Last month, a female terrorist from East Jerusalem, who is a mother of 5 children, attempted to stab a Haredi man and stabbed an Israeli Arab whom she mistook for a Jew. The question remains, what would prompt a woman who is the mother of 5 small children to wage such an attack? The female terrorist confessed that she deliberately sought to kill a Jew, so it is clear that incitement definitely played a role in causing this terror attack to take place. On a PA TV program titled Our Ethics, which was aired shortly after this terror attack, a Palestinian female psychiatrist praised Palestinian female terrorists such as Dalal Mughrabi, who murdered 37 civilians in the Coastal Road Massacre, Leila Khaled, who hijacked two airplanes, and Fatima Barnawi, who placed a bomb in a Jerusalem movie theater. She referred to them as individuals who implemented “wonderful acts of heroism.”
In the period leading up to this terror attack, Fatah hosted a summer camp for children named after the very same Dalal Mughrabi and Hamas publicly celebrated the anniversary of the Sbarro Pizzeria Massacre, which resulted in the murder of 15 Israelis. It is critical to note that female terrorist Ahlam Tamimi of Hamas led the suicide bomber to that restaurant and left before the place was blown up. Meanwhile, also prior to this terror attack, Hamas has been hosting summer camps with a theme of “marching on Jerusalem” and incitement against Israel has been prominent in Palestinian media outlets as well as in statements issued by Hamas, Fatah, the Islamic Movement, the Arabic language media, and the Palestinian and UNRWA school system. In fact, even statements by some Israeli Arab MKs, such as Ahmed Tibi saying that the Temple Mount only belonged to Muslims and others saying that Israel is trying to change the status quo, has contributed to the present atmosphere of unrest. Indeed, such propaganda helps to create the false impression that Al Aqsa is in danger, a myth that has been used to fuel violence since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began.
Such incitement influences young Palestinians to wage terror attacks. This year, it was reported that both suicide bomber Wafa Idris and suicide bomber Ayat Al Akhras were glorified in a music video broadcasted on the Fatah run Awdah TV station. A young Palestinian who listens to a music video proclaiming that “life is insignificant” for “Al Aqsa has called and its call is precious” while both of these two female suicide bombers of the Second Intifada are displayed and referred to as “brides” who have written their marriage contract “in the blood of the veil” can seek to follow their example. On International Holocaust Memorial Day which also happened to be the 15th anniversary of the suicide bombing of Wafa Idris, Fatah proclaimed that she was a “daughter of the Fatah movement” whose “pure body exploded into pieces in the Zionist faces” in revenge for “the assassination operation against Raed Al Karmi,” who was a terrorist responsible for the murder of 9 people. And Al Hayat Al Jadida has published pictures of Palestinian women throwing stones at Israelis and Fatah has published cartoons calling upon Palestinian women to throw stones at Israelis.
In addition, studies have demonstrated that the Palestinian Authority has named at least 28 schools after terrorists and 3 after Nazi collaborators. Among the Palestinian female terrorists to have schools named after them are Dalal Mughrabi, who had 3 schools named after her and Shadia Abu Ghazaleh, who was killed when the bomb she was preparing to use against Israelis accidently exploded and had 2 schools named after her. In addition, the Artas High School for Girls near Bethlehem placed a mural of the 17-year-old suicide bomber Ayat Al Akhras on their building.
Children who attended these schools honoring Palestinian female terrorists told reporters that they seek to follow in the footsteps of the female terrorists that their schools are named after. For example, one girl proclaimed: “Dalal Mughrabi is a great leader. Our mothers give birth to thousands like Dalal and she still walks among us. I am proud to attend the Dalal Mughrabi School.” Another girl declared: “My life’s ambition is to reach the level of the martyr fighter Dalal Mughrabi.” And still another one stressed, “Shadia Abu Ghazeleh was a model of the wonderful female Palestinian fighter. We follow her path in this school.”
Unfortunately, the problem of incitement is not confined merely to these PA schools that either glorify terrorists in murals or name the school after a terrorist. According to a study conducted by the Center for Near East Policy Research, the new UNRWA schoolbooks are full of examples of incitement against Israel and the Jewish people. For example, a school book for 3rd graders titled Our Beautiful Language proclaimed, “I shall sacrifice my blood. In order to water the land of the noble ones. And I shall remove the usurper from my country. And shall exterminate the scattered remnants of the strangers. O country of Al Aqsa and the Holy Place. O cradle of pride and nobleness. Patience, patience because victory is ours.”
While incitement clearly played an important role in last month’s terror attack for the woman stressed she sought to die as a martyr and to deliberately murder Israelis, it also is evident that the female terrorist was having issues with her husband prior to the attack and it is plausible that this contributed towards motivating her to try and murder Jews. As Dr. Mordechai Kedar proclaimed, “There is a possibility that this might push a lady to do something to get killed in an honorable way and to get imprisoned in order to get freedom from the family. If this lady who tried to kill the Haredi man and the Israeli Arab man wearing a tee-shirt with Hebrew letters had some problems with her husband, to take a knife and to stab a Jew might relieve her of her miserable life with her husband.”
According to the book “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media,” which I am presenting in a lecture at the Netanya AACI on September 17 at 10:30am, of the eight female suicide bombers of the Second Intifada, Palestinian nationalism was a primary motivating factor for the suicide bombings of 5 of them. At the same time, in five out of the eight cases, the available literature suggested that the conduct and predicaments experienced by these Palestinian women cannot be considered normative within Palestinian society.
Not much has changed since then. It is plausible that the female terrorists of this current wave of terror are also not considered normative within their society. In fact, counter-terror expert Dr. Nancy Kobrin has even argued that when the terrorist is a woman, nationalism and incitement is definitely a factor in influencing the women to wage terror attacks but it is secondary to the abuse that these women experience in their society: “A shame honor culture is a culture of terror and to live under a death threat.” If the husband of last month’s female terrorist abused her or raped her, which is a possibility that should be investigated, it is possible that this female terrorist sought to commit a terror attack in order to die or be imprisoned and harming Jews was just an honorable way within her culture for her to achieve this end.
To learn more, attend the Women and Jihad lecture at the Netanya Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel on September 17 at 10:30am. The Netanya AACI is located on 28 Shmuel Hanatziv Street.