Babbler # 690
posted 22 January 2003 12:22 PM
And as such, this article is on suicide bombers.
This struck me:
In December 2001, Arafat delivered a speech in which he called for the terror to stop. He had done this several times before, but always with what seemed a wink. On that occasion, he seemed serious. In the aftermath of September 11, Arafat, according to many reports, was desperate not to repeat his mistake of the Gulf War, when he sided with Saddam Hussein. When Colin Powell called for the future establishment of a Palestinian state, his speech was seen as an achievement for Arafat, at least among his followers. I have heard from well-informed Palestinian and Israeli sources that Arafat's loyalists believed that Arafat wanted in December last year to regain control and to stop the suicide bombings. People close to Arafat also believed that this was clear to the Americans and to the Israelis.
Three weeks of calm followed. Then Sharon ordered the "targeted killing" of Arafat's popular lieutenant, Raad Karmi, and Palestinian protests erupted throughout Israel and Gaza. Arafat's activists became convinced that there was no way that they could reach even a limited understanding with Sharon; the only way to fight was to adopt Hamas's tactic of using suicide bombers. It was at that point, my Palestinian sources told me, that Arafat's people joined in the deadly game of dispatching suicide bombers into Israel proper. Arafat himself, they say, most likely went along with his activists so as not to lose his control over the Palestinian Authority. At the same time it seems likely that he lost control over the al-Aqsa Brigades. In its recent report, Human Rights Watch blames the Palestinian Authority for not acting to stop the terror strikes when it could—that is, before its security apparatus was destroyed by Israel in 2002.
The suicide bombing got out of control—so much so that even Hamas became worried. There was outrage among Palestinians when Hamas started sending children on no-escape missions in the Gaza Strip. "I am going to be a shahid," said fourteen-year-old Ismail abu Nida to his mother. She did not take him seriously but the child meant what he said and he was killed while taking part in an attack. The same happened to Yussuf Zakoot, fourteen, and Anwar Hamduna, thirteen. Hamas sensed, however, that the families were angry and, according to reports in the Palestinian press, it changed its recruiting tactics.
The Suicide Bombers
From: Pokaroo! | Registered: May 2001
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