III. SUICIDE BOMBING ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS
"Your whole life-erased in a moment," said Moti Mizrachi, who suffered life-threatening injuries in a March 9, 2002 attack on a Jerusalem cafe. A piece of shrapnel just missed his aorta, his left hand was almost severed, and he suffered a large head wound from shrapnel.
One quick minute and everything is radically changed. It's like your life was erased-everything that you did until age thirty-one vanished into nothing. I used to be active, to play soccer two or three times a week, I was on teams, I danced....2
Now, Moti Mizrachi's hand and arm are held together with pins. His life has become one of intense, protracted pain and frequent hospital visits.
The powerful bomb, detonated at the Moment Café, in the affluent Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem, was packed with nails and small pieces of metal. It killed eleven civilians, and wounded more than fifty. 3
The Moment Café bombing was one of forty-eight suicide bomb attacks against Israeli civilians carried out by armed Palestinian groups between January 1, 2001 and August 31, 2002.4 Armed groups also carried out suicide attacks directed against Israeli military targets, but this report does not address these attacks. The forty-eight attacks on civilians constituted grave crimes, including crimes against humanity. Thirty-eight of the suicide bomb attacks on civilians were carried out in Israel, including West Jerusalem; ten were carried out in the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem.
With the onset of Israeli-Palestinian clashes in September 2000, armed attacks against Israeli civilians initially took the form of shootings along roads and in built-up areas such as the settlement of Gilo on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem. Several Palestinian suicide bomb attacks against military targets were carried out during the next three months. These include car bombings that killed four Israeli civilians and wounded scores in November 2000. Islamic Jihad took credit for the first, near the popular Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem, which killed two and wounded eleven.5 Several weeks later, on November 21, a car packed with nail-studded explosives killed two and wounded more than fifty, three seriously, in the northern Israeli town of Hadera.6
The first suicide bomb attack against civilians after the resumption of clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in September 2000 occurred at a bus stop in Netanya on January 1, 2001. Responsibility for the attack, which wounded twenty, was claimed by Hamas (an acronym for harakat al-muqawama al-islamiyya, or Islamic Resistance Movement). The frequency and intensity of suicide bomb attacks on civilians soon increased, and the tactic has been embraced by large sections of the Palestinian public, making these attacks a key feature of the current Palestinian-Israeli clashes.7
Four groups claimed responsibility for the forty-eight suicide bomb attacks that targeted civilians. The Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both opponents of Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, claimed responsibility for carrying out eighteen and twelve of the attacks, respectively. The secular Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, another group long critical of, and opposed to Arafat and his Fatah movement, said it carried out three. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which is closely allied to Fatah, claimed responsibility for thirteen of the attacks, including some of the most devastating in terms of civilian casualties. Three attacks were claimed by more than one group, and information is not available for two attacks. All of these groups carried out other attacks on Israeli civilians, including roadside shootings in the Occupied Territories and large-scale shooting attacks, such as that on the guests at a bat mitvah party in Hadera on January 18, 2002, in which six civilians were killed and more than thirty injured.
The pace of attacks ebbed and flowed, indicating that those responsible were able to exercise at least some degree of control. Some attacks were carried out after Israeli assassinations of prominent leaders of Palestinian political and armed groups. Others appeared to have been timed to disrupt actual or potential political negotiations internally or at the international level.
Initially, only Hamas and Islamic Jihad carried out suicide bombings; these peaked in late November/early December 2001, prior to a one-month truce observed by all factions. Beginning in mid-January 2002, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and in February 2002, the PFLP, also carried out suicide bombings against civilians. The involvement of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades marked a significant increase in the incidence of attacks. March 2002 was the bloodiest month to date; Palestinian suicide bomb attacks killed at least eighty Israeli civilians and wounded or maimed some 420.8
Prior to the outbreak of clashes in late September 2000, Palestinian public support for armed attacks against Israeli targets ranged from a low of 21 percent in March 1996 to more than 40 percent at various points in the 1997-2000 period. With the collapse of the Camp David talks in July 2000, support for militant actions increased.9 A year later, and nine months into the current clashes, Palestinian researchers found that 92 percent of Palestinians supported armed confrontations against Israeli troops and 58 percent supported attacks against civilians inside Israel.10 The same researchers found in a May 2002 survey that support for attacks against civilians in Israel had declined, but only to 52 percent.11 Since May 2002, Palestinians have increasingly debated the use of suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, including the cumulative impact of such attacks on Palestinian society. (See below.)
Previous Use of Suicide Attacks Against Civilians
This is not the first time that Palestinian armed groups have used suicide bombings to target Israeli civilians, although the scale and intensity of the current wave of attacks is unprecedented. Between September 1993 and the outbreak of the latest clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in late September 2000, Palestinian groups carried out fourteen suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians, mostly in 1996-97, killing more than 120 and wounding over 550. 12 Hamas said it committed most of the attacks; Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the others.
The PA responded by detaining hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad members and supporters, but they were not charged or brought to trial in connection with the bombings. Following these detentions, the bombings ceased. Many of the detainees, however, were released from PA custody once the clashes between Palestinians and Israelis resumed in September 2000. Coincidentally or not, the new round of suicide bombings began within a few months, again under the auspices of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Various other groups around the world have also used suicide bombings to try to advance their political goals.13 They include other Middle Eastern groups such as Hizbollah in Lebanon, which also attacked Israeli military targets and Israel's former proxy, the South Lebanese Army. But the group that has probably made greatest use of suicide bombings is the Tamil separatist group in Sri Lanka, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly known as the "Tamil Tigers."14 The Tamil Tigers committed numerous bombings during the 1980s and 1990s aimed at both military and civilian targets, including leading Sri Lankan government officials and politicians.
