Wednesday, March 24, 2004

I read a sickening article in the liberal Israeli paper Haaretz. The daily reported that a 14 year old Palestinian boy was caught at a roadblock wearing a belt of explosives. The boy, who his family described as mentally slow, was reported paid NIS 100 (about $22) to commit the attack, which was thwarted by Israeli soldiers.

According to Haaretz, the boy told soldiers of his dream of receiving 70 virgins in heaven, which his dispatchers had promised him, and said that he had been tempted by the promise of sexual relations with the virgins. He said that he had been bullied at school for his poor academic performance and that he had wanted "to be a hero."

This succinctly demonstrates the paradox terrorists exploit. Terrorists freely exploit women and children to perpetrate homicide bombings. Just last week, soldiers found an explosive charge on a cart pushed by a 10-year-old Palestinian boy at the same roadblock, the paper added. The soldiers released the boy after it transpired that he did not know what was in the bag he was carrying through the barricade.

Yet if, in these cases, the Israelis had insisted on searching women and children, there’d be international condemnation of their supposed barbaric insensitivity to local customs.

The boy’s mother has her own thoughts on local customs. "Hussam left home this morning to school, and this was the first we hear of what happened," she told Reuters. "This is shocking. To use a child like this is irresponsible, forbidden.”

It’s hard to write this. When you criticize anything done by Palestinian terrorists, you are frequently accused of being an apologist for the Occupation or a pal of Ariel Sharon/George W. Bush. (Just like anytime you criticize the Israeli government, you risk being labeled anti-Semitic). But I don’t see how anyone believes in and uses the language of human rights should set that belief aside merely to conform with some leftist dogma that states that the Palestinians are automatically right and the Israelis necessarily wrong. If you can’t make the unqualified statement that exploiting retarded children to make them into murderers is unambiguously disgusting, then you have no right criticizing anything Sharon or Bush does.

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