By Raphael Israeli
4TH PART OF 4
The centrality of martyrdom in Palestinian life after the outbreak of their September 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifadah is reflected not only in their writings, broadcasts and the written media, but also in leaflets that are disseminated in the territories under their rule, as well as audio- and video-cassettes that extol acts of Islamikaze, sanctify their perpetrators and cause families who have sacrificed one of their sons to pledge the souls of the rest of them for the sake of Allah. Wasn't it Arafat himself, who in the heat of the battle against
Because I am a Palestinian
Because I am enamored of fate
And my fate is to have my blood
Turned into songs,
That sketch out the road to freedom,
My fate is to become a human bomb,
Because I am a Palestinian.
Oh, lovers of cruelty, we
Inform you in the name of our hopes
Either I will meet Allah by means
of perfume and musk
or I will live on my land in
Freedom and honor.
Much to your distress,
we will not forget
To your distress,
Because I am a Palestinian.
We have nothing for you but death
Plant as many Ghargad trees as you like
Build as many shelters and hiding places as you desire,
And, if you want, create your own artificial peace.
Your history is black and covered
Your ancestry is a tree whose
Branches are corrupt,
Because I am a Palestinian.
And the Arab rulers in this homeland
Lie in a perpetual sleep
Eating from the fruit of your tree
And drinking of your humiliation
As if they were not Muslims.
Because I am a Palestinian,
Because I bear the flag
And long for the memory of Hittin,
I will place the parts of my body as bombs
In your hatred, in your origin
In your accursed fruit
And in spite of you, they will germinate
The most beautiful of flowers
They will germinate the most beautiful
Because I am a Palestinian.
This petrifying idealization of violence and death that has been expanding to ever wider circles, beyond the radical Islamic groups which had adopted it in the first place, and under the instigation of the Palestinian leadership, religious and otherwise, is rooted in the wide-ranging and all-encompassing theology that lay at its base; in the embrace that non-radical Muslims groups have given to this ideology in order not to be seen as lagging behind their radical rivals in the national struggle; and the callous modes of behavior adopted by the Palestinians, which lend legitimacy to the application of this ideology and turn it into a horrifying and matter-of-course routine. On the theological level, none other than the Chief Mufti of
If this is the position of the highest cleric of the Muslim establishment of the Palestinian Authority, how much more so for the Hamas, which rebels against that authority and often virulently accuses it of "collaborating" with
… The starting point of Islamic civilization is the basic fact that the Umma is guided in all its deeds by the divine Straight Path, which constantly oppresses the natural propensity of humans towards evil… Conversely, their [Western] civilization, was not blessed by that enlightened aspect, which should have oppressed their desire to control others and to rob their resources….Therefore, violence has come to characterize Western civilization throughout its history…Let us respond to some of their false accusations that they try to market…
They accuse us of violence. For example, they take the rapid Islamic conquest of many countries, by the force of the sword in their view, to be the best evidence of violence in Islam. Our response is that the only way to explain the Islamic conquests is that they were in implementation of Divine Will, which charged the Muslims with the responsibility to disseminate it, in consequence obliging Muslims to transmit that message to those who did not receive it yet. When that message reaches non-Muslims, they only face two choices: either to convert to Islam or pay Jizya to the Muslim government, which today may be interpreted as taking up civil obligations [under the Muslim state].
As to conquest by the sword, Islam does not resort to that means unless it feels impelled to remove obstacles in the way of the Divine Message. If we examine that principle thoroughly, we would find its parallel in modern Western civilization, which regards the freedom of speech a sacred right. Therefore, if no obstacles are put on Islam's road to deliver that Message, it would have no need to use the sword… History proves the peace-loving nature of Islam. Caliph 'Umar captured
Conversely, Western civilization was profoundly influenced by [Roman] civilization which sanctified force and used to throw gladiators to the arena to fight each other or be swallowed by lions, in order to satisfy their own inferior bestial instincts. The characteristics of this civilization consist of oppressing the other and robbing his resources. It is known for its egotism and arrogance towards the weak. Many wars broke out only to enable it to lay its hand over more wealth. The peak of its appetite was evinced in its kindling two world wars within a quarter-century, in the latest of which nuclear bombs were used that annihilated hundreds of thousands of people… .
This understanding, even sympathy, for the Islamikaze, by intellectuals, professionals and journalists, some of them at the hub of supposedly moderate and pro-Western Arab societies, goes a long way to teach us about those societies, more than about the bestiality of the attacks by those hallowed "martyrs", who blow up indiscriminately innocent people. For the voices of sympathy and support are those of public opinion makers, who have a great impact on their crowds, through the press, talk-shows etc. What is particularly puzzling is that those self-righteous "humanists" and "enlightened" intellectuals, not only have no words of condemnation for those horrendous acts, that any civilized person should disown, and even no words of condolence for the victims, but by elevating those acts to the level of heavenly missions and national heroism, they thereby contribute to building up their legitimacy, expectation among the crowds for more, and the motivation among young Muslims to flock to the ranks of the Islamikaze. No wonder then, that those words of encouragement feed the spiral of senseless Islamikaze attacks, and forces their victims to adopt harsher measures of defense against them. So, in the final analysis, even according to the logic of these machines of death, they are bound to bring more destruction and bereavement, including the loss of young men and women, to their own people and their supportive audiences who now applaud them.
The tragedy inherent in this seemingly across the board all-Arab unqualified lack of concern for human life, without "if"s , "because"s and "but"s, their inability to sympathize with innocent victims, and their self-centered sentiment of being the victims of the West, have all combined to create this distorted state of mind which enables them to glorify the Islamikaze and to regard them as a "glowing light" that would lead them somewhere. Where exactly, it is not known. It would seem that it is much more important for them to destroy the West whom they demean, because they cannot be like it, than try to rise to its level. They want to destroy it (and
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.
 . According to Muslim tradition the bodies of the martyrs do not putrefy but gives off the scent of musk
 .According to Muslim tradition, which is incidentally also cited at the end of Article 7 of the Hamas Charter (see R. Israeli, "The Charter of Allah…" op. cit. p. 137), on the Day of Judgment the Muslims will fight the Jews [and kill them],and the Jews will seek to hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: "Oh, Muslims! A jew is hiding behind me ! Come on and kill him !!!". This will not apply to the Gharqad, a sort of raspberry bush which is considered a "Jewish" tree. As rumor among the Arabs has it,
 . That is the decisive battle in which Saladin routed the Crusader armies in 1187 and evicted them from much of
 . By Ayman al-Skafi, an unknown poet, Al-Istiqlal (The Weekly of Islamic Jihad in
 . Al-Hayat, 7 December, 2001, cited by Ha'aretz (
 . A leaflet distributed in the streets of the major Palestinian cities on 27 November, 2001, accused the Palestinian authority of exchanging intelligence with
 .. The Jizya was limited to the Scriptuaries (Jews and Christians), while pagans were subjected to the sword. The payment of Jizya symbolized the subjugation of the dhimmis to Muslim rule, and in return for it they received protection from the Muslim state, the assumption being that no other state was legal.
 . Al-Risalah, (Palestinian Authority), 11 October, 2001.