Flowers from Palestine

By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Rightgrrl Contributor
Founder, Jews For Life

February 9, 2002

A line was crossed about two weeks ago, when a Palestinian woman became the first member of the fairer sex to become a suicide statistic. By blowing herself up along with an innocent Israeli bystander, this woman set a new precedent among the Arab militants. For the first time, a woman joined the ranks of her male terrorist brethren, men who massacre Israeli Jews for sport, as part of their daily 'religious" ritual. This woman was not affiliated with any terrorist organization, having joined the killing jubilee of her own volition.

The violence escalates. Last week's attack in the tiny Jewish settlement of Hamra in the West Bank's Jordan Valley left a woman and her 11-year-old daughter dead. Both were shot. This was not a suicide bombing, but a break-in into her home by a Hamas militant disguised as an Israeli soldier. The devil comes in many disguises and one portends another. The so-called peace process is the disguise that will usher in Israeli's destruction once taken to its ugly conclusion.

The violence continues. Yesterday, in Jerusalem, a group of masked Palestinians stabbed and seriously wounded a woman, after which the police shot the attackers. Pity only one was killed.

Will the suicide bombings be augmented by more traditional weapons, such as guns and knives? Perhaps the promise of heavenly rewards isn't seductive enough to convince every Palestinian killer to count himself among his victims.

It pains me to say it, but the liberals are right. There are hate crimes. They just have the country wrong. For in Israel, these vicious assaults by Arabs against Israeli men, women and children are driven by madness and contempt, and not by a desire for any bogus homeland.

Long before there were demands for a Palestinian state inside Israel's borders, there was an Arab homeland outside, in Jordan. When one gigantic homeland is not big enough, why not steal a tiny one from the Jews?

But why fret? This is not slaughter, merely an "uprising." These are not terrorists, merely "freedom fighters," as editorialist Robert Novak prefers to call them. There is desperation among the Palestinian settlers in the refugee camps, a direct result of their impoverished living conditions. Access to roads and opportunities for trade have been shut down, leaving many Palestinian families unable to maintain even a minimum standard of living. Military closures, blocked waterways and weapons checkpoints outside of every ghetto have crippled the economy among the settlers.

Brutal as their situation may appear, the unfortunate conditions in the territories are self-imposed. The Palestinians will continue to slaughter innocent civilians. They will refuse to recognize Israel as the Jewish state. They will free from jail dangerous terrorists wanted by the Israeli government. Therefore, Israel will rightly retaliate in self-defense. As long as Yasser Arafat talks of peace while organizing arms shipments from Iran, Israel will close the waterways and confiscate the weapons.

For these reasons, I am perplexed at President Bush's reluctance to relegate Arafat to the scrap heap. The administration has their reasons; without Arafat around to abate the violence, things can only deteriorate for the Israelis. Barring a nuclear explosion in Tel Aviv, can things get any worse than they are now?

Many of Arafat's followers are no longer loyal to the PLO chairman. They see Arafat as a political figurehead whose personal place within the international community is more important than is his commitment to Palestinian autonomy and "statehood". This, despite the fact that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has fine terrorist credentials, having shed the blood of many innocent Israelis, and allegedly giving the okay to murder two American diplomats in his heyday during the 1970's.

A recent New York Times Magazine cover story, "The State Palestinians Are In" equates the Arabs' condition of "sufferness" (a word they use to describe eternal suffering) with the pervasive fear of suicide bombings that Israelis endure on a daily basis. Staff writer Deborah Sontag does not differentiate between those who initiate attacks and those who receive them, for that is not her mission. She refers to the two sides as "monolithic" and "unchanging" and her goal was to "reveal the complex and intense discussions Palestinians are having in refugee camps, in hospitals and in their living rooms." In this vein, Sontag conducted interviews in the Arab community; among her respondents are resistance leaders, an olive farmer, a successful entrepreneur and ghetto residents.

