Philosophy of Death

The philosophy behind suicide bombing is a philosophy that is destroying the Palestinian people.

There are no words to adequately condemn the despicable attack in Tel Aviv. Not only because it is contrary to the interests of the Palestinian people and not only because it serves the interests of the many warmongers in our region. But rather, most importantly because of the philosophy that is behind it, a philosophy that is destroying the Palestinian people.

It is a philosophy of death, which prefers death to life. A mendacious philosophy, which is fulfilled as if in the name of God and Islam. A racist philosophy that is based on the cruel principle of killing Jews because they are Jews, which characterized movements in history among which it is not a great honor to be numbered. It is a philosophy of war criminals, the goal of which is to murder innocent people walking down the street; hungry people who came to the restaurant to exchange their hard-earned money for food, foreign women who traveled thousands of kilometers to support their families, old people who decided to leave the house that day and walk down the street. People whom the murderers did not know at all, but whose lives they allowed themselves to cut short, though these people had done no wrong.

And it is a philosophy of cowardice. If someone wants to fight occupation, let them go and attack the occupying army, not innocent people in the street.

From the point of view of Palestinian society, this is a philosophy of self-destruction. Those who sent the young man to blow himself up in Tel Aviv strike at their own people in a number of ways: They kill the Palestinian young man himself and bring bereavement to a family whose world has been devastated. And what is said about Palestinian mothers - that they glorify the acts of their suicidal children - is wrong. No mother wants her son to die.

They bring an Israeli response that hurts the family, the village, the surrounding villages, and perhaps the whole Palestinian people. They foster in young Palestinians the culture of death instead of the culture of life. The result of this education will be a lessening of hope, of investment in learning and in cultural and scientific activity; more hate and less love.

Therefore every patriotic Palestinian must condemn the attack and see it as anti-Palestinian terror.

Clearly, this does not exonerate the government of Israel and its security forces from its share in responsibility for this bloodshed. Their conduct contributed greatly to raising the level of despair and blindness that creates the ever-growing army of suicide attackers. Terror is not created without reason. It is the direct result of the oppression that has been going on for decades. The Palestinian public is in despair. It is a victim of continuing collective punishment, of unbounded humiliation.

On the Palestinian side innocent people are also dying: children, babies, women, old people - ordinary people who are being killed, although they have done no wrong. For every innocent Israeli who is killed, about four Palestinians are killed.

The argument of despair caused by Israeli actions does not justify terror. Terror is not to be justified. But the impact of these acts and their contribution to terror is not to be ignored.

Israel must also shake off the flourishing philosophy of death, which it does not express by terror attacks, but rather by bombardment in the Gaza Strip, breaking into houses and assassinations - which are killings without trial - mass arrests (there are 1,200 administrative detainees for whom there is no basis for an indictment), roadblocks, closures, humiliation, etc.

As one who believes that both Israelis, the citizens of his country, and Palestinians, his people, will live in peace, security and prosperity, I cry out with a plea to drastically change the vehement policy that brings total destruction to both sides.

The writer is a commentator on Israel affairs on Arab television stations and in the Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat.