Independent Media Center, Israel

Blame the Occupation
author: Pilger

Suicide attacks against civilians are clearly crimes - and they are used by extremists. But the extremists rely on the brutality of the occupation and the despair of the young volunteers. Some extraordinary Israelis are brave enough to recognise this.

Rami Elhanan is one Israeli father who knows about suicide bombing. On September 4th 1997, his daughter, Smadar, was killed by one. She was 14 years old. Rami's daughter was shopping with two friends, one of whom was killed, the other seriously injured in the attack.

Rami is a graphic designer and a former soldier. His father survived Auschwitz, but his grandparents, six aunts and uncles perished in the Holocaust.

John Pilger asked Rami, "How do you distinguish the feelings of anger that any father would have felt at losing your daughter in such circumstances?"

"I'm not crazy. I don't forget. I don't forgive. Someone who murders little girls, anyone who murders little girls, is a criminal and should be punished.

"But if you think from the head and not from the gut, and you look what made people do what they do - people that don't have hope, people who are desperate enough to commit suicide, you have to ask yourself have you contributed in any way for this despair? For this craziness? It hasn't come out of the blue: the boy whose mother was humiliated, in the morning, at the checkpoint, will commit suicide in the evening.

"The suicide bomber was a victim - the same as my girl was. Of that I am sure.

"You have to understand where this suicide bombers come from. Understanding is part of the way to solving the problem." (John Pilger)

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