Leave Our Kids Alone


| May 15, 2002 Issue


O ne Palestinian family's open criticism of the use of their son as a suicide bomber has pressured Palestinian terror groups to ban the practice. Andrew Friedman, in an article for the Pacific News Service , says that this is a giant change in the thinking of terrorist organizations, and for Palestinians in general. The criticism was one of the first occurrences of rebellion in recent history by Palestinians against the Palestinian Authority. The ban could mean the end of terrorist control, if more Palestinians follow the example and refuse to support the regime by donating their children as "martyrs for the cause." Friedman writes that the criticism challenges Palestine's solid status quo of using civilians and children as defense: "Years of Palestinian officialdom have created a culture in which parents rejoice at the deaths of their kamikaze offspring--and children are encouraged to 'get out there' to support the cause. Now, at the first sign of bad PR, these groups are rethinking their strategy." The author adds that the continuation of this pressure is vital to the end of the terrorist force in Palestine, and speculates that many Palestinians, emboldened by the actions of the family, may take the opportunity to confront the newly-freed Yasser Arafat about their losses as well. Such a seemingly small defiance could mean sweeping changes to Palestine's political and social climate, as Friedman says that "with Palestinian officials on the defensive, ordinary Palestinians have a rare chance to reclaim their lives, their economy and their government."
--Julie Madsen
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