Friday, December 11, 2015

The Palestinian Children's Intifada ~ why does a child become a terrorist?

A soccer tournament was named after
 Palestinian child terrorist Muhannad Halabi. Photo: Facebook.

What makes a 14- or 15-year old Palestinian kid become a terrorist? In part, the answer is obvious: they’re told from birth that killing Jews is the highest honor any Palestinian can aspire to. So these children murder for glory. And usually end up dead themselves.

But criminologist Anat Berko, who has interviewed dozens of terorists for hundreds of hours, has additional insight. Theses young terrorists know when carrying out their attacks they're likely to be killed, but if so, they believe they'll go to paradise. And in paradise, they’ll get everything denied to them in life. 

Many young Palestinians live in communities with a tremendous amount of social pressure, prohibitions and shame, says Berko. In paradise, they can experience all the things that are forbidden in real life.

In paradise, “they will meet 72 virgins, drink until they’re intoxicated and have lots of sex.”

As for what female attackers can hope to get in paradise, it is often as basic as the right to marry for love. One prisoner, who tried but failed to carry out a suicide bombing, told Berko, “In paradise I will be like a queen and sit in my kingdom and marry anyone I want to. I want someone who is handsome [giggling], and Allah will receive me.”

Many of the terrorists Berko interviewed did not come from poor families, but they did suffer from violence at home.

For instance, a woman she interviewed who had tried to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint related: “My brother is twenty-five; he rapes me and doesn’t want me to tell anyone. I’m twenty-three. My father died four years ago. I told my mother and uncle about my brother, and my uncle hit me and said my brother hadn’t raped me. My brother said he hadn’t done anything. I asked them to take me to a doctor. I went to the Palestinian police and a policeman said, ‘I can help you, but your brother is a friend of mine.’ He wanted to have sex with me, and he said, ‘Your brother won’t know.’”

In paradise, a young woman can escape being raped by her brother and hit by her uncle, can marry for love, and be remembered as a hero. If she kills enough Israelis, she may have a soccer team named after her or a summer camp or a school.

During the current children’s intifada, a 13-year-old has already had a soccer tournament and a street named in his honour and the Palestinian Bar Association awarded him a posthumous law degree (here).

You can read more about how the Palestinian leadership has been teaching kids to become terrorists in this piece I wrote for the Jewish Tribune seven years ago: here.

Read the entire article about Anat Berko on the motivation of young terrorists here:

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