Stated Rationales for Suicide Bombing Attacks
Fathi `Abd al-`Aziz al-Shikaki, one of Islamic Jihad's founders, was among the first to advocate openly the Palestinian use of bombing tactics against Israelis. In 1988, he publicly advocated a strategy of "exceptional" martyrdom according to which Palestinian militants would penetrate "enemy territory," that is, Israel, and set off explosions that the Israelis would be unable to prevent. According to al-Shikaki:
All these results can be achieved through the explosion, which forces the mujahid (struggler) not to waver, not to escape, to execute a successful explosion for religion and jihad, and to destroy the morale of the enemy and plant terror into the people.15
Within Hamas, Yahya `Ayyash, the organization's "master" bomb-maker, urged the leadership in the early 1990s to use "human bombs" as a way to "make the cost of the occupation that much more expensive in human lives, that much more unbearable."16 `Ayyash was killed by Israeli forces on January 5, 1996. Hamas claimed at the time that three suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians in late February and early March 1996 were in retaliation for the killing of `Ayyash.17
Leaders of the perpetrator groups have openly acknowledged that they favor suicide bombings because such attacks have the potential to cause a large number of casualties. They include civilians as well as military targets, in gross breach of their obligations under international humanitarian law. "The main thing is to guarantee that a large number of the enemy will be affected," said one senior Hamas leader. "With an explosive belt or bag, the bomber has control over vision, location, and timing."18 Such weapons use readily available materials and are relatively inexpensive to produce.
The perpetrator organizations have also sought to use the bombings to build publicity for their cause, to drum up new recruits for suicide missions, and to sow anxiety and terror among Israelis. Before sending bombers on their suicide missions, the sponsoring organizations frequently had them make video testimonies that were then distributed and publicized through the media. The organizers sought to portray the bombers as "martyrs"-that is, as heroes prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their people. In the same vein, they sought to compensate the bombers' families by providing some financial support. (See Section VI, Structures and Strategies of the Perpetrator Organizations.) In this way, those responsible for the bombings aimed to build an aura around the bombers and to exploit their actions even after their deaths. In fact, many of the bombers may have been motivated by a sense of personal self-sacrifice. However, their targeting of civilians, often using perfidious methods, made them and their sponsors, criminals. Their actions and disregard for basic human rights has tainted and undermined the wider struggle for Palestinian human rights.
Some suicide bombers, especially those sponsored by Hamas or Islamic Jihad, have cited Islam to justify their actions. Toward the same end, these organizations have invoked Muslim scholars and, through them, authoritative religious texts. Other prominent Muslim clerics have spoken against this invocation of religion to promote nationalist political goals. For Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the stated goal is the creation of a Palestinian Islamist state comprising not only the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but also the entire territory over which Israel has held sovereignty since 1948. The PFLP also calls for a Palestinian state encompassing Israel, though not an Islamist one. By contrast, the nationalist agenda of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades calls for establishing Palestinian rule over the territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and for freeing those territories from Israeli military occupation.
One factor that makes suicide bombing particularly terrifying is the sense that there is no possible shelter. Suicide bombers have targeted shopping malls, popular cafes and restaurants, quiet religiously observant neighborhoods, and commuter buses. Their target is everyday life.
Moti Mizrachi, mentioned earlier, had been a regular at the Moment Café. On March 9, he had agreed to meet friends at the fashionable cafe, like many other nights. Because of the crowd, the owner initially refused them access to the inside area, so Mizrachi and his friend waited outside for their turn to get in. Mizrachi told Human Rights Watch:
At some point the owner moved away, and I said, "I'll just go inside to see my friends and say hi." I went in, took three to four steps and then there was an explosion. I fell to the floor. After a few seconds, I woke up. Everything around was torn apart. There was blood, body parts, people, water squirting from the ceiling, maybe from a burst pipe. My left hand was cut off just above the wrist. It was attached to my arm by just a bit of flesh, hanging. I picked myself up to get help. I was bleeding heavily. I know that I needed someone to stop the bleeding. I caught my left hand with my right, but I slipped from all the mess on the floor.19
Daniel Turjeman, a twenty-six-year-old patron, had two friends who were already inside. He and two others managed to convince the guard to let them in. It was so crowded that Turjeman and one friend went back outside, where they met a girl they knew.
We greeted each other, and she introduced me to her girlfriend.... Just at that moment my friend came out, and before we had time to exchange even a word, everything exploded. We flew twenty meters from the blast, literally across the road, and fell onto the street. I lost consciousness and came to after a few minutes. There was screaming and ambulances. I felt that my arm was not connected to my body. It was barely connected to my shoulder. The friend who had invited me that evening came looking for me. He saw immediately that my arm was a mess. I also held one eye closed because it was full of metal. He asked me what was in his eye. I didn't want to tell him that his eye was hanging out, attached by just a few ligaments. It makes me sick to remember this.
There was such chaos there, people who were not badly injured were just getting into their cars and driving away, as quickly as possible. I knew I had to move or be run over. I caught my left arm, with the help of my jacket, and started making my way towards the ambulances. I had use of only one eye and couldn't see much, so I just kept walking towards the red lights.20
Turjeman's injuries include the loss of the use of one arm, ruptured eardrums, and a scratched cornea. He is recovering from temporary waist-down paralysis caused by hemorrhaging of his spine, and hopes to regain the use of both legs.
My friends who went out with me that night: one has a scratched cornea and is still full of shrapnel. He has pressure bandages for his arm, which was severely burned. He's suffering more than I am. My neighbor escaped without a scratch. My friend's two friends, one got a lot of nuts in his lower back, and was badly burned on his left side. The other fellow was killed. The girl who I spoke with outside had stepped into the bathroom at the time of the explosion, she survived. But the friend she introduced me to died.21
Efrat Ravid, age twenty, had been sitting at the bar at the Moment Café for two and a half hours when the explosion struck, shattering her thigh bone and causing a head injury. Unable to speak for a week after regaining consciousness, she now walks awkwardly with the aid of crutches. Her body is covered with scars. She doesn't smile.
