you to meet them yourself?

"If I'm fighting against something, I need to get to know it personally. I want to know as much as I can about it. I know tanks and airplanes and artillery. But I don't know the person who turns himself into a bomb. I have never met a living, breathing death machine. Those who were caught on the way or changed their mind can provide this opportunity."

Do you think you'll learn something that you didn't know before?

"First of all, I wanted to have the contact. There's a difference between reading a written report about someone, and sitting across from him and talking to him. I wanted to go more in depth, to plumb their souls. To look them in the eye. To see if they look me in the eye. I wanted to see their expression when I asked them `Why?' and it was important to me to speak to them face to face: to see how I would feel, to try to understand directly what causes a young man or woman in their teens to throw everything away, to go out and murder innocent people, to commit suicide. After all, it's total craziness. It's a satanic, monstrous act. I had to sit down across from this thing."

And what did you learn?

"I felt different things in the meeting with him and the meeting with her. And I learned different things from both cases. The young man projected coldness and alienation. He sat there very stiffly. I didn't hear any genuine remorse from him. He said he wouldn't do it again, but I didn't believe him. He lied. When I left the room, I said to the people there, `If he goes free, he'll immediately run to do it again.'

"His eyes were constantly darting to the side. He recited the brainwashing they did to him, nothing more. He was not impressive. I couldn't discern the burning hatred or the distress he spoke of. It sounded more like someone with a weak character whom the surrounding system had homed in on, caught and trained for the assignment. He seemed like a spineless young man, nothing special."

Maybe he was paralyzed by fear when he was sitting there facing you.

"No, not at all. The conversation was relaxed. I asked them to take off his handcuffs, but they wouldn't. He had nothing to fear. On the contrary, he was apathetic, inexpressive. He annoyed me. He recited and recited, like a mantra, one slogan after another."

What new and relevant information did this meeting provide?

"That the environmental factor is the key - not the socioeconomic situation, or whether they're working or unemployed, or the years of oppression and built-up frustration, or whether they're educated or not. These parameters have weight, but it is marginal. Above all, it has to do with the person's character and how susceptible he or she is to pressure and persuasion. There's an entire system with its sights set on this satanic aim. It operates entirely in order to produce human bombs. As soon as they identified him as suitable, they trapped him like a fish in a net. These suicide bombers aren't created out of nowhere. They aren't born like that. The Islamic Jihad and the Tanzim and Hamas find them. It's the most cynical and cruel exploitation of human lives, of young people's lives especially. The weak, like him, are caught."

You don't think it has anything to do with the misery of their life and their ongoing frustration?

"Listen well: No. Look, there are plenty of people in the same situation who haven't done what these two planned to do. Why?"

But there are still hundreds and possibly thousands of potential suicide bombers. Aren't these people who feel they've lost all reason for living?

"In my opinion, there is no common denominator. Sometimes, it's a random, momentary thing. Sometimes there's more of a religious background to it. Some of them say, `I die, therefore I exist.' They think a heroic death will give meaning to their existence. Today he's a nobody, but when he becomes a shaheed, the whole world will hear about him. Some are mainly brainwashed with a religious message. And some come to it in an unpredictable way, like the young woman."

How did the meeting with her go?

"It wasn't easy. She wasn't cold and aloof like the young man. She showed emotion. She didn't sit across from me like a block of ice. She spoke, she was quiet, she smiled, she cried. She's an intelligent young woman and she took part in a flowing conversation."

How did you feel when you were sitting there facing her?

"To be honest, I felt sorry for her. I admit it. I thought she was pitiable. I found it hard to fathom how a girl like her, an educated young woman with her whole future ahead of her could have ended up in such a situation, ready to commit such an inhuman act. On the other hand, the fact that she did not go through with it and the way she expressed remorse touched me. I admit that I felt compassion for her."

Isn't there something unseemly about a defense minister choosing to sit down with someone who almost killed innocent civilians and giving her a platform, and even feeling such empathy toward her?

"Listen well. This meeting was held in the context of `Know thine enemy.' None of the rest interests me. I don't worry about whether or not there will be criticism when I make my judgment. To me, this is an important meeting that is supplying valuable information."

What do you think ought to be done with her?

"I don't know. And I'm not the one who has to decide. I tend to believe that if she is released, she will get as far away from here as possible and try to start a new life."

There's no guarantee that her anguish over her boyfriend's death won't well up again and inspire her to return to carry out another terror attack.

"True. We have no guarantee of that."

She was just a hairbreadth away from blowing herself up and killing innocent Israeli civilians.

"True, and you don't have to remind me of that. I haven't forgotten that for a moment. But you start the encounter sitting across from a satanic killing machine and then she tells you her life story and smiles and cries, and you remember that this is a 20-year-old girl. And you also feel sorry for her. My gut feeling was that she was telling the truth. She almost did a monstrous thing but, in the end, she didn't. Of course, I haven't changed my opinion about the severity of the phenomenon or about the severity of the fact that she was a willing participant in it until the very last moment. And she also didn't prevent the terror attack. But she did manage to move me. And all her testimony about how they enlisted her reinforced what we assumed before."

Something that we didn't know before?

"Of course, we had earlier evidence. But this was important documentation and her case is not unique. Here you have a girl who suddenly blurted something out. I'm almost certain that she herself didn't really mean it. But as soon as the words were said, they pounced on her. Here you can see how this machine works. That's why I say that the environment is the No. 1 factor, the environmental pressure. This is not a religious young woman. This is not an ignorant young woman. This is not a young woman with nothing to look forward to in life. On the contrary. She is talented and educated and has her future ahead of her."

This is a girl whose heart has been broken. Her beloved was killed. More than a few young women throughout the world have committed suicide or tried to after losing their beloved.

"That's not the case here, I'm telling you. They home in on a person like a spider and spin a web around him. As soon as she said she wanted to commit suicide, the whole thing took on tremendous momentum and went totally out of her control. They came at her from every direction. Out of inertia, she kept going further and further with it until the zero hour arrived. That's why I maintain that the environment exploits fragile personalities and gets them swept up in a current."

In an article published recently in Ha'aretz about the origins of the shaheed, professors and experts on Islam were interviewed. Most felt that the common denominator among suicide bombers was the lack of a horizon, a lack of hope, that they were people who had lost faith in life.

"Certainly, there is misery. Certainly, there is frustration. Certainly, they feel hopelessness. But then, at the moment of crisis, someone from one of these death organizations comes and seduces them. Notice, when I asked her, `and now what?' - she burst into tears. Why? Because now she understands the craziness that she was sucked into. Because now it's clear to her that she wants life and not death. Now her life is very precious to her. She is pleading for her life."

And how does all this insight and analysis help us? The terror attacks are continuing all the time.

"Eighty-six percent of terror attacks are foiled and prevented. Also, understanding the enemy is always helpful, knowing the behind-the-scenes mechanisms. The enemy is not just Rasan Stiti and Arin Ahmed. It's mainly who sends them. Here we have a female terrorist who came to her senses at the critical moment. She realized that they had sold her a virtual world that doesn't exist at all and that she was about to die. Then she went home. Now she's talking and others are listening. This is significant.

"Secondly, it shows that once they're on this satanic conveyor belt, they don't have a moment to think about the price they're going to pay. In most cases, it's a lost cause by this point. Before they manage to think about for whom and what they're dying, they're already dead, along with all their innocent victims."

And how does all this help us?

"We're interested in the moment that comes before. I have a lot of information on the table. My objective is to prevent suicide bombings. That's what Operation Defensive Shield was for. That's what all the other operations are for. But, unfortunately, while the IDF is carrying out these necessary actions, the operations themselves become a hothouse that produces more and more new suicide bombers. The military actions kindle the frustration, hatred and despair and are the incubator for the terror to come. The religious and political environment immediately exploits this effect and dispatches the new suicide bombers and the pattern is repeated."

You are the defense minister of the State of Israel and you're basically saying that we're trapped in an endless vicious circle - that there's no solution, that we have no horizon to look toward and no hope that this terrible situation will end.

"It is a terribly vicious and evil circle, but I do see hope. There are sparks of light coming from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The world is starting to realize that this struggle is no longer local. There is talk that the world will eventually cause Yasser Arafat to move aside. Then others will sit opposite us. And then, in a political process, new hope for both peoples will open up. With Arafat, it won't happen. It will happen with someone else.

"When there is new hope, these organizations that are so indifferent to human life, that try to sell a virtual world to potential suicide bombers, will have a harder time doing their work. As soon as the Palestinians have a new dream of a truly better life, of a normal life, the whole bit about the virgins in Paradise and all the other nonsense they've sold them will lose its magic. I believe that then, young people like Arin Ahmed and even Rasan Stiti will say no to anyone who tries to convince them to choose death over life."

Posted by dmelle at 10:23 AM
June 21, 2002
Palestinian terrorist kills Israeli mother and 3 of her children, including a 5-year-old boy

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that a Palestinian terrorist entered an Israeli town in the West Bank and murdered a mother and three of her children.



Rachel Shabbo and 3 of her children,
killed in their home by a Palestinian terrorist

The Palestinian murderer entered the family's house and started shooting randomly with the intent to slaughter all unarmed Israeli civilians. He succeeded in killing Rachel Shabo 40, and three of her sons, Naria, 16, Zvika, 12 and Avishai, 5.

Two of the family's other children were wounded: a 10-year-old boy with serious gunshot wounds to the legs, and his 13-year old sister, with moderate to serious chest wounds.

The terrorist was killed by soldiers, who began searching for possible additional terrorists when the house caught fire. The terrorist jumped from a window in the house, exchanged fire with security forces, and was killed.

I copy the full article below.

FOUR PALESTINIANS KILLED AS IDF WIDENS OPERATIONS IN THE TERRITORIES
By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH - June 21, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1023716530923

Four Palestinians were reported killed on Friday as the IDF widened operations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, sending dozens of tanks into Nablus, as part of a new anti-terror campaign dubbed "Determined Path."

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon planned to convene his security cabinet later Friday to discuss broadening the operation launched in response to back-to-back suicide bus bombings in Jerusalem on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the murders of a mother and three children in their home in the Itamar community Thursday night. In all, 33 Israelis died in terror attacks this week.

The victims in Itamar were identified Friday as Rachel Shabo 40, and three of her sons, Neria, 16, Zvi, 12 and Avishai, 5. They were shot and killed by an infiltrator who burst into their home.

The settlement's security chief, Yosef Tuwito, was also killed before commandos stormed in and killed the terrorist. Eight people in the house were wounded, including Shabo's 11-year-old son, who was in serious condition. The house went up in flames during the gunbattle.

In the West Bank Friday, Palestinians said a 14-year-old boy was killed when the IDF blew up a building in Jenin. Military sources said the troops had detonated a bomb factory.

Three other Palestinian fatalities were reported in the Gaza Strip, where border policemen shot and killed an assailant who threw grenades at them at the Erez junction, which is at the entrance to the strip. Two Palestinian workers were also killed in that shooting, and the authorities are investigating whether they had any links to the assailant.

The Associated Press reported that troops opened fire at a group of Palestinian children and an AP reporter and photographer on a Gaza road as soldiers tore down a Palestinian police post. No one was hurt.

In Nablus, witnesses said about 50 tanks and a number of armored bulldozers entered the outskirts of the city from four directions. Israeli tanks fired sporadic bursts of machine-gun fire, but there was no apparent resistance. Soldiers used loudspeakers to declare a curfew, witnesses said.

The IDF launched a limited reserve callup on Thursday as "Operation Determined Path" was launched in response to the mounting terror attacks. Media reports said the government would consider calling up more reserves.

(With The Associated Press)

Posted by dmelle at 11:13 AM
June 20, 2002
Interview with a Mother of a Palestinian Homicide/Suicide Bomber

The Middle East Media Research Institute (www.memri.org) has translated an interview with a mother of a Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber.

The interview, originally published in Arabic in the London based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, gives us an understanding of the hate that motivates Umm Nidal (the mother) and Palestinian society into supporting the killing of unarmed Israeli civilians, including children.

It also explains why against all logic they prefer to try to destroy Israel instead of accepting and building their own country.

Qustion: "Did you have a role in the planting of this spirit in Muhammad?"

Umm Nidal's answer : "Allah be praised, I am a Muslim and I believe in Jihad. Jihad is one of the elements of the faith and this is what encouraged me to sacrifice Muhammad in Jihad for the sake of Allah. My son was not destroyed, he is not dead; he is living a happier life than I. Had my thoughts been limited to this world, I would not sacrifice Muhammad."

