Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook in the Jerusalem Post contend that the world has failed to understand the challenge presented by suicide terror. They write, “The world had assumed that the Palestinian suicide terrorist was facing a dilemma of having to choose between the value of killing Jews and the value of life. Clearly, this is false. Killing Jews is one ‘value.’ Death for deity is itself a value greater than life. Seeking shahada [death for Allah] is not desperation but aspiration.” Indeed, three separate public opinion polls found that 70 to 80 percent of Palestinian children aspire to shahada.
Marcus and Crook also identify the “root cause” (my term) of this aspiration — the leaders of Palestinian society are inculcating it:
“Palestinians have been taught on PA TV by their religious leaders that they are born for the very purpose of dying for Allah: ‘The believer was created to know his Lord and to uphold Islam to be a shahid, or intend to be a shahid. If the Muslim does not aspire to shahada, he will die as in the jahiliya [pre-Islam faith]. If we truthfully request it of Allah, He will grant us its rewards even if we die in bed.’ To further encourage this self-annihilation, Palestinians are taught that dying for the deity is rewarded: ‘All his sins are forgiven from the first gush of blood; he is exempted from the torments of the grave (Judgment)… he marries 72 Dark-Eyed [Virgins or Maidens of Paradise]… on his head is placed a crown of honor, one stone of which is worth more than all there is in this world.’”
Most ominously, perhaps, Marcus and Crook point out that the “death worship” the Palestinian leadership has tapped into is rooted in the ancient religious belief that the deity craves the death of innocents, as exemplified by cults of human sacrifice. Thus, while the PA may view suicide terrorism as a short-term means to a political and/or military end, the phenomenon might well endure as a long-term end in itself. In any case, it is easy to understand the urge by Israelis to build a fence.
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