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The face of evil - Wafa the hospital bomber


It didn't happen, but as the Hallmark people tell us, it's the thought that counts. As Mahmoud Abbas and Ariel Sharon prepared for their summit meeting, someone was preparing a "surprise" for them. Wafaa al Biss (or Wafa al Bass), age given variously as 21 or 23, was caught at the Erez crossing, trying to enter Israel in order to carry out a suicide bombing in a crowded Israeli hospital. Bis was being treated gratis in Israel for burns she suffered in a home cooking accident. It takes more imagination than I have to imagine someone who would take advantage of the kindness of the Israeli medical establishment in this way.

The extreme cynicism of this "operation" by "freedom fighters" is difficult for ordinary people to appreciate. During all the time of the Intifada, while Palestinian propagandists were spreading stories about Israeli massacres and oppression, Israeli hospitals have been quietly extending humanitarian treatment to Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank.This "operation" was to take advantage of that kindness by attacking an Israeli hospital, using a young Palestinian woman.It was organized by the Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades.

Think about the minds that would plan an operation to kill people in a hospital as a reward for kindness. Eventually, some such operation may well succeed, and Israel will be forced to severely limit treatment of Palestinians in Israeli hospitals. This will be a tragedy for Palestinians, since they have no adequate medical facilities of their own, and of course, it will be exploited by the usual people as "proof" of the oppressive and "evil" nature of the "Zionists."

Wafaa herself does not come off as either a desparate oppressed refugee nor as a religious fanatic, but rather as an ordinary sort of coward who is trying to maneuver her way out of her responsibility for what she did. She hopes for forgiveness. Can she be forgiven? She didn't kill anyone, but it was not for want of trying.

Wafaa al-Biss is of medium height and slim. When she appeared before the press, she was wearing red flowery flip flops, gray track suit pants, white cotton shirt. She was really frightened she cried a few times. At times she had no confidence, not like some terrorists interviewed in media who talk of conviction and religion. She said "I didn't kill anyone. Do you think they will forgive me? Do you think they will give me any mercy, I hope they show me mercy, I didn't kill anyone." But on a different occassion, she told reporters her dream was to be a martyr.

She's got burned badly while she was cooking a cake in her house. She says it was two months ago, but her memory is not good. Others say it happened five months ago. The oven blew up or gas stove blew up and caught fire. At the bottom of her pants her burnt ankles are visible. Her hands and face are disfigured.

She hoped for forgiveness, she asked what the sentence will be. She said she woke up this morning at her father's house in Jebaliya and went to Erez and she was caught with bomb. "They saw that my walk was different. Because everything was in the pants."

Then a reporter questioned her to give more details and she starts telling a different tale. She says she left Shifa hospital at five AM. She had woken up from an operation and was still under influence of anesthesia when saw someone had dressed her. "I didn't know I had explosives on me."

Wafa claimed she was still bit dizzy and then put into car and taken to Erez and said she started walking, "I felt my pants were heavy and realized that someone had put these on me"

Shin Bet (Israel Security Service) personnel said she was lying.

ISS spokesperson, Michal Yaniv said that Wafa had decided to bomb Tel Hashomer instead of Soroka because there are too many Arabs at Soroka. According to Michal Yaniv, Wafa was in Shifa yesterday because she had to have a piece of metal removed from her hand so she could go through the metal detector. It is not clear what the metal was. Wafa had in the past been treated at Soroka for the burns. Michal said that Wafaa was very focused on going to blow herself up.

Can we really blame only this half demented and confused woman, or do we blame the people who sent her? She was not sent by the usual bogeyman - the Hamas or the Islamic Jihad. Wafa was sent by the Fatah Al-Aqsa brigades. It is their way of keeping the famous "Tahidiyeh" - the lull. It is not about "resistance" to occupation. Everyone understands that the Israelis will leave Gaza in a few months, and that bombings such as these could only perpetuate the occupation.

Perhaps the bombing was about political rivalry between different groups in the Fateh, and it is even worse than that perhaps. Amira Hass wrote:

A veteran Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) prisoner, who was jailed before the Oslo period, said this week that he and his friends were shocked to hear from the new inmates who have joined them in the past four to five years, that dispatchers and those dispatched to armed actions during these years
acted on the basis of a monetary reward or the promise of one - regardless of their "success."

So perhaps what the violence is really about now, the "fundamental cause" that everyone is always citing, is rent-a-terrorist types (have bomb will travel) who are afraid that peace and Mahmud Abbas will leave them unemployed.

As Hass wrote, Palestinians for the most part treated this newest nadir of depravity with indifference. Not all were indifferent. A Palestinian doctor, Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a resident of Jebalya refugee camp who works at Soroka hospital wrote:

Israeli hospitals extend humanitarian treatment to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. These efforts continued when all other cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis came to a halt during the most recent intifada.

To plan an operation of this kind against a hospital is an act of evil. Children, women, patients, doctors and nurses were the target. Is this a reward for kindness? Is this an advertisement for Islam, a religion which respects and sanctifies human life? This is aggression and a violation of humanity.

What are we going to say if Israel now clamps down on Palestinian patients seeking medical treatment inside Israel? All of us know that we are suffering from restrictions and acts of collective punishment imposed by the Israelis. We now risk imposing additional suffering on Palestinians in need of medical care.

Bravo to dear Dr Abuelaish, but the issue is not really fighting Israel, or averting Israeli sanctions, nor even saving Mahmoud Abass's leadership, or even saving the possibility of peace. The issue is saving Palestinian society from madness and depravity, and the Palestinians will need ten thousand or a hundred thousand or a million more like Dr Abuelaish if they are to save their society.