"After the martyrdom [operation], my heart was peaceful about Muhammad. I encouraged all my sons to die a martyr's death, and I wish this even for myself. After all this, I prepared myself to receive the body of my son, the pure shahid, in order to look upon him one last time and accept the well-wishers who [came] to us in large numbers and participated in our joy over Muhammad's martyrdom..."

I copy the full interview below.

An Interview with the Mother of a Suicide Bomber
Memri.org, Special Dispatch Series - No. 391 - June 18, 2002

The London-based Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published an interview with Umm Nidal, the mother of the shahid [martyr] Muhammad Farhat. During the first Intifada, Umm Nidal had hidden 'Imad 'Aql, the commander of Hamas's military wing "Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades," in the family’s home for over a year. The following are excerpts from the interview:

Q: "How did the idea of carrying out a Fidaai [martyrdom] operation develop in [your son] Muhammad's soul?"

Umm Nidal: "Jihad is a [religious] commandment imposed upon us. We must instill this idea in our sons' souls, all the time... What we see every day – massacres, destruction, bombing [of] homes – strengthened, in the souls of my sons, especially Muhammad, the love of Jihad and martyrdom."

Q: "Did you have a role in the planting of this spirit in Muhammad?"

Umm Nidal: "Allah be praised, I am a Muslim and I believe in Jihad. Jihad is one of the elements of the faith and this is what encouraged me to sacrifice Muhammad in Jihad for the sake of Allah. My son was not destroyed, he is not dead; he is living a happier life than I. Had my thoughts been limited to this world, I would not sacrifice Muhammad."

"I am a compassionate mother to my children, and they are compassionate towards me and take care of me. Because I love my son, I encouraged him to die a martyr's death for the sake of Allah... Jihad is a religious obligation incumbent upon us, and we must carry it out. I sacrificed Muhammad as part of my obligation."

"This is an easy thing. There is no disagreement [among scholars] on such matters. The happiness in this world is an incomplete happiness; eternal happiness is life in the world to come, through martyrdom. Allah be praised, my son has attained this happiness."

Q: "'Imad 'Aql lived with you, and was killed in your home. Did his personality influence Muhammad?"

Umm Nidal: "Muhammad was seven when the martyr 'Imad 'Aql lived with us at home… Muhammad joined the [Izz Al-Din] Al-Qassam Brigades at age seven. Despite his young age, he was [an] assistant to 'Imad 'Aql, the Al-Qassam commander in the Gaza Strip. While his brothers were absent, he would watch the road, and take messages from 'Aql to the mujahideen. The martyr Muhammad was 'Imad's pupil. Muhammad would listen to 'Imad and watch him plan operations."

"'Imad lived with us for 14 months, and he had a room in our house from which he would plan the operations. The mujahideen would come to him and plan and sketch everything out, and little Muhammad would be with them, thinking and planning. This was the source of Muhammad's love of martyrdom."

"This is the atmosphere in which the love of martyrdom developed in Muhammad's soul. I, as a mother, naturally encouraged the love of Jihad in the soul of Muhammad and in the souls of all my sons, all of whom belong to the Al-Qassam Brigades. My eldest son, Nidal (31), is wanted now by the Israelis. My second son set out on a martyrdom operation, but was discovered, arrested, and sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment. I have another son, [Mu'min Farhat] who is the escort of Sheikh Ahmd Yassin."

"The atmosphere to which Muhammad was exposed was full of faith and love of martyrdom. I maintain that a man's faith does not reach perfection unless it attains self-sacrifice…"

Q: "How did Muhammad say goodbye before he carried out the operation?"

Umm Nidal: "Muhammad was willing to carry out any martyrdom operation... He swore to me that the only reason he loved life was Jihad. He would say to me that if his turn for Jihad did not come he would quit the military arm of the movement, take his weapon, and go to the battlefield to fight on his own."

"He tried several times. He would go out to the Al-Muntar road, taking his gun and bombs, but an opportunity did not present itself. He would return with his blood boiling because he hadn't managed to carry out an operation. He would brandish his weapon and tell me: 'Mom, this is my bride.' He loved his gun so much."

"He would tell me, 'I am going out now [to an attack]. I cannot control myself.' I would answer him, 'You will yet have a great opportunity. Be patient, plan well, so that you don't sacrifice yourself in vain. Act with your mind, not your emotions...'"

"On the day of the operation, he came to me and told me: 'Now, mother, I am setting out for my operation.' He prepared for the operation two days in advance, when the video was filmed. He asked me to be photographed with him, and during the filming he brandished his gun. I personally asked to make the film so as to remember."

"He set out to carry out the operation, and when he got to the area he spent the night with his friends there. I was in contact with him and I asked him about his morale. He told me he was very happy. Indeed, I saw his face happier than I had ever seen it."

"He set out for his operation with cold nerves, completely calm and confident, as if convinced that the operation would succeed."

"But I worried and feared greatly that the operation would not succeed, and that he would be arrested. I prayed for him when he left the house and asked Allah to make his operation a success and give him martyrdom. When he entered the settlement, his brothers in the military wing [of Hamas] informed me that he had managed to infiltrate it. Then I began to pray to Allah for him."

"I prayed from the depths of my heart that Allah would cause the success of his operation. I asked Allah to give me 10 [Israelis] for Muhammad, and Allah granted my request and Muhammad made his dream come true, killing 10 Israeli settlers and soldiers. Our God honored him even more, in that there were many Israelis wounded."

"When the operation was over, the media broadcast the news. Then Muhammad's brother came to me and informed me of his martyrdom. I began to cry, 'Allah is the greatest,' and prayed and thanked Allah for the success of the operation. I began to utter cries of joy and we declared that we were happy. The young people began to fire into the air out of joy over the success of the operation, as this is what we had hoped for him."

"After the martyrdom [operation], my heart was peaceful about Muhammad. I encouraged all my sons to die a martyr's death, and I wish this even for myself. After all this, I prepared myself to receive the body of my son, the pure shahid, in order to look upon him one last time and accept the well-wishers who [came] to us in large numbers and participated in our joy over Muhammad's martyrdom..."(1)

Endnote:

(1) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 5, 2002

Posted by dmelle at 09:04 AM
Hope of killing drives Palestinian homicide bombers

The British Daily Telegraph (www.dailytelegraph.co.uk) has a good article commenting on Cherie Blair's remarks on Palestinian homicide bombers. Mrs. Blair, the wife of English prime minister Tony Blair, said yesterday:


"As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up, you are never going to make progress."

Mrs Blair completely misunderstands the motivation behind the suicide attacks. They are not caused by lack of "hope". Rather, they are fuelled by a surfeit of hope: first, the hope that the bombers will go to heaven if they murder Jews; secondly, the hope that their families will be rewarded by the Iraqi and Saudi governments to the tune of $25,000; and thirdly, the hope that they will destroy Israel.

An ideology that promotes hope by such means should be excoriated, not "understood". Mrs Blair lamely accepts the Palestinians' assertions about the "hopelessness" of their predicament - even though they would now be self-governing had they accepted Ehud Barak's offer at Camp David in July 2000.

I copy the full article below.

What Cherie really thinks - 19/06/2002
http://www.dailytelegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintable.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2002/06/19/dl1901.xml&site=15

During Hillary Clinton's years as First Lady, it was often said that she was "one bright remark away from trouble". Hitherto, barring a few bumps, Cherie Blair has largely avoided falling into that trap.

She has managed ably to juggle elements of the role of traditional prime ministerial spouse with the professional commitments of a thoroughly modern woman.

Yesterday, however, she undid all those years of self-restraint in spectacular fashion. She told reporters at a charity appeal for Medical Aid for Palestinians: "As long as young people feel they have got no hope but to blow themselves up, you are never going to make progress."

And she said this just hours after a Hamas suicide bomber had blown up a bus packed full of Israelis, including schoolchildren, killing 19. It is not surprising that by the end of the day an apology had been issued on her behalf.

Before eventually apologising more fully, Number 10 had said that Mrs Blair was not seeking to justify the suicide attacks in any way and that hers was merely a statement of the obvious. This is untrue.

Mrs Blair did not preface her remarks with a loud condemnation, after the fashion of the Prime Minister or the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. And, pace Number 10's assertion that this was a charitable and not a political event, requiring no clearance of her remarks with officials beforehand, nobody in the Middle East or elsewhere will take that seriously.

She could have expressed human sympathy for the Palestinians' plight in a hundred different ways without treading on such dangerous terrain. What is Mrs Blair's constitutional role in foreign policy-making - not least when her tone, and probably her content, go well beyond anything which her husband has said?

But what of Number 10's remark that Mrs Blair had done no more than to state "the obvious?" Maybe these sentiments are "obvious" in the Left-liberal metropolitan circles in which the Blairs move.

According to this world view, while suicide attacks are wrong, the Israelis have got it coming to them because of their supposedly appalling occupation policies. It is a variant of this Government's view of Northern Ireland - that, while the IRA did a lot of nasty things, its campaign of violence was made inevitable by the actions of the "apartheid" Unionist "statelet" from 1921-72.

In both cases, the Government accepts fairly uncritically the basic Palestinian and Irish nationalist narratives of the disputes, if not all their proposed remedies. This, in turn, is a variant of another of Tony Blair's favourite mantras - "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime".

Mrs Blair completely misunderstands the motivation behind the suicide attacks. They are not caused by lack of "hope". Rather, they are fuelled by a surfeit of hope: first, the hope that the bombers will go to heaven if they murder Jews; secondly, the hope that their families will be rewarded by the Iraqi and Saudi governments to the tune of $25,000; and thirdly, the hope that they will destroy Israel.

An ideology that promotes hope by such means should be excoriated, not "understood". Mrs Blair lamely accepts the Palestinians' assertions about the "hopelessness" of their predicament - even though they would now be self-governing had they accepted Ehud Barak's offer at Camp David in July 2000.

Instead, the Palestinians opted for a return to violence, convinced by Israel's precipitate withdrawal from Lebanon earlier that year that the Zionist foe was in irremediable decline and that they could obtain more on the streets than at the negotiating table.

But they returned to armed struggle not only because they thought it in their interest, but also because they thought it was right. Day after day, the Palestinian and other Arab media portray Jews - yes, Jews, not Israelis - as sub-human devils with hooked noses who ritually sacrifice children and who have no right to live in the region, let alone to a state.

Suicide bombings, as opposed to other forms of armed struggle, take place largely because of a crazed ideology, not because of hopelessness. Mrs Blair's injudicious remarks will reverberate around the Arab world, and will give the Islamist fanatics the further hope that "one last heave" can do the trick.

Posted by dmelle at 08:45 AM
June 19, 2002
Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber kills 2-year-old and 6 other Israeli unarmed civilians

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that a Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber blew himself near a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing a 2-year-old baby and 6 others, and wounding more than 40 unarmed Israeli civilians.

The Fatah's "Raed Karmi Branch" of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility for the attack, in a telephone call to Abu Dhabi satellite TV, and Hizbullah's Al-Manar satellite TV, in Lebanon.

"Zionists, leave our land because we will not stop our operations as long as there is an occupation," said the statement.

The Fatah is an umbrella group of Palestinian organizations that report directly to Yasser Arafat. This is the second homicide/suicide bombing executed by one of Arafat's terrorist groups in the last 24 hours - the Palestinian Authority's condemnation of these murders is simply ridiculous.

I copy the full article below.

SUICIDE BOMBER IN JERUSALEM KILLS AT LEAST 7, WOUNDS OVER 40
By THE JERUSALEM POST STAFF - June 19, 2002

A suicide bomber, possibly female, blew up shortly after 7:00 p.m. near a hitchhiking stop in the French Hill neighborhood of northern Jerusalem killing at least seven people and wounding over 40 others.

Two of the fatalities died in surgery after the attack.

One of the fatalities is a two-year-old toddler.

Four of the wounded are listed in critical condition, according to Magen David Adom Spokesman Yerucham Mendola.

The Fatah's "Raed Karmi Branch" of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades took responsibility for the attack, in a telephone call to Abu Dhabi satellite TV, and Hizbullah's Al-Manar satellite TV, in Lebanon.

"Zionists, leave our land because we will not stop our operations as long as there is an occupation," said the statement.

Karmi was a terrorist killed in an IDF targeted interception several months ago.

The area has been closed to traffic as sappers search for other bombs, and drivers are requested to clear the roads for EMS and crews and security forces.

"The police chased him to try to stop him, and when he got to the (bus stop), he blew up a large device," said Jerusalem police chief Mickey Levy. One of the policemen chasing him was badly hurt, Levy added.

A police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the bomber got out of a red Audi, broke past a group of security forces, and set off the explosives. The car sped away, disappearing into Palestinian neighborhoods, heading north towards Ramallah, Levy added.

Security forces are in hot pursuit.

The explosion in the French Hill neighborhood blew out the back and the sides of the bus stop shelter, leaving just a concrete bench and the roof. Body parts were scattered on the street, which was covered with blood and shards of glass.

A baby carriage was overturned, and rescue workers covered it with a black plastic bag.

The head of the bomber was found layng on a hill above the scene of the blast, according to reports of remains found by investigators.

At least six people were killed, said Avi Zohar, a spokesman for Israel's rescue services. Several of the wounded were in critical condition, rescue workers said.

"We will of course take whatever action necessary in order to continue to protect the citizens of Israel," said Israeli government spokesman Arieh Mekel. "We hold the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Yasser Arafat, responsible for all this."

Israel says Arafat is responsible because his security forces have not prevented the attacks.

The PA has not commented on the attack.
After Tuesday's bombing, Israel said it would reoccupy parts of Palestinian territory in response to bombings.

"The Palestinian wave of terror continues to be unleashed against Israel's civilian population," said David Baker, a spokesman in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The area, a busy intersection adjacent to the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, has been the scene of numerous terror attacks since the onset of fighting with the Palestinians.

The heavily guarded, combined hitchiking point and bus stop, is heavily used by the city's residents as well as commuters to Samaria communities and the city of Ma'ale Adumim to the east.

The blast comes one day after a Palestinian suicide bomber killed 19 people on a bus in southern Jerusalem, the deadliest bombing in the city in six years.

Palestinian suicide bombers have carried out 71 attacks against Israel in nearly 21 months of Mideast violence, killing more than 220 people.

Hospital emergency numbers:

Jerusalem Bikur Holim Hospital: 125-5123;

Jerusalem Hadassah University-Hospital, Ein Kerem: 125-5122;

Jerusalem Hadassah University-Hospital, Mt Scopus: 125-5121;

Jerusalem Sha'are Tzedek hospital: 125-5125;

Petah Tikva, Beilinson Hospital: 125-5134.
No area code is necessary when calling these numbers.


Jerusalem Municipality: 106, 125-5023.

"Eran" emergency psychological counseling:

English/Hebrew: 1201

Russian: 1 800 241 201

Arabic: 1 700 501 201

Amharic: 1 800 211 201
Overseas callers need to dial Israel's country code 972 before the direct numbers.

(With Mohammed Najib, The Associated Press)

Posted by dmelle at 11:50 AM
June 18, 2002
Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber kills 19 unarmed Israeli civilians in Jerusalem bombing

Ha'aretz (www.haaretzdaily.com) reports that a Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber has murdered 19 unarmed Israeli civilians when he blew himself up on a bus full of passengers.



The remains of the Jerusalem bus where
19 unarmed Israeli civilians were murdered

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack in an official statement broadcast on the militant movement's television station. It said that the bomber was Muhammad Haza el-Rol, a 22-year-old student at al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, and that he came from the Jenin area.

He had apparently disappeared about three days ago. His father told Reuters from his home in the al-Fara refugee camp, near Nablus, that he was "very happy" to hear that his son was the bomber.

I copy the full article below.

19 killed, 50 injured in suicide bombing on Jerusalem bus
By Jonathan Lis, Anshel Pfeffer and Haim Shadmi,
Ha'aretz Correspondents and Ha'aretz Service and Agencies - June 18, 2002
http://news.haaretz.co.il/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=177619

At least 19 people were killed and 50 injured Tuesday morning when a suicide bomber blew himself up on a bus full of passengers, many of them high school students, in southern Jerusalem. Five of the wounded were in serious condition.

The explosion took place around 8 A.M. near the Pat Junction on Egged bus line 32A from the neighborhood of Gilo. The blast ripped through the bus, leaving it a charred, mangled hulk at the side of the road.

Two of the victims have been identified as the driver of the bus, Rahamim Zidkiyahu, 51, who will be buried at 5 P.M. in the capital, and Shiri Negari, 22, from Gilo, who will be laid to rest at 5:45 P.M. at Har Hamenuchot cemetery in the capital.

The wounded were taken to three Jerusalem hospitals for treatment: Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem; Hadassah University Hospital, Mount Scopus; and Sha'are Zedek Medical Center.

Contrary to initial reports, the head of the Abu Kabir Forensic Center, Professor Yehuda Hiss, said Tuesday afternoon that most of those killed in the bombing were adults.

Hamas claims responsibility for attack

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack in an official statement broadcast on the militant movement's television station. It said that the bomber was Muhammad Haza el-Rol, a 22-year-old student at al-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, and that he came from the Jenin area.

He had apparently disappeared about three days ago. His father told Reuters from his home in the al-Fara refugee camp, near Nablus, that he was "very happy" to hear that his son was the bomber.

Shalom Sabag was driving in front of the red-and-white Egged commuter bus that had been plying its route through southern Jerusalem to the city's central bus station during the morning rush hour.

"I stopped the car and ran to the bus. I was the first person to get on the bus and take people off," Sabag told Reuters.

"The bodies were piled up near the door of the bus on the right side. He didn't wait to blow up - he blew up straight away. I took off the bodies of two girls and a man.

Ruth Elmaliach, a teacher at a high school near the scene of the explosion, said she was in her car, waiting for the light to change at the junction, when the explosion went off.

"I'm sure our students were on the bus. I saw how the bus blew up... The bus is always packed at this hour...now we're checking to see if all the students have arrived but I'm afraid some of them have not," Elmaliach told Israel Radio.

Shlomi Calderon, a witness to the bombing, told Army Radio, "the bus left the stop and as soon as it entered traffic there was a very large explosion and all the parts [of the bus] flew everywhere. There was complete shock in the area. It was horrible, horrible. All of the bus' parts flew everywhere in a radius of 150 meters."

Police still on high alert in Jerusalem

Jerusalem police were still on high alert Tuesday for terror attacks in Jerusalem. Security forces were on high alert throughout the capital the previous night, after receiving a specific warning that a suicide bomber was planning to carry out an attack in the capital.

Police had set up roadblocks in various parts of the city, and a police helicopter had been used in an attempt to locate the bomber.

"There are more warnings," Jerusalem district Police Chief Mickey Levy told reporters at the scene of the bombing. "We are deployed and are still searching for the suspects."

Levy said that before Tuesday's blast, police had received what he called a "hot warning" that a bombing was about to take place in Jerusalem.

"Sometimes we succeed in locating the bomber and sometimes unfortunately we don't succeed in neutralising the bomber... The warning yesterday [Monday] was general. It was not specific," Levy said.

The bombing comes on the eve of U.S. President George W. Bush's much-anticipated address on the Middle East conflict, in which he is widely expected to lay out a framework on how to create an independent Palestinian state with a constitution and a unified security force.

Bush's vision, which could include a recommendation for a provisional Palestinian state with temporary borders and limited sovereignty, may be announced as early as Tuesday or Wednesday.

Posted by dmelle at 07:37 AM
June 16, 2002
Palestinian children idealize murderers and terrorists

Newsday (www.newsday.com) has an article that reports how instead of collecting pictures of soccer players or Pokemon stickers, Palestinian children now use all their money to buy "martyrs' necklaces".

The martyrs in question are Palestinian homicide/suicide bombers and other terrorists who killed unarmed Israeli civilians, including children.

In Palestinian-ruled territories, posters celebrating militiamen or civilians killed by Israelis have been a feature of life since the current uprising began in September 2000. But the boys of Balata have taken to wearing icons of martyrs around their necks at all times.

"In the old days they [the boys] used to collect pictures to make them happy, like 'Titanic' pictures," said Hameez, 57, a shopkeeper in Balata who sells medallions of the martyrs for a shekel (about 22 cents) apiece. "In this situation kids are deprived of their childhood needs. They should be in amusement parks. It's worse than sad. ... As long as there is no solution to the problem they will keep their minds on martyrs and martyrdom. If peace prevails, they'll go back to the playgrounds."

Maybe if Hameez, the Palestinian death trader, stopped brainwashing these children by selling homicide/suicide bombers' pictures, things would be different. Maybe Arafat would have accepted a Palestinian state and recognized Israel's right to exist - unfortunately Palestinian society is so full of hate that the only thing they strive on is killing unarmed civilians and trying to destroy Israel.

I copy the full article below.

Inside the Crucible
This Year's Fad: Martyr Medals
By Matthew McAllester - June 16, 2002
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/world/ny-womide162750256jun16.story?coll=ny%2Dworldnews%2Dheadlines

Balata Refugee Camp, West Bank - With his pocket money, 14-year-old Saleh Attiti used to buy Pokémon stickers, music cassettes, candy toys and bubble gum with wrappers that unfolded to reveal pictures of soccer stars such as Brazil's Ronaldo. These days, Saleh spends all his shekels on what are known locally as martyrs' necklaces.

Saleh has six of the passport-sized medallions engraved with images of the local heroes - gunmen and suicide bombers killed in attacks on Israelis. Some boys have many more. If you're a teen boy in Balata without one hanging around your neck, you are distinctly behind the times.

"I used to have half a bag full of Pokémon stickers but I threw them all away," said Saleh, sitting in the house of his cousin, Jihad, a recent suicide bomber whose picture is becoming hot property among teenage boys in Balata. "For me they're not important these days."

In Palestinian-ruled territories, posters celebrating militiamen or civilians killed by Israelis have been a feature of life since the current uprising began in September 2000. But the boys of Balata have taken to wearing icons of martyrs around their necks at all times.

Many adults in the camp seem unsettled by the trend but they say they are not surprised: After three Israeli invasions of the camp this year, the youths of Balata no longer see Ronaldo or Pokémon's Pikachu as relevant to their lives. The likes of Mahmoud Attiti and Yasser Badawi, local militia leaders assassinated by Israel, are the new role models.

"In the old days they [the boys] used to collect pictures to make them happy, like "Titanic" pictures," said Hameez, 57, a shopkeeper in Balata who sells medallions of the martyrs for a shekel (about 22 cents) apiece. "In this situation kids are deprived of their childhood needs. They should be in amusement parks. It's worse than sad. ... As long as there is no solution to the problem they will keep their minds on martyrs and martyrdom. If peace prevails, they'll go back to the playgrounds."

The trend is spreading from Balata to children and young men in Nablus, Jenin and other West Bank towns. In Nablus, adjacent to Balata, one store is producing deluxe medallions, using a computer scanner and a laser engraver to transfer images of the dead gunmen onto plastic that sell for eight shekels - about $1.80. Boys save up all their money to buy one.

Essam Kanazeh, 29, and his partner Sameh Taktuk, 35, bought the engraver a year ago to make sports plaques. "We discovered that it would work for martyrs' necklaces and now most of the work, if not all, is the work on the necklaces," Kanazeh said. Their first order was early this year for 1,000 images of Raed Karmi, a leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades from Tulkarem assassinated by Israel in retaliation for militia attacks. The trend spread rapidly.

When Israel last month assassinated Mahmoud Attiti, a distant cousin of Saleh who was the brigades leader in Balata and Nablus, Kanazeh and Taktuk printed up 3,000 images of Attiti immediately.

Kanazeh said he believes the necklaces have religious resonance with the Muslim practice of rolling printed Koranic verses into scrolls for lockets around the neck. Others say the trend is born purely of the Intifada. In an atmosphere of almost constant violence, men who are prepared to die fighting the Israelis have become these boys' heroes. "The kids come to school wearing these things and it becomes like a personal issue for them, as if they were wearing a picture of their beloved, a girlfriend," said Mouawia Jabal, 47, a teacher at Balata's boys school and head of a local teachers group.

The school's teachers have managed to reduce the number of posters the boys hang on the walls. Now, each classroom has two bulletin boards where the children may pin up pictures of their heroes with rifles and smiling into the camera before their deaths.

It all troubles Jabal deeply.

In February, during the year's first Israeli invasion of Balata, two young teenage boys noticed an open hatch on an Israeli tank. Pumped with defiance, they climbed onto it, poured a gallon of kerosene inside and jeered at an Israeli soldier, asking him for a light. "One of those kids was my son," the teacher said. "A soldier shot my son in the hand and the other boy in the leg."

