القضية الفلسطينية من وجهة النظر الامريكية
من جريدة نيويورك تايمز:
April 5, 2002
Kids With Bombs
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
,ABALIYA REFUGEE CAMP
To understand why Ariel Sharon's harsh tactics are self-defeating, come here to this crowded refugee camp and talk to young Palestinians.
Kids here increasingly do not want to grow up to be firefighters, policemen or presidents. Instead, they aspire to become shahid, martyrs, and to die blowing up a few Israelis.
One cute 8-year-old boy showed me a portrait his family had taken of him clutching an AK-47 rifle. He initially lied and said that his older brother was a shahid — then he hung his head and admitted that no, his brother is alive and never did anything so grand.
President Bush made the right moves yesterday, calling for an end to the Israeli incursion into the West Bank, urging Arab leaders to denounce suicide attacks and sending Colin Powell to play midwife to a peace process that refuses to be born. Still, to travel in Gaza is to be reminded that people here react not so much to speeches by either American or Palestinian leaders, but rather to their own social dynamic and to Israeli actions.
After lots of surreal conversations with aspiring shahid, I believe they're living in a delusional universe shaped in part by the gutlessness of Palestinian leaders and in part by their own rage as Israeli tanks in the West Bank crunch through Palestinian cars, homes and hopes. Unless Mr. Sharon and Mr. Powell can outline steps that will lead the Palestinians to statehood, and thus sprinkle hope in the occupied territories, then I fear that popular support for shahid is so great among Palestinians that the parade of killings will continue.
One neighborhood here is celebrating — and that's the right word — the death of Mahmoud Saleh, 22. On Tuesday night, enraged by television images of Israeli forces in Ramallah, his family said, he sneaked into Israel and shot one soldier to death and injured three others before being killed himself.
"We're not sad at his death," said his elder brother, Adnan, a professor of water resources who earned a Ph.D. in Europe. "We're happy. We are eight brothers, and we will continue his way."
The mother, Aisha Saleh, at first boasted that she had been thrilled to hear of her son's death. Then that bold front collapsed. "I was extremely sad," she admitted. "I cried a lot. But now I see that he died for a purpose. I have more sons for this cause."
I clapped Adnan on the shoulder, and asked if she would be happy to lose him, too.
Mrs. Saleh hugged Adnan, the best-educated man in the neighborhood, and shook her head. "No," she acknowledged. "Not Adnan. I love them all, but Adnan, he is very dear to me. I will not let him go."
In Gaza City, a dozen high school boys interrupted their soccer game to tell me that they all wanted to attack Israeli civilians and become shahid. I asked the boys what kinds of targets they would choose to bomb. For example, would they feel comfortable blowing up a group of Israeli women?
"That's O.K.," said Motaz Abuleilah, 15. "They all fight in their army. There's no distinction."
What about bombing an Israeli girls high school?
"Fine, fine," said Ibrahim Abudaya, 18. "God knows, the girls will become fighters."
What about the American Embassy?
What about a crowd of Israelis, but with a few Muslims as well?
That prompted disagreement. But in the end the boys agreed that they could sacrifice a few Arabs in Israel because, as one put it, "They are not living a proper life there."
What about bombing an Israeli nursery school?
"No, no, no." All the boys drew the line at infants. They beamed in pride at their humanitarianism, as I ached at their lack of it.
One post******: I checked the family's story about how Mahmoud Saleh died. The Israeli Defense Forces said a terrorist was killed that night while attempting to sneak into a kibbutz, but that he didn't manage to kill anyone. The only Israeli casualties were two soldiers lightly injured.
I suppose it's good that his family was only lying, trying to bolster his good name by boasting falsely that he had spilled Jewish blood. But it makes the mood here seem more absurd, pointless and tragic — and desperately in need of change.