Understanding Palestinian Suicide Bombers

Ericka Booze Professor Hughes English 360 18 March 2010 Understanding Palestinian Suicide Bombers To most of us understanding the idea that one would want to give and take a life so effortlessly does not come easy; people who had any hope for the future would not blow themselves up. “Why do Palestinians kill themselves and Israelis in such a horrific way at the bus stops or in a crowded market? ” asks Dr. Eyad Sarraj (). Could it be that its part of their religious upbringing and they have been brainwashed, or could it be that there is no other means of fighting back against oppression and humiliation?

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Try understanding what its like for a people who are simply exhausted, want to go home with, and fed up with all authority that the only way to a piece of paradise is for them to commit such acts of terror. Dr. Eyad Sarraj explains in his article, “Why We Have Become Suicide Bombers” that, “Since the uprooting of Palestinians in 1948 triggered by Irgun Jewish terror under the leadership of Yitzak Shamir and Menachem Begin, we have tried everything. ” For more than fifty years Palestinians have had a constant struggle against Israeli military occupation and control.

They had their homes reposed and were forced to live in refugee camps with very poor living conditions, constant harassment by security forces or having to go through military checkpoints to purchase basic supplies from the grocery store or before any kind of medical treatment or supplies can be obtained it has to be approved by the Israeli government. Palestinian refugee camps were established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War to accommodate the Palestine refugees who fled from the war. Many of them felt that it would only be a short stay and they would soon be able to return home.

Since then that idea has become grim and hopeless; many generations have grown up without so much as a symbolic hope that they might ever return home. For a short period in the 1977 Israel started a heavily subsidized “build-your-own home program for Palestinian refugees” (). The program was designed to provide housing for some ten thousand families which included a “plot of land and full infrastructure” (). This did not sit well with the PLO strategy and they became fearful that they would want to support peace and oppose violence.

Unfortunately, for those some ten thousand families they were being forced from their homes yet again and back into refugee camps this time with even worse living conditions. Initially, they were living in tents eventually they were replaced with block structures and zinc roofs. They often do not have running water, electricity, and the winter floods are the worst washing in the open sewage. Now, according to the UN relief and works agency (UNRWA) there are over “3. 9 million refugees in the camps and growing” ().

Despite the increasing population the conditions of the camps continue to deteriorate. “We have no rights and no future. We have a lot of problems; we can’t work freely, we cannot own a house, we cannot move around. We are treated as if we are not human,” said 20-year-old Samar, from Shatilla. (). Not only had the Palestinians been enduring such harsh living conditions but, they are also constantly harassed by security forces set up around the camps. Young men and fathers are beaten and harassed in front of their families.

One young man, Rabieh, recalls, “the internal security forces are always aggressive if they know you are Palestinian…Sometimes guys are dragged off and beaten just because they have a certain family name” (). Family members are called upon twice a year for routine interrogation and persuasion to be an informant against one’s own brother or sister. If a person refuses to offer their cooperation they will be sentenced up to ten years imprisonment, and if found guilty of a military action one could receive life in prison.

As their story grows worse and they become more bitter Dr. Sarraj says, “we heard a Jew from Poland would be declared a citizen of our country- a country now called Israel” (). They were told that they had no official nationality, even after they had been to the universities If they are permitted to leave the country on a trip they are given a traveling document called a “laissez passez” (). They traveled outside the country for more than three years they were no longer considered citizens. Many innocent civilians are killed as a result of retaliation.


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