Jabal searched the closet of his 15-year-old son's room. "I found it full of martyrs' pictures, necklaces and posters," he said. "I sat with him and told him that there's nothing wrong with being nationalistic and defending your rights but at this age it's wrong [for children to play at war]. If you were a soldier in an army it would be something different. At your age your ultimate reward will be your picture on other kids' necks and we will end up losing you."

"I convinced him," Jabal said. "But I am one person in society. He has friends and neighbors and I can't be with him all the time."

Posted by dmelle at 08:27 AM
Arab Support for Palestinian homicide/suicide bombers

The Weekly Standard (www.weeklystandard.com) has a good article on MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.

MEMRI has pioneered the careful translation, and dissemination to European and American audiences, of print and broadcast news sources in the Arab world. The group's work now pops up everywhere; here in the States, hardly a week goes by when some major daily or cable news show doesn't make use (generally without attribution) of a MEMRI translation.

It gives a few examples on recent work done by MEMRI:

And it is hair-raisingly insane. The April 25, 2002 interview with Prof. 'Adel Sadeq, head of the psychiatry faculty at 'Ein Shams University in Cairo, for example. Professor Sadeq beams with glee as he explains how Western civilization "has no concepts such as self-sacrifice and honor," which is why Americans fail to understand that the suicide bomber experiences "the height of ecstasy and happiness" just at the moment when, "ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, and then he presses the button to blow himself up." Big smile.

Then there's the May 9, 2002, program on "discipline in the family," featuring one Jasem Al-Mutawah, an "expert on family matters," who patiently describes to his viewers where on her body, how severely, with what weapon, and under what circumstances a man should beat his wife.

There's also an interview with a 3 1/2 year-old that describes how she hates Jews - I copy the full article below.

For more translations of the Arab press check www.Memri.org

The Baby Face of Hate
MEMRI releases an astonishing example of the "true Muslim" faith.
by David Tell - 06/12/2002
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/001/355bqppp.asp

IF THERE WERE JUSTICE in the universe, the Middle East Media Research Institute would already have been awarded some kind of special-achievement Pulitzer Prize. MEMRI has pioneered the careful translation, and dissemination to European and American audiences, of print and broadcast news sources in the Arab world. The group's work now pops up everywhere; here in the States, hardly a week goes by when some major daily or cable news show doesn't make use (generally without attribution) of a MEMRI translation. And the cumulative effect of such translations is--or ought to be, at least--roughly analogous to the body blow struck against European philo-communism by the first Western publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novels in the 1960s. Here, really for the first time, non-Arabic speaking Westerners are being given a direct, first-person look into a previously unseen gulag. Only this time there is no barbed wire, the prisoners all serve by choice, and the anti-Semitism is no longer ancillary but central, basic, and paramount. It turns out that the Islamic Middle East, just as the Israelis have been begging us for years to figure out, has got itself trapped in a deep, deep swamp of near-psychotic Jew hatred.

Yesterday morning at the National Press Club here in Washington, MEMRI held a briefing on Arabic-language media coverage of "martyrdom and suicide bombers." Along with all the usual, scrupulously documented newspaper translations, the group also screened an eye-opening videotape compilation (with English subtitles) of recent broadcasts on something called Iqraa Television. Iqraa is one of the global satellite channels packaged by the Arab Radio and Television Network (ART), a Saudi-based company with transmission facilities in Italy which describes itself as "the leading producer of premium Arabic family programming and entertainment worldwide." Iqraa is ART's effort to provide "a focused insight into the teachings of the Quran" to "intellectual, elite, and conservative Islamic markets." It is widely watched.

And it is hair-raisingly insane. The April 25, 2002 interview with Prof. 'Adel Sadeq, head of the psychiatry faculty at 'Ein Shams University in Cairo, for example. Professor Sadeq beams with glee as he explains how Western civilization "has no concepts such as self-sacrifice and honor," which is why Americans fail to understand that the suicide bomber experiences "the height of ecstasy and happiness" just at the moment when, "ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, and then he presses the button to blow himself up." Big smile.

Then there's the May 9, 2002, program on "discipline in the family," featuring one Jasem Al-Mutawah, an "expert on family matters," who patiently describes to his viewers where on her body, how severely, with what weapon, and under what circumstances a man should beat his wife.

And, most harrowing of all, perhaps, especially if you have kids of your own, there is the May 7, 2002 edition of "Muslim Woman Magazine," hosted by Doaa 'Amer, a soft spoken, highly polished anchorlady who might just as well be Joan Lunden or Katie Couric--except that she's wearing a body-length robe. And also that she's a monster. Ms. 'Amer begins as follows:

"Our report today will be a little different, because our guest is a girl, a Muslim girl, but a true Muslim. Allah willing, may our God give us the strength to educate our children the same way, so that the next generation will turn out to be true Muslims who understand that they are Muslims and know who their enemies are. This girl will introduce herself immediately. She is the daughter of my sister in faith and of the artist, Wagdi Al-Arabi. Her name is Basmallah and we will ask her as well."

The camera then begins a low pan downward and to the right as Ms. 'Amer offers a "peace be unto you" welcome to her guest. Who turns out to be . . . a toddler.

Toddler: Allah's mercy and blessing upon you.

'Amer: What's your name?

Toddler: Basmallah.

'Amer: Basmallah, how old are you?

Toddler: Three and a half.

'Amer: Are you a Muslim?

Toddler: Yes.

'Amer: Basmallah, are you familiar with the Jews?

Toddler: Yes.

'Amer: Do you like them?

Toddler: No.

'Amer: Why don't you like them?

Toddler: Because . . .

'Amer: Because they are what?

Toddler: They're apes and pigs.

'Amer: Because they are apes and pigs. Who said they are so?

Toddler: Our God.

'Amer: Where did he say this?

Toddler: In the Koran.

'Amer: Right, he said that about them in the Koran. Okay, Basmallah, what are the Jews doing?

Toddler: The Pepsi company.

'Amer: [Approving laughter.] You also know about the boycott, Basmallah? Did they love our master, Muhammad?

Toddler: No.

'Amer: No. What did the Jews do to him?

Toddler: [Pauses, struggling for the right answer.] The Prophet Muhammad killed someone . . .

'Amer: Obviously, our master Muhammad was strong and could have killed them. All right, you know the traditions about the Jews and what they did to the Prophet Muhammad?

Toddler: [Mumbled assent.]

'Amer: Is there a story you know?

Toddler: Yes, the story about the Jewish woman.

'Amer: The Jewish woman? What did she do to our master, the Prophet Muhammad?

Toddler: The Jewish woman?

'Amer: Yes.

Toddler: There was a Jewish woman who invited the Prophet and his friends. When he asked her, "Did you put poison (in my food)?" she said to him, "Yes." he asked her, "Why did you do this?" and she replied, "If you are a liar you will die and Allah will not protect you; if you speak the truth Allah will protect you."

'Amer: And our God protected the Prophet Muhammad, of course.

Toddler: And he said to his friends, "I will kill this lady."

'Amer: Of course, because she put poison in his food, this Jewess.

Toddler: Oh.

'Amer: [Speaking directly into the camera.] Basmallah, Allah be praised, Basmallah, Allah be praised. May our God bless her. No one could wish Allah could give him a more believing girl than she. May Allah bless her and her father and mother. The next generation of children must be true Muslims. We must educate them now while they are still children so that they will be true Muslims.

For more information from and about the Middle East Media Research Institute, see their web site at Memri.org. And if you're able, please consider sending them a contribution.

David Tell is opinion editor of The Weekly Standard.

Posted by dmelle at 01:42 AM
June 11, 2002
Poll: Majority of Palestinians support homicide/suicide bombings and wish for the destruction of the State of Israel

Yahoo news (www.yahoo.com) reports that a majority (66%) of Palestinians support the murder of unarmed Israeli civilians, including kids, through homicide/suicide bombings.

A large number also wish for the destruction of the State of Israel (51%) and do not wish only for a Palestinian state alongside the Jewish State, but instead of her.

The JMCC interviewed 1,179 people in the West Bank and Gaza in late May and early June. The poll had a three percent margin of error.

Fifty-one percent of people surveyed said the end result of the uprising should be "liberating all of historic Palestine," referring to British-mandate Palestine, part of which was recognized as Israel in 1948.

Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war and these territories have since been the focus of internationally sponsored peace negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Forty-three percent of respondents said the aim of the uprising was to end Israeli occupation and establish a state only in the West Bank and Gaza

For a better understanding of where is the West Bank and Gaza and what was British-mandate Palestine, check out the maps and history pages.

I copy the full article below.

Poll: Majority Palestinians See Israel's Elimination as Goal
Yahoo News - June 11, 2002
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020611/wl_nm/mideast_palestinian_poll_dc_1

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A majority of Palestinians believe the aim of their 20-month-old uprising should be to eliminate Israel and not just end Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites), an opinion poll released Tuesday showed.

The survey also showed almost half of all respondents believed Palestinian President Yasser Arafat ( news - web sites) would win elections he has proposed holding early next year and that more than half wanted reforms of his Palestinian Authority ( news - web sites).

The poll by the Palestinian Jerusalem Media and Communication Center (JMCC) highlighted a radicalization of views as 20 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence worsens.

The JMCC interviewed 1,179 people in the West Bank and Gaza in late May and early June. The poll had a three percent margin of error.

Fifty-one percent of people surveyed said the end result of the uprising should be "liberating all of historic Palestine," referring to British-mandate Palestine, part of which was recognized as Israel in 1948.

Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war and these territories have since been the focus of internationally sponsored peace negotiations for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Forty-three percent of respondents said the aim of the uprising was to end Israeli occupation and establish a state only in the West Bank and Gaza.

This compared with a poll taken in December in which 48 percent said the uprising's goal was to end the occupation compared with 44 percent who said the aim should be to eliminate Israel, the JMCC said.

BROAD SUPPORT FOR UPRISING

The uprising continued to have broad support. Seventy-nine percent of people surveyed said they back the revolt in some way and 68 percent said they approved of suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, down slightly from 74 percent in December.

Fewer than half the respondents supported Arafat, despite Israeli attempts to isolate him by besieging his headquarters and restricting his movement.

Some 41 percent of people surveyed gave Arafat favorable marks, compared with 29 percent who said he was a bad leader.

Most of the people polled said Israeli raids had reduced their support for the Palestinian Authority and its security forces, and also dented their support for holding peace talks with Israel.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents said the Israeli raids had boosted their approval of the militant Islamic group Hamas, which opposes Israel's existence, and 66 percent said the army operations increased their backing for suicide bombings.

A large majority -- 58 percent -- said they supported domestic reform within the Palestinian Authority, and 42 percent said the best way to accomplish reform was through free democratic elections.

Arafat was expected to win elections by 48 percent of those surveyed.

Overall, 25 percent of Palestinians said they trusted Arafat more than any other politician, followed by 24 percent who said they trust no one and nine percent who put their faith in Hamas' spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

Posted by ehuna at 01:40 PM
June 03, 2002
Arafat's bomb factory destroyed

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that the IDF (Israel's army) has destroyed a bomb factory located in the home of Mahmud Titi, head of the Aksa brigades. Yasser Arafat is the head of the Aksa brigades, responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks against unarmed Israeli civilians.

Arafat is also the head of the Palestinian Authority, and he constantly plays a double game. On the one hand he sends the Aksa brigades homicide/suicide bombers to kill unarmed Israeli civilians, and on the other hand he condemns the attacks as the chairman of the Palestinian Authority.

The sad fact is that many people buy into this double game and refuse to accept the fact that Arafat is a terrorist.

"Troops blew up one of the largest bomb factories found so far in the West Bank. It was located in the home of Mahmud Titi, head of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the area who was killed with two of his aides on May 21. Israel said Titi was responsible for the deaths of at least 11 people in terror attacks he planned, participated in, or dispatched suicide bombers to carry out."

I copy the full article below.

IDF blows up Nablus bomb factory
By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH - Jun. 2, 2002

The army continued its operations in Nablus and the Balata refugee camp yesterday, searching for terrorists and confiscating weapons. In the past week hundreds of suspected terrorists have been arrested by IDF forces in the West Bank and Gaza.

Troops blew up one of the largest bomb factories found so far in the West Bank. It was located in the home of Mahmud Titi, head of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in the area who was killed with two of his aides on May 21. Israel said Titi was responsible for the deaths of at least 11 people in terror attacks he planned, participated in, or dispatched suicide bombers to carry out.

His cousin, Jihad, perpetrated the suicide bombing in Petah Tikva last week in revenge, killing a grandmother and her baby granddaughter.

