“My dream was to be a suicide bomber”

June 27, 2005

* “My dream was to be a martyr, a suicide bomber. I believe in death,” said the 21-year old woman, a product of a Palestinian education system partly funded by European Union and international aid money. “I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews: babies, children.”

[This is an update to the dispatch on this subject sent last week.]

 

CONTENTS

1. Italian Vanity Fair and the hospital story
2. Fox News shows the dramatic footage which the BBC and CNN avoid
3. Human Rights Watch too busy serving refreshments to notice the hospital story
4. Another $500 million in supplies to Gaza hospitals
5. PA official: Israel is “poisoning Palestinian food”
6. Two Israeli teens murdered by Palestinian gunmen since Friday receive almost no media coverage
7. “‘My dream was to be a suicide bomber. I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews. Yes, even babies’” (Italian Vanity Fair / London Sunday Telegraph, June 26, 2005)
8. “Israel Floods Palestinians with Carcinogens: Official” (Islam Online, June 20, 2005)

 



[Note by Tom Gross]

ITALIAN VANITY FAIR AND THE HOSPITAL STORY

Throughout last week, the western media continued to extensively cover the Israel-Palestinian conflict. They covered the visit of US Secretary of State Rice, the Sharon-Abbas summit and Israel’s failed air strike against terrorists as they launched rockets on Israeli houses. Hour upon hour were devoted to this failed strike by the BBC alone, most of which was highly critical of Israel. (And today the BBC have extensive coverage extolling the virtues of the “International Solidarity Movement.”)

Yet the media went out of its way to avoid mention of the attempt by Fatah to blow up a hospital last Monday. Throughout the years of suicide bombings in the Middle East it has been extremely rare for a bomber to target a large civilian hospital. Not even Al Qaeda has targeted hospitals. Fatah, the party created and molded by Yasser Arafat and now led by Mohammad Abbas, was responsible for sending Gaza resident Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas, 21, to blow up the hospital. Yet this is not deemed worthy of a mention by most mainstream western journalists covering Abbas in a series of articles and on air reports last week.

Below, I attach advanced extracts of an article from next month’s Italian Vanity Fair (yesterday’s London Sunday Telegraph published extracts of this article) which is one of the few articles in the western press to properly report this story. Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas is interviewed about her potentially catastrophic act. This Fatah member freely admits that she wanted to kill dozens of “Jews” and was not concerned if those killed were babies.

FOX NEWS SHOWS THE DRAMATIC FOOTAGE THAT THE BBC AND CNN AVOID

The dramatic footage of Israel’s arrest of this would-be hospital bomber was shown internationally only on the Fox News channel. No other major television network featured this story. By not covering this story, the BBC and CNN can continue to criticize the checkpoints Palestinians have to go through when entering Israel as if there was no reason for these checkpoints.

Most friends of mine dismiss Fox as “right-wing” and unfair and unbalanced. In truth, and certainly as far as this story goes, Fox seems far more interested in comprehensive reporting than the BBC or CNN.

The video of the bombing attempt by Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas can still be seen at
www1.idf.il/DOVER/site/mainpage.asp?sl=EN&id=7&docid=41434.EN

“HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH” TOO BUSY SERVING REFRESHMENTS TO NOTICE THE HOSPITAL STORY

Only a few days after the attempt on the hospital, Human Rights Watch (HRW) failed to include it in their report titled “Promoting Impunity: The Israeli Military’s Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing”. The report was unveiled by HRW at a press conference at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem late last week. (The hotel is the unofficial base for Palestinian Authority media operations.) Perhaps Human Rights Watch was too busy serving refreshments to journalists to notice this story.

ANOTHER $500 MILLION IN SUPPLIES TO GAZA HOSPITALS

It was also reported last week that medical supplies worth $500 million dollars have been distributed to four hospitals in the Gaza strip. This money comes from USAID, the United States Agency for International Development. Had the Palestinians not squandered billions of dollars in international aid over the last 12 years, purchasing huge stockpiles of arms and depositing much of the money in foreign bank accounts, they would probably not still need to come to Israel for medical treatment. I have covered such corruption in previous dispatches, including European Union funding and the Beersheva massacre (August 31, 2004).

PA OFFICIAL: ISRAEL IS “POISONING PALESTINIAN FOOD”

I also attach (below) an article that quotes Yusuf Abu Safia, the chairman of the Palestinian Environmental Authority who claims that Israel has dumped carcinogens in Palestinian food. In addition he claims that Palestinian children play with Israeli games that beam radioactive rays. Israel struggles to get its story heard by the world’s press even when, in the case of the hospital, it is particularly shocking and the video feed is free and readily available to media from the Israeli government. Yet, utterly ridiculous claims like this one by a Palestinian official are picked up and publicized. I have on many occasions covered some of the more spurious Palestinian claims, for example in the dispatch titled Arafat killed by high tech laser attack (March 21, 2005).

