+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Hunger strike highlights forgotten tragedy of Palestinian prisoners

Khader Adnan’s hunger strike reached its 52nd day with little international attention. Some might think this is due to his association with the Islamic Jihad. However, the Israeli military has not presented any formal charges against him. Adnan is one Palestinian prisoner among thousands, about whom little is known.

In Israel, many simply brush away the issue of Palestinian prisoners by declaring them all to be terrorists. However, they may be surprised to learn that Khader Adnan has not been charged in court, but rather is presently in administrative detention.

There are some 300 Palestinians in Israeli jails under administrative arrest. This form of arrest can last for years without trial. The prisoners do not know what are they suspected of. While holding prisoners indefinitely contravenes the 4th Geneva Convention, you won’t find international leaders calling for the release of Palestinian prisoners, as they called to free Gilad Schalit from the hands of the Hamas government in Gaza.

But even those who do end up in front of a judge find themselves in military courts where the judge, the prison guard and the prosecutor wear the same uniform. They quickly learn there is no hope for justice.

The story of Khader Adnan, who launched his hunger strike in prison 52 days ago, is not unique. A hunger strike is one of the few tools that Palestinian prisoners can use against the injustice they face in Israel’s penal system. Last October, 2,000 Palestinians launched a hunger strike against prison conditions. Khader Adnan, however, has become the face of the Palestinian prisoners’ dignity. Posters of his likeness have become common, with statements like, “My dignity is more important than food,” or ” For every gram you lose from your weight, we gain a thousand grams in our dignity.” Khader Adnan has become a Palestinian symbol against administrative arrest and against the norm of humiliating Palestinian prisoners.

Prayer in support of Adnan, Palestinian prisoners, Gaza City, Gaza Strip, 03.02.2012 (photo: Anne Paq / Activestills)

However the price for resisting the prison administration is high. Many times those who engage in hunger strikes are punished with solitary confinement, through other physical means, or they are simply ignored.

What Khader Adnan is protesting brings painful memories to me. I remember Israeli soldiers breaking into my home to arrest my older brother Tayseer (18 years old at the time) on suspicion of throwing stones. He was also held for interrogation without anyone knowing his whereabouts until the Red Cross informed us 18 days later about his prison location. A year later, Tayseer died as a result of torture in prison. I remember that I was allowed to visit him once before being told that visitation is no longer allowed. The conditions in which Palestinian prisoners are held are inhumane and unjust and the silence of the Israeli community and the international community is shameful.

The Shin Bet has been allowed by the Israeli High Court to use “moderate physical pressure” against Palestinian prisoners. In a paper written by lawyer Allegra Pacheco, she details some of the physical pressure permitted for use against Palestinian prisoners:

Shackling interrogees in contorted painful positions on a titled footstool (known as shabeh), chaining in bent positions to pipes protruding from the wall, tying or holding in painful stretching positions with hands raised behind the back on a table (qas’at a-tawla), forced exposure to extreme temperatures of cold or heat, forcing the interrogee with kicks and blows to bend forward on the tips of his toes with his hands handcuffed behind his back, (qambaz), .stretching over a backless chair causing enormous pressure on the stomach until vomiting begins.

All this in addition to subjecting the interrogee to blaring loud music 24 hours a day, sleep denial for days, and covering his head with a thick army sack for nearly the entire interrogation period. Enhanced moderate physical pressure includes body and head shaking -violently rattling the interrogee’s body and head until at times the interrogee falls unconscious. This last method has been linked to the death of Palestinian interrogee Harizat during his interrogation in the Russian Compound.

Twenty years after Tayseer’s murder, it hurts the same to see other families going through this experience. The conditions that killed Tayseer are still in practice, and receive very little attention.

Solidarity action in support of Palestinian prisoner Adnan, Gaza City, 05.02.2012 (photo: Anne Paq / Activestills)

Two days ago, Jalal Abu Khater published a call to help Khader Adnan. This call is for all – Palestinians, internationals and Israelis alike. Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets for abducted soldier Gilad Schalit’s freedom. It is time to open our eyes and bear witness to what many prefer not to see. The solution to this conflict is not to close our eyes from what is depressing or hard to look at, but rather to be willing to realize the gravity of the situation. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

I look at the Israeli community and see thousands who are willing to talk about justice, peace and dialogue. They went out in droves to call for the right of one Israeli soldier to freedom. Now, I ask myself – where are those Israelis when it comes to Palestinian freedom? Where are they when it comes to Palestinian rights in their prisons? Where are the justice seekers and morality preachers?

