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[Nettime-bold] Re: Fisk at it again/ Passions Inflamed, Gaz
Ivo Skoric on Sun, 28 Apr 2002 23:13:01 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-bold] Re: Fisk at it again/ Passions Inflamed, Gaza Teenagers Die in Suicidal AttacksBy DAVID ROHDE


I don't think that it is important in this particular case whether the 
teenagers were also armed with the explosives, or were they 'only' 
armed with knives or axes or whatever. The explosives are easy to 
buy in the war areas, like Palestine. So, it is far more probable that 
they obtained some makeshift bombs, than that David Rohde lied 
about that in his article. And Hamas statement is probably more 
concerned with the unsuccesfulness of their suicide in terms of not 
taking any Israelis to death with them, than with the fact that the 
idealization of a 'suicide bomber' as a role model now produced 
some unintended effects.

What is important, I think, is that the situation for dispossesed and 
impoverished Palestinian population in Israel is so desperately 
dead-ended, that the only tool/weapon at the disposal of various 
Palestinian armed factions to fight Israelis seems to be the 
dreaded 'suicide bomber'. What is important, I think, is that 
Palestinian society grows more and more fascinated with the 
demented concept of suicide bombings, and that both the 
Palestinian militants, and Israeli war-mongering government are 
feeding of the fear that the 'suicide bomber' evokes in the Israeli 
population. What is important, I think, is the brutality, cruelty and 
impunity with which Israelis are threating Palestinian population - 
the tank-mangled teenage bodies just being the top of that iceberg.

ivo

Date sent:      	Sat, 27 Apr 2002 06:14:36 -0500
Send reply to:  	International Justice Watch Discussion List
             	<JUSTWATCH-L {AT} LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
From:           	Steve Albert <stevealbert {AT} VIDEOTRON.CA>
Subject:        	Fisk at it again/ Passions Inflamed,
             	Gaza Teenagers Die in Suicidal AttacksBy DAVID ROHDE
To:             	JUSTWATCH-L {AT} LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU

In an article posted on Jw yesterday,Robert Fisk wrote :


Knife-wielding suicide bombers approaching the Jewish settlement, according
to the Israeli army and, of course, The New York Times. But even Hamas,
creator of the vicious Palestinian campaign of suicide bombing, admits that
the three schoolchildren - all ninth-graders in the Salahadin School in Gaza
City - had naively planned to attack the settlement of their own accord and
with, at most, knives. It urged preachers and schoolteachers to tell
children that they should never embark on such wild schemes again.

Don't you love this objective reporting.

 First there is that lovely phrase 'of course The News York Times' that
implies that the Times just takes the word of the IDF about what went on in
Jenin.

Just look at the kind of reporters they sent there. Why they even sent
David Rohde,the man who won the Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on
Srebrenica.

The story Fisk is reffering to here was written by David Rohde.

I kind of doubt that he would take the Israeli Army's version of a story on
faith.

 OF course Fisk can't trust the likes of Rohde,whom he knows must be working
for the IDF, but when Hamas assures him that their  version of a story  is
accurate it must be God,s truth.After all, these people, 'the creators of
the vicious Palestinian campaign of suicide bombing',  would never tell a
lie.

This is what Rohde wrote about Hamas's decision to stop  the incitement of
this kind of   suicide attack after this incident:

Palestinian parents called for an investigation into whether radical groups
had recruited the boys for a foolhardy mission and asked local religious
leaders and the radical Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad to issue
statements urging children not to take part in suicidal attacks.

Both groups issued statements tonight denying responsibility for the boys'
attack and saying that children should not carry out such raids. They said
they would begin a campaign in local mosques urging children not to engage
in attacks like the one in which the three boys were killed.

I guess this decison by Hamas and Islamic JIhad is all to the good. However,
given the sequence of events as reported by David Rohde ,it is possible that
Hamas might have a reason other than concern for the lives of young people
for asking them not to carry out acts like this ON Their Own,in the future.


David Rohde,s account of this incident follows.

Steve

New York Tomes
April 25, 2002

GAZA STRIP

Passions Inflamed, Gaza Teenagers Die in Suicidal Attacks

By DAVID ROHDE
Ruth Fremson/The New York Times
Elham Zaqout is helped up by friends and relatives at her home in Gaza City,
as she grieves for her son Yusef Zaqout, 14, who was shot and killed Tuesday
night while trying to enter the Israeli Netsarim settlement in the Gaza
Strip. Armed with axes and home-made grenades he was with two other boys who
planned to attack the settlement.
The Prime Minister: Sharon Suggests Arafat Could Go to the Gaza Strip (April
25, 2002) 
The Aftermath: Israel Eases Opposition to Inquiry Into Jenin Attack (April
25, 2002) 

Passions Inflamed, Gaza Teenagers Die in Suicidal Attacks

By DAVID ROHDE

GAZA CITY, Gaza, April 24  The boy asked his family to pay the corner
grocer the 25 cents he owed him, give two of his favorite cassette tapes to
his friends Sami and Maher and return the two books he borrowed from his
teacher, Mr. Sabri. He then described how he would like to be buried.

"I want my grave to be like the grave of Muhammad, not so big," the boy,
Yusef Zaqout, 14, wrote, adding how he would like to be mourned: "Don't cry
for me. Bury me with my brothers the martyrs. And visit my grave if you have
time." 

Not long after that, he set out on Tuesday night with two friends, each 15,
on a futile mission to attack the heavily fortified Israeli settlement near
here. Armed with knives and homemade bombs that can easily be purchased on
the street here, the three were shot dead by Israeli soldiers 15 yards from
the settlement's exterior wall.