TWO ISRAELI TEENS SHOT BY PALESTINIAN GUNMEN RECEIVE ALMOST NO MEDIA COVERAGE

Palestinian gunmen on Friday randomly shot dead two Israeli teenagers. Avichai Levy (17), died immediately, and Aviad Mansour (16), died of his wounds yesterday. As far as I can tell, there has been no coverage of Aviad Mansour’s death in the Western media today.

-- Tom Gross

 

SUMMARIES

“MY DREAM WAS TO BE A SUICIDE BOMBER”

“‘My dream was to be a suicide bomber. I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews. Yes, even babies’” (By Manuela Dviri in Tel Aviv, Italian Vanity Fair advanced extracts published by The Sunday Telegraph (London), June 26, 2005)

It was about midday when a young Palestinian woman from the refugee camp of Jabalya in Gaza approached an Israeli checkpoint clutching a special permit to visit a doctor on the other side of the border...

When a soldier asked her to remove her long, dark cloak, she turned to face him. All her movements were taped by the military surveillance camera at the checkpoint: calmly, deliberately, she took off her clothing, item by item, until she looked like any normal young woman in T-shirt and jeans. It was then that she tried to set off the belt containing 20lb of explosives hidden beneath her trousers. To her horror, she did not succeed. Desperate, she clawed at her face, screaming. She was still alive, she realised. She had failed her martyrdom mission.

That afternoon, on June 21, the 21-year-old, Wafa Samir al-Biss, was brought before the press by Israeli intelligence. Her neck and hands were covered with scars caused by a kitchen gas explosion six months earlier. The ugly scars - which had been treated in a hospital in Israel - had probably helped turn her into the perfect would-be huriia (virgin), the ideal martyr, since they would make it difficult for her to find a suitable husband.

The decision to publicise her case was intended to show that a terrorist threat remains despite a lull in the intifada since the Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire agreement at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in February...

Wafa had been sent on her mission by the Abu Rish Brigade, the small militant faction with links to Fatah. She did not, she said later, regret it, though she stressed that her decision had had nothing to do with her scarring. “My dream was to be a martyr. I believe in death,” she said. “Today I wanted to blow myself up in a hospital, maybe even in the one in which I was treated. But since lots of Arabs come to be treated there, I decided I would go to another, maybe the Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews”

Asked whether she had considered the consequences of her planned attack, that it might have now precluded access to Israel for Palestinian patients who meant no harm and needed special medical treatment that could be achieved only here, she answered: “So what?” With a flat look in her eyes, she said: “They pay you the cost of the treatment, don’t they?”

And what about babies? Would you have killed babies and children? she was asked. “Yes, even babies and children...

 

PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL: ISRAEL FLOODS PALESTINIANS WITH CARCINOGENS

“Israel Floods Palestinians With Carcinogens: Official” (By Ola Attallah, Islam Online, June 20, 2005)

A Palestinian official charged today that Israel has dumped the Palestinian market with carcinogenic food and fruit.

“The market is inundated with such killer food and chemicals that cause cancer and other malicious diseases. These goods pose serious threats to the health of the Palestinian people,” Yusuf Abu Safia, the chairman of the Environmental Authority (EA), told IslamOnline.net...

Abu Safia further warned that Palestinian children play with Israeli games that beam radioactive rays.

He said Egyptian border authorities seized two shipments of carcinogenic and radioactive Israeli games last month...

The Palestinian official further said that Israel has declared a “disguised war” aimed at killing the Palestinians slowly...

 


FULL ARTICLES

“MY DREAM WAS TO BE A SUICIDE BOMBER”

‘My dream was to be a suicide bomber. I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews. Yes, even babies’
By Manuela Dviri in Tel Aviv
Italian Vanity Fair advanced extracts published by The Sunday Telegraph
(London)
June 26, 2005

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/06/26/wmid26.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/06/26/ixworld.html

This is an edited extract of an article that will be published in Italian Vanity Fair this week

It was about midday when a young Palestinian woman from the refugee camp of Jabalya in Gaza approached an Israeli checkpoint clutching a special permit to visit a doctor on the other side of the border.

The girl had big, brown eyes and her black hair was tied in a ponytail, but it was the strangeness of her gait that attracted the attention of the security officials at the Erez crossing, the main transit point between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

When a soldier asked her to remove her long, dark cloak, she turned to face him. All her movements were taped by the military surveillance camera at the checkpoint: calmly, deliberately, she took off her clothing, item by item, until she looked like any normal young woman in T-shirt and jeans. It was then that she tried to set off the belt containing 20lb of explosives hidden beneath her trousers. To her horror, she did not succeed. Desperate, she clawed at her face, screaming. She was still alive, she realised. She had failed her martyrdom mission.