Read also:
Palestinian on 48th day of hunger strike chained to hospital bed
Palestinians jailed on secret charges based on secret evidence
Hunger strikes declared in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners
Military court: Protest organizer to remain in jail, indefinitely

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Sinjim

      Excellent piece!
      .
      You are right to ask where the Israeli activists are in this case, but your question should also be directed at the PA leadership. Here we have a Palestinian who is ready to sacrifice his life to bring attention to the injustice of the Israeli prison system, and as far as I’m aware not a single one of the high-ranking officials within the PA has raised his voice in unqualified support for this man or his actions. Would those scenes of people gathering in solidarity in Gaza even be allowed in the West Bank?
      .
      If Israeli activists are shirking their duties to justice for Adnan, what on Earth can we say about the Abbas, Erekat, Fayyad, and the rest of them?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jalal

      Khader has already passed the no-return phase. When someone goes on a hunger strike over 25 days, physiology wise, there is an extremely high risk that his life organs will malfunction and never return normal, that is if he survives.

      As SINJIM said, It is really sad the way he is now neglected by the PA. They can do much more for Khader, they should!

      Khader is our prisoner of conscience. He needs us now! He speaks for hundreds and thousands suffering this injustice on a daily basis, only he dared speak out with all the power he had!

      Reply to Comment
    3. sh

      Terrible, powerful tool, hunger strikes. And yes, tragic and shocking that there have so far never been mass protests against “administrative detention” and the abuse that can be committed behind it without fear of reprimand.

      Reply to Comment
    4. During the prisoner swap, solidarity activists organised a hunger strike to call attention to the conditions of those prisoners who wouldn’t be released. Could this be repeated to draw attention specifically to the plight of administrative detainees? It could be combined with sit-ins outside the PA buildings, near checkpoints, etc.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Jazzy

      I don’t see why anyone is surprised that Adnan isn’t getting more attention, given that members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad are already famous around the world for killing themselves in suicide bombings (unlike Bobby Sands’ friends). The political impact of the hunger strike is considerably diminished for this reason, and I think everyone here knows it. I also find it strange that Aziz is comparing his deceased older brother to someone who is affiliated with a murderous organization like PIJ. I suspect that Israel arrests PIJ members and disrupts PIJ operations preemptively in order to avoid the kind of raids that would have to take place, in Palestinian civilian neighborhoods, were PIJ allowed to recover its second intifada capabilities and develop into a more serious threat – which complicates the cost/benefit analysis associated with giving someone like Adnan western-style due process. Something tells me that if all of the Palestinian security prisoners were released, and something like Operation Defensive Shield became necessary again, ya’ll would also insist that Israel refrain from military action. So the question, as always, boils down to whether Israelis deserve security, and whether the best way to provide it, at minimal cost to Palestinians, is to lament the injustice done to several hundred Palestinians, or to actually do something about the security problems that inevitably lead to abuse. As long as PIJ and its ilk exist, the underlying conditions for cases like Adnan’s will exist…

      Reply to Comment
    6. Piotr Berman

      The impact of reminding that PIJ is a “murderous organization” would be stronger if Yitzchak Shamir was not bestowed Israel Prize for “all his lifetime activities”, hence including the murder of UN envoy Folke Bernadotte. Another prime minister commanded a unit that murdered an entire village, that was an example of “the kind or raid that would have to take place”.

      If “deserving security” means doing all the shit that Israel finds necessary then I say, no, Israel does not “deserve security”.

      It is very nice to go to sleep knowing that your government is wise and if it does something for your security it carefully makes “cost/benefit analysis”. My favorite example was when the ban on importation of humus to Gaza was lifted “except for flavored varieties, for example with added mushrooms or pine nuts”. Ordinary citizens do not have to know how those mushroom or pinenuts undermine the security of SoI but there is a whole department that carefully analyzes what to forbid in respect to moving things in and out of Gaza and what to allow, when and where. It is utter folly (and/or anti-Semitism) to doubt their wisdom.