Among the nine Palestinians arrested by security forces early yesterday morning in the Raffidiya neighborhood of Nablus were four women in their early 20s. Two are suspected of planning to perpetrate a suicide bombing one was caught with a belt of explosives in her possession. The four are students at An-Najah University in Nablus. Two are reportedly residents of Jericho, one is from Tulkarm, and the fourth from Nablus.

The IDF and Shin Bet revealed yesterday that three Hamas activists arrested by troops at the Gush Katif junction in the Gaza Strip on May 30 were planning to carry out a triple suicide bombing in one of the communities in Gush Katif over the weekend.

According to security officials, the suspects told investigators the attack was planned by Hamas official Nidal Farahat, whose brother Mahmud carried out the terrorist attack in Atzmona in March, murdering five yeshiva students and wounding more than 20 others before being killed.

Yesterday morning, two mortar shells landed inside a Gush Katif community near the regional school buildings. The shells landed in an open area, but residents and pupils were ordered to enter security rooms.

Sappers defused a 40-kilogram bomb discovered by soldiers near Dugit.

One Palestinian was arrested in Madameh, southwest of Nablus, and another in Jamain, north of Ariel. Shots were fired at army positions near Ramallah. Near Yabed, security forces pursued a vehicle with Israeli license plates that was seen driving into the village. The driver abandoned the vehicle, and soldiers discovered weapons and flak jackets inside.

Meanwhile, preparations are being made to deport eight foreigners from a number of countries, including the US and Britain, who entered the Balata refugee camp over the weekend to support the residents. The eight, members of pro-Palestinian groups, were detained by soldiers, who handed them over to the police for questioning.

Arieh O'Sullivan adds:

The air force, which is responsible for protecting the country from airborne terror attacks, is expecting terrorists to attempt to infiltrate from the Gaza Strip on para-gliders and motorized ultra-lights.

It is also suspected the Palestinians were interested in using remote-controlled model planes to stage attacks, but that proved to be limited in scope and not attractive, as the damage it could cause was small.

The air force also believes there may be an attempt by pilots in foreign militaries to stage a "kamikaze-like" attack using a warplane. This would be on an individual basis in solidarity with the Palestinians. The likelihood of this is growing as Palestinians are becoming more and more distressed.

The air force has also altered its assessment of the threat of anti-aircraft missiles in the hands of the Palestinians. It now believes that they do not have any Strella rockets in the West Bank. But they are believed to have some in the Gaza Strip.

Posted by ehuna at 05:02 AM
May 30, 2002
Interview with a Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) interviewed a Palestinian woman who was on her way to become a suicide bomber, but a the last moment changed her mind. The IDF (Israel's army) arrested her a couple of days ago, and she spoke with the press yesterday.

She had an explosive belt, packed with nails and other metal objects stitched into the lining, strapped around her body during a 45-minute training session in Nablus two days before the scheduled attack. Hamamreh was arrested at her aunt's home in Tulkarm on May 20, the day of the planned attack.

She said doubts had begun to gnaw at her mind, along with seeds of disillusionment regarding her handlers and their motives, during the 24 hours between the dry run and the intended bombing.

The instructions she received unleashed a series of doubts, primarily over the "righteousness" of the operation and whether her prime motivation, which was of a personal nature rather than a pure religious belief, would weigh against her when she confronted God after her death.

"I also began to imagine the people I would be killing, whether they would be women and children, families sitting down at a cafe. I became a bit disillusioned, because I had been told to blow myself up in any event," she said.

"This meant to me that what was important for them was to succeed in perpetrating an attack, whether there were casualties or not, and then they would be able to pat themselves on the back. I felt like they were playing a game with the blood of the martyrs."

I copy the full article below.

In the mind of a would-be suicide bomber
By DAVID RUDGE - May. 30, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1022691055383

Looking at Thauriya Hamamreh, it is hard to accept that she had wanted to blow herself to pieces and murder and maim as many Israelis as possible in the process.

This petite, dark haired Palestinian had planned, however, to do just that for reasons that remain incomprehensible on any rational level, even after a nearly two-hour interview.

Hamamreh, a fervently religious Muslim with an engaging and almost impish smile, volunteered to be a suicide bomber and offered her services to someone with whom she was acquainted from the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

She had an explosive belt, packed with nails and other metal objects stitched into the lining, strapped around her body during a 45-minute training session in Nablus two days before the scheduled attack. Hamamreh was arrested at her aunt's home in Tulkarm on May 20, the day of the planned attack.

She said doubts had begun to gnaw at her mind, along with seeds of disillusionment regarding her handlers and their motives, during the 24 hours between the dry run and the intended bombing.

Hamamreh, 25, who looks much younger, spoke to reporters yesterday at the Kishon jail near Haifa, where she is being held in the security wing, about the steps that led to her volunteering to become a human bomb.

Constantly adjusting her head-scarf, she began relating her story, hesitantly at first, but with no signs of doubt or fear. Speaking through an interpreter, she explained that she is one of 10 brothers and sisters, most of whom still live with their parents in Kafr Jaba, a small village near Jenin.

Her 10 years of schooling were interrupted by the first intifada. "With everything that was going on, studying did not seem very important... Whenever anyone was killed, schools were closed for three days for funerals, and sometimes the teachers did not, or were unable, to come," she said.

After finishing school, she worked as a dressmaker and also did flower arrangements, and travelled very little, even in the West Bank. One of her few outings was as part of a group of young women studying Islam that visited Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque three weeks before her arrest and nearly three months after she had decided to become a martyr.

Hamamreh said her prime motivation was personal, and she declined to elaborate.

Another reason, she said, was the effect on her, along with all Palestinians, of the ongoing violence and what they see as their oppression at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces.

Underlying it all, however, were the teachings which preach the need for jihad to "create a just and equal, non-corrupt and non-criminal society by the spread and unification of Islam."

Her decision to volunteer as a suicide bomber was not motivated by family-clan revenge. She said no one in her family had been killed or wounded in the current conflict or previous cycles of violence.

Hamamreh approached someone she had known in the village who had moved out, like others on Israel's list of wanted terrorists. She declined to give the person's name or identify of any of the others with whom she was subsequently in contact.

"We met in Jenin and he at first refused my offer, because he knew me and we were from the same village. He told me to go home and reconsider," she said, noting that no members of her family had been involved in her decision or subsequent actions.

She remained adamant, however, and later met with more senior activists of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, whom she had approached originally because of the personal contact and not for ideological reasons.

It was not possible to prepare and launch the attack from Jenin at that time, due to the unavailability of explosives. The senior operatives arranged a place for her to stay in Jenin one of the first times she had been away from her family and later told her to travel to Nablus.

She travelled by taxi and was met by a man who took her to the dormitories of the university there. He told another woman student in the room that Hamamreh was "like his sister" and would be staying for a few days.

She stayed for the weekend and on Sunday, the day before the intended attack, she was taken to an undisclosed place where she was fitted with an explosive belt and taught how to detonate the device by pressing a button on the left side above her waist.

The training session apparently took longer than normal, because the device was too large and bulky for her small frame. "It was from my waist to my chest," she said.

It was decided the bomb would be placed in a backpack of the kind used by schoolchildren, and she was apparently given different instructions on how to detonate it. According to Hamamreh, it contained about 16 kilograms of explosives, which "of course were packed with nails and it was very heavy." She was taken to the location by two men and another two joined them later, all apparently members of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

Hamamreh said the plan was for her to be transported from Nablus to Ramallah and from there to "west Jerusalem." She was told by her operatives to act normally and get among a crowd of people "as quickly as possible and not wait around until someone became suspicious." She was also told that if she felt she was an object of suspicion, she was to detonate the device even if there were only a few people in the vicinity, apparently to prevent her being caught and questioned.

She was also asked to dress like a modern Israeli woman, with her hair loose, make-up, sun glasses, and tight-fitting trousers. "I didn't want to do this because it was against my religious beliefs," she said.

The instructions she received unleashed a series of doubts, primarily over the "righteousness" of the operation and whether her prime motivation, which was of a personal nature rather than a pure religious belief, would weigh against her when she confronted God after her death.

"I also began to imagine the people I would be killing, whether they would be women and children, families sitting down at a cafe. I became a bit disillusioned, because I had been told to blow myself up in any event," she said.

"This meant to me that what was important for them was to succeed in perpetrating an attack, whether there were casualties or not, and then they would be able to pat themselves on the back. I felt like they were playing a game with the blood of the martyrs."

Instead of obeying instructions, she decided to visit the home of an aunt in Tulkarm, pretending that it was a normal visit even though she had basically run away from home.

Hamamreh said the explosive belt had been kept with her operators and she did not have it with her when IDF soldiers arrived at her aunt's home on Monday afternoon and demanded that all members of the family step outside with their arms raised.

"I didn't think they were after me to start with, but when they started asking questions and used names, I realized... They asked if I had a bag and if there would be any danger to the soldiers if they went inside," she said.

The bag was removed from the home and checked, but nothing was found inside. "One of the officers gave me water and I was arrested," she said, adding that no excessive force was used.

In fact, the humane way she has been treated by interrogators and the Prisons Service was instrumental in her decision to speak to the press.

Hamamreh said that the intifada and the wave of terror attacks and suicide bombings has not benefitted the Palestinian people in any way. "There are people, whole families, who don't have any money and there is such a lot of poverty. If there are warnings [of terror attacks] in Israel, every place is sealed off and people suffer because they can't receive medical attention, for instance. You are killing our people and we are killing yours," she said.

"Now I believe that it is the role of women to raise families, to have children, and that the real jihad for men and women is to believe wholeheartedly and follow the path of Islam," she said.

She stressed that she had no personal fear and that for her to be shot and killed was not something that frightened her. She only fears God.

When she was asked how she would react when she met members of her family, she suddenly broke down and started crying.

"I would ask their forgiveness for having gone away and for having caused them so much concern, because parents do not raise their children to seek death. I would hope they would forgive me as parents do, although I would prefer not to see them now because I wouldn't really know what to say."

Posted by dmelle at 08:58 AM
May 27, 2002
Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber kills Israeli grandmother and infant granddaughter

Ha'aretz (www.haaretzdaily.com) reports that another Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber has blown himself in front of a coffee shop, this time killing two and injuring over 50.

"A grandmother and her 18-month-old granddaughter were killed Monday evening, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Bravisimo cafe, at a commercial center in Petah Tikva.

The Al Aqsa Martys Brigade, the military wing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, claimed responsibility for the attack in the city, which is located 10 kilometers east of Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack."

Last night Israeli TV (Channel 1) reported that the Islamic Jihad, the Hamas and Arafat's terrorist groups, such as the Al-Aqsa Martyr's brigade, are sending in a new wave of homicide/suicide bombers. Their goal is to prove that Operation Defensive Shield did not work, and that Israel should give up fighting Palestinian terrorism.

Israli TV also mentioned that over 90% of all Palestinian homicide/suicide attacks are being stopped, and it is much harder for these murderers to execute their plans of destruction. The main leaders of the above terrorist groups have been arrested and this indicates that Operation Defensive Shield is working.

I copy the full article below.

Two people killed in Petah Tikva suicide attack
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=169194&contrassID=1&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=0

70-year-old grandmother and her 18-month-old granddaughter were killed Monday evening, when a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to the Bravisimo cafe, at a commercial center in Petah Tikva.

The Al Aqsa Martys Brigade, the military wing of Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, claimed responsibility for the attack in the city, which is located 10 kilometers east of Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack.

Government sources in Jerusalem said that the Israeli response to this latest attack would be in accordance with the guidelines already agreed on by the cabinet.

The two fatalities - an elderly woman and an 18-month-old infant - died of their wounds in Beilinson hospital in Petah Tikva. A total of 53 people were treated for their wounds, three of whom - including a three-year-old - were said to be in serious condition.

The explosion ripped through the Em Hamoshavot commercial center, on Gissin Street, at around 6:40 P.M. The perpetrator apparently tried to enter a supermarket in the center, but was deterred by the presence of a security guard.

Among the injured were many children, who were inside the coffee shop and a nearby ice-cream parlor. Six children were being treated at the Schneider Medical Center in Petah Tikva.

Petah Tikva mayor Yitzhak Ohayoun said that despite many warnings of terror attacks in his city, this is the first such attack in Petah Tikva. He added that the bomber arrived at the scene in a yellow Subaru car, and then blew himself up outside the coffee shop.

