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WHAT'S WRONG WITH 'SUICIDE' BOMBING?
|Washington DC: What's wrong with "suicide" bombing? Like tanks, gunships, bunker-busting bombs, F-16s, and cruise missiles, it kills people. That's what's wrong.
The reported fatalities between December 1987--the first Palestinian intifada--and January 2002 were 2,166 Palestinians, and 454 Israelis. During this same period, the number of Palestinians seriously injured by live ammunition, rubber bullets, shrapnel, etc. were 18,761; the number of Israelis seriously injured 427. This from statistics reportedly endorsed by the Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem.
Islam forbids killing except in certain circumstances such as in self defense, or in response to another killing. Even then Islam counsels forgiveness, or compensation for the victim's family.
According to University of California professor Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions: "The Koran's definition of a Holy War is virtually identical with that of a Just War in the Canon Law of Catholicism. It must either be defensive or to right an horrendous wrong."
What else is wrong with "suicide" bombing? Less than what Americans generally believe.
Most Israelis over the age of 18, aren't exactly civilians. All eligible men and women are drafted into the Israel Defense Force at age 18. Men serve for three years, women for 21 months. Upon completion of compulsory service each soldier is assigned to a reserve unit.
As for the recent "suicide" bombings in Israel, We Hold These Truths, a Christian organization, reports:
- All Israeli busses are owned and operated by the state, and each one serves as a military transport vehicle. Civilian passengers often find themselves riding next to an on-duty, rifle-carrying soldier being ferried to a duty station.
- Israeli pizzerias and McDonalds fast-food restaurants are teeming with off-duty and on-duty Israeli military men and women, many of both sexes carrying rifles.
Palestine is occupied land, and under international law, the Palestinians have a legal right to resist this occupation by any and all means. This makes busses, restaurants, discos--where Israeli military congregate, legitimate targets.
But there's no excuse for the killing of children. And there's no excuse for Israelis or Palestinians knowingly putting children in harm's way.
And what fuels the intifada, and the Palestinian "suicide" bombings, is Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes and orchards, and Israeli settlements--a violation of international law--and President Sharon's desire to scuttle the peace process, and drive Arabs out of Palestine, permanently.
Suicide--the deliberate termination of one's life--for a greater cause is not an Arab monopoly.
The Japanese used kamikaze or suicide attacks in World War II; a woman belonging to the Tamil Tigers blew up herself, several others, and India's prime minister Rajiv Gandhi; and those who protect the U.S. president are taught to sacrifice their lives to protect the president.
And what Western media call "suicide" bombings are generally viewed as martyrdom by Arabs.
Islamic scholars say Islam forbids suicide, but accepts martyrdom--suicide being a selfish act contrary to God's will, martyrdom being a generous act in which the individual sacrifices his or her life for others.
In the end, whether it's "suicide" bombers, or tanks, gunships, bunker-busting bombs, F-16s, and cruise missiles, the end result is the same: people die. And Palestinians are the overwhelming victims.
So why does the media focus on "suicide" bombing?
Because it sets up Palestinian Arabs, Christian and Muslim, as the "other," therefore, a more legitimate target in the eyes of the American public, and it helps legitimize Israel's criminal conduct against the Palestinians, which, according to Francis A. Boyle, professor of international law, "has been financed, armed, equipped, supplied, and politically supported by the United States."
The Wisdom Fund (www.twf.org) q
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