The age of the three boys and their backgrounds  all said by Yusef's
relatives to be excellent students from middle-class families  shocked even
Palestinians here who have witnessed rising levels of violence in the
current conflict and have seen it draw in younger and younger victims and
participants. 

Palestinians said the attack on Tuesday night was the second in a week by
boys 15 or younger, marking a pitiless new dynamic in 18 months of
retaliation and retribution between Israelis and Palestinians. Adults may be
secretly recruiting boys to carry out the attacks, some speculated. Or
teenagers may be mounting the raids themselves, after being reared in an
impoverished and isolated world where suicide attackers are praised as
"martyrs." 

"It seems that he and his friends arranged the whole thing," Basim Zaqout,
Yusef's father, said as he sat looking stunned at his son's wake tonight.
"God help us if someone is behind this."

Palestinian parents called for an investigation into whether radical groups
had recruited the boys for a foolhardy mission and asked local religious
leaders and the radical Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad to issue
statements urging children not to take part in suicidal attacks.

Both groups issued statements tonight denying responsibility for the boys'
attack and saying that children should not carry out such raids. They said
they would begin a campaign in local mosques urging children not to engage
in attacks like the one in which the three boys were killed.

Most Palestinians, including Mr. Zaqout, blamed the long Israeli occupation,
the recent Israeli incursion into the West Bank and the crushing poverty
here for driving young Palestinians to increasingly desperate acts.

But others suggested that a more fervent brand of nationalism and Islamic
militancy was making this intifada, or uprising, far deadlier to younger
Palestinians than the first one in the late 1980's.

Suicide attacks are incessantly hailed on posters, in mosques and at rallies
in the occupied territories. These days, unlike in the past, satellite
television images here routinely barrages frustrated Palestinians with
accounts of Israeli attacks and unconfirmed allegations of Israeli massacres
against Palestinian civilians.

Israeli officials have said their recent offensive in the West Bank was
intended to destroy an "infrastructure of terror" that included recruiters
and bomb factories. But something far more difficult to eradicate  a
culture of martyrdom  is thriving here. Palestinians parents expressed
bewilderment tonight at the number of young boys saying they were eager to
become martyrs in recent weeks.

Muhammad Bakar, 16, one of scores teenagers who attended the wake for Yusef
tonight, gave a candid assessment of the 14-year-old's death. "It's a heroic
act," he said. "Everybody wants to do it."

Thousands of people, most of them teenagers, clogged this decrepit city's
streets this afternoon during the funeral for the three ninth graders who
died in the attack Tuesday night on the Israeli settlement at Netzarim.

The two other youths  whom residents identified as Anwar Hamdonah and
Ismael Abu Naji, both 15  were buried next to Yusef, as he requested, in
the "martyrs' cemetery."

Relatives of Yusef said he was friends with Haitham Abu Shokah, also 14, who
tried to carry out his own attack last Thursday on the Israeli settlement at
Dugit. 

Armed with a knife and makeshift explosives, he too was shot dead before he
could even reach the settlement.

The three boys who carried out the Tuesday night attack went to the same
school, and all the boys, including Haitham, were said to be excellent
students. 

As Yusef's mother lay in the living room tonight, the family showed off the
boy's report cards, with scores of 90 and 99 out of 100, and certificates
from his karate class.

Yusef shared a carpeted bedroom with his 16-year-old brother, Ahmad, who sat
alone and silent at the wake tonight, slowly twisting a ring on his left
hand. The teenagers shared a computer, a rare luxury, and a satellite
television was the centerpiece of their family's ornately furnished living
room. Yusef's father works for the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of
Social Affairs and earns $400 a month, a large sum in Gaza, where half of
the people live below a poverty line measured by far less.

Mr. Zaqout said his son was deeply religious, spending hours in a local
mosque and praying five times a day, as is custom among the devout. He
disabled the satellite television so it could not play music, something
considered blasphemous to fundamentalists.

Before a group of reporters was allowed to enter his room, family members
were seen taking down a poster listing the "great martyrs" of Hamas. In his
letter, the boy asked Hamas to pay for his funeral.

Abed Abu Askar, the boy's uncle, said he did not believe that the three boys
could have attempted the attack by themselves. But, he said, Hamas
representatives had told him that they had nothing to do with the boys'
attempt to attack the Israeli settlement.

The poster in the boy's room is commonly available in markets in Gaza City,
where Hamas enjoys genuine popularity. The uncle said signs and murals
hailing Hamas and promising an eternal paradise for "martyrs" were
everywhere in the refugee settlement and its mosques.

His nephew, he said, had once told him that he felt he had no future.

"If you promised me 72 virgins," the uncle said, referring to the number
fundamentalists say await martyrs in paradise, "I'd do it too."

He and other parents also criticized the attack by Israeli soldiers on the
Palestinians refugee camp in Jenin  and the coverage of it on satellite
television  for heightening tensions in Gaza, which has been largely
exempted from the latest Israeli offensive.

Since last fall, the United States and other Western governments have
appealed to Al Jazeera, a popular television network based in Qatar, and
other Arabic language satellite networks to show more balanced coverage of
the conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

An even younger boy, 13, came close to taking part in the attack last
Thursday. Um Ahmad Tafish, the the boy's mother, said her son was the last
to see Haitham before he set out on his own to attack the Dugit settlement.
She blamed the Israeli offensive in Jenin, which leveled wide tracks of the
refugee camp there, for inflaming passions.

She said that her son had told her no adults were involved in Haitham's
attack and that the older boy had announced to her son that he wanted to
become a martyr.

Her son, she said, decided not to join him.

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