We were at Moment for two and a half hours, sitting at the bar. Suddenly I heard a tremendous explosion and immediately blacked out. I must have blacked out from the pain, because my thighbone was broken into smithereens, and a major artery was ruptured. I had a serious head injury with hemorrhaging in the brain and stayed unconscious for three days....
When I woke up I understood right away what had happened. I couldn't talk at all then-for an entire week I couldn't talk, because my head injury was at the front of my brain. I stayed in the hospital for three months. My biggest fear was that they would amputate my leg-there were so many people in that hospital with missing limbs. They told me not to worry-they did an artery transplant, and said that even if it got infected later, there'd be enough time to do surgery. I've had ten operations since the attack. I also had a nail just a few millimeters from my heart. I think: what would have happened if it were just one millimeter over?
The friend I had been with was also injured-her intestines spilled right out. We don't talk any more. It brings up too many bad memories. The girl sitting on the other side of me-I didn't know her-she was killed. My friends don't go out any more. They realized when this happened to me; it could have been them. I had a lot of fears in the beginning. I still don't watch the news. When I do hear about an attack, it pinches me right in the heart. I know what it's like, I was there.22
Frequently, several family members are victims of an attack. Olesya Sorokin had immigrated to Israel in 2000 from Russia, with her husband and child. Her excitement over her opportunities in Israel ended on May 18, 2001, when a suicide bomber struck a shopping mall in Netanya.
My birthday had been on May 11, so we went to the mall to buy me a present: me, [my husband], my six-year-old son Sasha, and my friend Julia [Tritikov], my brother's girlfriend. I had only been there once before. It was before noon. We were at the entrance to the mall when there was a very loud "boom." I remember opening my eyes, half conscious. A doctor was looking over me, staring at me with big, frightened eyes. That's what it's like in a terror attack-people are in shock. People are lying, wounded, all around. I saw bones protruding from my foot. I could hear nothing. I have holes in my eardrums from the explosion. When I remember these moments, I just cry.23
Sorokin's husband and friend were killed in the attack; her son's jaw was broken, as was Sorokin's leg and jaw. Burns scarred her right arm, breast, and face. "I couldn't look into the mirror for the longest time. I've had many surgeries on my face-I don't go out because I'm not supposed to be in the sun, and because I'm embarrassed." 24 She said to Human Rights Watch:
What can I say. My soul is empty. I'm a widow at twenty-six. I have money now, from the Defense Ministry-an apartment ...but I want to return everything and get my husband back. I have no happiness. I don't laugh with my son. We had such a good relationship, my husband and I. We had dreams. I met him when I was seventeen and he was twenty-five. When I try to remember the life that I once had, I can't believe that all this happened. Maybe I'm sleeping. Maybe it didn't happen. Now I have to deal with life, alone. I know, I'm young, and there's time, but my head is full. 25
Even when multiple family members are not directly affected, the entire family can be drawn into the tragic consequences. Clara Rosenberger, a seventy-six-year-old woman, was injured by shrapnel during an attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya during a Passover Seder on March 29, 2002. The friend she was with was killed. The shrapnel severed Rosenberger's spinal cord, leaving her bedridden; the blast also caused bleeding in her lungs and burst her eardrums. When Human Rights Watch saw her in the hospital, she barely communicated, sunken into her own world.26 Her daughter described the impact it had had on her family.
When she was first hospitalized, we were in the hospital day and night. That's something you don't hear about terror attacks. The victim's entire family becomes devoted exclusively to caring for the wounded. We were all involved-my brother, my children, my nieces and nephews, and me. The first hospital she was taken to was in Hadera, several hours north, and not where we live. Early on, her mental state deteriorated and she was transferred to a psychiatric hospital.... She's now in rehabilitation [in Jerusalem], but she still doesn't communicate much with visitors-doesn't read, or watch TV.... My children have been extremely helpful, but it is difficult for them to handle this and she's not easy to help. She cannot thank them, barely recognizes them. Her former life is over and her present life, she doesn't want it. It hurts so much-if only we could help her find something that gave her meaning.27
Clara Rosenberger had survived three and a half years as a prisoner in Auschwitz. Surviving members of the family split up, and Rosenberger came to Israel in 1947 as a war refugee. Her daughter told Human Rights Watch about Rosenberger's life and how it had been changed.
She was involved in all kinds of senior citizen's activities.... Now she is very dependent. She has no strength to deal with it-it was punishment enough that her life, with its tragedies, was as it was. She can't sit up because she is paralyzed from the underarms down, so she has no chest muscles. From the first moment we spoke after the attack, she said, "What happened to me was the very thing I did not want to happen to me, to be a burden on others." She won't ever be able to return home, she won't be able to live in her room.... Last week she was working on bringing a cup to her lips without it spilling. From total independence to this.28
By targeting public places, suicide bombings affect all sectors of Israeli society, not only Israeli Jews. Lin Jin Mou was a Chinese construction worker who came to Israel on a legal visa, supporting a family at home with his modest income. On April 12, 2002, he was boarding a bus with three friends at the Mahane Yehuda open-air market in Jerusalem when a suicide bomber blew up the bus. Ben Tsion Maltabashi, a sixty-five-year-old man whose leg had to be amputated, was also there and described what happened:
There are a lot of buses that come to that stop: the 27, 13, 11, 39, and others. I saw [my bus] and thought, "Great, I'll go right home." There was a line onto the bus. I stood in line-there were tons of people. Everyone was going home on account of the Sabbath. One got on, then another, then another, and then "boom." As if the entire roof fell on my head.29
Lin lost his left arm and his left leg, which was amputated because of severe burns. Two of his friends who had already boarded were among the six killed in that attack.30
Sabrina Belhadev, a French citizen in Israel on a study-abroad program, was visiting Jerusalem with friends for a weekend on December 1, 2001, when two Palestinians blew themselves up moments apart near a row of packed cafés on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, killing ten and wounding more than 170.
