Women enlist as Fighters in Gaza

CNN reports on a handful of militant women in Gaza who have joined the radical al-Nasir Salahuddin Brigades and gained training as guerrillas.

The women explicitly mentioned the model of women in the Israeli military as among their sources of inspiration.

These groups are more militant than Hamas, which is the most important party-militia in the Gaza Strip. One of the women, a mother, talks chillingly of her wish to be a suicide bomber against Israelis.

As I noted on Sunday, a wikileaks cable says that Israeli Chief of Staff Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi admitted that there are such radical groups in Gaza that Hamas does not control.

Palestinian women of the secular Arab nationalist PLO have been joining the resistance since the late 1960s, so this phenomenon is not new. What is distinctive is to have women in a fundamentalist Muslim tradition such as now dominates Gaza taking up arms.

Many Gaza inhabitants are refugees who were expelled from their homes in the Israeli-Palestinian civil war of 1947-48 in Mandate Palestine. Gaza has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967 and since 2007 has been under an Israeli blockade that has destroyed most businesses and prevented Palestinians from exporting their products. The Israeli military appears to hope that the blockade of civilians (which is illegal in international law) will cause public support for Hamas to collapse. That strategy does not appear to be working. On the other hand, Palestinian militancy in Gaza has also been a dead end, and terrorist strikes and suicide bombings against Israelis, aside from being morally repugnant, have cost Palestinians dearly in world support.

24 Responses

  1. “On the other hand, Palestinian militancy in Gaza has also been a dead end, and terrorist strikes and suicide bombings against Israelis, aside from being morally repugnant, have cost Palestinians dearly in world support.”

    Because world support has been soooooooo instrumental in guarding the welfare of the Palestinians.

    The suicide bombings would be morally repugnant, IF they had other options. You should remember, no one wakes up in the morning and arbitrarily decides to be a suicide bomber.

    What frustration causes a man to decide such?

    • “The suicide bombings would be morally repugnant, IF they had other options.”
      Apparently neither Hamas nor Mr. Mohammed has ever heard of Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Prof. Cole is exactly right–terrorism is a dead end. If the Palestinians had used Gandhi’s or MLK’s tactics, they would have had their independent state decades ago. At the risk of ethnic stereotyping, let me venture that Jews are the biggest softies in the world–much more so than the British or Southern Americans–and would not have been able to stand up to even a few years of Passive Resistance; but it doesn’t seem to be in the DNA of Arabs to respond to injustice (real or perceived) other than with violence.

      • “but it doesn’t seem to be in the DNA of Arabs to respond to injustice (real or perceived) other than with violence.”

        This and just about everything you’ve said is just wrong, or very hackneyed and weak. These kind of generic platitudes are so lacking in knowledge of the situation that I don’t think you really believe all of it. (sorry if the policy around here is to ignore hasbarists)

        • What is a hasbarist?
          It would be nice if you could say something more specific than “you are wrong,” but so be it.
          Do you have anything to say about the actual point of my comment, which is that nonviolent passive resistance is likely to be more effective than terrorism?

      • 1. Do you think if Basque terrorist organization adopt no violence policy of Gandhi & Martin Luther King against Spain, the world opinion will turn against Spain and Basque terrorist organization will get a piece of Spain that they want as an independent country.

        2. Similarly if IRA terrorists also follow Gandhi & martin Luther King’s footsteps, Britain would relinquish to IRA?

        • Neither has relinquished to terrorism, so passive resistance couldn’t be less effective…and might be more effective. Not to mention fewer people killed.

      • Just a suggestion Mr. Phud, that you arrange to take a trip to Israel and meet some of the “soft” Jews living in the West Bank settlements. Go to Hebron or Itamar near Nablus. And then go to Ramallah and meet some of the educated Palestinians.

        • You have a good point. Since the 1980s when the Hasidim started moving to Israel in large numbers, the tenor of Israel changed significantly, and the country may well not be as subject to passive resistance as it was before then. But terrorism still leads nowhere and nonviolence is a better strategy.
          If I implied that all Arabs favor terrorism, I certainly didn’t intend that. There are many Palestinians who oppose it on moral grounds as well as understanding that it is not their best strategy.

  2. “What frustration causes a man to decide such?”

    Desperation and Hopelessness.
    If you don’t have a trillion dollars worth of US weapons to defend yourself with you use what you do have.

    I am sure Missy Hillary Blah-Blah will say this ‘isn’t helpful.’ But after decades of watching your land taken, your children killed,your livelihood destroyed, your dignity crushed daily…I can see why they would turn to this.
    Sometimes it’s better to die on your feet then live on your knees.

    • “Sometimes it’s better to die on your feet then live on your knees.”

      One reason I continue to work to educate people on this issue. The Palestinians inspire the hell out of me.

      • I’m inspired by the work of Abbas and Fayyad in the West Bank, attempting to improve security and the economic situation. I’m not inspired by the way Gaza is run, including rocket attacks on Israeli civilians and holding Gilad Shalit incommunicado.

        • Yeah, negotiating for pie the isrelis continue to eat. I’m sure when Abbas et al have nothing left, bibi et al will give them safe passage to… Somewhere :-/

  3. Gosh, I wonder why a “cornered rat” (surprisingly, you used the phrase a few days back to describe Persians) might act without Moral Consideration?

