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Child 'Martyrs' Shame Adults

June 15, 2002

Re "In Growing Numbers, Palestinian Boys Are Choosing the Brief Life of a 'Martyr,' " by Tracy Wilkinson, June 10: How utterly pathetic to read another article detailing how Palestinian parents and Hamas encourage little boys to blow up innocent people. No just god would look on these children as martyrs. Perhaps if they, or anyone, died peacefully for a cause in the name of their god there would be hope for salvation. Sadly, the only martyrs in this equation are the victims. As for the parents of these suicide-bomber children, a pox on all of them. It is mental sickness and the ignorant belief that the God of all humanity is really only on the Palestinian and/or Arab side.

The Palestinians must wonder, even occasionally, why Israeli children (or adults) don't do the same thing. They don't because it is insidiously barbaric; if an Israeli child blew up 17 innocent Palestinians, that child's family would likely be scorned and ashamed, not to mention the possibility of the parents being arrested as accomplices. That is the bottom-line difference between the protagonists.

Gregg Freeman

Simi Valley


In a recent visit by Israeli army intelligence officer Col. Miri Eisen, we learned that Palestinian terror attacks, including those committed by the 14-year-olds referred to in Wilkinson's article, require four elements: people, weapons, money and education.

Both the Israeli military and the Palestinian security forces can, if and when they wish, deal with the people, the weapons and the money. But when Palestinian mothers reinforce this "love for martyrdom" in their sons, when Palestinian textbooks fail to acknowledge the existence of the state of Israel and when Palestinian state-run television shows "endless, violent images" (of Palestinians as victims, never showing Israeli victims of Palestinian terror), the possibility of peaceful coexistence seems impossible.

Contrary to Wilkinson's assertions that Palestinian terror is based on "frustration" over Israeli roadblocks and checkpoints, a more honest assessment is that it is based on a well-coordinated indoctrination policy by the Palestinian Authority. Peace can only be achieved when, as the late Israeli Prime Minister GoIda Meir once said, Palestinians love their children more than they hate us.

Sanford Gage

Chair, Jewish Community

Relations Committee

Jewish Federation, Los Angeles


Re "Aid Groups Say Israel Impedes Relief Work," June 11: If they're looking for the moral high ground, Richard Cook and the U.N. Relief and Works Agency have a long climb ahead. It was under the U.N. agency's auspices, after all, that Jenin was transformed into a hornets' nest of terrorists. It is the U.N. agency that operates Palestinian schools in which kindergartners are taught to hate Jews, surrounded by posters glorifying suicide bombers.

Cook referred to Kosovo. Israeli physicians and other medical personnel provided substantial aid to Muslim refugees living in camps in Macedonia during that conflict. Indeed, a number of children born in that period are named after the Israeli doctors who attended their birth. When it comes to humanitarian aid, I'll take the record of the Israelis over that of Cook and the U.N. agency any day.

E. Scott Menter



I object strongly to your June 6 headline "Israel Incursion Complicates U.S. Diplomacy Efforts." The headline is biased; the Palestinians are complicating the peace effort; no homicide bombing, no incursion equals peace effort.

Miriam Freedman

Sherman Oaks

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