I didn't understand what happened. Everyone was screaming, `Run, run-there may be another bomber here,' but I didn't have the strength. There was an enormous confusion and mess. Chairs and tables were strewn everywhere. Everyone was crying. There was someone I saw passed out in a chair, and there was blood coming out of his head; I think he was dead. And people drenched in blood.31
Belhadev's friend, Eva Krief, a fellow French student on the study-abroad program, escaped the suicide bombing attacks inside the café, but was injured by a car bomb when she tried to leave the scene. "A few minutes after [Sabrina] entered the café, there was an explosion. It felt like an earthquake. It wasn't that the noise was so loud-just the destruction. I was stunned. I forgot about my friends. I didn't understand what had happened at all." Krief walked another friend, who had a head wound, to an ambulance and met a third friend, who suggested going back to the dormitory.
So we decided to go up a side street-HaRav Kook. On our way up the street, a car bomb exploded from a parking space off the side. I was struck in the leg-not by shrapnel, but some other flying object-and in my left eye. My hair was also quite singed, though I only noticed this later. Everything was hot, hot.32
Krief permanently lost the sight in her left eye. "I am quite afraid now," she said. She explained to Human Rights Watch:
It began in the hospital-every slamming door, every noise scared me. I'm slowly getting back to life, but it's been very hard. I'm afraid of going on the bus, afraid of going out. When I hear about attacks every few days, on the news... everything comes back. It's one thing if you're in an attack, and you recuperate, and there are no more. But they keep happening.33
Krief said that she had previously been undecided about whether she might stay in Israel or return to France. "Since my injury it is clear to me that I have to stay here. I can't say why, but due to what has happened, this is my place, more than ever."34
Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel have also been victims of bomb attacks. Hussam Abu Hussein had taken his sixteen-month-old daughter to Hadera for an outing on November 22, 2000.
When we arrived, she started asking for pizza. She likes to eat it with ketchup-more for the fun than for the flavor. I took her to a pizza place where I know the owners.... I was sitting in the pizzeria-my daughter was in my arms. Suddenly, I found myself somewhere and the child was somewhere else. I thought a gas balloon had blown up. Everywhere was filled with dark smoke. I tasted something bad in my mouth. Thick smoke. The smell of burning flesh in my mouth. I didn't know what it was. I remember everything because I didn't faint. I saw someone without legs-they were burned away. I was stunned-I forgot that my daughter had been with me. Suddenly I remembered. I went to find her. She was inside a ball of fire.35
Hussam Abu Hussein then ran into the street.
I realized there had been a terror attack. And I was afraid. Afraid because I am an Arab-that someone would think I had done it. I climbed into an ambulance and put my hand over my daughter's mouth so that she wouldn't scream and draw attention to us. I kept telling the driver, "Go! Go! Now! Go!" It later turned out that I had run 100 meters with a metal dowel in my back-it must have lodged in there when the bus blew up, maybe part of the bus.36
Hussam Abu Hussein and his daughter were both badly burned in this attack, which killed two and wounded fifty. According to Abu Hussein, his daughter's hair now does not grow normally, and the skin grafts she received to treat her burns have caused extensive scarring on her neck and the back of her left hand, "like the hand of an eighty year old woman," he described it. The two also suffer psychologically. "I suffer from nightmares. I wake up sweating, no matter how high I turn on the air conditioner. My daughter wakes up too, in the middle of the night, shouting, `No, no, no.'"
Abu Hussein told Human Rights Watch:
How do I deal with this as a Palestinian? It's not easy. They [in the West Bank and Gaza] suffer-more than anybody. But when someone hurts you, you're angry. It doesn't matter if it's your mother, father, cousin, brother. When someone tries to kill you, you don't "understand" them. You don't care what their problem was at the moment-what their reason was, what they're suffering. As long as the damage is far from me, I'll try to understand. But when it's my body, my child-I'm angry. That's my immediate response. God gave life, and no one but God has the right to take it. This isn't the way to conduct ourselves-on both sides. Violence never works-I strike you, you strike me -there's no end. It will solve nothing.37
Since attacks against civilians resumed on January 1, 2001, the number of suicide bombings has increased dramatically.
They have become the type of attack that Israeli civilians expect and fear from Palestinian armed groups. March 2001 saw three attacks that killed five and wounded ninety. Another series of suicide bombings and a car bombing in the second half of May 2001 were eclipsed on June 1, 2001, when twenty-two-year-old Said Hutari blew himself up amidst a crowd of Israeli teenagers outside a popular Tel Aviv nightclub, the Dolphinarium.38
The Dolphinarium attack, the deadliest suicide bombing in more than four years, immediately killed seventeen, almost all of them recent immigrants from the former Soviet Union, and wounded between eighty-five and ninety. The death toll climbed to twenty-one over the following days. The Tel Aviv police chief, Commander Yossi Sedbon, said the bomb, though not large, had been filled with nails, screws, and ball bearings.39 Islamic Jihad at first claimed responsibility, but then deferred to a subsequent claim by Hamas.40
President Arafat condemned the attack, which came as Israeli and Palestinian security officials resumed talks under U.S. auspices on implementing the recommendations of the report by the Sharm el-Sheikh Fact-Finding Committee, headed by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell. For the first time since clashes erupted, and under intense international pressure, Arafat publicly called for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire.41
However, suicide bombings continued in July, August, and September. In the most notorious of these, a bomber entered a crowded Sbarro pizzeria at the busy intersection of Jaffa Road and King George Avenue in Jerusalem and detonated a bomb packed with nails, screws, and bolts. The blast gutted the restaurant, crowded with lunchtime diners, killing fifteen and wounding more than 130. "I cannot even describe in words the horror of it all," said one witness, who worked next door. "They were bringing the bodies of the wounded into our shop-children, women, covered in blood."42 Islamic Jihad was the first to claim responsibility, but Hamas subsequently took credit, saying the bomber was twenty-three-year-old `Izz al-Din al-Masri.43
The PA made several arrests in the wake of this attack, detaining the alleged driver and three other Hamas militants, including `Abdallah Barghouti, the person Israel said had dispatched al-Masri.44 President Arafat also fired Ramallah police chief Kamal al-Shaikh for allowing armed youths to celebrate the attack and ordered the closure of an exhibit erected several weeks later in Nablus by Hamas students at an-Najah University celebrating the attack.45
President Arafat made a well-publicized call for an end to attacks in mid-November 2001, and the PA reportedly made arrests and closed down several dozen charities and similar institutions affiliated with Islamist organizations.46 However, these initiatives were followed by six suicide attacks on civilians in the first two weeks of December, killing twenty-nine and wounding close to two hundred.
