The John Travolta movie ‘Swordfish’ opens with a bank heist in which suicide vests strapped onto hostages are detonated. The resulting explosion is played out in slow motion with ball bearings ripping through glass and flying bodies. It runs for nearly a full minute.
This is Gaza today. A city in a suicide vest which has been exploding on our screens in slow motion over these last three weeks. Just as in the movie, when this grisly scene finally plays out in Gaza there will be an eerie silence with little left but wreckage and body parts.
Suicide bombings have become an almost daily occurrence in various parts of the world and we have become desensitised to them, so long as they don’t come too close to home or an airline route that we use. Whether it’s Mohammed Atta of 9/11, the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston or our home-grown Germaine Lindsay who bombed London on 7/7, the pattern is the same. They all started out as good students with a promising future. And then something ugly happened which destroyed them and all those around them.
What we’re witnessing in Gaza is a metamorphosis of Islamist terrorism. A new phenomenon: the world’s first urban suicide bomb.
In many ways the profile is similar.
Gaza started out with so much promise.
9 years ago Israel evacuated every Jewish man woman and child from the Gaza strip. 8,000 people were torn away from their homes and even the dead were pulled from their graves for reburial in Israel. All this pain was inflicted by Israel’s most hawkish Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, just to give peace a chance. Israel left behind farms and greenhouses on land that had never been cultivated in hundreds of years. Billions in foreign aid poured in from America and Europe, and the UN set up schools and welfare centres. Just like Atta, Tsarnaev and Lindsay - Gaza had everything going for it.
And then something ugly happened to Gaza, which is destroying it and everything around it.
Just as the suicide bomber is fitted with his (or her) explosive vest, so Gaza was fitted with its vest by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Just as the bomber watches the ball bearings being loaded and straps being tied, so the Gazans watched the rockets being shipped in and the tunnels being dug. In 2012 the Institute of Palestine Studies reported that over 160 children died digging those tunnels according to Hamas’ own sources.
With over 10,000 rockets stored in mosques, schools, UN facilities and within 6 years’ worth of tunnelling underneath their homes and streets, no resident of Gaza could fail to have realised that their city was being suited up as a giant suicide bomb to be deployed against the Jewish state.
Just as in the movie - and just as indiscriminately as the ball bearings - hundreds of Hamas rockets have continued to burst out of the Gaza suicide vest as if in slow motion over this 3-week campaign. Under this hail of fire, Israeli soldiers have been fighting against time to peel off what remains of this deadly straightjacket. And under unprecedentedly strict orders of engagement they have paid with their own lives to save as many vital organs in Gaza as possible.
We don’t know how this campaign will end. Hopefully it will see the total destruction of Hamas and the liberation of their Gaza hostages to a life of enlightenment in place of incitement. But I fear this metamorphosis of Islamist terror is only the second of three stages.
Stage 1 is the ‘Human’ Suicide Bomber – an oxymoron if there ever was one.
Stage 2 is the Urban Suicide Bomb - prototyped in Gaza.
Stage 3 is the State Suicide Bomb – and this will be Iran.
Paymaster and gunrunner to all the major terror organisations of the world, the Islamic Republic is now within an ace of producing nuclear weapons. After years of getting their sanctions act together, the western powers finally brought the mullocracy to the brink of surrender when the president of their Big Satan inexplicably handed them a lifeline. Now they are rehabilitated and more outspoken than ever on their rights to enrichment of weapons-grade uranium.
The ayatollahs’ calculus is simple. That Israel is a ‘one-bomb-nation’ compared with sustainable losses in the Islamic world if there is retaliation.
Think of a Gaza. Add one hundred million. Mix in the uranium.
That’s Stage 3.