What sort of “freedom fighters” applaud the close-range murder of a pregnant Israeli woman and her four young daughters? There is only one correct answer: Palestinian terrorists. There is, in fact, no other insurgent movement on this persistently bleeding planet that can begin to compare with Arab/Islamic terror. From the standpoint of sheer barbarism, of a primal evil that mocks any human pretension to being a civilized “resistance,” no other movement even comes close.
What, exactly, is uniquely wrong with the Palestinian orientation to political violence? Clearly, the various Palestinian terror groups, many with growing ties to al-Qaeda, no longer see violence as political at all. Rather than a means to an end, it has become a genuinely delightful end in itself, an ecstatic journey into bloodlust carried onward by its own blatantly sadistic momentum. Oblivious to any well-publicized political goal, what is it, then, that animates such a debauched descent? Above all, perhaps, it must be understood that for the Palestinian terrorist, Jewish victims are not to be pitied because * in their particular Islamic view * Jews (or Christians, for that matter) can never be fully human. Its really not all that complicated. In the recent words of a prominent London-based Muslim cleric, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad: “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. AND THE LIFE OF AN UNBELIEVER HAS NO VALUE. IT HAS NO SANCTITY.”
Curiously, little or nothing has been said of a most ironic element of Arab/Islamic terrorism; that is, that certain key roles in organized murder have been filled by physicians. Indeed, both Osama Ben Laden’s second-in-command in al-Qaeda and the late Hamas champion of
suicide-bombing Abdel Rantisi were pediatricians. How does the child-healer become a child-murderer? Sometimes quite easily. Like the Nazi doctors, who were meticulously conditioned to believe in the biological subhumanity of “the Jews,” physicians throughout the Arab/Islamic world are now taught in the mosques and in the media that “Jews are the sons and daughters of pigs and monkeys.” For these doctors, Hippocrates increasingly takes a distant second-place to more soul-satisfying sources of personal allegiance.
Israelis have endured nearly one terror attack every hour of every day for 39 consecutive months. These attacks on a country that is half the size of Lake Michigan have nothing to do with Palestinian “self-determination.” And even if they did, can the cause of a new Palestinian state ever be sufficiently sacred to warrant wholesale murder of Jewish children * if not by shooting, as in the latest case of the pregnant Israeli mother and her four children * then by burning, disembowelment and mutilation? International law has determinable form and content. It cannot be invented and reinvented by terror groups merely to accommodate their own presumed interests. This is especially the case where terror-violence purposely assaults infants and children, the quintessentially characteristic signature of Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and their many Palestinian spinoffs.
Nonetheless, the world usually chooses not to notice. At best, public opinion refuses to blame the Palestinians or supporters of Arab/Islamic terror in other countries. At worst, public opinion even supports such terror as a justifiable opposition to an alleged “occupation.” In shameless continuance of 2,000 years of orchestrated Jew hatred, this position sanctimoniously condemns Israel’s building a fence to protect itself from child murderers, but wholly ignores the murderers who make the fence indispensable.
American universities, at best, are unmindful. The learned scholars are generally busy with more weighty matters, especially those that do not pertain to real life in any way. Understandably, there is no time for terror victims’ agony, anguish and suffering * especially for the cries of Jewish children in Israel.
Who, precisely, is to blame for barbaric forms of Arab/Islamic terror? If the Palestinians are to be blamed at all, we hear from most educated quarters, responsibility belongs only to Hamas, or to Islamic Jihad, or perhaps to Nobel peace laureate Arafat’s Fatah. But surely it does not belong to the broader Palestinian community. Surely only the Arab “extremists” and “militants” are blameworthy.Yet, as we learn from all reliable survey research, an enormously disproportionate share of Palestinians fully supports the bombings, the burnings, the lynchings, and the shootings of Jewish noncombatants. And why not? Most nations argue that this “occupied” people may wage their particular armed struggle “by any means necessary.” Even better, Palestinian “liberators” believe that the killing of Jews always buys them and their families a secure place in Paradise. It should come as little surprise, therefore, that immediately after the recent murder of the pregnant Jewish mother and her four daughters, the official Voice of Palestine characterized the carnage as “an act of heroic martyrdom.” The barbarous cowardice of the Palestinian terrorist is unparalleled in the history of insurgent warfare. Although there is no shortage of examples of revolutionary fighters who disregard humanitarian boundaries in battle, the record of fighters who deliberately and consistently seek utterly innocent and fragile targets is actually very small. Several months ago, when a Palestinian terrorist machine gunned two Jewish infants still sucking on pacifiers (after repeatedly stabbing the mother), the image of the murdered children was a source of feverish exaltation
throughout the Palestinian communities in Jenin, Ramallah and Gaza. When, a year earlier, a newborn Jewish child was shot deliberately by a sniper, Palestinian celebrants hailed the murder as “yet another military victory against the Zionist occupation.” When, several years ago, two Russian-Jewish Israelis who had not yet learned to speak Hebrew took a wrong turn into Ramallah, they were torn apart * literally * by howling mobs. When, after blinding and disfiguring the two Israelis, several young men in a Palestinian “police station” held up the still-dripping eyes and internal organs for all to see, thousands of ordinary people began to dance and chant wildly. And when, on August 19, 2003, an aspiring “martyr” entered a Jerusalem bus, he waited, patiently, until it was fully loaded with schoolchildren and their mothers. Only then, only then * did he turn his wretchedly defiled body into a bomb.
There is one last point. The incomparable cruelty of the Palestinian terrorist is sometimes also related to this murderer’s overwhelming death fear. The suicide/homicide bomber does not feel that he (or she) is giving up his or her own life in the murderous deed. On the contrary, he murders defenseless Jews precisely to ensure his absolute freedom from death. By choosing to die for the “will of Allah,” he believes that both he and his closest relatives can live forever. What cowardice could be easier to understand?
LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is the author of many books and articles dealing with Arab/Islamic terror. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.