The first days of December 2001 witnessed bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa that killed twenty-five and wounded hundreds. On the night of Saturday, December 1, 2001, two Palestinians blew themselves up moments apart near a row of packed cafés on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall, killing ten and wounding more than 170. Some twenty minutes later, a block away, a car bomb exploded. Michel Haroush, a French tourist, told reporters, "I fell down, and next thing I saw was half a human body lying by my foot."47 Another witness, Yossi Mizrahi, said, "I saw people without arms. I saw a person with their stomach hanging open. I saw a ten-year-old boy breathe his last breath. I can't believe anybody would do anything like this."48
Scarcely twelve hours later, at midday on December 2, 2001, a young Palestinian blew himself up in a crowded Haifa city bus, killing fifteen and wounding three dozen. Washington Post reporter Lee Hockstader described the scene:
In an instant, the bus became an inferno of death and blood. Corpses and fragments of bodies were strewn across the seats and aisles, and the wounded staggered out the doors and tumbled from the shattered windows. The bomb tore apart students and retirees, Filipino workers and Russian immigrants, soldiers and civilians-a random sampling of this working-class city's diverse population.49
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Its leaflet called the Jerusalem and Haifa bombings "the natural retaliation by a people slaughtered day and night, whose dignity is humiliated by the Zionist enemy's war machine."50 Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for two other attacks during this period.
Palestinian officials, while denouncing the attacks on Israeli civilians, implicitly sought to justify them by pointing to the provocative impact of incidents such as an alleged Israeli booby-trap bomb that killed five young boys in Khan Yunis on November 22, 2001. "Everyone should realize that atrocities lead to atrocities," said Nabil Sha'ath, the PA minister of planning and international cooperation. "This is the inevitable outcome of the accumulation of atrocities committed by the Israeli army against our civilians, the humiliation, the torment, the unmitigated persecution," Sha'ath said.51
On December 21, 2001, following clashes with PA security forces that left seven Palestinians dead and scores injured, Hamas's `Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades issued a leaflet announcing that it would "suspend" attacks within "land occupied since 1948"-i.e. Israel. Battles with guns and clubs had broken out when PA security forces attempted to arrest `Abd al-`Aziz al-Rantisi, a senior Hamas leader. Eventually al-Rantisi agreed to "a form of house arrest" and to refrain from issuing public statements.52 Arafat told the Israeli daily, Ha'aretz, on December 21 that securing the Hamas statement "wasn't easy, and the declaration came after we pressured them." The PA's campaign did produce a month, from December 16 until January 17, with no attacks against civilians inside Israel.53
The respite for Israeli civilians was not to last. On January 17, 2002, three days after the assassination of local al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades leader Ra′id al-Karmi, twenty-seven-year-old Ahmad Hassouna killed six Israelis and wounded thirty when he attacked a bat mitzvah celebration in Hadera with an assault rifle and grenades.54 The al-Aqsa Brigades also claimed a second shooting attack, in downtown Jerusalem on January 22. Two civilians were killed, including a seventy-eight-year-old woman, and fourteen were injured.55
On January 27, 2002, twenty-six-year-old Wafa′ Idris from al-Amari refugee camp, killed an eighty-one-year-old man and wounded over one hundred in downtown Jerusalem. This first suicide bombing attack claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades was also the first in which a woman was the perpetrator.56 Though hardly a justification, the al-Aqsa Brigades' adoption of suicide bombing tactics and attacks against civilians inside Israel reflected at least in part a growing fear by Fatah that it was losing political ground to the Islamist groups that had been carrying out such attacks, especially Hamas. "When the al-Aqsa Brigades started [suicide bombing] operations, it was the decision of all districts," one Fatah leader in the Jenin refugee camp told Human Rights Watch. "The political leaders feared they would lose their influence in the street and in the [National and Islamic Forces] Front. The push of Israeli policies is to shift all influence [in Palestinian armed groups] from the political [wing] to the military." 57
The number of attacks continued to mount. In March 2002, twelve suicide bombings of civilian targets killed some eighty civilians and injured more than 450. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for five of these attacks, Hamas for three, Islamic Jihad for three, and the PFLP for one.58 The Hamas attack during a Passover Seder in Netanya's Park Hotel was the deadliest, killing twenty-nine civilians, many elderly, and injuring one hundred.
The March 2002 attacks began just after 7:00 p.m. on the evening of March 2, when a bomber blew himself up in a car among ultra-Orthodox worshippers as they streamed onto the street in the Me'ah Shearim neighborhood of west Jerusalem following prayers marking the end of the Sabbath. The blast killed eleven, including four children from one family-one a baby girl. More than fifty were wounded. Palestinian security sources identified the bomber as Muhammad Daraghmeh, a seventeen-year-old from Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility.59
On Saturday night, March 9, 2002, Fu′ad Hourani, a twenty-year-old from al-Arroub refugee camp near Hebron, stepped into Café Moment and detonated a powerful bomb that killed eleven and wounded more than fifty. (See victim testimonies above.) A Hamas statement claimed responsibility for it as "a brave attack... to avenge the Israeli massacres against our people."60 The Café Moment bombing came two hours after two Palestinians opened fire and tossed grenades at a seafront hotel in Netanya, killing a baby and one other person and wounding more than thirty. The perpetrators of that attack, responsibility for which was claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, were killed in a shootout with Israeli police.
