The New York Post (as if you couldn’t tell from the headline) reviews a new book about female suicide bombers, Barbara Victor’s Army of Roses (Rodale Press).
The Israeli occupation, Victor finds, does not fully explain Palestinian terrorism. Rather, its roots lie in the “culture of death” that Palestinian leaders have promoted. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been at the forefront of fusing martyrdom with patriotism. The popularity of these groups prompted Yasser Arafat to authorize his own al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade to engage in terrorism and in 2002, Arafat began calling for the recruitment of women as Shihada (female martyrs) to create “an army of roses that will crush Israeli tanks.”
Not to be outdone, Hamas, normally religiously conservative, issued a fatwa permitting women to become suicide bombers. . . .
This book explodes the myth that Palestinian terrorism would cease if Israel’s occupation ended. Terrorism now functions in Palestinian society in ways that are independent of Israel.
The lesson is that peace will necessarily require a sea change within Palestinian society, one that, unfortunately, shows little sign of occurring.