Bomber's stunned family has little time to grieve


Bomber's stunned family has little time to grieve
Wed 22 September, 2004 20:44

By Atef Sa'ad

NABLUS, West Bank (Reuters) - Relatives of Zeinab Abu Salem had little time to absorb the shock after the 18-year-old blew herself up in a suicide attack in Jerusalem.

They rushed instead to empty the family home in the Palestinian refugee camp of Askar near the West Bank city of Nablus, expecting Israeli bulldozers to soon come to demolish it.

"I don't know what's happening," said Abu Salem's 12-year-old brother Tarek, in disbelief that his sister had died. "I don't know where she is. She isn't at home."

Abu Salem, whose photographs show her as a brown-eyed girl in a white headscarf with a slight smile, blew herself up near a hitch-hiking post in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing two Israeli border police and wounding 17 other people in the first suicide attack in the city in seven months.

The blast tore through the mainly Jewish district of French Hill in Arab East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in a move not recognised internationally.

In the aftermath of the attack, hundreds of residents of the Askar camp rushed to help the bomber's family remove furniture, clothes and appliances from a two-storey house built by the United Nations agency that serves Palestinian refugees.

Family members said they had known nothing of Abu Salem's plans for the attack.

Her father Ali, recovering from surgery to open clogged arteries, collapsed and was taken to hospital after learning of his daughter's death.

Relatives said Abu Salem had just passed high school graduation exams and had spoken of entering university.

Minutes later, Abu Salem's mother also passed out and was rushed to a local hospital.

"She had a second shock. It was not enough that she lost her daughter. Now she fears she will lose her husband," a neighbour said. "Look at the house, which is empty of her daughter, her husband and all its contents."

Israel typically demolishes the homes of militants suspected of involvement in suicide bombings, a practice Palestinians condemn as collective punishment but which Israeli officials say deters future attacks.

Abu Salem, dispatched by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades militant group that is part of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, was the first woman from the Askar camp to blow herself up.

The bombing was the eighth by a woman since the start of a four-year-old Palestinian uprising, Israeli media said. Residents said Abu Salem was one of 10 children from a family not known for connections to militants.

"Oppression is everywhere," said her uncle Mustafa Shinawi, 55. "Every Palestinian finds his own suitable way to protest the Israeli oppression."

Suprisingly sensitive article - you rarely hear about WHO the suicide bombers were.
Rick van Opbergen
What is the point of breaking down the home of these terrorists (I oppose to calling them freedomfighters)?
Reverend Blair
There is no point, Rick. It's brutal revenge on people who had nothing to do with any of it.
Quote: Originally Posted by Rick van Opbergen

What is the point of breaking down the home of these terrorists (I oppose to calling them freedomfighters)?

Why do we call oppressed people terrorists? Aren't the Palestinians fighting for their homeland?

I have a question and I hope someone can answer it.

If I go and take your house by force and force you in the bathroom. Then I will deprive you of using the water in the bathroom. Then I ask you not to use the toilet because it will be used by me and my family and so on and so forth until you are sitting in a small bathtub.All of a sudden you have a slight chance to break out of the bathroom. Would you kill me? And if you kill me, are you a terrorist?
Rick van Opbergen
I somehow knew you would react moghrabi

moghrabi, a person who kills innocent people is a terrorist. End of story. Don't think I don't know anything about the frustration among Palestinians - yes, I'm not one of them, nor did I ever visit the Palestinian Territories, but I've spoken to some Palestinians, did some reading on my part, so I'm not totally ignorant about the situation.

Now, frustration seems to be the root cause for the fact some Palestinians blow themselves up in busses, malls etc. However, point is: does that justify the fact that on the "other side" (Israel), innocents will be killed too because of their actions? Thousands of Palestinians are living in refugeecamps for generations because they are not granted citizenship, not by the Israeli government, not by the Jordan government, not by the Lebanese government etc. Thousands of Palestinians are not able to even have access to basic things: healthcare, education etc. Thousands of Palestinians seem to have no future.

In the eyes of these so-called freedomfighters, it is just that innocent Israelis have to pay for what their government has done to them. Average Israelis who go to work, have families, raise their kids, go to school.

