Since the year 2000, 8 Palestinian women have perpetrated suicide attacks killing 39 Israelis. The Israeli army and Security Forces have uncovered 45 acts of terror initiated by women. In the past year over 59 women have attempted attacks against Israelis.
One of those attempts took place on Monday. Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas, a 21 year-old Palestinian woman from Jabalya, left her Gaza home with a permission pass to visit Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for a medical check-up. Attached to her clothing, her pants, was more than 22 pounds of explosives.
It was the perfect opportunity. A young woman. An entry permit into Israel for medical treatment. By her own admission and the admission of her handlers, it was assumed that Bas would only be cursorily surveyed at the Erez Crossing. It was assumed that Bas would easily reach her intended target and murder as many people - doctors, nurses, patients, visitors - as 22 pounds of explosives could handle. Luckily, they were wrong, they miscalculated. The intended female suicide bomber was detected. The explosive device was safely detonated by sappers. No one was injured.
Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas had a morning appointment in the Burn Unit of the hospital that had saved her life several months ago. In December of 2004 Bas was badly injured and burned by a gas balloon explosion in her home. Israeli hospitals do not practice a policy of discrimination. All patients are treated alike. Some patients send thank-you notes. This one decided to detonate a bomb.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, interview tapes of the 21 year-old woman as she was escorted aside at the border crossing and asked to remove her pants show that she repeatedly claimed that she had no weapons. When it was clear that the Israelis did not believe her and that she was captured, she tried to detonate then and there.
The al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades is the terrorist organization behind this attack. Al Aksa has admitted sending Bas on this mission and choosing Soroka Hospital in Beersheba as the intended, primary target. Al Aksa, the organization affiliated with the PLO, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the ruling faction within the Palestinian Authority.
As Westerners, it seems unfathomable. The Palestinian Authority is supposed to, has pledged to, fight terror not perpetrate terror. And yet, the facts are right there in front of us. As leader, the democratically chosen leader of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas should be in control. Abbas should be able to say to his followers, No More Terror. And they, even the al Aksa Martyrs' Brigades, should listen. Especially they. The question before us is this: is Abbas sending out a double message, or is this pure and deliberate deceit.
Neither choice is acceptable. Terror is unacceptable. Especially when it is proudly perpetrated by those people who pledge to work for peace and peaceful solutions. Especially when the perpetrators fall under the direct responsibility of the ruling party. If al Aksa is responsible, Abbas is responsible.
We have not yet heard anything from the mother of Wafa Samir Ibraim Bas. The mother has not come out saying "how could my daughter do such a thing" and neither has she come out proudly applauding and dancing for joy because her daughter intended to blow herself up and take with her tens of innocent Israelis, doctors, nurses, Arabs and Jews. Last week Secretary of State Condi Rice made a statement to the effect that she is sure Palestinian mothers do not dream of having their children grow up to become suicide bombers. I disagree. I wonder if Bas' mother disagrees.
The entire phenomenon is mind boggling. There are Palestinians, women and men, who so want to murder Israelis that they are willing to kill whatever chance for a future their own people may have. I see no end in sight.
Today, a Palestinian woman tried to knife an Israeli soldier.