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Religious, Political, and Moral Legitimacy of Suicide Bombings

by Yotan Feldner

Over the last few months, in light of increased Palestinian suicide bombings, the Arab media has been engaged in a heated debate over the religious, political and moral legitimacy of martyrdom operations against Israel. Those participating in the debate include leading Sunni-Islamic authorities, as well as political officials and senior columnists. Following is the fourth part of a comprehensive review of the debate:

In Defense of Martyrdom Operations - The Political Arguments Support of suicide operations in the Arab media was not based solely upon religious foundations, as some columnists related to their political achievements. Amru Nasif, a columnist for the Egyptian opposition weekly, Al-Usbu, who is a previous column volunteered to carry out a suicide bombing himself, criticized Arab intellectuals who dared to denounce the Tel-Aviv bombing and claimed the bombing damaged the Palestinian image in the world: "...The martyrdom operations should continue, Allah willing, and their ferocity should increase. We must use the panic and the intensive Zionist presence at the sight after each attack to strike another blow that will harvest twice as many of their stinking souls. Let the US and the West go to Hell along with their filthy culture..."

Supporters of suicide bombings argued that these attacks may serve to drive the Jews out of Israel. Dr. Lutfi Nasif, a columnist for the Egyptian government daily, Al-Gumhurtya, wrote: "...Some fear that the Fidaai [self sacrifice] operations, in which the martyrs blow up themselves, provoke international public opinion...[However] if we examine the bombings of the last few days in Israeli cities, we will find out, no doubt, that they have had many positive aspects. The main issue that occupies the mind of every Israeli is security. The Jewish immigrant who left his original homeland and came to Israel, dreamt, no doubt, of security and stability; when he feels the loss of security in the Promised Land, he begins thinking about emigration out of Israel. The lack of security for [the Israeli citizen] himself and his children, exceeds the borders of Israel and touches Jews all over the world. Many of them, who contemplated immigration to Israel, have distanced this thought from their minds...These operations should not bother us. Out goal must be getting the number of Israel casualties closer to that of the Palestinians... We salute all the Shahida and are sorry for their departure, but the freedom tax must be paid, even if it is expensive..."

Bahjat Ibrahim Al-Dsuqi, a columnist for the Egyptian government Al-Akhbar weekly stated that with suicide bombings "the rats who came from the US, Europe, and Russia will flee," and added, "whoever is killed by the Israeli arsenal or by the Israeli settlers is a Shahid," but "whoever blows himself up as a revenge against the enemies is a Shahid of the highest rank of martyrdom, because he has sold his soul and bought Paradise. We are not afraid of [sacrificing] thousands of martyrs." Al-Dsuqi added a piece of advice for America: "I advise the US...: Do not forget what happened to the Marines in Lebanon, nor the bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in Yemen."

Walid Badran, also an Al-Akhbar columnist, expressed his conviction that the operations present the Israelis two options: "to return to the places from where they came, or to accept a just agreement," because "nobody disputes that Jerusalem is more precious to the Muslims and Arabs than life itself, while the Jews consider their lives more precious than Jerusalem."

The Head of the Syrian "Arab Writers Union," Dr. Ali 'Aqleh 'Ursan joined the attack on Arab intellectuals who denounced the Tel Aviv Disco bombing: "...If what you gain from denouncing the nations' martyrs is a blonde smile, an Arab tap on your shoulder, or a Zionist thank-you letter... you are welcome to it, and we are welcome to our blood that writes in shiny letters that will be read by our sons in the future so they will continue the march of liberation, that will take place only by the use of force, through Jihad, and through martyrdom..." "Whoever denounces the operations of the Shahid's joins the Arab politicians who apologize for the legitimate struggle. However, these do not represent the conscience of the nation, nor do they influence the public...It is the blood that writes history, and the black ink cannot soil the golden pages written in the blood of the Shahids, on their way to liberate Palestine, the Golan, and South Lebanon...."

Source: MEMRI, Yotam Feldner, Director of Media Analysis

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