Observing a society's heroes offers insight into its nature and values. It is therefore distressing to observe how the Palestinian Authority transforms those who kill Jews, including women terrorists, into its heroes and role models, especially for children.
Immediately after the first suicide bombing by a woman, Wafa Idris, on January 27, 2002, the PA undertook a very public campaign of indoctrination of its women to see themselves as potential suicide bombers. Female suicide bomber Hanady Jaradat, who murdered 19 last week, is a product of this indoctrination.
After the Idris bombing, the official PA structures immediately turned Idris into a heroine and her murder into an act to be emulated. Within days, the PA held a demonstration in her honor with young girls carrying posters with Idris's picture, and the words: "The Fatah Movement... eulogize with great pride the heroic Martyr Wafa Idris." (Al-Ayyam, February 1, 2002)
Articles by women appeared within days throughout the PA media: "Raviha Diyav, of the Palestinian Women Union, emphasized that the participation of Idris in the attack shows the determination of the Palestinian women to participate as full partners in the national struggle, alongside her brothers." (Al-Ayyam, February 1, 2002)
The PA, seeing that women could more easily get by Israeli security, immediately created a framework for women's terrorist activity: "The purpose of this brigade is to carry out attacks on the Israeli home front. The troop has been named the brigade in honor of the Martyr Wafa Idris." (Al-Quds, March 1, 2002)
PA-controlled Palestinian Television immediately joined the promotion. It started broadcasting a musical video clip starring a woman singing to background scenes of extreme violence, who is suddenly transformed from a mere singer into a warrior wearing an army uniform singing of her desire to fall as a Martyr: "You will not be saved, Oh Zionist, from the volcano of my land's stones, I will even willingly fall as a Martyr." (PA TV March 10, 2002)
A concert honoring Idris has been broadcast repeatedly, as recently as July 24 this past summer, as a constant reminder - Wafa is the Palestinian heroine: "My sister Wafa... you chose Martyrdom, in death you have brought life to our will."
All this promotion led to a string of mostly unsuccessful suicide bombings by women and eventually to the bombing in Jerusalem by Ayat al-Akhras, a 17 year-old girl, whose victims included a teenage girl. The PA then turned these two successful killers into symbols for girls. PA summer camps for girls were named for Idris and Akhras, both last year and this year. This is particularity disturbing as it is natural for children to see another teenager being honored as a role model.
Idris has become so popular that even non-terror items appear now in her name: "The Shabiba student movement, 'the Martyr Wafa Idris cell' in the Al-Quds Open University, celebrated the completion of a course in democracy and human rights." (Al-Hayat al-Jadida, August 11, 2002)
It is important to note that just as the PA condemned last week's suicide bombing by Hanady Jaradat, it condemned Idris's attack in English while turning her into a heroine in Arabic: "The Palestinian leadership, on Sunday strongly condemned the suicide attack which took place in west Jerusalem..." (WAFA January 27, 2002)
Sadly, this campaign to turn female suicide bombers into role models is succeeding. In an interview after the first two suicide bombings by women, young girls on TV debated not the willingness to commit such atrocities but only the age at which it should be done: [19 year-old] Sabrine: "It's true that we're sad about children who have died, but at the same time we must be happy because the Shahids go to paradise. Ayat al-Akhras was 17 when she blew herself up. A girl of 17 is fully aware."
TV moderator: "Sabrine, are you for it or against it?"
Sabrine: "Of course I support blowing up, it is our right. Maybe no one will sympathize with us when they hear that children blow themselves up, but that, that's called heroism."
TV Moderator: "Sabrine, is it natural that Ayat al-Akhras explodes herself?"
Sabrine: "Of course its natural..."
[11 year-old] Walla: "What she said about Ayat al-Akhras - that it was her right - she's correct in supporting it... Ayat was a girl... 17 years old. She could learn more - finish her education. Then, when no more boys are left, and after she's finished her education, she can carry out operations." (PA TV June 9, 2002)
Based on past PA actions, and not its empty condemnations, terrorist and murderer Hanady Jaradat will join the ranks of Idris and Akhras, and become a part of the PA lexicon of killers to be honored, adored and emulated. She will become a new role model for young Walla and Sabrine. And we will soon be hearing about the Hanady Jaradat summer camp for girls, and the new Hanady Jaradat course in democracy and human rights.