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PA TV Star: Mother Upset Her Daughter Failed as Suicide Bomber

Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled television is still broadcasting human interest pieces highlighting parents' support for their children's decisions to become suicide bombers.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 2/28/2006, 1:07 PM / Last Update: 2/27/2006, 8:41 PM

In spite of PA pledges not to incite, an interview broadcast last week featured the mother of Wafa Al-Bas, the 21-year-old Arab woman from Gaza (pictured above) who was arrested at the Erez Crossing in June 2005 wearing a 20-pound (9 kg) bomb under her clothes.

The PA TV interview with Al-Bas' parents, which aired on February 20th, features her mother saying the event was hard for her - not because her daughter was on a suicide mission, but because she was arrested on her way to carry it out.

Al-Bas intended to bomb Be'er Sheva's Soroka Hospital outpatient clinic, where she had been receiving regular treatments for serious burns on 45 percent of her body resulting from a gas stove explosion in her home.

The failed bomber later told Israeli television that her greatest wish was to kill 30 to 50 Israelis, including children. The hospital attack would likely have killed or maimed the very Israeli doctor who had saved her life.

Al-Bas' mother said in the PA TV interview that she knew that her daughter had wanted to be a martyr since she was a little girl, but had not encouraged her - not because she opposed the idea of suicide bombing, but because Wafa was female. "If it was a boy, I would have supported, but since she is a girl I discouraged," she said.

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Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) recorded and translated the interview:

Interviewer: "How did you receive the news of Wafa's arrest?"
Wafa's mother: "When I received the news, it was hard for me. Hard."
Interviewer: "Excuse me, was the hardship in that she failed in the martyrdom-seeking operation and was arrested, or in the arrest itself?"
Wafa's mother: "The arrest itself. Her wish was martyrdom, Wafa, since she was a little girl."
Interviewer: "Meaning, you hoped she would be a martyr?"
Wafa's mother: "Her wish was to be a martyr."
Interviewer: "Did you encourage her?"
Wafa's mother: "To tell you the truth, I didn't encourage her. I talked to Wafa about the issue, about not agreeing to it because she is a girl. Were it a boy, I would have supported, but since she is a girl, I discouraged."

"The message given to Palestinian society from broadcasts like this is that suicide bombing is not wrong," said PMW Director Itamar Marcus. "Indeed, it is seen as an honor and a joy to raise a child to be a suicide bomber - at least if that child is a son."

The phenomenon of mothers' approval of their children's terrorist acts and the PA's broadcast of such methods is not new. Previous examples have been reported by PMW in the past:

* Mother of suicide terrorist: "My son's martyrdom was as a wedding, a time of joy"
* Mother of suicide terrorist: "Mothers make sounds of joy [on their son's martyrdom] because she wants him to reach martyrdom... I wanted the best for him... [it was] honor for us"
* Mother of Suicide Terrorist: He told me to "pray for me that I will be a martyr"
* Mother of suicide terrorist: "All the martyrs are my sons"