Another suicide bombing occurred on March 20, 2002, aboard Bus No. 283 near Umm al-Fahm, in the Galilee region, killing four soldiers and three civilians. Fifteen of the twenty-nine wounded were not Jewish but Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel. The perpetrator was twenty-four-year-old Rafat Abu Diyak, from the town of Jenin. The Islamic Jihad organization claimed responsibility. Bus No. 283 had been attacked by suicide bombers twice before, in Afula on March 5, 2002 and near Pardes Hanna on November 29, 2001. (See Appendix One.)
The next day, March 21, 2002, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed credit for a suicide bombing on a crowded shopping street in Jerusalem that killed three and wounded at least sixty. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades sources reportedly confirmed Israeli allegations that the perpetrator, a twenty-two-year-old former policeman, had at one time been detained by PA security forces but was released during the Israeli incursions into Ramallah earlier in March.61
The deadliest single Palestinian suicide bombing attack occurred on March 27, 2002, when twenty-five-year-old `Abd al-Basit `Awdah, a Hamas activist from Tulkarem, blew himself up in a Netanya hotel as some 250 people sat down to a Passover Seder. The blast killed at least nineteen Israelis immediately and wounded scores of others; the death toll later climbed to twenty-nine. Clara Rosenberger, one of the many people badly injured in the blast (see above), had chosen to attend the hotel Seder specifically because there had been a shooting attack in Netanya several weeks earlier and she had wanted to feel safe.62 Entire families were reportedly among those killed and wounded, including some visiting from elsewhere.
Palestinian sources confirmed that the PA had earlier detained `Awdah at the request of Israel, but only briefly.63
The perpetrators of the March attacks generally tried to justify them as retaliation for Israeli abuses, or as legitimate acts of resistance. Mahmud al-Titi, for example, an al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades leader in Balata refugee camp near Nablus, said on March 8, "While [Israeli forces] were attacking Balata refugee camp, our groups in Bethlehem were preparing retaliation."64 Hamas, the main Palestinian opposition group, said that its attacks were also intended to disrupt moves towards political negotiations. A Hamas statement claimed that one purpose of the Netanya Park Hotel Passover Seder attack was to derail diplomatic initiatives at an Arab League summit in Beirut. "The summit resolutions are below the aspirations and the sacrifices of the Palestinian people," said `Usama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman in Beirut.65
The Palestinian Authority agreed that "this operation against Israeli civilians is in essence an attack against the Arab summit and against [U.S. Special Representative Anthony] Zinni's mission." It went on to say that "the leadership strongly denounces any endangering of Palestinian or Israeli civilians and will not practice leniency with parties claiming responsibility and will take firm measures to bring those responsible before a court."66
President Yasir Arafat routinely condemned these suicide bombing attacks against civilians. Following the March 2 attack, the PA issued a statement saying that it "denounces strongly and unambiguously any operations targeting civilians whether Israelis or Palestinians, including the operation executed this evening, Saturday, March 2, 2002, in the center of a civilian neighborhood in Jerusalem"67 Arafat also condemned the March 21 al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades attack against "innocent Israeli civilians." "We will take the appropriate and immediate measures to put an end to such attacks," he said.68
Seeming public justifications of the bombings, however, came from figures close to Arafat, especially after the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades began carrying out suicide bombing attacks against civilians in early 2002. Ahmad `Abd al-Rahman, an Arafat advisor and secretary of the PA Cabinet, responded to the March 9, 2002 attack on the Café Moment in Jerusalem by saying: "This is the normal response from the Palestinian resistance for all the Israelis have done in the refugee camps, to Palestinian civilians, women and children.... The Israelis have to expect such operations whenever they escalate their military attacks against our civilians."69 Marwan Barghouti, the West Bank general secretary of Fatah, wrote in January 2002 that he, "and the Fatah movement to which I belong, strongly oppose attacks and the targeting of civilians inside Israel, our future neighbor...."70 But following the March 21 al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades suicide bombing on a crowded Jerusalem shopping street that killed three and wounded sixty, Barghouti commented to reporters, "Our people have resorted to resistance because we have reached an impasse. The more the Israelis tighten the blockades around us and increase the killing, the more there will be a response."71
Despite the sometimes equivocal condemnations of the PA leadership, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades' suicide bombings did not stop. Just before 2:00 p.m. on March 29, an eighteen-year-old woman from Dheisheh refugee camp outside Bethlehem, Ayat Muhammad al-′Akhras, detonated an explosive belt she was wearing in a supermarket in the Jerusalem suburb of Kiryat Hayovel. The blast killed two and wounded more than twenty. Al-′Akhras reportedly carried an explosive device in her handbag that failed to explode. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility. Al-′Akhras, in a pre-recorded videotape, condemned Arab leaders for "watching while Palestinian women" fought the Israeli occupation.72
In Operation Defensive Shield, beginning at the end of March 2002, Israeli forces re-occupied most of the Palestinian-controlled "Area A" of the West Bank, which included the major Palestinian population centers apart from East Jerusalem and about 18 percent of the total area.73 The Israeli operation did not stop suicide bombings, although the pace of the attacks dropped. On March 30, at 9:30 p.m., a suicide bombing attack in a central Tel Aviv restaurant wounded some twenty people, one of whom eventually died. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades identified the perpetrator as twenty-three-year-old Muhannad Ibrahim Salahat, from the village of al-Faraa, near Nablus. In the first of two attacks on March 31, 2002, a suicide bomber seriously wounded three people near a volunteer medic station in Efrat, one of the Gush Etzion bloc settlements near Bethlehem. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades named the perpetrator as Jamal Hamaid, seventeen years old, from Bethlehem. The same day, Hamas took responsibility for an attack in Haifa in which twenty-three-year-old Shadi Abu Tubassi from Jenin refugee camp killed fifteen and wounded more than thirty when he blew himself up in a restaurant crowded with Israeli citizens, both Jewish and Palestinian Arab.
The first suicide bombing after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operation had ended, in a pool hall in Rishon Letzion on May 7, 2002, killed fifteen and wounded fifty. The Palestinian Authority issued a statement saying that it "promptly condemns the violent attack against Israeli civilians" and said that it had "decided to take effective measures against those involved in this dangerous operation and those who are standing behind it. And we will not go easy with these groups...."74 President Arafat, in a televised address the next day, said, "I gave my orders and directions to all the Palestinian security forces to confront and prevent all terror attacks against Israeli civilians from any Palestinian side or parties."75 In response to initial reports that the perpetrator was affiliated with Hamas and may have come from Gaza, PA security forces rounded up more than a dozen rank-and-file Hamas members there.76 In the following days, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian security officers in Halhoul and arrested others elsewhere in the West Bank, but these were apparently not persons wanted in connection with the Rishon Letzion bombing.77
During May and June 2002, Palestinian militants carried out nine suicide bombings and made numerous attempts that were thwarted. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for five of the nine attacks. The first was carried out by Jihad al-Titi, a nephew of prominent al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades leader Mahmud al-Titi. The attack immediately followed Israel's assassination of Mahmud al-Titi in Balata camp.78 A statement from al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades called suicide attacks its "sole weapon to end the occupation."79 In an attempted attack two days later, an Israeli security guard shot and killed the driver of a car loaded with pipe bombs as the car sped towards a crowded Tel Aviv nightclub.80
Hamas and the PFLP claimed joint responsibility for a May 19 attack on a Netanya outdoor market. The perpetrator, dressed as a soldier, killed an elderly man and a teenage boy and wounded dozens. Hamas also claimed responsibility for two other suicide attacks, including an attack on a bus traveling from the Israeli settlement of Gilo to Jerusalem on June 18, 2002, which killed nineteen and wounded at least seventy-four. The al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claimed responsibility for an attack the following day at a bus stop near the French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.
On June 20, in response to these attacks, the IDF launched "Operation Determined Path," in which it again re-occupied seven out of eight major Palestinian West Bank cities. Prime Minister Sharon said, "This is not occupation, but we will remain in Palestinian areas for as long as necessary to carry out essential operations."81 On August 20, IDF troops staged a negotiated withdrawal from Bethlehem, on condition that PA Security forces would prevent future armed activities there.82
Martyrdom, Public Officials, and the Role of the Media
Public statements by officials have delivered mixed messages on suicide attacks. Palestinian officials, as noted above, have frequently condemned suicide attacks against civilians. But Palestinian and regional officials have also made statements that support and, at times, promote them. Israeli authorities and critics of the PA have also argued that Palestinian media have fostered public support for such attacks.
Media in the Occupied Territories consist of local, privately funded television and radio; PA-funded television and radio; and satellite channels broadcast from surrounding countries, including al-Manar, affiliated with the Lebanese movement Hizbollah. Of three major Palestinian newspapers, al-Ayyam and al-Hayat al-Jadedah are published in the West Bank and al-Quds is published in East Jerusalem after clearance by the Israeli military censor. Many residents of the Occupied Territories also have access to Israeli television, radio, and print media, in both Arabic and Hebrew. As curfews and limits on movement have become increasingly restrictive, the importance of media-and particularly television-as the primary source of public information has increased. Palestinian and Arabic regional media outlets have followed the events of the Israeli-Palestinian clashes closely, and the degree of media coverage reflects the immense impact that the clashes have had on Palestinian and Arab society.
Israeli and other critics have argued that the Palestinian media contribute to suicide attacks on civilians by placing an inappropriate, commendatory emphasis on martyrdom. The concept of martyrdom-of sacrifice for the sake of one's beliefs or principles-is neither exclusively Muslim nor exclusively religious. In the context of the current clashes, the term "martyr" is applied to all individuals killed, wounded, or imprisoned in events related to what has become known as the "al-Aqsa intifada," including those who carried out suicide attacks. The term "martyr" is even applied as an honorific to some prominent individuals who, since September 2000, died of natural causes.83
In Palestinian Arabic, the phrase for a bombing attack in which the perpetrator is killed is an amaliyya istishhadiyya, a "martyrdom operation," or an amaliyya fida'iyya, a "sacrificial operation." In the Israeli Arabic-language media, the preferred term is an amaliyya intihariyya, a "suicide operation."84
The media coverage comprises only part of a larger atmosphere of social respect for those who have died in the intifada, expressed through street posters, pamphlets, internet sites, murals, banners, public discourse, and attendance by public officials at funerals or memorial ceremonies. Virtually all societies engaged in armed struggle honor those who die as part of the struggle. What is wrong, however, is to equate individuals who are victims of attacks or who have carried out attacks that are permissible under international humanitarian law with individuals who die while committing war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Public officials, because of the political authority they embody, should never legitimize attacks on civilians. Yet political leaders have made statements that appear to endorse attacks against civilians, both within the Occupied Territories and externally. These span the range from ambiguity to outright support, and undermine other statements condemning attacks against civilians.85 Political leaders such as President Arafat have repeatedly praised "martyrs," without distinguishing between those who die as victims of attacks or while attacking military targets and those who intentionally die in the course of a deliberate attack against civilians.86 Yasir Abed Rabbo, the PA minister of culture and information, reportedly defended the use of the term "martyr" with reference to suicide bombers. "You can call him a shahid and denounce what he does politically," he said.87
Other officials have expressed more unequivocal support for attacks on civilians. On April 10, 2002, PA Cabinet Secretary-General Ahmad `Abd al-Rahman described that day's attack on a Haifa bus as a "natural response to what is taking place in Palestinian camps."88 Six weeks later, `Abd al-Rahman described suicide bombings in an interview with the Qatar-based satellite television station al-Jazeera as "the highest form of national struggle. There is no argument about that."89 Other officials have praised the armed groups that perpetrate the attacks, rather than the attacks themselves. In March 2002, after repeated al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades attacks on civilians, West Bank Preventive Security chief Jibril Rajoub reportedly told a local newspaper, "The Aqsa Brigades are the noblest phenomenon in the history of Fatah, because they restored the movement's honor and bolstered the political and security echelon of the Palestinian Authority."90
Statements approving of suicide attacks have also been made by government officials of neighboring countries. On March 27, the day of the bombing of the Park Hotel, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad said in a speech to the Arab Summit in Beirut:
We have heard today in a speech by one of the guests on the doctrine governing attacks on civilians and the innocent.... The doctrine governing attacks on civilians and the innocent is a correct one ...but it is not applicable in this situation. We are now facing occupation. Attacking civilians when there are two neighboring states that are involved in military operations is one thing, but when there is occupation it is a different issue.91
In a June 2002 interview with the London-based Arabic newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat, the Saudi ambassador to the U.K said, "I wish I would die a martyr despite the fact that I am of an age that does not allow me to carry out a martyrdom operation."92 Such comments glorify individuals who die in order to attack civilians. They contribute to public acceptance of such attacks, and, in the context of ongoing suicide attacks against civilians, publicly legitimize war crimes or crimes against humanity. Public officials have a responsibility not to make such statements-and to discourage others from making them.
