October 8, 2002 Special Dispatch No. 426

Suicide Bomber's Father: Let Hamas and Jihad Leaders Send Their Own Sons

October 8, 2002
Palestinians | Special Dispatch No. 426

In a letter to the editor of the London Arabic-language daily Al-Hayat,[1] Abu Saber M. G., the father of a young Palestinian who carried out a suicide bombing in an Israeli city, wrote:

"I can find no better words with which to begin my letter than the words of Allah, in his precious book [the Koran]: 'Act for the sake of Allah, and do not throw yourselves to destruction with your own hands.'[2] I write this letter with a languishing heart and with eyes that have not ceased weeping. We must, today more than at any other time, obey this Koranic verse, act for the sake of Allah, and refrain from carrying out acts that will throw us to destruction."

'Friends Persuaded My Son to Blow Himself Up; Now They Are After His Brother'

"Four months ago, I lost my eldest son when his friends tempted him, praising the path of death. They persuaded him to blow himself up in one of Israel's cities. When the pure body of my son was scattered all over, my last signs of life also dispersed, along with hope and my will to exist. Since that day, I am like [an] apparition walking the earth, not to mention that I, my wife, and my other sons and daughters have become displaced since the razing of the home in which we lived."

"But the last straw was when I was informed that the friends of my eldest son the martyr were starting to wrap themselves like snakes around my other son, not yet 17, to direct him to the same path towards which they had guided his brother, so that he would blow himself up too to avenge his brother, claiming 'he had nothing to lose.'"

"From the blood of the wounded heart of a father who has lost what is most precious to him in the world, I turn to the leaders of the Palestinian factions, and at their head the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and their sheikhs, who use religious rulings and statements to urge more and more of the sons of Palestine to their deaths – knowing full well that sending young people to blow themselves up in the heart of Israel deters no enemy and liberates no land. On the contrary, [it] intensifies the aggression, and after every such operation, civilians are killed, homes are razed, and Palestinian cities and villages are reoccupied."

'Who Gave Them the Legitimacy to Send Our Children to Their Deaths?'

"Then these leaders and spokesmen appear [in the media] to threaten the enemy with even graver acts of vengeance for their barbaric deeds. They push more young people to their deaths."

"I ask, on my behalf and on behalf of every father and mother informed that their son has blown himself up: 'By what right do these leaders send the young people, even young boys in the flower of their youth, to their deaths?' Who gave them religious or any other legitimacy to tempt our children and urge them to their deaths?"

'Death, Not Martyrdom'

"Yes, I say 'death,' not 'martyrdom.' Changing and beautifying the term, or paying a few thousand dollars to the family of the young man who has gone and will never return, does not ease the shock or alter the irrevocable end. The sums of money [paid] to the martyrs' families cause pain more than they heal; they make the families feel that they are being rewarded for the lives of their children."

"Do the children's lives have a price? Has death become the only way to restore the rights and liberate the land? And if this be the case, why doesn't a single one of all the sheikhs who compete amongst themselves in issuing fiery religious rulings, send his son? Why doesn't a single one of the leaders who cannot restrain himself in expressing his joy and ecstasy on the satellite channels every time a young Palestinian man or woman sets out to blow himself or herself up send his son?"

"Why, until this very moment, haven't we seen one of the sons, or daughters, of any of these people don an explosive belt and go out to carry out in deed, not in words, what their fathers preach day and night?"

"Are Jihad, martyrdom, and pointless death restricted to a single sector [of the people], without concerning another sector? Doesn't what applies to the sons and daughters of the general public apply [also] to the [leaders'] own sons and daughters? How long will this steadfast people continue to pay the price for the idiotic policy that has proved a colossal failure at obtaining even a tiny part of the usurped Palestinian rights?"

'With the Outbreak of the Intifada, the Leaders Sent Their Sons Abroad'

"But what tears at the soul, pains the heart, and brings tears to the eyes more than anything else is the sight of these sheikhs and leaders evading sending their sons into the fray – such as Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Isma'il Abu Shanab, and Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Rantisi. The moment the Intifada broke out, Al-Zahar sent his son Khaled to America; Abu Shanab sent his son Hassan to Britain; and [as she stated to the press], Rantisi's wife has refrained from sending her son Muhammad to blow himself up. Instead, she sent him to Iraq, to complete his studies there."

[1] Al-Hayat (London), October 1, 2002.

[2] Koran 2:195.

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