Balata residents say attack in revenge for Titi assassination
Residents of the Balata refugee camp, near the West Bank town of Nablus, said that the bomber was Jihad Titi, brother of Mohammed Titi, who was killed in an IDF operation last Friday. There has been no official Palestinian confirmation of the identity of the suicide bomber, although residents of the refugee camp told Ha'aretz that Fatah activists in the camp had claimed that "revenge was imminent."

Israel blamed Yasser Arafat for the suicide attack, accusing the Palestinian leader of "talking about reform but doing nothing against terrorism."

"Yasser Arafat is the chairman of the Palestinian Authority and is directly responsible for the inaction of his security services. He talks about reform but does nothing against terrorism," said a high-ranking official from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office.

"If Arafat is incapable of stopping terrorist attacks, most of which are perpetrated by militants from his own Fatah movement, then let him resign and give his place to someone else," said the official on condition of anonymity.

Dore Gold, an adviser to the prime minister, denounced the "continuing terrorist attacks" against Israeli civilians. "This is intolerable and something Israel will have to address," Gold said, declining to say how Israel might respond.

Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said, "We have to do whatever possible to beat these things, by military means and also by political means."

Earlier Monday, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer warned that there are daily attempts by Palestinians to send suicide attackers into Israel, but most of them are foiled by Israeli forces. Ben-Eliezer warned Sunday that Israel was again facing a "wave" of suicide bombers.

David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's office said, "Palestinian terror continues to strike out at Israeli women and children." He said Israel would use "all the resources at its disposal" to stop terror attacks.

Emergency numbers:
Beilinson Hospital: 1255-134
Sheba Hospital, Tel Hashomer: 1255-131
Petah Tikva Municipality: 1255-082-106

Inside Israel: No area code necessary
Overseas callers: Dial Israel's country code (+972)

Police avert Jerusalem bombing
Jerusalem police said that a "major disaster was averted" Monday when an explosives device was found at the entrance to a residential building in Jerusalem.

A police sapper neutralized the device. No injuries were caused.

The device was discovered by a gardener in the grounds of the building, at the corner of Sderot Eshkol and Mishmar Hagvul streets in the French Hill area of the capital.

The gardener informed the police and a large number of security forces soon arrived at the scene.

An inspection of the scene revealed that the device had been concealed in a 5-liter metal container.

Jerusalem police sources said that they had received several warnings of planned attacks in the city. Most of the warnings had been about suicide bombers, rather than explosive devices, which have not been discovered in Jerusalem for several months.

Posted by dmelle at 10:11 AM
May 26, 2002
Some Palestinian Americans support homicide/suicide bombers

Israel Insider (www.israelinsider.com) reports that many Americans of Palestinian origin not only support terrorism but wish they could become homicide/suicide bombers themselves.

The article is based on a NPR interview of a group of Palestinian Americans on "All Things Considered".

"The conversation was chilling. The sentiments expressed by second- and third-generation Palestinian Americans could have come from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank or even from Hamas members in the Gaza.

NPR's Bradley says of one young man, "If he weren't living in suburban Virginia, he would probably be a suicide bomber."

The boy's father offers, "If his time has come, he will die, regardless of where he is. But at least he will die for a cause. I will live the rest of my life being proud of him."

The next time you see a Palestinian, ask him/her about her position on terrorism. Also ask them if they are for peace between an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, or instead of Israel. I haven't found one that wishes for peace alongside Israel yet.

I copy the full article below.

Cheering for the suicide bombers in Virginia
By Linda Chavez May 16, 2002
http://www.israelinsider.com/views/articles/views_0393.htm

Posted with permission of the author, a member of Creators' Syndicate.
To understand exactly how dangerous our capitulation to multiculturalism is to the future of our nation, step inside Samedi Sweets, a café in Northern Virginia. National Public Radio reporter Barbara Bradley recently interviewed a group of Palestinian Americans there for the show "All Things Considered."

The conversation was chilling. The sentiments expressed by second- and third-generation Palestinian Americans could have come from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank or even from Hamas members in the Gaza.

"The people in the refugee camp, they choose between living like a dog or dying like a human being. They prefer to die like a human being," one man says of the suicide bombers who killed dozens of men, women and children out for pizza, or celebrating a daughter's coming of age, or shopping for food.

Another Palestinian American -- this one, a third-year law student -- offered this explanation for the wave of attacks by Palestinians against civilians in Israel, taking the violence away from the West Bank, where much of the earlier Intifada took place:

"They got sick of that, and they said, 'Look, if you're going to maintain this war with us, we're going to bring the war to you,'" the young law student says, defending the bombings of nightclubs and supermarkets, where civilians were the only targets.

NPR's Bradley says of one young man, "If he weren't living in suburban Virginia, he would probably be a suicide bomber."

"It doesn't matter who dies," says the boy himself, "just as long as they're Israeli." The boy's mother blames Israel for turning her son into a hatemonger. "They've made him violent and hate them," she says of her American-born son.

The boy's father offers, "If his time has come, he will die, regardless of where he is. But at least he will die for a cause. I will live the rest of my life being proud of him."

These sentiments are shocking coming from American citizens. They go way beyond expressing support for a Palestinian state or even antagonism toward the policies of Israel -- or the United States, for that matter -- both of which are acceptable political viewpoints. These Palestinian Americans are expressing views one doesn't expect to find outside the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or among its sympathizers. They express a contempt for the rule of law and an allegiance to an extremist, foreign ideology that is antithetical to American values.

And they are a reflection of our new multicultural America, where young people are taught that one's allegiance to one's ethnic group takes precedence over allegiance to the United States or adherence to democratic values. These young people may have been born in the United States, but they are Palestinians first and foremost.

What ever happened to old-fashioned American assimilation, where second- and third-generation Americans put aside the animosities and allegiances of their ancestors? Franco Americans had no antipathy toward German Americans; Americans of Serbian descent could live peaceably alongside Croatian Americans; those of Indian descent could be friends with those who came from Pakistan.

The sometimes-bitter struggles among their co-ethnics in their homelands evoked no strong sense of identification in those who had left behind such tribal allegiances when they emigrated, and even less sympathy among their American-born children. But times have changed, it seems.

The oath of allegiance still requires that new citizens "absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which [they] have heretofore been a subject or citizen." Tell that to the naturalized American citizens and their U.S.-born children who are gathered in Falls Church, Va., to cheer on their co-ethnic suicide bombers half a world away.

Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.

Posted by dmelle at 09:15 AM
May 22, 2002
Another Palestinian homicide/suicide bombing: Two dead, over 30 wounded

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that there was another another Palestinian homicide/suicide bombing, this time just South of Tel-Aviv, in Rishon-Le-Zion. This is the second homicide/suicide bombing this month in Rishon - the first occured on May 8, killing 16 and injuring over 60.



The Israeli civilian was playing chess when the
Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber killed him

"A suicide bomber blew himself up on the pedestrian mall in Rishon Letzion, 15 km (10mi) southeast of Tel Aviv shortly after 9 p.m. Two people were killed in the blast and over 30 others were wounded.

One person is in critical condition, three are listed as serious, 15 sustained moderate-to-light wounds, with 22 more lightly hurt, according to Magen David Adom spokesmen. "

Israeli radio reports that the Palestinian assassin had placed ball bearings and nails with the bomb to kill and hurt as many Israeli unarmed civilians as possible.

For more information on the May 8th Palestinian homicide/suicide attack on Rishon-Le-Zion, click here. See also "Mother of 3 is victim".
I copy the full article below.

Two dead, over 30 wounded in Rishon Letzion suicide bombing
By DAVID BENDER - May. 22, 2002
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1021813228070

A suicide bomber blew himself up on the pedestrian mall in Rishon Letzion, 15 km (10mi) southeast of Tel Aviv shortly after 9 p.m. Two people were killed in the blast and over 30 others were wounded.

One person is in critical condition, three are listed as serious, 15 sustained moderate-to-light wounds, with 22 more lightly hurt, according to Magen David Adom spokesmen.

Eyewitness Orin Mahmon said, "There was a loud boom and I just saw body parts. I saw a guy all black and people with no arms and legs."

Police are defusing a second bomb found in the vicinity, apparently in the area of the old bus station, according to initial reports on Army Radio.

Security forces are searching the area for a vehicle seen dropping off the bomber near the pedestrian-packed open mall. Police are calling for witnesses who saw the bomber in the area to contact them.

Police said the bomber's hair was dyed blonde and cut short, possibly in order to disguise his appearance.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Cellular and landline telephone systems crashed in the wake of calls following the blast.

This is the second attack in the city this month.

Hospital emergency numbers:
- Assaf Harofe Hospital: 125-5188
- Sheba Hospital at the Tel Hashomer Medical Center: 125-5131
- Wolfson Hospital: 125-5135
- Rishon Letzion municipality: 03 546 0111

Municipality officials ask that only residents of the city use the above numbers.
No area code is necessary when calling the these numbers. Overseas callers need to dial Israel's country code 972 before the direct number.

On May 7, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a pool hall in the same city, killing 15 Israelis and himself.

Reacting to the bombing, David Baker, an official in the Prime Minister's Office, said, "this was another cowardly act of terror committed by Palestinian terrorists who have once again resorted to their murderous deeds. Israel will not buckle under in the face of terror and we will use whatever measures are needed to root it out."

The last bomb attack was in the coastal city of Netanya on Sunday, killing three people plus the Palestinian bomber and wounding dozens.

On Monday, a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a northern Israeli junction, killing only himself.

On March 29, responding to an earlier wave of Palestinian suicide bomb attacks, Israel launched a large-scale incursion into the West Bank, taking control of main towns and refugee camps and fighting battles with gunmen and bombers.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was at his private farm in the southern part of the country, where he was receiving updates about the attack.

Since Israeli-Palestinian violence erupted in September 2000, there have been nearly 60 suicide bombings. An attack on March 27 that killed 28 people set off Israel's large-scale military operation two days later, aimed at uprooting the terrorist infrastructure in the territories.

(With The Associated Press)

Posted by dmelle at 01:36 PM
May 21, 2002
Israeli survives 1st, but dies after 2nd homicide/suicide bombing

The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com) reports that one of victims of last Tuesday's Palestinian homicide/suicide bombing was one of the survivors of the Passover massacre where 29 Israeli civilians were killed.

Arkady Wieselman was the chef at the seaside "Park Hotel" in the resort town of Netanya, where on March 27 a Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber blew himself up, killing 29 people and wounding more than 100.

I heard on Israeli TV that Arkady was inside a freezer when the Palestinian murder committed his crime and was able to survive the terror attack. Unfortunately, last Tuesday another Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber blew himself up in Netanya, and this time Arkady was killed.

May God bless his memory. I copy the full article below.

Bombing survivor falls victim to second attack
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1021813223437

NETANYA - For weeks after Arkady Wieselman survived Israel's deadliest suicide bombing, the hotel chef was haunted by nightmares and sought counseling to help him forget images of the torn bodies he dragged out of a hotel ballroom.

As Wieselman began to recover, he mustered the courage to go shopping Sunday in his city's crowded central market.

But this time he was not spared.

"He used to say, `What God gives, God gives,"' his brother Gennady said Tuesday at the family's apartment.

It is a twist of fate that has struck many in the seaside city of Netanya, which has been the target of 12 suicide bombings in the past two years. The city is at one of Israel's narrowest points, only 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the West Bank.

"It is difficult to say why some lived and some died," said Rina Hamamy, whose husband, Amiram, was one of the 29 people killed two months ago, in the middle of a meal celebrating the Jewish festival of Passover. "It's fate."

Wieselman was the chef of that holiday meal, but moments before the bomber struck he had left the ballroom at the Park Hotel to go to the kitchen to slice some chocolate cake for the guests.

At the same moment, Amiram Hamamy, the hotel manager, walked into the ballroom to help an elderly guest change her seat.

Wieselman survived the blast. Five ball bearings packed into the bomb struck Amiram Hamamy in the brain, fatally wounding him.

After the blast, Wieselman quickly called his wife, Victoria.

"God loves me," Victoria remembers him saying.

Wieselman, a chubby man with a bushy black beard, then ran out of the kitchen and began to drag bloody bodies from the shattered ballroom onto the marble floor of the nearby reception area.

"For two weeks he couldn't sleep," said Pinhas Zavlunov, his best friend, who was also at the hotel at the time of the blast.

"He would go to sleep and get up in the middle of the night. He told me that the image of an arm here, a head there, kept coming back to him," Zavlunov said. "He said he started talking in his sleep."

Wieselman and Zavlunov, who was also working at the hotel as a chef the night of the blast, began visiting a psychiatrist once a week and started taking medication.

