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Setting The Record Straight: Part XI: “Palestinian H-bombs”

Editor’s Note: This is the eleventh installment in ‘Setting The Record Straight,’ the most recent series of articles from Jewish Press Online contributor, Alex Grobman, PhD

Photo Credit: GPO: THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATES FOR 1994 IN OSLO. (FROM RIGHT TO LEFT): PRIME MINISTER YITZHAK RABIN, FOREIGN MINISTER SHIMON PERES AND PLO CHAIRMAN YASSER ARAFAT


From 1994 to 2003, there were more than 100 suicide attacks. No attempts were made against Americans, Europeans, or Christians, or against Jews living outside of Israel. Suicide attacks accounted for only three percent of all terrorist incidents from 1980 to 2003, yet they amounted to 48 percent of all casualties, making the typical suicide terrorist attack 12 times more lethal than any other types of terrorism observed by political scientist Robert A. Pape. [1]


Suicide bombings, which “rocked the Jewish state,” and “transformed the lives of its people,” were initially seen as a horrific aberration in the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, an example of religious extremism that most Palestinian Arabs rejected. But then an unnerving new realization occurred: “The acceptance and legitimation of the practice among all Palestinian [Arab] political and military factions.” [2]


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld reported that a poll conducted in June 2001, considered accurate and reliable by Israeli and Palestinian Arab analysts, found that 78 percent of the Gaza residents approved of the suicide attacks launched against Israel or on its borders in their name. “In Gaza, in other words, support for bombings staged in support of the Palestinian [Arab] cause has become a cultural norm,” Lelyveld concluded. [3]


Of the eight Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflicts, the second intifada was the seventh and the “third bloodiest,” asserts Samuel M. Katz, a Middle East security and international terrorism expert. Most wars are waged to attain political goals or to seize other countries’ land. Yet, Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat and the Hamas leadership had no plan to force political concessions from Israel, establish new territorial realities, or offer a pragmatic solution to end the carnage that was never even recognized as a total war. One objective seemed to be to inflict as much pain and suffering in Israel as they could. [4]


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