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Palestinians Cheer Carnage

Palestinians Cheer Carnage

The joyful response of so many to the death, suffering, and mutilation of students and university workers raises pointed questions about the health of Palestinian society.


In Gaza last week, crowds of children reveled and sang while adults showered them with candies. The cause for celebration: the cold-blooded murder of at least seven people -- five of them Americans -- and the maiming of 80 more by a terrorist bomb on the campus of Jerusalem's Hebrew University. The joyful response of so many to the death, suffering, and mutilation of students and university workers raises pointed questions about the health of Palestinian society, both mental and moral. It makes many Israelis ask whether, even if a cease-fire is reached and negotiations someday resume, peace with the Palestinians is possible.

There is, of course, nothing new about Palestinians applauding terror. During the Gulf War in 1991, they danced on rooftops in praise of Iraqi Scud missiles raining on Israeli neighborhoods. Again, in the mid-1990s, after bus bombs in Israel killed dozens -- one of them was my sister-in-law -- an estimated 70,000 Palestinians filled a Gaza stadium to cheer a reenactment of the massacre. The deaths of over 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11 was another cause for dancing in Palestinian streets, though Arafat's men suppressed foreign coverage of the fete.

Props at a West Bank university exhibition included painted puddles of blood and scattered body parts.

The terrorist acts and their gruesome effects are celebrated as inspiration for the next generation. Most recently, a West Bank university held an exhibition in honor of the suicide bomber who killed 14 Israelis at a Jerusalem pizzeria in 2001; the props included painted puddles of blood and scattered body parts. Palestinian parades regularly feature columns of masked and hooded youths girded with cardboard explosives, proclaiming their frenzy to kill. Palestinian babies have also been photographed -- proudly -- in suicide bomber's garb.

Such festivities contrast radically with the reaction of Israelis to the deaths of Palestinian civilians in a recent attack on a Hamas terrorist leader in Gaza. Though "collateral damage" is virtually unavoidable in battle, though the army apologized for its mistake, and though the terrorist himself bore some responsibility for the tragedy by hiding out in a densely populated area, Israelis were deeply disturbed. Many engaged in introspection over anti-terrorist tactics; some took to the street in protest. There was no gloating, no cheering, certainly, but rather nationwide expressions of remorse, even shame.

For all its anomalies, Israel is at base a healthy society. The reaction of Israelis to civilian casualties, even among their mortal enemies, is similar to that shown by Americans after the accidental bombing of villagers in Afghanistan. But the Palestinians are different. Though Palestinian spokesmen often seek to justify terror in terms of popular frustration and despair, there is no rational explanation for the outbursts of joy bordering on ecstasy at the dismemberment of innocent children, women, and men. Beyond the controversy over settlements and territory, beyond the bitter conflict over Jerusalem, there is something else at work in the delight displayed by Palestinians over slaughter -- something sick and perhaps even evil.

Readers of Richard Rhodes's recently published book, "Masters of Death," learn that, after a day of shooting thousands of Jews, members of the SS Einsatzgruppen often repaired for a celebratory drink and banquet. The Nazis' behavior is readily identified as barbaric and insane. Surely those same adjectives apply, then, to Palestinians who rejoice not only when great numbers of Jewish civilians are butchered, but when their own children are blown up in the process.

For all the kudos discretely given SS killers by the regime, Nazi Germany never publicly lionized them, never plastered their pictures on the streets, or openly encouraged children to emulate them. That kind of adoration for mass murderers can only be found, in abundance, among the Palestinians.

The majority of Israelis, myself included, are willing to make far-reaching sacrifices for peace and to embark on a process of genuine reconciliation with the Palestinians. Yet that same majority will have immense difficulty forgetting the horrific scenes of carnage and the spectacle of Palestinians extolling them. For us, the issue is no longer merely borders and topography nor even the terms of a cease-fire, but whether a fundamentally sound society can trust one that has lost its mental and moral bearings.

The damage to peace efforts has been massive, and the chances for repairing it are slim. Still, a sane and responsible Palestinian leadership might yet arise and put an end to the bombings and their public glorification. The alternative is the elimination of all hope for a peaceful settlement in this or even future generations. For the Palestinians, who are now paying a staggering price for their ruinous resort to terror, that is reason enough not to celebrate.

August 10, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 6

(6) Ben Cheah, August 16, 2002 12:00 AM

Palestinian are the root of all the carnage.