"We were so uptight that we couldn't even drive," Zavlunov said. "We called each other twice a day just to check that the other was OK."

Eventually Wieselman began to look better and seemed less rattled.

"He only slowly, slowly started to return to normal," Gennady said.

On Sunday, as Wieselman was shopping in the central market, Zavlunov heard a huge blast in the vegetable and fruit section.

"I knew Arkady was shopping for his family and I ran to the vegetable area," said Zavlunov, who was also in the market.

Osama Boshkar, an 18-year-old Palestinian from the nearby Askar refugee camp, had blown himself up just beside the stall where Wieselman was shopping, killing three people and himself.

The moment she heard of the blast, Wieselman's wife, Victoria, grabbed her phone and called his cellphone. There was no answer.

"I rushed over to the hospital, but his name wasn't on any list," Victoria said.

She was frantically rummaging through pictures rescue workers took of the dead and wounded who had not yet been identified, when a nurse walked up with a bag of shoes.

They were Wieselman's.

"I knew then that he was dead," she said.

At her cramped two bedroom apartment, Victoria Wieselman sits with her daughters, Shlomit, 12 and Rina, 7, and struggles to explain why the family emigrated from Odessa, Ukraine, to Israel 12 years ago.

"We wanted a better future for our daughters," she said.

"Arkady dreamed that someday his daughters would be able to have a good life and would have their own rooms and would be able to go to universities," she said. The family now lives in the tiny apartment with Wieselman's ailing parents.

Wieselman started working in Israel as a dishwasher and worked his way up to being a chef.

But with tourism in Israel plummeting amid the suicide attacks, his hotel could afford to keep him on staff only a few days a week and Wieselman found himself working at two or three different restaurants to make enough to support his family.

"Hotels and restaurants are empty," Zavlunov said. "People don't go outside because of fear. No one knows if in the next five minutes there will be a bombing."

In the Askar refugee camp, the family of the suicide bomber who killed Wieselman released a videotape of their son.

Staring into the camera lens, the bomber said, "I will not be the last. There will be others."

Posted by dmelle at 03:34 PM
May 19, 2002
Another Palestinian Homicide/Suicide Bombing: 3 dead, dozens of injured

At 4:00 PM local time, a Palestinian blew himself in a crowded Israeli market trying to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible.

The Palestinian homicide/suicide bomber is part of the PFLP, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. This group wishes for the destruction of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state instead. It is responsible for the murder of Rahavam Ze'evi, who was Israel's Minister of Tourism when he was killed.

"Two bodies were found at the scene of the attack, one of which was most likely that of the suicide bomber. Two other Israelis succumbed to their injuries after reaching the hospital. One of the injured was in critical condition, eight were in serious condition, five sustained moderate wounds, and the rest were lightly injured"

I copy the full article below.

Three killed, 56 injured in suicide attack in Netanya
By Tamara Traubman, Amit Ben Aroya and Ran Reznick, Ha'aretz Correspondents, Ha'aretz Service and Agencies
http://news.haaretz.co.il/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=165606

Three people were killed and at least 56 people were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a fruit and vegetable market in the coastal town of Netanya at around 4:20 P.M. on Sunday.

Two bodies were found at the scene of the attack, one of which was most likely that of the suicide bomber. Two other Israelis succumbed to their injuries after reaching the hospital.

One of the injured was in critical condition, eight were in serious condition, five sustained moderate wounds, and the rest were lightly injured.

According to initial reports the bomber arrived at the market in a taxi, and was wearing an IDF uniform. Both Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took responsibility for the attack.

The Islamic fundamentalist Hamas declared over the weekend that it would continue to carry out suicide attacks inside Israel.

The injured were being evacuated to Laniado Hospital in Netanya, Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera, and Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba.

The police received a warning of a possible terror attack in the Sharon area at around 4 P.M. As a result, forces were beefed up along the Green Line border with the West Bank.

"There was a sharp explosion," a witness, who gave his name as Baruch, told Israel Radio. He said the market was relatively empty at the start of the Israeli work week.

Netanya, close to the border with the West Bank, has been a frequent target of Palestinian suicide bombers. The Seder night suicide bombing on March 27 at the Park Hotel in Netanya, killed 29 people and precipitated the IDF offensive in the West Bank two days later. (Click here for chronology of suicide attacks)

"Anyone who thought that the Palestinian terror campaign against Israelis is over is completely mistaken," said David Baker, an official at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office, speaking shortly after the blast. "The Palestinian terror campaign continues unabated, as does Israel's battle against terror."

Two weeks ago, Israel planned an incursion into the Gaza Strip after 15 people were killed in a suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion on May 7, but the operation was called off in the face of international pressure. At the time, aides to Sharon also blamed some cabinet ministers for leaking details of the operation.

Vice-president Dick Cheney: Arafat must rein in militants

Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday, following the Netanya attack, that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat must rein in Palestinian militants, while acknowledging that Arafat cannot control all of them.

"I think there clearly is a class of bombings that he can't" rein in, Cheney said on NBC television.

He named the militant organizations Hezbollah and Hamas "that don't come under his purview and that have in the past indicated they're prepared to do everything they can to destroy the peace process."

"On the other hand, there have in the past been bombings by elements of Palestinian organizations that come under his control and there he clearly has the capacity to act," Cheney said.

"We've got to find a way to get a handle on it, because we're not going to get that peace process back on track until the violence ends," Cheney said.

The vice president also warned that if suicide bombers "achieve their desired results" in the Middle East, it would heighten the possibility they use the tactic in the United States. "I think there's a real possibility that we may see that kind of thing here or in other open societies," he said.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said the attack underlines the need to press forward with the peace process and to reform the Palestinian Authority's security apparatus.

"When something like this happens, it should underscore why we need to get the process moving forward," Rice told CNN's "Late Edition" program.

"It underscores the importance of the reform of the Palestinian Authority ... of getting a unified security apparatus that can be accountable and can deal with issues of terrorism and breaking up terrorist networks," she added.

"It simply underscores the importance of doing something
about terror as a weapon in the Middle East," she said.

"People who do these sorts of things clearly do not want the Palestinian people to achieve their dream of a Palestinian state, because Israel is not going to be able to live with a Palestinian state in an atmosphere of terror."

Emergency numbers:
Laniado Hospital in Netanya: 1255191
Hillel Yaffeh Hospital in Hadera: 1255166
Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba: 1255199

Posted by dmelle at 11:32 AM
May 18, 2002
Most Palestinians support terrorism

A good friend of mine once said he did not believe that most Palestinians supported the killings of unarmed Israeli civilians by the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Arafat's other terrorist groups (Tanzim, Force 17, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, etc...).

Well Bill, from everything I read and hear, I disagree: the majority of the Palestinian people support the killing of innocent Israeli civilians, including kids, mothers and grand-fathers.



A Palestinian kid dreams of becoming
a homicide / suicide bomber

This article from the Washington Post goes over this sick culture of hate, anti-semitism and adoration of homicide/suicide bombers.

"The Israelis accuse the Palestinian Authority of perpetuating the cult of the suicide bomber, starting in elementary schools. Every single school we went into in Jenin, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Qalqilya or Tulkarm was plastered with posters of the glorification of the [martyrs]," said Col. Miri Eisen, an intelligence officer with the Israeli army. 'They are teaching a generation that violence is OK.'"

I copy the full article below.

Obeying 'a holy duty' to kill
By Betsy Pisik
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
http://washingtontimes.com/world/20020517-7676084.htm

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- A mother lovingly dresses her 12-year-old son in the homemade costume of a suicide bomber, complete with small kaffiyeh, a belt of electrical tape and fake explosives made of plywood.

"I encourage him, and he should do this," said the woman, the mother of six. "God gave him to me to defend our land. Palestinian women must have more and more children till we liberate our land. This is a holy duty for all Palestinian people."

Her son, Abu Ali, joyfully marched in a mask on the day commemorating the Nakba, or "catastrophe," as Palestinians call the day of Israel's founding in 1948.

"I hope to be a martyr," he said. "I hope when I get to 14 or 15 to explode myself."

The suicide bomber thrives on a culture of fatalism, nurtured in a landscape of poverty and hopelessness, and popularized by a Palestinian government whose policies have demonized Israel.

Millions of Palestinians are encouraged to stay in squalid refugee camps, a rebuke to the Jewish state's existence. Textbooks don't even show Israel on the map.

During the current intifada, or uprising, against Israel's military and economic dominance, the martyr has become the ultimate weapon.

A suicide culture

Between 1990 and 2000 the Israeli police catalogued 35 separate suicide-bombing incidents, including successful hits and failed attempts.

Since January 2000, there have been 119 incidents throughout Israel proper and against Israeli targets in Gaza and the West Bank, Israeli police spokesman Gil Kleiman said.

For every Park Hotel — where 29 persons were killed by a suicide bomber on the first night of Passover — there are many more attempts in Jewish settlements in Gaza or at army checkpoints in the West Bank. Few are successful, but they have wide support throughout the Arab world.

"Why are these settlers and soldiers here? They occupy our land. They are legitimate targets," said Ismail Abu Shenab, the political adviser to Hamas, the resistance group responsible for most suicide attacks.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade is an offshoot of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement. It was formed after Ariel Sharon, now Israel's prime minister, visited Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Sept. 28, 2000. For Palestinians, the visit marks the beginning of the present uprising.

With funding that the Israelis say comes directly from the Palestinian Authority, the brigade has joined Hamas as sponsors of suicide bombers, with military-grade explosives now replacing homemade chemical cocktails. They have also begun to use women, who arouse less suspicion.

Teen-agers as young as 13, drawn in by a complex mix of adulation and anger, have begun to sacrifice themselves at Israeli targets.

The Israelis accuse the Palestinian Authority of perpetuating the cult of the suicide bomber, starting in elementary schools.

"Every single school we went into in Jenin, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Qalqilya or Tulkarm was plastered with posters of the glorification of the [martyrs]," said Col. Miri Eisen, an intelligence officer with the Israeli army. "They are teaching a generation that violence is OK."

This education often begins on the streets and in the home, as in the case of the woman dressing her 12-year-old son in the suicide-bomber costume.

Deadly foes

The Israeli Defense Forces are by far the most sophisticated and powerful military force in the region. The 5,000 or so Jewish settlers and as many soldiers deployed in Gaza have proved to be an irresistible target to the Palestinians.

The army has had to adapt to fight an enemy who expects to die.

"The only real strategy is prevention," said Col. Guy Zur, who is in charge of military operations for the Gaza Strip. "We can only hope to stop them before they get here."

To this end, the Israelis have built an electric fence on its border with Gaza — the launching pad for so much extremism — and all but closed its legitimate border crossings to Palestinians.

The Israelis confronted this new foe in the West Bank during last month's Operation Defensive Shield: Twenty-three Israeli soldiers died in the attack against the Jenin refugee camp, and half of those soldiers were lost in a single ambush in a courtyard.

"These [people] booby-trapped their own houses," said one soldier in disbelief. "It was like they didn't expect to be coming back."

Posters in the Palestinian territories are not advertisements for unaffordable products, but ghoulish celebrations of the men who died in a battle to liberate their land.

One blew up a bus near Tel Aviv. One scaled a settlement wall with two loaded pistols. Another strapped on an explosive belt and headed for a coffee shop in Jerusalem.

Tucked behind a sports club in Gaza City, two dozen members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade train for the day they will face Israeli troops.

Clad in camouflage pants and damp black T-shirts, the men are put though their paces of calisthenics and wrestling.

They are mostly unarmed, although one man handles a yellow grenade and a few hold handguns and rifles.

They anticipate an Israeli invasion of Gaza and expect the battle to be much bloodier than in the Jenin refugee camp last month.

After the workout, the men run through the streets of Gaza City, shouting "Allah Akbar," which means, "God is great." Beside them are little boys, scrambling and singing in emulation.

Anger replaces grief

Funerals here do more than honor the dead. They are a safety valve for the living, an explosive expression of the anger that marks daily life in the Palestinian territories.

Hundreds of men turned out for the funeral earlier this month of Khalid Abu Siamm, a Gazan who was killed by Israeli soldiers at the Church of the Nativity.

The reeking month-old body was draped in a Palestinian flag, sprayed with perfume and paraded through the streets accompanied by loud chanting and gunfire.

"By the soul, by the blood, we sacrificed you, martyr," they yelled, surging through the streets of Gaza.

At martyr, or "shehid" funerals, some of the mourners wear masks to hide their faces. Many also wear headbands to show their allegiance to Hamas or Fatah or Islamic Jihad, the three main Palestinian groups. Flags and banners flutter everywhere.

