This story states that “[Ramadan Abdallah] Shallah, former director of the Palestinian think tank founded by Al-Arian at USF, left Tampa in 1995 and emerged later as the commander of the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Damascus, Syria.” Here he is in an interview which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on July 17, 2005 provided to us by MEMRI, with thanks to Sr. Soph.
Shalah: How old was the martyrdom-seeker who carried out the Netanya operation? He was 13 years old. Today he’s 18 years old…
Host: You sent a 13-year-old?
Shalah: No. He was 13 when the Intifada started.
Host: How old is he today?
Shalah: 18 years old.
Host: Just a boy, then.
Shalah: Did I send him? Did I force him? They made the decision themselves. He wants to fight. He wants to become a martyr, because the alternative is such a life… You know what is happening in Palestine. Therefore, he believes, and I too believe, that this path of martyrdom is the solution…
Host: … Will lead him to Paradise.
Shalah: It will lead him to Paradise and replace the hell he’s in. We are victims.
Host: But these were civilians.
Shalah: What “civilians”?
Host: …But against 16-year-old girls who went shopping?
Shalah: Look, some time ago I heard (Muhammad Hassanein) Heikel, who is the most prominent Arab journalist, one of the most important Arab journalists these days, and he said that the distinction between civilians and soldiers in a modern state – a Nation State – is a lie. This civilian uses ballot boxes to bring Sharon to power, and she supports his policy.
Host: They will support Sharon even more now.
Shalah: I don’t care. I condemn the killing of civilians in London and New York, by the way, but I do not condemn the killing of civilians in Netanya, because the people in Netanya live on my land, and they are killing me in Tulkarm, Jibalya, and Gaza.