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Jewish World Review April 25, 2002 / 14 Iyar, 5762

Robert W. Tracinski

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The 'Palestinian" victims? | As Israel pulls out of the West Bank -- a foolish move that will only allow Palestinian terrorists to regroup -- the media is being flooded with piteous tales about Palestinian victims, who, we are told, are innocent civilians.

But a glance at the stories coming out of the West Bank gives us a flavor for this "innocence."

The bulk of the current news stories are coming from Jenin, a major center of Palestinian terrorism where Israeli troops encountered the fiercest resistance. A typical story is from Khadra Samara, who is quoted in at least three separate newspaper accounts. She complains that her family was forced to flee when the Israelis bulldozed her home. Her instant response: "I was so furious, I felt like committing a suicide bombing against the Israelis."

Jenin, after all, is the same city whose residents attacked their own Palestinian leadership last November when it made a feeble show of cracking down on terrorism. According to a New York Times report, "demonstrators hurled stones, small explosives, and invective at scores of Yasser Arafat's security officers when the Palestinian leader attempted to rein in militants here."

(Incidentally, this woman and 30 others who were with her did survive. How? They emerged from a neighboring house waving white scarves, and the Israelis permitted them to walk to a nearby hospital. So much for reports of an Israeli "massacre.")

Another Palestinian family, pictured on television, points to the spot where their son was shot by Israeli soldiers "for no reason." Next to the bloody stain on the ground was their son's balaclava, a kind of mask commonly worn by Palestinian gunmen.

Another news story tells us of an American citizen, born in Palestine, who moved back to buy an apartment building in Ramallah, making his living as a landlord. During a recent Israeli operation, he was caught trying to drive his family home after curfew. Jittery soldiers at a checkpoint opened fire at the car, killing the man's wife and father, leaving him to walk through the checkpoint alone with his infant son.

This victim had returned to Ramallah after Arafat was installed as the Palestinian leader under the Oslo accords. Here is one journalist's description of Arafat's triumphant 1994 homecoming: "Arafat ... arrived from the Sinai in a long caravan of Chevrolet Blazers and Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs, 70 or 80 cars packed to the rooflines with men with guns. The caravan roared up the thronged roads and down the mobbed streets, with the overfed, leather-jacketed, sunglassed thugs of Arafat's bodyguard detail all the time screaming and shooting off their Kalishnikovs." Is it reasonable to regard the installation of this kind of regime as a sign of future peace and prosperity, as an indication that Palestine would be a safe place to start a family?

Ask Mohammed al-Akhras, profiled in the April 15 issue of Newsweek. He is the father of Ayat al-Akhras, the young Palestine suicide bomber who blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket. "Though convention calls for the father of a martyr to express pride in the act, al-Akhras seemed ... overwhelmed by grief."

Who is to blame for this father's loss? According to Newsweek: "Taped to the windshield of his car was a black-and-white poster of Ayat draped in a flowing kaffiyeh," the checkered scarf emblematic of Palestinian killers, "and brandishing a pistol -- the same picture that had begun to appear in the alleys of Dehaishe, inspiring new martyrs to the cause." The magazine also reports on a poll showing that 80 percent of Palestinians support suicide bombings.

When a mother's first thought while evacuating her children from a war zone is that she should join the terrorists who infest her town, what protection can she claim? When a city deliberately makes itself into a haven for murderers, what security can it demand? When a man brings his family to live in a dictatorship led by thugs who fire their guns into the air in celebration, what kind of a future can he expect?

When a whole society lionizes terrorists, accepts them as its leaders, and rallies to cries to "write in blood the map of the one homeland and one nation" and send "a million martyrs marching on Jerusalem" -- what right do they have to complain when their wish for blood and death is granted?

Palestinians are beginning to discover the price of building a national identity based on anti-Jewish terrorism. They are discovering it in the same form that the Germans and Japanese ultimately learned the price of embracing fascism.

Comment on JWR contributor Robert W. Tracinski's column by clicking here.

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