Poster Child for Palestinian Terror
The Gilad Shalit deal led to the release of many heinous murderers, and one cannot but feel enormous sympathy for the distress this caused the families of those they murdered.
But if there is one individual who symbolises the incomprehensibly ugly belief system, the determination to murder at all costs, behind the Palestinian cult of suicide terrorism, it is female releasee Wafa al-Bis.
Al-Bis made major headlines worldwide in 2005 because of the awesome immorality of what she planned to do. She had been burned in a cooking gas explosion at her Gaza home, and was treated for her injuries for three months at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. At a time when the violence of the second intifada led to restrictions on Gazans entering Israel, this was a purely humanitarian gesture from the Israeli military authorities and hospital, and al-Bis later admitted that the staff at the hospital had been “very kind” and treated her with “respect and dignity.”
Nonetheless, on her return home, given that she had permission to cross back into Israel to receive follow-up treatment, she was recruited by the Fatah-affiliated al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade to be a suicide bomber. Her target? Soroka Hospital – where they treated her so well. She later explained “I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews. Yes! Even babies. You kill our babies!”
She was fortunately detected at the border. She tried to detonate herself at the border crossing, but her explosive underwear did not detonate and she was arrested, tried and convicted.
After shouting defiance and her desire for martyrdom after her initial arrest, she would later paint a picture of herself as a victim to an American reporter in 2007. She had been poor and abused, had become disfigured, was not political and had only wanted to kill herself, but had been seduced and then threatened by terrorist leaders into becoming a suicide bomber, she said.
But on being released, there was none of this different narrative on display. She was met on arrival home in Gaza by a group of Palestinian children – and told them, “I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs.” The children responded with cheers, and by chanting a standard slogan, “We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine.”
Al-Bis later told reporters she had absolutely no regrets and still intended to be a “martyr” (though she again changed her story, saying she had only sought to kill soldiers, not attack the hospital.) She said, “I wanted to be the first female martyr from Gaza to kill Israeli soldiers and I wanted to kill as many as I could. I had wanted to be a martyr since I was a kid… As long as there is going to be occupation over all of Palestine, martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers. This is an honourable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could.” Her mother declared she supported this decision, saying “This is Jihad, it is an honourable thing and I am proud of her.”
I don’t know whether the victim or the proud martyr is the true Wafa al-Bis. But one thing is clear – she comes from a milieu where attacking the hospital that saved your life makes you a hero, a milieu where encouraging kids to become suicide bombers is the expected message to give out, where mothers openly support their children killing themselves along with “enemy” civilians as something to be “proud of”.
It hardly needs be said that such attitudes are not only not conducive to peace, but not even conducive to any sort of healthy future for Palestinian society.
Palestine in ’49
Palestinian advocates often imply that Israel is responsible for the fact that no Arab or Palestinian state arose alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza after the 1948 war, as the 1947 UN Partition Plan required. This has always been a bizarre and untenable claim; a nascent Israel could not have prevented the declaration of an Arab state in those territories – which it had no control over – even if it had wanted to.
Now, new evidence has emerged that Israel actually actively lobbied at the UN for the partition plan’s “Arab” state to be established. A Reuters newspaper report from May 1949 has been dug up and published online showing that in testimony before the UN’s Palestine Conciliation Commission, the head of the Israeli delegation, Dr. Walter Eytan demanded the UN implement the partition resolution calling for an Arab as well as a Jewish state in Palestine. He said the UN must force the armies of the neighbouring Arab states out of the West Bank and Gaza and “hold a plebiscite in the Arab area to ascertain the wishes of the inhabitants, and assist in the establishment of a genuine representative body for Arab Palestine”. This was at a time when no Arab state supported Palestinian statehood in those territories – only Israel did.
For all the details, see a longer story on our website accessible via tinyurl.com/Palestine49.