      Middle East is a difficult environment. On Thursday, humus of any kind is dangerous. On Friday, humus without flavorings is tolerable so IDF rushes to allow it. Similarly the level of danger emanating from Khader Adnan increased suddenly (or gradually, and exceeded carefully monitored critical level?). “Due process” is too crude for such subtle decision making.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Passerby

      That was a nice deflection, Piotr. It’s important to note, though, that we’re not talking about flavored hummus. Why don’t you peruse this incomplete list of Palestinian suicide attacks, 25% of which were committed by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and let us know whether Jazzy was making a couple of valid points.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_suicide_attacks

      Reply to Comment
    8. sh

      The man was chained to his bed in a hospital in Bnei Brak after having been on hunger strike for +-50 days and was no longer capable of standing up. Jazzy, Passerby, why?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Passerby,
      .
      The point is that Khader Adnan is being held under administrative detention. You may have judged him and found him guilty, but he has never even been given a charge, let alone a trial. He is not unique in that. Administrative detention is commonly used for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.
      .
      Leaving aside the other pertinent argument (Israel’s jurisdiction over the Territories and their residents is wrong to start with), don’t you think, if the case against Adnan were as cast-iron as you presented it, he would have been tried? Or at least charged with something? Are you supporting indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial? Be clear on this one, please.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Piotr Berman

      Suicide attacks happened some time ago, and IDF killed a very large number of people on that account, imprisoned a very large number of people etc. And many thousands of people are in category that can be imprisoned at any time, without anything like “Western due process”, or released, at a whim. One day Khader Adnan could be tolerated to be “outside”, another, not. No recent activity of his dreaded organization was observed.

      The same ever trustworthy IDF may find intolerable security danger in supplying shoes to Gaza, or legumes, but after few years, not.
      Just recently a French citizen hit herself on the neck with a stone that only seemed in video recording to resemble a gas canister (I paraphrase details from IDF initial version). Some facts are true EVEN if IDF claims that they are true, but in general IDF even does not try to be credible.

      Then there is an issue of humiliating and mistreating prisoners that is not justified even if some philosopher kings of IDF find secret reasons why they are bad people. Inhuman and degrading treatment is immoral even if applied to bad people. And it is immoral even if some other countries “do even worse things”.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Passerby

      Piotr, suicide bombings were happening as recently as 6 years ago and really only stopped because the Israelis found all sorts of ways to make them extremely difficult to execute. I realize that you’ve forgotten and stopped worrying about them already, but I know a couple of Israeli friends who lost their family members in these not-so-distant attacks and they remain deeply traumatized.

      Vicky, I didn’t present any iron-clad case, I merely suggested that Jazzy’s point about the history of this man was well made, as is the question of comparing him to Aziz’z brother.

      —-

      Regarding Administrative Detention, the truth is that I don’t know whether it should or shouldn’t be used. I don’t have enough data. Has it prevented attacks on Israelis in the past? If so, how many relative to the 200-300 Palestinians held in this status normally? Has it not prevented attacks or captured real enemies of Israel?

      ——-

      I wish I had the answers to these questions. My instincts tell me that there are probably many valid cases of administrative detention and some that aren’t valid. I don’t believe that the practice exists for the fun of the Shin Bet or whoever is in charge of it. If the system can protect Israel without administrative detention, then it should end this practice. If the system needs this form of detention, then it shouldn’t end it. I don’t wholesale support or oppose the practice. What I do hope is that there are people in the system, such as the courts and the Lindenstrauss who do oversee these activities and judge whether they still play a role in Israel’s defense strategies. If there aren’t, there should be because this should not be done lightly.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Passerby

      *the Lindenstrauss team (Israel’s comptroller)

      Reply to Comment
    13. M Hatherstone

      “That was a nice deflection”

      Exactly how was it a deflection for Berman to point out (as so few do) that Israel condemns Palestinian terrorists and fetes Jewish terrorists? Seems like it was pretty relevant, which is probably why you ignored it.

      Reply to Comment
    14. Passerby

      You mean, aside from conflating Lehi or Irgun activities with those of Islamic Jihad, or claiming that an entire Arab village was murdered at some point?

      I thought all that talk about hummus was a deflection. How did you not?

      Reply to Comment
    15. aristeides

      Sad to see this thread derailed by the humanity-deficient Ziotrolls. Particularly because Adnan’s sacrifice will be in vain. No one sees, no one cares.

