An Email From A Young Palestinian
Exclusive commentary by Frank Salvato
Oct 21, 2003
Recently I heard from a young Palestinian named Remah Muntaser regarding an article I wrote about the mindset of the Palestinian terrorist titled And They Say They Believe In Peace. I was so troubled by what Remah wrote that I wrote back. I want to share that exchange with you today. I have left the text in its original form.
Initial email from Remah Muntaser:
I am writing about your article on the book dream of Palestine.
I live in the US and when I came to graduate I heard student saying I am joining the army navy or marines to die for my country. Thats what we are told to make us patriotic towards our country right. Well being a Palestinian native I do believe in peace but I believe in defending your home at any cost. These martyrs that do suicide bombings do it for the future to protect the only home they ever knew and pass it on to the next generations of Palestinians. They want to have control of their lives instead of waiting for Israelis to kill them they take their life in their own hands and turn themselves into a weapon. If suicide bombings happen in a country of war like Palestine or Iraq its not terrorism its dying for your country defending your home. So stop being blind and writing things that are meaningless a shallow.
First, thanks for reading and taking the time to write. It is appreciated.
There are a few things that I have to say about what you wrote in order to clarify the amazing differences between those who join the US military and what the suicide bombers are doing in the Middle East.
First and foremost, those who join the United States military do not join to "die for their country." Quite to the contrary, they join to defend their country and to defend freedom anywhere in the world, when they are deployed to do so. Further, when they do get called into action they do so to combat those who pick up arms on behalf of their country, and now sadly and in many cases, those who pick up arms in the misguided defense, or offense, of their religion. The US military, and those who join it to defend their country, do not ever target innocent women and children. They do not target those who are not engaged in the military of their country or those who are not fanatically supporting the terrorism of their misguided religious organization. To equate those who join the military to defend their country with those who would walk into a busy cafe at the height of their business hour as a suicide bomber is quite inappropriate.
That being said, it is quite counter-productive for someone who says they believe in peace to inflict murder on innocent civilians. To inflict death upon innocents incites the world. To be sure, there isn't one country outside of the Middle Eastern Arab States, with perhaps the exceptions of a few Muslim States in Indonesia, that recognizes terrorist acts of suicide bombing as anything remotely considered that of "defending ones homeland." Even German nationals were condemned for the instances of terrorism they employed after major hostilities had ended after World War II.
When someone says that they want to defend their country, even die for freedom, they usually target those who are denying them that freedom. In this instance, that would be the Israeli military. Why then are the Palestinian suicide bombers targeting innocent women and children? If you want your freedom why don't you fight the Israeli military "occupying" the land you claim as your own? The fact that the so-called martyrs target women and children, and those who are not in the military, leads me to believe that their intentions are less than honorable. If it were truly an act of defending a homeland then the aggression would be pointed at those with the tanks not towards those who are riding buses to religious service. These acts prove to the world that the Palestinian aggression isn't aimed at the Israeli government or military but at the Jewish religion and the people who follow it. That is not defending a homeland it is committing genocide nothing less than that of the caliber Adolph Hitler employed in World War II.
I have watched for many years the problems continue in the Middle East. It is troubling and pathetic. But the most disturbing act to come out of the Middle East has been the suicide/genocide bomber. Innocents die at their hands, innocents that haven't established a desire to defend their homeland or champion their religion. Some people were simply born there and even worse, some were simply visiting or exercising pilgrimage to religious locations. To that extent, the terrorist Palestinian suicide/genocide bombers are keeping others in the world from freely practicing their religion. The terrorist suicide/genocide bomber has brought his fight to those who want nothing to do with it instead of bringing it to those who would engage him militarily. It leads me to believe the Palestinians know that the Israeli Army is something not to be messing with so instead they kill the innocents. It is cowardly.
I am dismayed that you would call my words shallow. The pursuit of peace, kindness and love, and the condemnation of murder, is never shallow. It is shallow to believe in this situation that acts of murder will achieve the peace you say you would like to achieve.
I will leave you with two questions:
1) If peace is all the Palestinians have ever wanted how can it be that all the Palestinian leaders, and to my knowledge most Palestinians, call for an eradication of Israel and the Jewish people?
2) If these "martyrs", as you call them (I will still be calling them terrorist suicide bombers), commit themselves to the acts of suicide bombing with the promise they will receive 70 virgins upon their entry into heaven as a reward for their martyrdom, what is the motivation for Palestinian females to engage in these horrific acts?
As you can see, the answers to these two questions can be nothing but troubling.
Remah, I can understand the desire the Palestinian people have to be free. In the early days of the United States those who fought the British were fighting to be free and for the freedom of their future generations. The big difference here is that the patriots of the American Revolution didn't target innocent women and children to further their cause, they targeted those who were actually doing the oppressing; the British Red Coats and those representatives of then King George. If we would have targeted innocents, as the Palestinians are today, we would have been called barbaric.
Terrorism, by any other name is still terrorism. It is barbaric.
I closed with the suggestion of keeping the dialogue open and stressed the importance of communication and the exchange of ideas. As you can see, there is a very different mindset coming from the Palestinian side of things. What the Middle East peace process is lacking can only be described as a combination of communication, commitment and a whole lot of sanity.