Palestinian Incitement of Suicide Bombings
May 18, 2001

1. Suicide bombings today constitute the preferred means of Islamic terrorist organizations in their struggle against Israel. The perpetrators of these attacks receive encouragement from the well oiled incitement machines of religious officials, on the one hand, and from political leaders in the Arab world and the leaders of the terrorist organizations, on the other, who derive their inspiration from Islamic sources.

2. The incitement to continued terrorist attacks is carried out through a number of channels, such as through public pronouncements and calls from religious figures and leaders, and through propaganda which penetrates Palestinian society, via the media and the education system. The propaganda has a double aim: there is the effort to recruit additional volunteers for suicide missions and the attempt to establish support and public backing for the suicide bombers and their families, among the Palestinians and in the Arab world, in general.

3. There follows a number of examples from recent months:

  1. Youssef Jamah, Palestinian Minister of Holy Sites, in an interview on Egyptian Television (April 29), stated:

    "The suicide bombings are a legitimate means through which the Palestinians fight the enemy. Their aim is to serve Allah, and through them, they fight for Allah and for the Islamic faith and homeland. The attacks are the command of Allah."

  2. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of the Hizbullah (Radio Nur, March 31):

    He called on the Palestinians to sacrifice more people, and to carry out Jihad missions, for "they embody the salvation from the occupiers of the pure and holy land, the accomplishment of freedom and the return of the dispersed Palestinians to their homeland. The Zionist entity is a cancerous entity and, therefore, there is no room for compromise with it."

  3. Khalad Mashal, Hamas (Reuters, February 16):

    "You have no place here, on the holy land of Palestine… You will never have security in this place, not even on a single centimeter of this land. This is a call for every Palestinian to turn into a time bomb – to fight them with every means at your disposal."

    (Al Quds Radio, February 17):

    "Kill them! Allah will answer them through your means! I hope that there are those among you who will kill and be killed!"

  4. Dr. Mahmud Alzahar, a Hamas spokesman (on Internet Site "Albouaba", April 23):

    "The sacrificial acts to sanctify Allah’s name are designed to attack the personal security of the Israelis. We are not referring to negotiations, but to an occupation that is harming personal security and that is destroying the Zionist society."

  5. Sheikh Youssuf Kardawi (Aljazira, April 11):

    In response to a question regarding attacks against civilians:

    "Israeli society is a military society, and every person is either a soldier in the Israeli Army or a reserve soldier. This society must be intimidated, until they return to the countries from which they came. When they feel afraid and fearful, they will not feel secure in the country, and we must intimidate and frighten them."

    (Albayan – Internet, May 12):

    "I believe that the Palestinian Jihad fighter who carries out suicide actions in Israel does not think about the murder of children and women, but rather goes to fight against Israel, its army and its forces." The suicide mission is the loftiest form of Jihad. We are talking about an heroic act of sacrifice and sanctification. The person who redeems his soul for Allah, sacrifices himself as a sacrifice for his religion and people, and fights the enemies of Allah with new weapons that fate awarded to the downtrodden, in order to fight with these means against the tyranny of the arrogant.

  6. The Palestinian Council of Religious Leaders publicized a Fatwa (Al Iyyam, May 6), determining that "these acts of sacrifice are legitimate, and their legitimacy is derived from the Koran and Islamic law."

  7. Khamad Almadavi, a preacher at the Al Aqsa Mosque, and the Chairman of the Islamic Appeals Court in Jerusalem (in an interview to a radio station in London): "the suicide attacks are commanded by the Koran and the command applies to every Muslim."

  8. Sheikh Ahmad Yassin (Egyptian Television, April 29):

    "The fighters for Allah kill and get killed. Can there be bravery which is superior to that shown by a person who sacrifices himself for his homeland, in order to sow fear, defeatism, death, division and destruction amongst enemy ranks."

  9. Faez Kandil, Radio commentator, Damascus, February 19):

    "Israel has many weapons, but the Palestinian people also have a large number of weapons and they are: The weapon of sacrifice to sanctify Allah’s name. This is a noble Arab weapon which renews itself in the same way as the sun shines every morning. The second weapon is the explosive material of the Fedayeen, and the third weapon is the geographical proximity, enabling the Palestinian resistance to strike at every place they wish. The towns of Netanya and Hadera are close to Tulkarem and Kalkilya, in the same way that Maaleh Adumim is close to Ramallah."

  10. Sheikh Alshaibi, Head of the Faculty of Religious Studies, University Bin Saud (Alhayat, April 30):

    "The suicide missions are a legitimate act, and are included within the framework of the Jihad in accordance with Allah, if the intention of the person perpetrating it is pure. These actions are one of the most effective means of the Jihad. One of the most effective means against the enemies of the faith is to bring about disasters and attacks in their midst… in other words, to cause killing and mutilation, and to sow panic in their midst. These actions strengthen the Muslims and their spirit, and breaks the morale of the enemies."

4. In the context of the propaganda, "broadcasting services" are broadcast to Palestinian children, in which the boy Mohammed A-Dura, the "martyr" , calls out to his friends from paradise, and asks them to follow his path and join the fighters.

The chairperson of the Hizbullah Womens’ Movement is quoted on Al Jezira Television (December 13, 2000): "I will push my child to participate in the resistance, and I pray to Allah that my son ends his life as a Shaheed (martyr)." Another member of the organization is also quoted: "I began to take action within the framework of the American University in Beirut, and to explain the priorities of the Shaheed children – in the same way that we are educated to become doctors, they are educated to die like their fathers."

5. There are a few religious figures who reject the religious legitimacy of suicide attacks. For instance, Mufti Alsheikh of Saudi Arabia maintained that suicide attacks have no basis in Islamic law. In Egypt, Sheikh Alzahar maintained that "if a person blows himself up between people who are fighting him, he is a Shaheed, but if he blows himself up between young children, women or the elderly that take no part in the fighting, he is not a Shaheed." Nevertheless, most of the religious figures responding rejected the ruling of Mufti Alsheikh of Saudi Arabia, and claimed that his ruling was incorrect and was intended only to serve political ends.