      .
      I remember the 1981 IRA hunger strike, and the outrage of the world as the British occupation government let ten men die, one after the other, before finally acknowledging their demands. I remember the vigils counting down the last hours of Bobby Sands’ life.

      .
      Today, for the Palestinians, no outrage. Nothing. Only the revolting expressions of heartlessness from Ziotrolls.

      Reply to Comment
    16. Piotr Berman

      “Piotr, suicide bombings were happening as recently as 6 years ago and really only stopped because the Israelis found all sorts of ways to make them extremely difficult to execute.”

      This is basically my point: stopping suicide bombing does not rely on administrative detention. One measure that belongs to “all sorts of ways” and which is not appreciated enough is stopping of assassinations and random killing. At least they are rare in West Bank. Then there are walls, other barriers and other controls.

      The necessity of administrative detention is dubious. The necessity of degrading treatment is none.

      I appreciate that Passerby admits that administrative detention may be overused. It would be good to recognize that this is a relic of colonial law, from era when the British gave humanity such inventions like concentration camps (besides evolution theory, Maxwell laws and innumerable other positive inventions). Given that this is a terrible tool, it should be used in a humane way. For that matter, ALL prisoners should be treated the way you wish Israeli soldiers should be treated if captured (even if they are not).

      Recall what Gandhi said when asked what does he think about Western civilization. “It would be an excellent idea!”

      Reply to Comment
    17. passerby

      Piotr, apparently you do have it in you to engage in serious discussion. We agree that there shouldn’t be any degrading treatment and we agree that controls should be kept to a minimum. We even agree that this is a relic of mandatory times. However, the question is whether administrative detention is necessary or not and whether using it against an acknowledged Islamic Jihad leader is warranted. I’m saying that I don’t know, but by the same token I’m rejecting the idea that this is a priori something evil. There is far to much that we don’t know here.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Thank you bringing light to this important issue. I’m sorry for your tragic loss of your brother.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Jan

      To Jazzy and Passerby: You condemn Islamic Jihad but you do not condemn the occupation that gave birth to groups like Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Occupation breeds groups that try in any way that they can to get the boot of the occupiers off their necks. The Jews did this when they were under occupation by the British and the Palestinians have done this as well. In the 1930’s Jewish terror groups planted bombs in Arab markets and theaters killinhg many. Have you forgotten the terror bombing of the King David Hotel or the murder of Count Folke Bernatotte? I guess so.

      When and if you condemn the occupation, its brutality, the theft of Palestinin lands and water then you might have a point. But until then your words should fall on deaf ears as they have fallen on mine.

      Reply to Comment
    20. Passerby

      Jan, I am deeply disappointed to see you justify the murder of Folke Bernadotte, not to mention terrorist attacks on Arab civilians.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Jazzy

      Jan: I not a fan of the occupation and am not in a position to do anything about it. As an observer, I am simply explaining that Israel has legitimate security problems as a result of Islamic Jihad and its allies. If you want to see the occupation end, you’d acknowledge that simply capitulating to Islamic Jihad will not solve Israel’s security problems, and therefore will not end the occupation. Conflating (misguided) sympathy for Palestinian Islamists with actual policy ideas is a common problem here. I am talking about the latter. You are talking about the former.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Piotr Berman

      One cannot solve “legitimate security problems” if they are unsolvable. Existence of crazy political movements like Islamic Jihad or Likud cannot be wished away.

      To make a medical comparison, influenza of 1919 killed at least 20 million people. Clearly, an existential threat. We should have a right to preventatively isolate anyone who harbors that obnoxious virus for 6 months, renewable if there is secret evidence that the infection can relapse.

      However, one can observe that there is no capacity to isolate all people infected with influenza, and, luckily, there is no need. The symptoms in 2012 are very, very different than in 1919, the virus evolved. There are dire predictions that the virus has a potential to develop an ultra-virulent strain again, but for now, just sending home all infected folks is not “capitulation” or “misguided sympathy” but simple common sense.

      Because influenza affects all of us, we have some common sense about it. When we can associate a threat with “other people”, then unfortunately the kernel of truth is hopelessly mixed up with our deep need for shiboleths, criteria that separate “us”, folks under the commandments, from “them”, folks who are legal game for killing.

