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[Opinion] A Bomb-wearing Boy

Posted March. 26, 2004 22:43,   


I went to Israel in 2000 when it was caught up in the fire of the Intifadah (Anti-Israeli revolt). “Stone is a weapon and the terrorists are maneuvering from behind the scenes,” said the minister of Public Information in Israel against the criticism for shooting boys throwing stones. At the international airport from which I left Israel, I had to face strict luggage inspection by the police. I said to them that I came on the invitation of the Israeli government, but they did not listen to me. Their explanation was that terrorists might have put a bomb in luggage even without the owner’s awareness.

Both Israel and Palestine struggle fiercely to turn the world’s opinion favorable to its own side. Invitation of foreign press may be a part of propagandistic strategy. Israelis, who are dominating the major U.S. press, are in an advantageous position in propaganda. Israeli military arrested a 16-year-old boy wearing a suicide bomb jacket at the checkpoint of Nablus amid severe criticism for killing Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin by a missile strike. The Israeli government promptly gathered the press to the scene and opened this boy to the world.

Palestinians regard their own kid who commits a suicide bombing as a “hero” or a “martyr.” However, the mother of the bomb jacket-wearing boy was different. “Kids should not be used as suicide bombers. If they are as old as 20, when they can fight for their motherland, it is understandable.” Israelis’ killing of Yassin deserves criticism, but Hamas led by Yassin is thought to have maneuvered numerous suicide bombings from behind the scene. It is difficult to distinguish between good and evil in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.

Samuel Huntington took criticism from Israelis for saying that “Israeli border line is stained by blood” in his “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order.” He argued that Israelis tend to settle emergent situation by violence quoting from ethnic conflicts and military statistics. However, it is partial in some respect to draw a conclusion from the results alone. Despair of the Palestinians who commit a suicide bombing should be considered. The bomb jacket-wearing boy’s mother said, “We are living in a large prison.”

Hwang Ho-taek, Editorial writer, hthwang@donga.com