The frustration among the majority of Palestinians is probably something I can never describe, or better: I can never experience, or feel. I can not see what's going on in their heads. But when a Palestinian blows himself up in a mall, because he or she thinks that it is just, while knowing those little children standing two feet from him (or her) will die in a couple of seconds ... I will call those people murderers, terrorists, and I can feel sympathy for their situation at home, but I can never feel sympathy for the actions they do.
Frustration, lack of basic rights, etc that you mentioned pushes people to the extreme. So, as much as I condemn the act of blowing yourself up and kill innocent people, I do understand a little about what is going on in their heads. Let me explain:

When a child sees his fathers body charred and beyond recognition, when he sees his mother being humiliated by army men at checkpoints, when he sees that his sister just died while pregnant and the army will not allow her to cross to the hospital, when the child see F-16 firing rockets at buildings and people and his/her friends are gone to pieces, then you will understand a little of why these people do what they do.

As for citizenships for Palestinians in other countries, I am totally against it. This is exactly what the occupation government want. Let them have a Lebanese or Jordanian citizenships and then they stop asking for their right of return.

The action of suicide bombers is ugly, but the actions of an occupier is even uglier. You just have to live it to feel it.

Now, you haven't answered the question in my previous post. If you kill me, are you a terrorist?
Rick van Opbergen
I thought the discussion was about the fact that I oppose to calling these people freedomfighters.
Well if you take my scenario and you kill me, are you a terrorist or a freedom fighter?
Rick van Opbergen
Now, I know that you have done things to me that aren't acceptable. But I don't kill your child, your parents or other familymembers not directly involved, right?
No of course not. The question is not personal. Just take the scenario as it will happen to you and give me an answer. If you kill me to regain your house, are you a terrorist or a freedom fighter?
Rick van Opbergen
That was my answer moghrabi. On the other hand, I can not give you an answer, cause I don't know where you are heading to. So what you seem to imply is that every Israeli is the same person as the one taking over your house, and that's why, it's logical to kill any Israeli as a natural reaction? What do you mean moghrabi? Why not say it directly instead of using this metaphore?
I am not saying every Israeli. It is the government that is to blame. But when these things happen as I mentioned earlier, the bombers do not think about the difference between you and your government. They go nuts and it becomes a natural reaction to them. Period.

By the way, most of my good friends are the good Israeli ones. LOL
Rick van Opbergen
I'm not denying these people are not able to see the difference between a government and an average Israeli. However, I would still call them terrorists. Because what they do is wrong. "Freedomfighter" seems to imply that it's something good.
When the Israeli army shoots to kill, uses 1 ton bombs in residential areas, when they assassinate people, when randomly attack a town. Is it justifiable or is it the same as suicide bombers? Both are terror.

If one is doing it with planes and trains
the other is doing it with bodies and brains.

Now I am a poet...
Rick van Opbergen
Exactly moghrabi. And do you see me claiming the IDF is NOT using terror?
no i never said you did. But the end justifies the means.
Rick van Opbergen
Meaning? That if suicidebombers blowing themselves up in Israel can force the Israeli government to adjust their policy which will mean positive things for the Palestinians, the suicidebombers can go on with what they are doing because "the end justifies the means"? Or am I talking nonsense now?
Do you have an alternative way to tell the Israeli government to change its policy?
Quote: Originally Posted by moghrabi

Do you have an alternative way to tell the Israeli government to change its policy?

Don't you think that if the suicide bombings worked as a strategy, things would have gotten better all this time instead of worse?

Violence is never a solution.
I agree. Violence is not a solution. But why do we always blame the weak against the strong. Why are we blaming the Palestinians instead of Israeli action against them.

Suicide bombings never work as a strategy and terrorizing the Palestinians by using excessive force will not work as a strategy either. It hadn't worked for the past 50 years. To the contrary, it is breading more suicide bombers. Don't you agree? Things are not getting any better. Both have to give the other.
Rick van Opbergen
I agree moghrabi. But I thought it was already clear in this discussion that the Israeli government has to stop with what they are doing.
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