That afternoon, on June 21, the 21-year-old, Wafa Samir al-Biss, was brought before the press by Israeli intelligence. Her neck and hands were covered with scars caused by a kitchen gas explosion six months earlier. The ugly scars - which had been treated in a hospital in Israel - had probably helped turn her into the perfect would-be huriia (virgin), the ideal martyr, since they would make it difficult for her to find a suitable husband.

The decision to publicise her case was intended to show that a terrorist threat remains despite a lull in the intifada since the Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire agreement at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in February.

According to the Israeli doctor who attended Wafa at the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, she received blood transfusions during her treatment. “I told her, with a laugh, that now she has Jewish blood in her veins,” he said, adding sadly that she had “seemed so nice - we got a lovely thank you letter from her family.”

Wafa had been sent on her mission by the Abu Rish Brigade, the small militant faction with links to Fatah. She did not, she said later, regret it, though she stressed that her decision had had nothing to do with her scarring. “My dream was to be a martyr. I believe in death,” she said. “Today I wanted to blow myself up in a hospital, maybe even in the one in which I was treated. But since lots of Arabs come to be treated there, I decided I would go to another, maybe the Tel Hashomer, near Tel Aviv. I wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews”

Asked whether she had considered the consequences of her planned attack, that it might have now precluded access to Israel for Palestinian patients who meant no harm and needed special medical treatment that could be achieved only here, she answered: “So what?” With a flat look in her eyes, she said: “They pay you the cost of the treatment, don’t they?”

And what about babies? Would you have killed babies and children? she was asked. “Yes, even babies and children. You, too, kill our babies. Do you remember the Doura child?”

[Middle East commentator David Steinmann, adds, for this list: This was the case in which a Palestinian father and son were apparently caught in the crossfire between attacking Palestinian gunmen and Israeli soldiers. The child was killed. Subsequent investigation by Europeans revealed that the child was almost certainly killed by Palestinian gunfire; but that finding wasn’t publicized amongst the Palestinian population since the death of the child had already been used to brainwash them against the alleged Israeli child killers. No point sowing doubt amongst the population once you’ve got them convinced that the enemy is inhuman and must be slaughtered].

Then she started to cry. “I don’t want my mother to see me like this. After all, I haven’t killed anyone will they have pity on me?” ‘It is unlikely. Wafa has become one of a very special group of females: the women who have tried and failed - to die while killing for the Palestinian cause. I recently visited the Israeli jail that holds these “suicide women” near the finest Israeli villas, in the heart of the most fertile area of the country, the Plain of Sharon.

They are here, and still alive, because they changed their minds at the last moment, because they were arrested, or because, like Wafa, they did not succeed. They are kept in a kind of labyrinth, behind seven, or perhaps eight, iron doors and gates, at the end of long corridors to which few people are allowed access, and which are reached after climbing and descending one flight of stairs after another.

Their unarmed guard, a young, calm-looking blonde woman, calls them her “girls”. “There are 30 of them, between 17 and 30 years old, some of them are married and others aren’t, some of them have children,” she told me. “Their stories come out of the Thousand and One Nights. Some of them did it to make amends for a relative who was a collaborator, others to escape becoming victims of honour killings, and for the psychologically frail or depressed it was a good way to commit suicide and at the same time become ‘heroines’. Personally, I don’t judge them or hate them, because if I did I wouldn’t be able to look after them any more.”

One of the inmates, Ayat Allah Kamil, 20, from Kabatya, told me why she had wanted to become a martyr: “Because of my religion. I’m very religious. For the holy war [jihad] there’s no difference between men and women shaid [martyrs].”

According to the Koran, male martyrs are welcomed to Paradise by 72 beautiful virgins. Ayat, as with many of the women she is incarcerated with, believes that a woman martyr “will be the chief of the 72 virgins, the fairest of the fair”.

Her fellow prisoner, Kahira Saadi, from Jenin, is one of the jail celebrities. A mother of four, aged 27, she was held responsible for an attack in which three people died and 80 were injured. Zipi Shemesh, five months’ pregnant, and her husband, Gad, were among the dead. They had gone to an ultrasound appointment and had left their two daughters, Shoval, seven, and Shahar, three, with a babysitter. They never came back. Kahira was given three life sentences and another 80 years. She looked pale, sad, anguished. I asked her if the dead tormented her during the night. “No,” she said. “Anyway, the actual attacker would have blown himself up even without me. I didn’t kill anyone myself, physically.”

Who do your children live with? “With my mother-in-law, my husband is in jail, too.”

Aren’t you sorry you ruined their lives as well as your own? “I did it to defend them. I’m not sorry, we’re at war. But perhaps I wouldn’t do it again. It was an impulse,” Kahira answered balefully.

