Ethics of Suicide Bombing
© January 2004 by Asher Intrater
The Erez Junction is a crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel where several thousand Palestinians pass through on their way to employment every morning in Israel. Of course they have to pass a security check on the way. On Wednesday this week (January 14) the metal detector started to beep at the Erez Junction, as Reem Tsalach Alrayshi, a pretty 21 year-old Palestinian girl, mother of two (!) tried to cross through.
The 21-year-old Israeli boy who was serving on guard duty told her she couldn't go through. She started to cry. She said she was crippled in her legs and that the metal was simply a platinum brace implanted in her shins.
He hesitated - a moment of compassion.
"Well, okay, come over here. I'll call for one of the girl soldiers to give you a body check and then you can pass through." The 20-year-old girl soldier left the room for a moment to get some plastic gloves. Reem moved forward a few steps to where some Israelis were and started to cry some more, saying that her legs hurt. She fell forward toward them and pressed a little button under her dress.
Over 40 pounds of explosives ripped through the morning quiet. The girl soldier who had left the room turned around - and the room she had just left was no longer there: just a pile of rubble, four dead Israelis, and nine wounded.
The Palestinians workers were sent home. The junction was closed. Hamas took responsibility for the attack. Sheikh Yassin, leader of Hamas, was beaming with pride and joy as he labeled the attack a great success, proud of his "new weapon" of young women terrorists, and called the attack a joint operation between Hamas and the Arafat loyal PLO.
Several leftist groups already issued statements, including one full page add in Hebrew on Thursday morning (!) in the daily Haarets Israeli paper, claiming that Israel was to blame for the attack.
This recent attack raises some thorny ethical problems, to say the least.
1. Workers - Thousands of Palestinians are dependent on employment in Israel to support their families. This terrorist attack was perversely and purposely designed at the time of the workers' crossing in order to force Israel to close the crossing, thereby cutting off the employment of these Palestinians. The fact that this hurts their fellow Palestinians is no concern for the terrorists, so long as it continues to poison peaceful relationships with Israel.
2. Women - As Muslim culture is extremely conservative toward women, Israel has tried to respect that attitude by showing some deference to women passing through security checks. The use of women suicide terrorists is going to force Israel to be firmer with Arab women at checkpoints. That will cause offense. The liberal press and the Muslim propagandists will inflame the masses with claims of Israelis humiliating the "honor" of their women.
3. Compassion - In all security situations Israelis try to be sensitive to special needs: cripples, ambulances, wounded, and otherwise needy people. When Islamic groups exploit Israeli humanism and compassion to further terrorist purposes, again they leave Israel with no choice but to act seemingly without compassion at the checkpoints. And again the manipulative media and propaganda inflates coverage of those stories into acts of cruelty on Israel's part.
4. Motherhood -Terrorism is demented. Suicide terrorism is more demented. Female religious suicide terrorism is even more demented. Yet to consider a mother of two children blowing herself up to give glory to Allah and Palestine - no matter the death, destruction and no matter even the orphaning of her children, just so long as some Jews are killed - words simply fail. This perversion could not happen alone. It took support from the husband-father. It took support from religious leaders. It took years of brainwashing in elementary school and high school.
5. Religious Joy -Similar in Alrayshi's pre-suicide video and in Yassin's post-terror press release was the element of religious joy. Alrayshi spoke of the joy she felt at visualizing her body parts flying in the air after the explosion. Yassin was also grinning from ear to ear at the spiritual victory. This is not, as some would like to portray it, simply as bitterness or political revolt. This is a religious demented state of monstrous proportions. It reminds one of the "good hearted" chuckling for joy and expressions of praise to Allah by Bin Laden and his followers as they watched broadcasts of the Twin Towers collapsing and thousands trapped to their death. This is ecstatic Jihad Holy War.
6. Israel's Fault - The oft-used argument that these events would not be happening if it were not for the brutality of the Israelis is morally and logically bankrupt. It ought to be "politically incorrect." It's like taking a serial rapist and murderer, and saying that it's not his fault, but the fault of the young women today, who are dressed so immodestly. The point here is not to say that girls are not dressed immodestly, but that to use immodest dress to justify rape and murder is morally unacceptable. In the same way, to point to whatever Israeli settlements or security measures for the purpose of justifying suicide terrorism is morally reprehensible.
7. Human Rights - Similarly we need to ask the question as to why the leftist "human rights" groups do not come out against Islamic terror. Why is a security fence against suicide terrorist attacks a violation of human rights, but the suicide terrorism itself not a violation? Why is an Israeli security post a violation of human rights, but the suicide terrorism that forces Palestinians to lose their jobs not a violation? Why is checking Muslim women a violation of their honor, but using them as meat for suicide terrorism not a violation? Why is an Israeli settlement a violation of human rights, but the blowing up of children on a bus not a violation?
8. PLO Cooperation- This attack was a joint operation with the PLO. The PLO is under Yassar Arafat's command. The world community has "bought" the lie that Yassar Arafat is not a terrorist, but the head of state of the Palestinians, because of his position that when groups like Hamas or Jihad execute terrorist acts, they are acting independently, beyond his control. However the cooperation with PLO disproves that position. The UN sanctioned international court wants to bring Ariel Sharon to trial for building a security fence, but doesn't seem to think that suicide terrorism sanctioned by Yassar Arafat warrants any investigation.
9. Security Measures -Hamas said they had to resort to women terrorists because the Israeli security methods over the past six months have been so successful. That perverse logic is not a justifiable reason to resort to women terrorists, nor is it a valid criticism against Israel. Quite the contrary, it is a backhanded justification of Israel's methods. From the mouth of Sheikh Yassin himself it can be proved that Israel's security measures are exactly what they are claimed to be: measures of security with only one purpose - to stop terrorism. The use of women terrorists represents a depravity on the part of the terrorist groups, not an "escalation" of the conflict because of Israel.
10. Women's Exploitation - Initial Israeli intelligence investigations report that Alrayshi did not volunteer, but was forced into the suicide. It turns out that she had been having an affair, and that her husband, a Hamas member found out. In order to preserve the "honor" of the family, the "lover" recruited her for the bombing, strapped the explosives on her, and the husband drove her to Erez Junction. (Reminds me of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 where no charges were brought against the man.) Imagine those three evil men - the husband, the lover and the sheikh - convincing her to do this job. Disgusting! I wonder if women's rights' activists will protest against this case.
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