Communicated by IDF Spokesperson
July 23, 2002
The current widespread and constant use of suicide bombers constitutes a marked and sinister change in the practice of terror. In the past two years alone, almost 100 suicide bombers have taken the lives of over 250 victims in Israel – children, women and men – and hundreds of others have been wounded. Suicide bombing (or homicide bombing, as it is also known) is a brutal crime that must be condemned by the entire international community.
Using suicide bombers is a strategic form of terror, defined clearly in a recent review by Amnesty International as "a crime against humanity." This kind of terrorism is indiscriminate and knows no bounds, as the world witnessed on September 11, 2001.
The Palestinian Authority, since its establishment, has incited the Palestinian population against Israel and against Jews. Its educational system, from kindergarten through university, teaches hatred of Israel, and not only legitimizes but encourages admiration of suicide bombers.
The Mufti of the Palestinian Authority, Achrama Sabri, and other spiritual leaders in the Muslim world have conferred religious license on the suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, calling them the supreme expression of jihad (holy war) against the infidels. They, together with Hamas (an international terrorist organization, according to both the United States and the European Community), led by Ahmed Yassin and Salah Shehade, have justified the indiscriminate murder of Jews by declaring the general population of Israel to be "legitimate targets of the jihad."
The first suicide bombing in Israel occurred on April 16, 1993 (before that, there had been suicide attacks directed against IDF soldiers in Lebanon). In the years 1995-1996, a murderous wave of suicide attacks erupted in Israel.
Throughout the period dubbed "Ebb and Flow" (starting in September 2000), there has been a progression in the number and type of terror attacks carried out against Israel:
In the year 2000, suicide attacks were carried out by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad primarily in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In the year 2001, suicide attacks were carried out by Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the PFLP also within Israel.
In the year 2002, an unprecedented wave of suicide attacks has been unleashed by all the terrorist organizations.