Encouraging Women Terrorists
Since the first suicide bombing by a woman this past January, there is a growing movement directed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), to advance the ethos of the Palestinian Woman Fighter. This includes the glorification of woman terrorists and suicide bombers as symbols to be admired and imitated. The PA is now transmitting very clear messages to its female population, that they should see themselves as full and active partners fighting alongside Palestinian men in their attacks against Israelis.
“Partners in All of Life’s Demands, Including Militaristic Ones”
An article appearing this week in the PA daily implores women to see their role as equal to men’s including the following admiring the woman’s role as terrorist:
“Recently, the heroine Wafa Idris [the suicide bomber on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem] succeeded in carrying out the bombing in Jerusalem, and subsequently, the Martyr Da’arin Abu Asiyah [suicide bombing at a roadblock]. These actions... attest to the Palestinian woman’s capability to perform successful actions...”
"Shake the earth,
Raise the stones
You will not be saved, Oh Zionist,
From the volcano of my land’s stones,
You will not be saved, Oh Zionist,
From the volcano of my land’s stones,
You are the target of my eyes,
I will even willingly fall as a shahid
Allah Aqbar, Oh, the young ones." [PATV March 10, 2002]
The Palestinian media publicized opinion polls taken recently, showing that “the desire to seek revenge is greater among women than men. For example, 96% of female university students expressed support for suicide attacks, according to one of the surveys conducted.”
[Al-Ayyam,“The Eighth Day” Supplement, February 7, 2002]
The growing propensity to encourage women to adopt the role of fighters was sparked by the suicide bombing in Jerusalem, as the bomber, Wafa Idris, is presented by both men and women in the Palestinian Authority as an ideal role-model, worthy of imitation.
[Al-Ayyam, February 1, 2002]
“…Attaf Yussuf, a columnist in the media supplement “The Women’s Voice”, claims that “Palestinian women desire to participate alongside the men in all aspects of the struggle.” [Al-Quds, March 1, 2002]
Men in the Palestinian Authority, likewise, glorify Idris:
There are signs signifying that the Palestinian Authority intends to turn Idris into a new symbol for young Palestinian girls. Immediately following the suicide bombing, the Palestinian Authority held a memorial demonstration in her honor. A photograph of this demonstration appeared in the Palestinian press, in which posters bearing her picture with the Al-Aqza Mosque in the background are shown, together the following caption: “The Fatah Movement... eulogize with great pride the heroic Martyr, of the Al-Amari Refugee Camp, the Martyr Wafa Idris”. [Al-Ayyam, February 1, 2002]
The demonstrators waving these posters are young school girls, perhaps first-graders.
Dalal El Mughrabi and Others
One of the heroines of the Palestinian Authority has always been Dalal El Mughrabi, the woman terrorist who participated in the kidnapping and murder in 1978 of Israeli bus passengers returning home from an outing. Despite the fact that this terrorist attack transpired many years ago, and although the event resulted in the killing of the male terrorists as well, the Palestinian Authority notes its anniversary, glorifying the personality and heroism of the woman participant - Mughrabi. In August 2000, for example, she was described in a cultural program in these words:
[PATV, August 31, 2000]
Her name even appears in crossword puzzles in the PA daily newspapers, e.g. “Famous Palestinian Martyr” – “Dalal El Mughrabi”. [Al Hayat Al Jadida, July 23, 2000]
The article appearing this week in the Palestinian Authority press made another connection with Dalal El Mughrabi, including a revolting libel attributing to Ehud Barak abuse of Mughrabi’s body, because of the Israelis’ “shock and fear” of the Palestinian warrior:
“Most of the stories of the woman Matyrs… are still connected to the death of the Martyr Dalal El Mughrabi… who, with her small group, succeeded in causing the greatest number of casualties amongst the Israelis. The head of the Israeli government and the Israeli security services went mad, as can be seen by the actions of the then Chief of Staff of the Israeli military, Ehud Barak, who stuck the bayonet of his rifle into the Martyr El Mughrabi’s body, as well as performing other atrocities on intimate parts of her body – a testimony to both the level of their fear of the Palestinians and their fury even after the Martyrs had fallen. Despite the passing of so many years since the falling of the Martyr El Mughrabi, we feel as if her heroism was at work in yesterday’s event…even if a Martyr is absent from her body, the spirit of her struggle continues to live within the consciousness of women aspiring to perform similar acts of heroism, and especially in times when the Sharon government escalates its acts of aggression and oppression against our people.”
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, March 11, 2002]
The second package was meant to explode later, but a police officer found the package before it went off. Several days later, an explosion occurred in the cafeteria of the Hebrew University. This attack resulted in twenty-eight wounded. This action was perpetrated by Mariam El-Shachshir from Nablus." [“The Women’s Voice, Al-Ayyam, February 28, 2002]
During the fighting of the last year and a half, although the women did not assume an active role in the fighting until recently, the Palestinian Authority still attempted to encourage and praise any connection between the women and the war. One example is an article featured over a year ago in the Palestinian Authority’s press, describing the “good girl” as one who wants an m-16 for her wedding:
“…the bride-price Jasmeen requests is a modest but strange one, a M-16 automatic rifle. Instead of asking for money and jewelry, the twenty-eight year old Jasmeen requests from her fiance to acquire a weapon for her so that she may join the fighters of the intifada. Jasmeen is an alias she assumes in order to escape the persecution of the occupation forces…” I do not want gold, or a diamond ring, or jewelry, but rather a M-16, and if only I can acquire this I will wish for no more to be paid by my fiance.” Her fiance, who is also a fighter, promises such a rifle to his bride-to-be… a slender girl…she does not appear to be a warrior – and yet she has been active in the intifada for a number of months already. At first she supplied information regarding routes to the places of fighting, supplying ammunition, food supplies, water and means of communication to the fighters, and through publicizing opinions on the internet. Now Jasmeen says she has learned how to put together a rifle, has done target and shooting practice, with her parents’ encouragement…”
[Al Hayat Al Jadida, March 10, 2001].
The bombing in Jerusalem, carried out by the female terrorist, is presented as a turning point, and, in fact, was an unusual occurrence. However, the encouragement of women to accept an active role in the fighting cannot be seen as a new direction, but rather as a reinforcement of an already existent tendency to create the ethos of the Palestinian woman fighter. Furthermore, there are concrete signs that the Palestinian Authority intends to utilize this attack as a springboard to encourage women to take a more active part in the attacks against Israel.