Throughout the piece, it is obvious where her sympathies lie. Regarding the Israeli-Arab "conflict" (war) Sontag offers the "fact" (opinion) that there are "two narratives there - two versions of reality - that directly contradict each other." What emerges is the reality her interviewees want the American public to read and embrace. Terrorists may be vicious, but they are not stupid. If they find a sympathetic ear in a core member of the influential New York press elite, it behooves them to project a favorable image, so other elitists can agonize on the Palestinian plight. Those Arabs queried would not likely say: "Our mission is to gain control of all the land for ourselves and murder every Jew in Israel."

With the mainstream media bias in their favor, it should be effortless to voice their grievances, but they fail. The sentiments expressed by Abed al-Raouf Barbakh contrast with his role as Fatah street leader:

"We are tired and fed up with all the fighting. We want all the blood that has been shed to be enough. Give us our small, little country, our West Bank and Gaza, and then it will all end. Israel can keep Israel and leave us the hell alone."

A country is not what Mr. Barbakh wants; his mission is to kill Jews. He is wanted by the Israelis for "inciting the kids in Rafah to violence." The European Union portrays Israel as the aggressor, subjugating Palestinians to subhuman living conditions, but that assertion is false. Moreover, when Arafat sought a ceasefire last December in the Rafah refugee camp, Barbakh refused.

"May the ceasefire go the hell. They are shooting at us. We can't offer them flowers."

Where have all the flowers gone?

David Khoury and his family are described as "not typical Palestinians," but rather are "Christian and affluent." At one time, Mr. Khoury had lived in Brookline, Massachusetts where he had owned a liquor store. After marrying, raising children and becoming a citizen, Khoury and his family moved to the West Bank to Taybeh, a village near Ramallah. There, he operates a brewery that has seen a tremendous drop in production since the army imposed travel restrictions for security reasons. "I am for the uprising," Mr. Khoury now states. Of the suicide bombers Khoury is "impressed" stating, "Theirs is the real faith." Aren't these odd words coming from a Christian?

Long time passing...

Hussam Khader is a Palestinian legislator, and in Sontag's words is "Fatah through and through." However, his loyalty is not to Yasser Arafat: "These marches will not change the fact that with time our Monsieur Arafat is losing his power as the symbol of our national struggle. All the Viagra in the world will not give him back his potency."

Khader reduces human life to a numbers game: "There was one Israeli killed for every three Palestinians killed, and this is the first time we reached such a ratio. This created a balance of fear between the two sides. And Israel's fear will be our leverage."

Where have all the flowers gone?

In Gaza City, patriarch Abdel Kareem Eid boasts 2 wives, 20 children and 87 grandchildren. Half his extended family is Fatah, half is Hamas, and the youngsters among them express hateful, dangerous thoughts. "If they (the Israelis) give their hand in peace, we should give ours." One of his boy's retorted: "There will be no peace. It's us or them." When asked by Sontag if they were New York Giant fans, another son spewed this sewage: "I like New York because of what happened in September."

Gone to graveyards everyone...

Today is Saturday, February 9. As Saturdays tend to be long and lazy in my house, I often don't read my newspaper until the late afternoon. Upon opening the New York Post to page six, a headline reads "4 More Dead in Israel." I learn that the young Israeli woman stabbed the day before had died. There was another bomb that exploded prematurely, and the two Palestinians responsible were killed. Under the piece was a smaller headline, "Sickos Vow to Become Bombers." There is a familiar horrifying photograph of Palestinian "martyrs-in-waiting." With hands raised high, they recite a pledge to blow themselves up someday. More dead Israelis. More flowerbeds and funerals.

Deborah Sontag reflected on her interviews. "Especially when Americans think about the Palestinians, they tend to see them either as victims or as villains," she mused. "In reality, their lives and viewpoints are diverse and complicated."

Often, those who seek permanent victim status enjoy complicating things. I suggest Ms. Sontag abandon her lofty heights at the New York Times Magazine for a moment, and check out the New York Post photo of these future terrorists taking their oath to murder innocent civilians. Perhaps she should interview that frightful group for her next article. Only then will she present to the world an accurate portrayal of Palestinian psychology, rather than a tranquilized editorial revision sponsored by the New York Times.

Or she should heed the warning of one of Abdel Kareem Eid's progeny, whose vile reply is honest and chilling: "There will be no peace. It's us or them."

Oh, when will they ever learn?

Copyright 2002 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.