  4. I agree with the other two comments. Suicide bombing is observed to be the work only of desperate people defending their home. It is the ONLY form of terrorism not begun and used by Israel, and for that reason is constantly put forward as far worse than when the perpetrators are safely away, as in Israeli and US drones, or in tanks. btw, Hamas abandoned suicide attacks over 5 years ago, but the way Israel talks, you would never guess.

  5. Why is a story like this not suspect. This is the kind of thing that intelligence agencies work day and night to affect and when a news source like CNN reports the story in less than a minute who knows what. Follow the “Who
    Benefits” back to Israeli intelligence and you’ll find a fiscal cycle coming around that threatens some war mongers funding. When your check Al Jazeera the story is that Israel is whipping up excuses to attack Gaza. The neat thing about suicide bombers is that you never have to produce the bomber. The whole story belongs to the secret police.

  6. I’m a supporter of non-violent action and BDS, but is there any evidence that suicide bombing “cost” support? Support by whom? In my view, attitudes toward Palestine in the west are largely shaped by media propaganda and have very little to do with any facts at all. You may be right, but I think the data is murky on that.

  7. Mohammad & Carol, both of you are correct.

    Look, in desperation what other prominent people have said:
    Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death. Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775. An American Hero.

    Mr. Nelson Mandela said “But, my lord, if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die ….”

    During Vietnam War, many monks dowsed themselves with gasoline & burned to death. At least one Vietnam Vet also did the same in 1965 on the steps of the Capitol, in Washington, DC.

    What was the act of Japanese Kama kazi pilots? If they did not have planes, I am sure they would have done the same what Palestinians are doing now.

    Recently, during a documentary made by a Norwegian Journalist about Taliban that was shown on CNN, Anderson cooper asked the Norwegian journalist that he is “Humanizing” Taliban.

    It dawned on me that CNN is not a news media outlet, but an outlet to Dehumanize & Humanize as they please.

    • “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…. Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
      — Martin Luther King

  8. I might add that while Patrick Henry and Nelson Mandela were willing to die for freedom, they were not into killing others (indiscriminately, or at all) in that cause. Likewise MLK. The Vietamese monks killed themselves to dramatize their cause; they did not kill others. None of these are a justification for terrorism.
    I hardly think that Japanese Kamikaze pilots are good role models for a cause worth dying (and killing) for, but note that they killed enemy soldiers/sailors with deliberate aim; they did not kill civilians.

    • That is a factually incorrect statement regarding Mandela.

      I would venture that you know nothing about South Africa and the role that violence played in ending apartheid/making it unsustainable. Have you heard of Umkhonto we Sizwe? Necklacing? Also do note that while the nationalist government of SA imprisoned Mandela, Israel simply a kills.

      But fair enough, you are a pacifist. So, how are you actively supporting the current non-violent anti-apartheid protest movement? Go to Bi’lin and demonstrate! Put you body on the line.

      • I have relatives in South Africa and have been there twice. Have you?
        South Africa killed many ANC but, I believe on intervention by the US, only gave Mandela a life sentence. (He never killed anybody though ANC certainly did.)
        I am not a pacifist, just pointing out that there is a difference between being willing to die for a cause and being willing to kill for it.

        • Oh, one more thing about South Africa. ANC guerrilla warfare/terrorism had little to do with the fall of Apartheid. South Africa fought the ANC to more than a draw and could have continued to sustain that situation indefinitely.
          The primary factor was the international boycott, which affected blacks more than whites, but blacks were willing to suffer in order to achieve freedom (or at least political power) while most whites were unwilling to suffer to preserve Apartheid. Incidentally the effectiveness of the boycott against South Africa is one reason Israel is working so hard to prevent one against them.

  9. Virtually every national or ethnic group has been guilty of terrorism. Hiroshima and the slaughter of the Egyptian babies come to mind.

    - Terrorism is certainly not wrong if it is commanded by God.

    - For the reality-based, terrorism is wrong only if wrong is wrong. That is, only if all of us have a duty to be ethical in all of our conduct, not selectively, not self-interest masquerading as morality.

    - For the ethical, terrorism is only one of many wrongs. Cruelty, greed, hatred, exploitation, discrimination, and theft are some others.

    - It is understandable that non-state terrorism has become the obsession of the ‘haves’. It’s one of the few wrongs that afflicts them. The ‘haves’ tend to benefit from the other wrongs.

    - It’s also understandable that some ‘have-nots’ will prioritize wrongs differently than the ‘haves’.

  10. Tehre is a famous remark made by an ALgerian FLN (resistence fighters againstfrench invasion) to a French military coomander who reproached him the loss of innocent lives in “terrorists” attacks: Give me your planes, and your guns and your tanks and I will stop terrorism.

    When you are expelled from your land by foreign invaders, be it French or Zionists, you are entitled to fight them with whatever weapons you have. No moral code forbids it.

    I was very impressed by a video of one of the suicide jihaidists that blew up the London Underground: you’ll accuse me of terrorist, of killing innocent people, but I am a soldier. Thousands of my innocent broters are killed every day in Iraq by your soldiers, and yet you reelected the government who is conducting the killings… he said. It is difficult to argue with that.

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