Why Palestinian children die
Saturday 20th Mar 2004
Om Mohammed helps her twelve-year-old son Abu Ali with a toy suicide bomber belt he fashioned on his own.
"I hope to be a Martyr...I hope when I get 14 or 15 to explode myself." His mother is proud of her son: "God gave him to me to protect and defend our homeland." The family is seen in their Gaza City home, May 15, 2002. ( Maya Alleruzzo / The Washington Times ) GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip May 15, 2002 -- Abu Ali, like many 12-year-olds living in Gaza, has dreams of eternity. But the Palestinian boy's hopes are rooted in a grim reality: "I hope to be a martyr," he said.
"I hope when I get to 14 or 15 to explode myself."His mother, Om Muhammed, is eager to help her son, one of six children, accomplish his goal. She helps him tug on a toy suicide bomber costume in her living room as she serves mint tea to a visitor.
The get-up is dauntingly convincing, but is harmlessly made of electrical tape, plywood and spare wire. Harmless for now, at least.
"I encourage him, and he should do this," said the woman, the mother of six. "God gave him to me to defend our land.
Palestinian women must have more and more children till we liberate our land. This is a holy duty for all Palestinian people.
"Little Ali, masked in a kaffiyeh and carrying a toy gun made of pipes, marched earlier today in a demostration marking Al Nakba or " the catastrophe," as Palestinians refer to the day Israel was founded in 1948. Given Abu Ali's start in life, his future might seem inevitable. Walking through the streets of Gaza City, one can see young boys playing with toy Kalashnikovs and slingshots beneath the walls painted with graffiti depicting masked Hamas fighters, grenades, exploding buses.
Jobs in nearby Tel Aviv dried up for Palestinians from Gaza after the latest intifada began once peace talks broke down in 2000.
The Israelis closed the border crossings in an attempt to stop the Palestinian suicide bombers from blowing up themselves and Israeli civilians on buses, in cafes, supermarkets and restaurants.
But the bombers still make it through from other places. The killing and maiming of mostly innocent Israelis by these young Palestinians has only made life harder for the rest of the Palestinian people.
Even for Gazans with local jobs, road closings often leave them sleeping at the Israeli checkpoints.
Students from the south now sleep in tents at Al Aqsa University, lest they risk missing classes when the roads close. With no passports, Palestinians cannot travel. If jobs here are scarce, there is one man who is making enough to support his family.
Twenty-four-year-old Bahaa Yassin paints most of the portraits of martyrs seen in the Gaza Strip. Before the intifada, he did a variety of artwork to support himself and his wife. Family portraits, shop signs, and the occasional martyr.
Now, about 70 percent of his business comes from these large, loving tributes to the young fighters.Funeral marches are a citywide event. Young boys march -- usually five kilometers from the hospital to the graveyard -- alongside men shooting live rounds into the air.
Hisham Zaqout, whose nephew Youssef, 15, was killed when he tried to infiltrate an Israeli settlement, say the well-wishers, posters and artistic tributes have helped ease the family's pain.
"In Islam, sacrifice is the highest honor, " he says.
"Youssef did this for all of us to be free."The irony of his words is that the continued bombings and Israeli responses to them only continues the cycle of violence and hopelessness that has led to a downward spiral in the lives of both the Israelis and Palestinians.
Maya Alleruzzo is a staff photojournalist at The Washington Times in Washington, D.C.
It's a mothers love that makes them grow
A society that encourages death for it's children:
"I encourage him, and he should do this," said the woman, the mother of six. "God gave him to me to defend our land. "Palestinian women must have more and more children till we liberate our land. This is a holy duty for all Palestinian people."
Combined with the cowardly tactic of Palestinian "fighters" who fire on Israeli's from behind woman and children and it is a surprise to no one that Palestinian children die.
It is done on purpose for the lame PR points of saying: "Now, look at my dead child"
Do you think that the rest of the civilized world is not on to this tactic?
Again, spare us your selective "outrage".
It was the terrorism, stupid.
They love their children
Guess between their leadership that demonstrates such contempt for their people the parents feel that they can demonstrate that same contempt and selfishness as well by sending out their children to do their fighting for them.
I guess that old Golda Meir quote really plays out:
"There will be peace when the Arabs love their children more than they hate others."
Of course this is not true for all Arabs.
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