      Allegedly, the social model of tribes with internal solidarity and hostility to outsiders made a lot of ecological sense, assuring that settled areas were surrounded by “war zones” that included ecologically important wetlands and forests. As another bonus, headhunting relied more on intelligence than brawn…

      Perhaps for this reason, perhaps for other, humans have a huge capacity for keeping irrational beliefs if they form “badges” separating “us” from “them”.

      I say that while Israel should not unilaterally shed all firearms etc., most of so-called “legitimate security needs” is a tribal badge.

      Reply to Comment
    23. The resolve to fast unto death transcends devotion to Islamic Jihad. As this man exits he is trying to tell us something. I am not going to tell you what that may be; enough people will do that. I see escape from a world of impossible contradiction. He has, I believe, two children and a pregnant wife.
      .
      The suicide bombing war of 2000-05 or so is now part of Israeli memory. One cannot blot it out by referring to behavior of the past. I see no evidence that those on the Palestinian side believe the tactic resoundly wrong; nor commitment to opposing such in the future. This is not to say that all are latent bombers. But it is to say that people like Gandhi or King would fight their own on this issue. Gandhi often fought his own.
      .
      Frankly, we do not know why those bombings occured. Hate is just a label to make us think we understand. I cannot fathom what causes someone to do such a thing. But I think we should understand; not just condemn, but understand.
      .
      This man who will die, perhaps he changed some views over the years. If you want this conflict to end (and, really, I think very many do not), you must face the possibility that people change. You must face them, and ask what they are; and then they will ask what you are. No one did that to/for this man.
      .
      Administrative detention is used to avoid all Israeli process, even the absurdly limited process of its military courts. It is used as a symbol of power WITHIN the Israeli security establishment. Those allowed to order such detention are asserting a power beyond most of the State–and that is one of the reasons they do it. Even within your enemy there are differences. The Israeli State is not just one thing.

      Reply to Comment
    24. Piotr Berman

      “Frankly, we do not know why those bombing occured”.

      There is really not much mystery to it. There was an escalation and both sides, CHIEFLY ISRAEL, were fueling it. IDF killed many more people, and the intense killing were started by IDF.

      If one is so inclined, one can splice the escalations during Second Intifada to assign moral labels and prove that either Israel or Palestinians were much superior.

      The normal “intelectual manouver” on Israeli side is to blank out all references to Israeli killings and destructions and other acts of wanton oppression, and arrive at a clean picture of inexplicable suicide bombers. And proceed from there.

      American variant of this “intelectual manouver” is “they hate us for our Freedom”. Of course.

      As we try to pose puzzles about motivations of human behavior, in the last 48h of the last Lebanon war, when it was clear that IDF cannot achieve much more beyond what they already did, and a ceasfire was already agreed upon, millions of cluster bombs were dropped all over South Lebanon. What does it say about human nature? Add any context you want.

      My conclusion is that we have to observe that on moral plane there is not much that differentiates Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and IDF/Israeli government. But the “West” has much to answer for, lacking the excuse of being in the middle of the madness. We pick the “good guys” and “bad guys” and prevent any realistic solution because it requires that we keep forever “good guys” up and “bad guys” down. False morality is a weapon of mass destruction.

      Reply to Comment
    25. aristeides

      Wasn’t there supposed to be a hearing at the hospital this morning? I can find no news of this.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Passerby

      Piotr wrote:
      “My conclusion is that we have to observe that on moral plane there is not much that differentiates Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and IDF/Israeli government. But the “West” has much to answer for, lacking the excuse of being in the middle of the madness. We pick the “good guys” and “bad guys” and prevent any realistic solution because it requires that we keep forever “good guys” up and “bad guys” down. False morality is a weapon of mass destruction.”

      Ridiculous moral equivocation that attempts to justify the unjustifiable, or at least make it palatable.

      Considering that the orgy of suicide bombings and the thousands of sniper fire attacks that were all targeting Israeli civilians, not soldiers, came after Israel came to the table with two peace deals, one at Camp David and then with a much more generous one at Taba, the suggestion that somehow this was just two sides doing bad things (with Israel, of course, being the worse of the two) misrepresents the truth of the equation by a long, long way.

