The Roots of Terrorism

Scene of Netanya Suicide Bombing, Palestinians March in Celebration of Netanya bombing (both are Reuters)

In yet another bloody Palestinian terrorist attack, five Israelis were killed outside a shopping mall in Netanya while scores of others were wounded.


In this week’s  cover story investigating the phenomenon of female suicide bombers, Newsweek uses Dr. Eyad Sarraj (a discredited but frequently used media source), to make the claim that it is Israeli rule that promotes suicide bombing. (Note, the issues we are referencing came to light before the Netanya bombing and refers to the phenomenon of suicide bombing in general as opposed to specific attacks.)

Years under Israeli rule have broken down the structures of Palestinian families. “The image of the strong, providing father who can protect his women and children has been badly damaged and the male role has been eroded away,” says Dr. Eyad Sarraj, director of Gaza Community Mental Health. That opens the way for radical groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad to teach young boys that the way to be real men is to be religious and to be ready to die.

However, despite official condemnation of terror attacks for “harming Palestinian interests,” by providing cash for the families of suicide bombers and using its state controlled media to glorify “martyrdom,” it is actually the Palestinian Authority which is the “root cause” of Palestinian terrorism.


According to the FrontPage Magazine:

The Palestinian daily, al Hayat al Jadida has reported that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, signed a new law to support the families of suicide bombers.

Enacting a special law to financially support terrorists will ensure that this kind of activity continues. Each shahid’s family will receive a monthly stipend of at least $250. The family of a married shahid will receive an additional $50. Parents will receive an additional $25, and each additional child and/or brother or sister will get another $15.

The PA’s message to its people is clear, suicide bombings are legitimate and worthy of state compensation. In a major piece on the motivation of female suicide bombers, it would have made sense for Newsweek to recognize the support their families receive from the PA.


As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, the Palestinian Authority continues to run media programming that encourages suicide attacks. This has not changed since the death of Arafat, despite the PA’s clear Road Map obligations to end all incitement and control terror.  Here are just a few recent examples that can be accessed by the PMW link above:

November 2005: PA names recently opened Rafah border crossing with Egypt after Al-Moayed Al-Agha, who killed 5 Israelis in the area last year. To make clear the honor they are bestowing on Al-Agha, the PA erects a huge sign at border depicting an armed Al-Agha and a map of the entire State of Israel.

CNN, November 25, 2005

August 2005: The PA’s Ministry of Culture releases “Book of the Month”, a poetry collection honoring suicide terrorist Hanadi Jaradat, who murdered 21 Israelis. It was distributed as a special supplement in the daily Al-Ayyam, the official PA newspaper.

July 2005: Al-Ayyam, whose editors are appointed by Abbas, endorsed terror attack on Israeli couple,  granting the most elevated status to the murderers, the status of “Shahid”,  Martyr for Allah

These examples are just a few that have appeared since the death of Arafat. When media like Newsweek try to examine the “root causes” of suicide bombing, they should examine the Palestinian Authority’s actions and communications with its constituents rather than rely on unofficial PA “spokesmen” like Dr. Sarraj.

Comments to Newsweek:


As we do every year, we are asking you to send us your nominations for our “Dishonest Reporting Award,” presented to the journalist or media outlet that displays the most consistent and blatant anti-Israel bias.

As always, there are many candidates for this year’s “award,” and we invite you to send your nominations to:

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.