Amira Hass noted:

And perhaps this is automatic sanctification of the willingness to die? The moment the young woman was caught planning to die "for the homeland," as she declared, nobody asks publicly how her death will help or harm the homeland. They look at her burned hands, and are silent.

What can we say about a group of hired thugs whose aim is to rob their own people of their only chance for peace and freedom, because it threatens their livelihood, and whose method is to murder doctors nurses and patients because they have done an act of kindness? Do we call them "militants?" "activists?" Isn't "terrorist" too nice an epithet for such people? What can we say about the society that tolerates them and that makes their messengers of death into "martyrs?"

It is not only the Palestinians who need someone to tell them the truth. What can we say about apologists for "resistance" and suicide bombing in academia and politics, who build their careers by "explaining" the "psychology" of suicide bombing, the "philosophy" of suicide bombing and the "morality" of suicide bombing?

I kid you not. Professor Terry Eagleton believes that suicide bombing is a very moral act:

Like hunger strikers, suicide bombers are not necessarily in love with death. They kill themselves because they can see no other way of attaining justice; and the fact that they have to do so is part of the injustice.

According to Eagleton, we must admire Wafa for protesting against the injustice of her burned cake and her burned face by trying to kill the people who tried to help her. Indeed it was unjust of them to try to help her. Surely others are more deserving.

Eagleton explains that suicide bombers, like martyrs are really sacrificing themselves for the common good:

Suicide bombers also die in the name of a better life for others; it is just that, unlike martyrs, they take others with them in the process.

If we are very lucky, then in a hundred years, the world will look back in wonder and horror at the suicide bombers, and at writings of people like Eagleton and Robert Pape, and try unsuccessfully to understand how we bred such monsters, just as we cannot understand cults of child sacrifice in the ancient world. If we are not lucky, in a hundred years, the entire world will be like Palestinian and Iraqi society, overrun by "resistance" "activists" murdering people in hospitals, churches, mosques, synagogues, supermarkets and discotheques. That is what must happen if we continue to euphemize suicide bombings as "resistance" and "activism" and to glorify and reward this insane depravity.

Ami Isseroff

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Replies: 6 comments

This article has hit the nail on the head. The moment that Fatah-Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades cross the red line and attempt to attack hospitals, many questions must be asked about the true desire of the Palestinian extremist groups having a field day under the Palestinian leadership. Once again, we see that the ulterior motive is to destroy Israel. It makes no difference which terrorist group is responsible. There are so many of them. The Fatah movement of Mahmoud Abbas is linked to this foiled attempt. If this is happening under the nose of Mahmoud Abbas while he was negotiating with Ariel Sharon, this does not bode well for the future of peace let alone the right of sick Palestinians to obtain treatment in Israel immediately because of more stringent security checks in the future.

It looks as if peace in this area is going to be evasive for many years to come as the extremist Palestinian terrorist groups are prepared to use the cruelest methods in their lexicon to prevent any form of negotiations for a just and lasting peace.

The red line of attacking hospitals is so self-defeating even from the Palestinian point of view. The sending in of a suicide bomber who is in need of medical treatment at the hospital that had treated her is the lowest level of Palestinian terrorist depravity!

Posted by Shimon Z. Klein @ 06/25/2005 08:48 PM CST

The Israeli government can always close the borders and deny these people access to Israeli facilities. It may be inhumane, but necessary.
However spare a thought for Palestinian society, and its willingness to use and abuse those already victims of their own society. A large number, if not all, of the suicide bombers had something in their past which made clear that they were outcasts to be victimised - the rejected wife, the teenager with stunted growth, an hermaphrodite and so on. This last one a young woman disfigured in a kitchen accident. Have some pity for these people who seek escape from their appalling presents & futures, and save your anger for those who send them out to die. Behind these unfortunates are those men and women who call out for action in their dirty covert struggle for power - power to continue to abuse ordinary Palestinian people.

Posted by Rod Davies @ 06/27/2005 08:45 PM CST

The important point is not that they comit suicide but that they do to kill civilians. I have read the article of this Eagleton and is rather vomitive when compares a slaughter in a market with an artistic performance. To compare suicidal bombing against civilians with hunger strike is to miss the point completely since are opposite. The strike hunger do not kill nobody while the suicidal bomber (or the activist going to a kibutz to kill childs until he were killed) kills unarmed people and the fact that commits suicide or not is irrelevant compared with the abomination of his main purpose. The emphasis must be put in who he kills not in if kills himself or not.

Posted by Aleph @ 06/27/2005 11:56 PM CST

I am not at all surprised at this article I am not surpised at the comments
shown above they`re all misleading and all lies!

Posted by looking eor peace @ 07/03/2005 07:46 AM CST


Posted by looking for peace @ 07/03/2005 07:48 AM CST

One can certainly understand why everyone involved in the Palestinian situation experiences an extreme level of frustration. I sincerely believe that many of those involved in acts of violence are doing it because it has become a way of life. Thirty or fourty years ago it was a cause, reclaim Palestinian land. Today it appears to be the social norm. Nothing else to do, blow something up, throw rocks...

Look at Northern Ireland. There are many parallels.

Both sides have many valid arguements supporting their perspectives. Reality dictates that Israel will not be destroyed. It also dictates that unless the Palestinians come to that realization, they will always suffer. Over time, Palestinians will be able to integrate and live on the land of their forefathers.

Is it right that so many Palestinians are displaced - no.

Is it right that the country of Israel was willed the land by those who didn't own it -no.

Is it right to kill the benefactors - no.

It is done! It will not go away.

Work with what you have and try to make it better for your children.

Posted by Tim Mroczek @ 07/10/2005 06:48 AM CST

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