I think the real reason for what you did was different from the official one. “You’re right,” she said, “but I’m not going to tell you what the reason was.”

You’re paying heavily for it. Who comes to see you here? “Nobody came for the first two years, but now my children are beginning to come.”

Have you had the courage to tell them you’re never going to get out of here? “No, and I trust that God will solve my problem somehow. I tell you again that I didn’t physically kill anyone that day.”

What did you do? “I helped the attacker to get into Jerusalem. I gave him some flowers to hold in his hands.”

When? “I don’t remember the exact date, only that it was Mother’s Day. That’s why I prepared him some flowers.”

Then it was February, I told her.

“How can you remember it so well?” she asked.

Because my son was killed on Mother’s Day, I said, and I watched as she grew pale and seemed to stagger.

No, it wasn’t you, I explained. He was killed in 1998, while your attack was in 2002. But we certainly have an anniversary in common.

At this, Kahira gave me a look that I’ll never be able to describe. She didn’t utter another word.

One question has bothered me since my visit to that prison. The parents and the relatives of these failed martyrs, what happens to them afterwards? What do they feel after the tragedy, with that knowledge? I decided that I would ask Wafa’s father, Samir al-Biss. Samir is the owner of a tiny, shabby grocery shop. For many years, before the intifada, he worked as a day labourer in Israel. After the initial shock of his daughter’s martyrdom mission, he disconnected the telephone and now will not speak directly to anyone.

He has, however, allowed Wael, Wafa’s cousin, to answer on his behalf. “Wafa’s father is still in a state of shock,” Wael said. “He wishes to say that he can’t bring himself to believe that his daughter was going to blow herself up. He believes that she was put up to it and exploited by someone and that it’s not fair that the whole Palestinian population should be punished for what she has tried to do. The Palestinians don’t have to pay for her act,” he added sadly.

I tend to agree with him. Neither the Palestinian people nor the Israelis should have to pay for the fanatical acts of their extremists.

Manuela Dviri

(Manuela Dviri is a journalist, playwright, left-wing activist, and writer whose son, Jonathan, was killed by a Hizbollah rocket seven years ago. She received the 2005 Peres Reward for Peace and Reconciliation for her involvement with Saving Children, an Israeli-Palestinian project which refers Palestinian children to Israeli hospitals for free treatment.)

 

PALESTINIAN OFFICIAL: ISRAEL FLOODS PALESTINIANS WITH CARCINOGENS

Israel Floods Palestinians With Carcinogens: Official
By Ola Attallah, IOL correspondent
Islam Online
June 20, 2005

www.islam-online.net/English/News/2005-06/20/article05.shtml

A Palestinian official charged Monday, June 20, that Israel has dumped the Palestinian market with carcinogenic food and fruit.

“The market is inundated with such killer food and chemicals that cause cancer and other malicious diseases. These goods pose serious threats to the health of the Palestinian people,” Yusuf Abu Safia, the chairman of the Environmental Authority (EA), told IslamOnline.net.

Abu Safia further added that the EA has seized several shipments packed with biscuits and juices, adding that lab analysis revealed that the Israeli goods contained high percentage of the carcinogen saccarine.

“This chemical (saccarine) is highly dangerous to public health and has been banned since 1982 around the globe as studies held it as the main culprit behind cancer,” he said.

“Frozen meat, summer vegetables and fruit have been injected with chemicals and exposed to radiation which mutated into double of their size.”

In summer, Palestinians basically consume Israeli-cultivated vegetables and fruit like watermelons, apricots and plums.

Abu Safia further warned that Palestinian children play with Israeli games that beam radioactive rays.

He said Egyptian border authorities seized two shipments of carcinogenic and radioactive Israeli games last month.

“Disguised War”

The Palestinian official further said that Israel has declared a “disguised war” aimed at killing the Palestinians slowly.

Abu Safia highlighted the fact that such stuffs are not marketed for the Israelis, stressing that they were produced especially for the Palestinians at lower price.

He added Israelis are also deliberately flooding Palestinian markets with settler-made, poor-quality and cheap products to undermine Palestinian production.

The official also hit out at some Palestinian tradesmen for buying secondhand Israeli domestic appliances and computers at meager prices, then reselling them on the Palestinian market.

He said his Environmental Authority has seized 2,500 used computer monitors in addition to a shipment of 1954-produced medicine, whose production and expiry dates have been faked, and brought to the Palestinians from Israel.

The official urged all Palestinians, starting from the Palestinian Authority, tradesmen and consumers to join forces to boost the national economy and production by boycotting such suspicious Israeli products to head off also serious health problems.

“We shouldn’t allow Israel to kill our children and us,” he said.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.