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December 02, 1994 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1994
REGAL CUSTOM SEDAN

Terrorist's Interview
Reveals Mind-Set



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WE'RE FIGHTING FOR YOUR LIFE

Los Angeles (JTA) — Six days be-
fore a young Palestinian terror-
ist strapped explosives around
his waist and drove his bicycle
into an Israeli checkpoint, he was
interviewed by a Simon Wiesen-
thal Center consultant studying
the mind-set of radical Islamic
terrorists.
In the Nov. 11 attack in the
Gaza Strip, 21-year old Hisham
Ismail Hamad obliterated him-
self and three Israeli soldiers, and
wounded 11 other Israelis and
Palestinians.
Mr. Hamad was among a
group of Islamic Jihad militants
who talked openly with Kenneth
, Timmerman about their aims
and beliefs. Mr. Timmerman is
an international security expert
who has previously undertaken
studies for the Wiesenthal Cen-
ter on Iraqi chemical warfare ca-
pabilities and Iranian and Libyan
weapons programs.
The meeting took place on
Nov. 5 in an abandoned parking
garage in Gaza, near the home of
Hani Abed, a Palestinian jour-
nalist and suspected terrorist,
killed by a car bomb on Nov. 2.
Islamic Jihad has blamed Israel
for Abed's death and vowed re-
venge.
What struck Mr. Timmerman,
a non-Jew, as "scary" was the rit-
ualistic incitement to hatred of
all Jews, at the meeting and in
the Gaza streets.
"The streets outside Hani
Abed's mourning house were
filled with graffiti and huge ban-
ners proclaiming revenge," re-
ported Mr. Timmerman.
" 'Yes to martyrdom,' read one
banner. The slaughter of Jews is
our choice to victory,' read an-
other. The children of Israel will
be the sheep for the butchers of
the Islamic Jihad,' read a third,"
said Mr. Timmerman.
Inside the meeting place, the
hatred of Jews was the most ex-
treme Mr. Timmerman had wit-
nessed in many years of talking
with Arab militants, he said in a
telephone interview.
Mr. Hamad told the group that
"According to the Torah, the Jews
say they are the leaders of na-
tions. But in fact, Israel wants to
destroy the world. They want to
destroy American society, French
society, British society. They
want to destroy the whole world.
But we believe Israel will be
destroyed by Muslims. This is
what the Koran says."
At another point, perhaps an-
ticipating his own death, Mr.
Hamad said, "Hani Abed, peace
be upon him, is blessed today in
heaven.
He is not dead. No, he is hap-

py. That is why the women are
ululating. They are happy be-
cause he has given himself to Al-
lah."
Mr. Timmerman preceded the
Gaza meeting with interviews in
Damascus and Amman with
leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad
and the Muslim Brotherhood.
"In 15 years of covering the
(Palestine liberation Organiza-
tion), I have never encountered
such rank anti-Semitism," Mr.
Timmerman said. "For instance,
I never heard PLO officials men-
tion The Protocols of the Elders
of Zion, but the Hamas and Is-
lamic Jihad men believe this old
czarist forgery is the absolute
truth."

Islamic Jihad
claimed it is training
a suicide brigade.

The fight against such terror-
ists will be long and difficult, said
Mr. Timmerman.
"The bombers are generally be-
tween 14 and 22, without chil-
dren of their own and without a
police record that would make
them suspicious to the Israeli au-
thorities," he said. "Once select-
ed, they are indoctrinated into
the ways of sacrifice. Or, if you
prefer, prepared like sacrificial
lambs for the knife.
"To persuade young men like
Hamad to blow themselves up,
Islamic Jihad goes to great
lengths to separate them from
their families, sealing them off in
a bubble of hate-filled rhetoric
that makes their choice of death
seem rational, even sublime."
Mr. Timmerman said he
would not presume to advise Is-
raeli and other security services
on how to fight the terrorists, but
warned that while the supply of
suicide bombers was limited,
more than a few seemed to be
willing.
From the longer perspective,
Mr. Timmerman believes that
"the breeding ground of terror-
ism is the grinding poverty in
Gaza," and with the recent con-
frontations between PLO Chair-
man Yassir Arafat and the
Islamic extremists, the situation
is likely to get worse.
"Only massive infusion of for-
eign aid and investments will
help Gaza residents, but with
each new act of violence, foreign
investors are scared off, the
poverty gets worse, and violence
increases. It's a vicious cycle," said
Mr. Timmerman.

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