The rampant suicide bombings by Palestinians are results of wrong upbringing by peers and parents. Palestinian children should be taught to love peace and not to throw stones or to die as martyr as suicide bombers. This ideas planted to children are sickening and peace cannot be achieved in the Middle-East as long as the mental state of the children are indoctrined with this hideous and violent theme. I Only pray for the people of Israel which is living in constant fear of these insanity attacks. May The G_d of Abraham protect the people of Israel.

(5) Anonymous, August 14, 2002 12:00 AM

know thy enemy

The Islamic Jihad truly has discovered powerful tools for achieving World Domination. The Master Minds of the Islamic Jihad indeed aim to conquor the world and bring it under the rule of Islam. While the United States have developed "fancy" theoretical weapons, Jihadists have utilized primitive tools of warfare that when joined with their well thought out scemes, prove to be quite lethal. The World wide Islamic Jihad is a conspiracy involvoing many Islamic State sponsors of Terrorism. It will take the world's best minds to defeat Jihadism. It will not happen from anger and haste. This War is a mind game not a bullet game. We must never underestimate this formidable enemy. My hope is that we don't wait until we suffer catistrophic suffering before taking appropriate action, surely we have suffered enough. I agree with the above mentioned comments; namely that Palestinian style Jihad is nothing less then pagan style human sacrifice, and that the wars against nations deemed Evil in the Bible, were indeed Evil nations, and that today's Palestinian Jihadists instruct us regarding the intensity of the evil that inspired Biblical wars that resulted in Israel's total annhilation of the enemy. The actions of the United States in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the second World War, for example, demonstrates what the United States does to people that push her too far. It would therefore seem that it is just a matter of time before the United States and Israel will have their backs against the wall and will ultimately take actions that will lead to an indesputable victory. Let me be clear, Yes we should kill, deport and imprision all Palestinian terrorists! The whole Islamic Jihad strategy is predicated on the assumption that the West, with all it's free thinking transparent Democracy, will never achieve the nerve and concensus needed to actually do the unspeakable. But the provocation is clear and I am confident that history will be kind to us for doing the unspeakable, particularily when we win!

(4) Anonymous, August 14, 2002 12:00 AM

vicious little animals

Personally I can't understand how Jews could care if civilian Palestinians get killed in the proccess of erradicating a terrorist leader, the brains and inspiration for the slaughter, one devoted to the destruction of another race because they came back to their land which they were forced to leave.

As far as I'm concerned all of the Palestinians are accessory to mass murder. They glorify, aid, and embed the sucicide bombers. These people are ignorant and uncivilized and no amount
of civil negotiation can coax these people into a civilized co existence.

The rest the world could care less who is looking for peace and who is looking for war. As long as Palestinians are dancing in the streets at the murder of Jews the world will side the Palestinians. In high school if a bully starts a fight with a kid that nobody likes when the teachers ask how it got started the bully proclaims innocence and all the other kids swear to it becuase no one likes the kid that just got beat up. The kids only crime was coming to school that day. Isreal is that kid that nobody likes.

(3) Anonymous, August 13, 2002 12:00 AM

Human Sacrifice?

As a Catholic Christian I look at your situation from the outside and see things differently since I am not involved. If a person raises their child to be a "martyr" and teaches them they will go straight to Heaven if they die and kill many Jews, is that not human sacrifice of their own children? I know of no religion that condones or promotes human sacrifice, but that is what they are doing in my mind. Like most Americans, (other than media writers), I am in full support of Israel's right to defend against terrorism. You have the same right that we do when we are attacked. I am shocked that the media is so one sided on these issues when it is so obvious who is doing G-d's will and who is trying to destroy G-d's Chosen in any vile way they can. Thanks for reading.

(2) Anonymous, August 11, 2002 12:00 AM

Too bad no one else thinks like you, in the media

Upon seeing the celebrations by the Palestinians, I didn't contrast their reactions to death and destruction to our reactions as Jews. You bring to light a very important point on the difference between us and them. Who is looking for peace? Who is looking for death? Who despises killing? Who praises murder?
However, I have noticed that many have been equating our attacking the Palestinians and the Palestinians' murdering of us. If an cop kills an armed robber, is he a murderer, or is he protecting the peace in his society? As seen by their parades and celebrations, the Palestinians want to kill us! Are any of those people there now "innocent civilians" if they are dancing to the beat of our dying hearts? Don't we have a right to protect our society? The Palestinians are commiting homicide and we are taking police action against them. I cannot see it any other way.
A very good article.

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