Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

8 Kislev 5763 - November 13, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Be Not Proud of Death

The European Union has long urged the Palestinians to halt terrorist suicide attacks within the Green Line and they are deeply involved in recent meetings between the Fatah and the Hamas in Cairo to arrive at some agreement to this effect. The European Union, pointedly, does not say anything about attacks on Jews in the West Bank and Gaza, implying that it is prepared for those to continue. What the Europeans who advocate this approach ignore, or choose to ignore -- or perhaps there is some even more sinister motive -- is that suicide attacks by Palestinians even on the West Bank are not only fatal to the attackers, but are also really suicidal for Palestinian society as a whole.

Palestinian society is destroying itself. Children are brought up to aspire to being a shaheed, martyring themselves in the act of murdering as many Jews as possible. The best and the brightest of the Palestinian youths are taught to murder and commit suicide. When this is a policy applied to an entire community, it will obviously and inevitably drive it to self-destruction.

The "senior Hamas activists" are getting younger and younger, as the older ones are eliminated -- whether by Israel's efforts at self-defense or their own fulfillment of their life's aim of murder and suicide. Their lives before their own deaths are full of the deaths of others -- including fellow Palestinians.

Iyad Sawalha, 28, went down fighting last week in Jenin after Israeli forces spent three intense days looking mainly for him. As the senior commander of Islamic Jihad in the Jenin area, Israel said that he was responsible for at least 31 recent Israeli deaths in addition to hundreds of wounded, including the recent attack on a bus at Karkur.

Jerusalem Post reporter Khaled Abu Toameh said that he knew Sawalha since he was a teenager, and he was steeped in violence from then. His first murder was of a mukhtar in a nearby village who was suspected of cooperating with Israel. "I [killed him] with my own hands," Sawalha told Abu Toameh with a smile. "He was about 70 years old and it wasn't a problem to kill him."

The IDF arrested Sawalha in 1991 and he was jailed for his part in killing four Palestinians. After his release in 1999, he told the reporter that he had decided to go to work and lead "a normal life." However, "he was unable to resist the temptation when the second intifadah erupted, and within a short time he was again in the business, this time with Islamic Jihad."

Palestinian textbooks hold up a life like this as a model for children. The image of Sawalha is probably already sold on keychains and posters. His parents and other relatives have probably told the media how proud they are of his activities.

Woe is to a society that aspires to death and suicide.

If the European Union really liked the Palestinians and had their real interests at heart, it would say to them: Give up your preoccupation with death. You cannot build a future for yourself if all you want is the death of others and your own death.

As the Torah says: Choose life!

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