      The suicide bombers are far from inexplicable. Their actions lay out the moral equation here quite openly and succinctly. These attacks were especially egregious, and by that I mean that not only were they the most disgusting type of attack any party to a war can make, but that these were even worse because they were so immoral in using this type of intended violence against civilians. They were part of a broad strategy in the Palestinian war on Israel. Instead of fighting soldiers, these murderers chose to attack the defenseless and the attacks were intended to not only kill and damage people, but especially to damage the minds of all Israelis.

      There are good guys and bad guys. If you can’t see it, that’s because of your moral confusion, not because things aren’t crystal clear. Instead of a war, there could have been much more than peace, there could have been a Palestinian state living in peace with Israel. That there isn’t, and that a war was launched by the Palestinians instead, puts everything into clear relief. Especially the morality of the situation.

      Reply to Comment
    27. It takes a lot for someone to blow himself up outside of a support force in combat. Combat shares risk and creates group resolve actualized at the moment. There are suicide missions, but generally there is a presumed probability of escape or victory; and war time suicide missions occur, well, in an ecology of actual war. These bombers were pure suicide missions outside of direct combat. I don’t know how that resolve develops. To say, as Passerby, above, does, that
      .
      “There are good guys and bad guys. If you can’t see it, that’s because of your moral confusion, not because things aren’t crystal clear.”
      .
      tells me (and, perhaps, others) that inquiry into this behavior is forbidden. Consider: George W. Bush labeled such bombers “dead enders” in Iraq, as did Rumsfeld; bombers blew themselves up because they had lost and now had no where to go, soon they would all be self gone. More appeared, many more. If we had understood something of their genesis perhaps we would have considered other options in Iraq. Or not. It is clear, at this point, that the Bush Administration was completely wrong as to the genesis of such bombers.
      .
      I sumbit that those interested in the protection of Israel State policy tend to believe that understanding why these bombers appeared is immaterial. All talk of why is somehow framed has support for the act. But one day, perhaps long after we are gone, the question will be addressed in social science–and moral conformity will be irrelevant. I do not ask a virus to conform to my view of peace on earth. I seek to understand its action and transmission.
      .
      Passerby, above, also notes “the attacks were intended to not only kill and damage people, but especially to damage the minds of all Israelis.” Yes. And those bombers are still winning. They are gone, and still they frame the debate, they control our minds.
      .
      Do not attempt to silence me with charge of moral inferiority. You are not that good. Give me your name and let us begin honest talk.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Passerby

      There are plenty of people here who don’t use their names and you don’t question their statements or values. I don’t think the merit of what I say is affected by my name.

      ——

      I didn’t suggest that I don’t understand suicide bombings. I understand them extremely well precisely because I’ve read a lot about them, about bombers who are still alive and have given the matter a great deal of thought.
      —–

      My conclusion remains that they are hideously immoral and the fruit of cowardly minds. The people who tend to send out the bombers do not send themselves or their sons out to commit these murders. The people who do commit these murders tend to have a motive far beyond the desire to make a political point, even if those who send them have that motive.

      ——-

      It wasn’t only suicide bombings. Over five thousand attacks were recorded between 2000-2005 on Israelis, most of them sniper attacks on civilians inside Judea and Samaria. Again, this is a class of war led by immoral cowards. Why not target soldiers? Why defenseless civilians?

      —-
      The answer is “it works.” Yes, it does. But it remains highly immoral and nothing can be said that justifies these types of attacks. Nothing can be said to explain them other than by acknowledging that whatever their motives – and there are some pretty good motives for fighting immorally like this, namely that it minimizes danger to the attackers and destroys the fabric of security that people may feel within their communities and neighborhoods – these are immoral and cowardly acts.
      ——-

      Did the people who instigated and led these attacks win because they frame our debate? Possibly, just like the rocket launchers from Gaza have made peace or unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria very challenging today even if just a few years ago an Israeli PM won election with a promise to do just that. The people who send out the bombers and the snipers who shoot civilians may be winning victories but they are far from moral ones.

      Reply to Comment
    29. AYLA

      Thank you, Aziz. Why don’t *you* write an op ed for the New York Times? Have you tried?

      Reply to Comment
    30. AYLA

      @Sinjim–you’re still here! Maybe I’m the one who’s been MIA, but I’m happy to hear from you, and your comment is profound, as always.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Click here to load previous comments