Palestinian official condones suicide bombings by women

Special to World
Monday, February 2, 2004

RAMALLAH The Palestinian Authority has praised women suicide bombers.

The praise came in an article by PA Deputy International Cooperation Minister Adli Sadiq in the PA-owned Al Hayat Al Jadida. Sadiq, departing from the PA condemnations of suicide bombings immediately after they occur, supported the right of a Palestinian mother to blow herself up and leave her children as orphans.

[On late Sunday, four Palestinians were killed in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah near the Egyptian border in an Israeli military operation. Palestinian sources said one of those killed was the commander of Islamic Jihad in that city.]

Palestinian sources said Sadiq's column in support of suicide bombers reflected the consensus within the PA and the ruling Fatah movement. They said Fatah has been supplying most of the suicide bombers over the last six months.

The insurgency group was also said to be planning a series of suicide attacks in Israel in cooperation with Hamas. Israeli security sources said on Monday that authorities have received 55 alerts of Palestinian attacks in Israel. On Monday, Hamas gunners fired a Kassam-2 short-range missile toward Israel.

[On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was scheduled to release a plan to evacuate the Gaza Strip. Earlier that day, Sharon told the Haaretz daily that his government would enter negotiations for compensation for the Israelis to abandon their homes in 17 communities in the Gaza Strip.]

Sadiq was responding to widespread criticism of the Fatah suicide attack in the Erez border terminal in January. The ruling movement of PA Chairman Yasser Arafat recruited a mother of two, Reem Al Riyashi, who was said to have been blackmailed by her husband and a Fatah operative.

"Despite the opposition, Reem is one of our martyrdom symbols," Sadiq wrote in Al Hayat Al Jadida on Jan. 24.

Sadiq wrote that Palestinians must not question the motive of Ms. Al Riyashi, the daughter of a prominent Gaza City merchant who had extensive dealings with Israel. The deputy minister said Ms. Al Riyashi, in a legacy for her children, chose to kill rather than be killed by Israel.

"Perhaps she dreamed that unless she went [on her suicide mission] then death would come to her [anyway]," Sadiq wrote. "Her death would be in vain and she would be forgotten. As a result, she wanted to die for a price."

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