The mood is anger rather than grief, more political than melancholy. And for the rest of the day, the Palestinian town or village feels electrified with an air of possibility and purpose.

"We are powerless against Israeli occupation," says taxi driver Eyad Awal, a day after Mr. Siamm's funeral. "We have nothing; we are nothing until they leave. We will do nothing but fight the occupation, but you know, it's hard, because they have tanks and Apaches [helicopters] and guns, and we have no weapons."

Driving through a city plastered with posters of martyrs, he adds, "We have nothing to do but die."

The martyr painter

The paintings of martyrs that decorate so many Palestinian squares and roadways are done by Bahaa Yassin, a laid-back resident of the Al-Nosairat refugee camp in Gaza.

A newlywed who expects his first child in three months, Mr. Yassin, 24, says it feels no different to paint martyrs than it does a family portrait. Now that stores cannot afford his billboards, the martyrs are his best commissions.

The artist says he doesn't mind if his work is used to glorify suicide bombers. "Personally, I don't care about this. I draw what they bring," he says. "But I think that is the idea of the people who want this work."

Hisham Zaqout, whose nephew Youssef, 15, was killed by Israeli soldiers when he tried to infiltrate a Jewish settlement with a knife, says the family is in mourning.

The Zaqouts are clearly in grief and shock over the unexpected death of their son, but the uncle acknowledges that the hastily printed posters and endless stream of well-wishers, mourners and media have helped ease their pain.

"In Islam, sacrifice is the highest honor," he says. "Youssef did this for all of us to be free."

Posted by dmelle at 09:14 PM
May 09, 2002
Palestinian terrorist and robot

A Palestinian terrorist was stopped short of killing innocent Israeli civilians after his bomb malfunctioned and exploded before planned.



After the bomb went off near a bus stop near Haifa, the Palestinian terrorist was injured, but survived the blast.

Last night Israeli TV showed how the IDF (Israel's Defense Forces) used the above robot to immobilize the terrorist. An Israeli soldier was then able to search the Palestinian terrorist for other explosives. When none were found, a medic took care of the terrorist and he was taken to a nearby Israeli hospital.

For more pictures and a full article, see below.

The BBC has more pictures of the incident at:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/middle_east/newsid_1976000/1976341.stm

Unfortunately the BBC does not mention how the Israeli soldier searched the Palestinian terrorist and how an Israeli medic helped him once no more explosives were found.

Here's the article from the Jerusalem Post:

Work accident foils would-be suicide bomber
By DAVID RUDGE
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1020867015813

A terrorist’s plan to blow himself up aboard a bus in the Afula area was foiled yesterday when the bomb he was carrying exploded prematurely at a bus stop near the Megiddo junction.

The would-be suicide bomber, apparently from the Jenin area, was badly wounded.

Two soldiers standing nearby escaped unhurt, although one of them was knocked down by the blast and later had to be treated for shock.

The terrorist was prevented from trying to detonate the device a second time by the determined action of a police officer.

A robot then dragged the partially disabled terrorist some 30 meters from the bus stop, while he struggled to free himself from its metal arm.

The abortive attack took place 12 hours after a Hamas suicide bomber, apparently from the Gaza Strip, blew himself up in a crowded casino on the third floor of a commercial building in Rishon Lezion’s new industrial area.

Fifteen people were killed in the Rishon Lezion attack, and another later died of her wounds in hospital. More than 50 were wounded. Some 40 of them were still in five hospitals in the Dan region yesterday. Fifteen were in serious-to-critical condition.

Police believe the bomber was either familiar with the casino or was taken there by somebody who was.

European Union envoy Miguel Moratinos went to the scene of the bombing yesterday and condemned the suicide attack.

"I want to express the horror and full condemnation of this terror act. The European Union has been very clear to condemn all acts of terror. There is not good or bad terror, there is only one terror, and we should all together fight against terror," he told reporters.

"That means also that we must not forget that in fighting against terror we have to fight for some peace initiative, and we shall continue our work."

The Palestinian Authority and Chairman Yasser Arafat denounced the attack, saying it is counterproductive, coming at a time when Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was meeting in Washington with US President George W. Bush.

Security measures were boosted throughout the country, especially in the capital, where 6,000 police were on duty for Jerusalem Day, in the North, and along the Green Line.

Northern Region police chief Cmdr. Ya’acov Borovsky told reporters after the Megiddo bombing attempt that security forces had been on alert for the past few days, amid intelligence alerts of pending attacks.

According to police, the case the terrorist was carrying contained eight to 10 kilograms of explosives, which would have had terrible consequences in the enclosed space of a bus.
Instead, the device only partially detonated while the 19-year-old terrorist was waiting to board a bus to Afula.

A short time earlier, a woman soldier at the scene apparently warned those at the stop about the suspicious looking man with the bag.

The explosion occurred just moments afterward and was heard by police nearby. Supt. Yehuda Peretz was among the first on the scene.

"There appeared to have been an explosion at the bus stop. I saw a man acting in a dangerous and threatening manner, and I fired in the air to stop him," he told reporters.

The entire area was cordoned off as sappers dealt first with the terrorist and then the bomb he had been carrying. It was later blown up by the sappers.

After several hours of painstaking work, it was ascertained the terrorist did not have any explosives strapped to his body. He was taken to Ha’emek Hospital in Afula, where he underwent surgery. The hospital reported he is in serious condition

Posted by dmelle at 08:54 AM
May 08, 2002
Saudi Arabia funds Palestinian terrorism

Israel's Education Minister, Limor Livnat, disclosed at a press conference yesterday in Washington that Saudia Arabia has funneled $135 million over the last 16 months to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the families of suicide bombers and other dead terrorists.

Hey, it pays to be a Palestinian murderer: the Palestinian terrorists believe they will find 72 virgins when they get to heaven. This can only be acomplished if they kill as many innocent Israeli civilians as possible, and now they have the extra bonus of knowing their families will be taken care of. Kind of like a "life insurance" for homicide / suicide bombers and other Palestinian terrorists, directly funded by Saudi Arabia.

I copy the full article below:

Livnat puts Saudis on defensive
By HERB KEINON
http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1020670669761

The US press corps pummeled Education Minister Limor Livnat at a press conference at the Israeli Embassy in Washington on Monday over the disclosure of documents showing Saudi Arabia funneled $135 million over the last 16 months to Hamas and the families of dead terrorists.

Are you saying, one reporter continuously asked Livnat, that Saudi Arabia is funding terror against Israel?

Livnat would not answer directly, saying only that the "facts speak for themselves."

So the reporter asked again. When Livnat balked again, he asked a third time. Then another reporter rephrased the question, then another, and another.

Livnat stuck to her guns. "The documents speak for themselves," she said.

On the face of it, it looked like another PR disaster, putting information out there, but not drawing the necessary political conclusions. If you present documents showing Saudi Arabia funnels money to Hamas and suicide bombers' families, why not say directly Riyadh is funding terror against Israel?

The awkward balancing act was the result of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's desire to get the information into the public domain, but not ram it down anyone's throat – particularly President George W. Bush's.

Israel was careful that its no-holds barred offensive be directed against the Saudis, not against the administration. Livnat and other government spokesmen took pains to refrain from saying the US should take this information into account when coordinating Mideast policies with the Saudis.

Sharon, at a meeting with Livnat, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, and their staffers on Sunday evening in Washington, stressed half a dozen times that nothing should be done to embarrass the Bush administration, and that no one should say that the administration needs to draw the conclusions and press the Saudis. Yet he wanted the information out there.

In this he succeeded. Information is not only having an articulate spokesman with good English out-debate Hanan Ashrawi on Fox News, it is also setting the agenda. And both the release of the Saudi dossier and Minister-without-Portfolio Dan Naveh's report on Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat's direct link to terror released a day earlier have succeed to a certain degree in setting the agenda.

For example, the Naveh document figured prominently on The Washington Post's front page on Monday. News anchors now regularly ask Palestinians they interview about the disclosures of Arafat's direct link to the violence.

And the same is now true of the Saudi story. Although the Post buried the information at the bottom of its front page curtain-raiser on Sharon's meeting with Bush yesterday, it was the lead article in The Washington Times.

Moreover, on NBC's morning news show, Abud al-Jubeir, a Saudi Arabian foreign policy adviser, was trotted out to refute the charges.

Asked how he responds to the Israeli claims, Jubeir replied, "Absolute nonsense, not credible at all, totally baseless, fabrications, not true. It is an attempt to try to shift the attention away from moving toward the peace process, and trying to deflect and not come up with a serious offer for peace."

In other words, he denied it. But the anchor was not put off and asked a follow-up question, and then another question in which he said Israelis "also say they have evidence connecting Arafat to the violence against the Israeli people."

All of this does not add up to a knockout punch. But it does plant seeds to disabuse anyone of the notion the Saudis, with their diplomatic plan and increased coziness with the administration, are riding into a central role in the Mideast diplomatic process on a pure white steed.

The information Livnat and Military Intelligence Col. Miriam Eisin produced Monday was undoubtedly shared with the Bush administration beforehand. But now it is in the public domain. The hope is that it will resonate, that the public, the media, and members of Congress will now begin to ask how the US, in its war on terror, can cozy up to a regime that, in the words of the Military Intelligence report, "transferred large sums of money in a systematic and ongoing manner to families of suicide terrorists, to the Hamas organization (on the US list of terror organizations), and to persons and entities identified with the Hamas."

http://www.jpost.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/Full&cid=1020670669761

Posted by dmelle at 07:20 PM
May 07, 2002
Palestinian Homicide/Suicide Bomber kills 16 and injures 57 Israeli Civilians

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has claimed responsibility for a homicide/suicide attack that killed 16 and injured over 50 Israeli civilians in Rishon Le-Zion, just south of Tel-Aviv.



There are reports that 20 of the injured civilians are in critical condition. The last Palestinian homicide/suicide bombing occured on 4/12/02 - after a series of terrorist attacks that occured almost daily before Israel started its Defense Shield operation.

Click here for the article on the Jerusalem Post, and here for the CNN story. I copy the CNN article below.

Suicide bombing kills 16 near Tel Aviv
http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/meast/05/07/mideast.explosion/index.html

RISHON LETZION, Israel (CNN) -- An apparent suicide bombing at a billiard hall Tuesday night killed 16 people and wounded dozens more in a coastal town south of Tel Aviv, Israeli police said.

The blast caused the building's ceiling to collapse, trapping some people in the rubble, an Israeli ambulance service spokesman said. Emergency workers said at least 51 people were wounded.

Mark Regev, an Israeli official in Washington, said the Israel Defense Forces reported that 20 of those wounded were in critical condition. Regev said the IDF received information that the militant group Hamas had claimed responsibility for the attack, but that claim could not be independently confirmed.

The U.S. State Department has labeled Hamas a terrorist organization. Its military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, has claimed responsibility for earlier terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians as well as attacks against the Israeli military.

The bombing took place as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met in Washington with President Bush. Sharon was told of the blast while he was at the White House: He cut short his visit to the United States and planned to return to Israel Tuesday evening.

A Sharon spokesman quickly accused the Palestinian Authority of involvement in the attack.

"It is clear the Palestinian Authority has not given up its terror actions and has not given up its murderous path," spokesman David Baker said.

Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat issued a statement about two hours after the bombing condemning the attack "in the strongest possible terms."

"The Palestinian Authority will take every possible action if it proves that those behind this attack had anything to do, or were coming from, Palestinian areas," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said. "We don't condone the killing of civilians, either Palestinians or Israelis."

The bombing occurred at around 11:10 p.m. (4:10 p.m. EDT). The billiard hall was part of an entertainment complex popular with young people in an industrial area of Rishon Letzion. Matthew Guttman, a Jerusalem Post reporter at the scene, told CNN the situation was "chaotic."

"There are hundreds and hundreds of police officers here trying to clear onlookers from the scene," Guttman said. "There is a lot of yelling and shouting and nobody knows what is happening here."

The explosion occurred on the third floor of the three-story building. Pictures on Israeli TV showed that the structure was heavily damaged, with the windows blown out and a ceiling collapsed.

One witness, who was leaving the building as the bomb went off, told CNN it was "the most deafening explosion you could imagine."

Rishon Letzion, which means "first to Zion," is a mostly middle-class Jewish city with few Arab residents among its population of about 100,000.

The last Palestinian suicide bombing in Israel occurred April 12 and killed six people at an open air-market in Jerusalem

Posted by dmelle at 04:45 PM