Mahmoud Abbas, the freed prisoners, and the peace process.

The least one should expect is that the Quartet and the UN body that will be considering the Palestinian application for statehood must demand that President Abbas denounce and actively suppress the current pervasive incitement to hatred and terror.

Is discussing a peaceful solution possible in such circumstances?
Maurice Ostroff
On 24 October 2011 13:24

Unsurprisingly, mainstream media while giving enthusiastic attention to the Palestinian prisoners freed in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap have ignored inconvenient details.

They have ignored the multiple murders of uninvolved civilians including infants and the elderly committed by many of the freed prisoners.

So too, they ignore a recent Reuters report that the day after her release, would-be suicide bomber, Wafa al-Biss told cheering schoolchildren that she hoped they would follow her example.

She said, "I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs."

But it gets worse. Wafa al-Biss misled Reuters about the true nature of her actions by saying that she had planned to blow herself up at the Erez crossing. In truth, her intention, as expressed in her own words, was to kill as many Jews as possible in a crowded section of Soroka hospital in Beersheba.

She had boasted of this intention in an interview published in Italian Vanity Fair, extracts of which were published in the London Sunday Telegraph on June 26, 2005.

Wafa is not a unique female terrorist. She is one of a number of women who failed in their attempts. But her story has a unique angle.

During 2004/05, her life was saved by doctors at Soroka where she had been successfully treated for massive burns suffered in a gas-tank explosion. She developed a good relationship with the medical team and her family was so appreciative of the six-month treatment that they wrote a letter of appreciation to the doctors. They said, "the care was wonderful and warm."

Nevertheless, on June 20, 2005, Wafa entered the Erez crossing ostensibly to travel to Soroka for further treatment. But this time, she hid an explosives belt in her underclothes, intending to carry out a suicide bombing in a crowded part of the very same hospital where she had received the wonderful and warm treatment referenced above.

As this remarkable CCTV video shows, her heavy clothing aroused suspicion at the crossing and when the explosive belt was revealed, she attempted unsuccessfully to detonate it.

Under questioning, Wafa revealed that she had been instructed by the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to use her personal medical authorization documents, to carry out the suicide attack in a crowded section of the Israeli hospital.

Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish, a gynaecologist from the Jabalya refugee camp who worked at Soroka hospital, was moved to write an open letter published in the Jerusalem Post in which he said, "I have nothing but praise for the doctors, nurses and other medical staff at Soroka hospital. They show compassion, sympathy and kindness. I was therefore extremely shocked and upset to hear that Wafa Biss, from the Jabalya refugee camp, was wired with explosives to blow herself up at Soroka, a place where she had been treated with kindness and mercy.

On the very day she planned to detonate her bomb, two Palestinians in critical condition were waiting in Gaza to be taken for urgent medical treatment to Soroka. Wafa was sent to kill the very people in Israel who are healing Palestinians from the Gaza strip and West Bank."

It is utterly disturbing to see this terrorist, who boasted in the above mentioned interview that she "wanted to kill 20, 50 Jews. Yes, even babies" in a crowded hospital, treated as a heroine.

More disturbing is Reuters’ statement that Wafa was sent on her inhuman mission by an offshoot of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah, the al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade.

This should cause serious concern to all who are making serious efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict, including the Quartet. After all, even Al-Qaeda does not deliberately target hospitals.

Since Wafa's abuse of her medical authorization to enter Israel is not uncommon, it is understandable that Israel finds it necessary to maintain checkpoints.

The question of course arises whether it is possible to even discuss a peaceful solution, while the freed prisoners are encouraged to persuade others to engage in suicide bombings and other terror activities.

The very least one should expect is that the Quartet and the UN body that will be considering the Palestinian application for statehood demand that President Abbas denounce and actively suppress the current pervasive incitement to hatred and terror.

Maurice Ostroff is a founding member of the International Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers, a world-wide umbrella organization of volunteers active in combating anti-Israel media and political bias and in promoting the positive side of Israel. 

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