Apologetic statements by public officials have also been accompanied by the broadcast of incendiary statements on publicly funded television. There were several recorded instances of such broadcasts on the official PA television channel in 2001, particularly in the broadcasts of weekly Friday prayer sermons. Among these were the live broadcasts of Shaikh Ibrahim Ma`adi delivering sermons from a Gaza mosque on June 8, 2001, and again on August 3, 2001. "Blessed are the people who strap bombs onto their bodies or those of their sons," Ma'adi said on the first of these occasions. On the second, he explicitly called for bombings in Tel Aviv, Hadera, Ashkelon, and other Israeli cities, adding:
The Jews have bared their teeth. They have said what they have said and done what they have done. And they will not be deterred except by the color of the blood of their filthy people. They will not be deterred unless we willingly and voluntarily blow ourselves up among them.93
In the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, such statements constitute incitement to crimes against humanity. Under international criminal law, the PA has a responsibility to ensure they are neither broadcast nor published, and should bring to justice those who make them. The PA is also obliged to prevent such incitement under article XII (1) of the 1994 Gaza-Jericho Agreement and Article II (3) (c) of Annex I to the Israel-Palestinian Interm Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.94 These Friday sermons are broadcast live, usually from a prominent mosque in Gaza or the West Bank, implying that the broadcaster has limited control over the message. However, the PA has a responsibility to ensure that individuals speaking on live broadcasts are aware that they will be held criminally liable if they incite the commission of crimes against humanity or war crimes. Those who contravene such warnings should be held accountable and brought to justice.
Hani al-Masri, an official in the PA Ministry of Information and outspoken critic of suicide bombing attacks on civilians, told Human Rights Watch that PA television programming policies have changed since December 2001. "There is more coverage [of suicide bombings] on CNN than on Palestinian TV," Masri said.95
Journalists used to be more supportive of the suicide bombings, reflecting public opinion, but now they have come out more clearly against them. The editors determine what gets broadcast, and they reflect the line of the PA. Before December 16  the message was a mixed one. The PA now seems to be trying hard through TV. The dominant sound bite is that armed resistance is for the Occupied Territories only, against the occupation forces. But people here are extremely disenchanted with the PA after Oslo, after the Israeli reoccupation. And the PA has no say in the mosques, which are much more important than the media.... We can't say there's been a media campaign against these attacks, but debates and critical discussions are more frequent.96
Ziad Abu `Amr, a Palestinian legislator in Gaza and prominent critic of PA policies, agreed with Masri:
The debate about suicide bombers is growing, but it's still largely overwhelmed by the desperateness of our situation. The problem is that few people here watch Palestine TV. They watch Jazeera and Manar. You want to see incitement? That's where it is.97
Systematic monitoring required to evaluate such assessments of Palestinian media is beyond the scope of Human Rights Watch's research. Ghassan Khatib, founder and director of the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, also argued that the prime sources of media encouragement for suicide bombings are not under the control of the PA. "Look at the media-it's a free platform for Hamas," he said, speaking of Gulf states' support for Hamas. "Jazeera has not been at all professional in the way it favors Hamas over other factions, and promotes anything that's critical of the PA and PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization]."98
Palestinian public debate over suicide attacks against civilians has grown since March 2002. For example, on June 19, 2002, in a full-page advertisement in the Palestinian daily al-Quds, fifty-five public personalities and intellectuals published an "Urgent Appeal to Stop Suicide Bombings." Sari Nusseibeh, the president of al-Quds University and the PLO representative for Jerusalem, reportedly organized the initiative that Palestinian newspapers both welcomed and criticized. The following day, President Arafat welcomed the petition in an interview with Ha'aretz, and repeated his condemnation of attacks on civilians.99 More than four hundred additional signatures were gathered in subsequent days, triggering criticism from Hamas and a counter-petition in support of "all means" of armed struggle, supported by some one hundred and fifty signatures.100 Some PA officials subsequently spoke out more strongly against suicide bombings. On August 30, PA Interior Minister `Abd al-Razaq Yahya gave a widely-publicized interview with the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth, in which he urged all armed groups to stop suicide attacks because they were "contrary to the Palestinian tradition, against international law and harm[ed] the Palestinian people."101
2 Human Rights Watch interview with Moti Mizrachi, age thirty-one, Jerusalem, June 23, 2002.
3 The bombing occurred not far from the official residence of Prime Minister Sharon, who was reportedly at his Negev ranch at the time.
4 For a full list of suicide bombing attacks against civilians from September 30, 2000 to August 31, 2002, see Appendix One.
5 This attack pre-empted a planned joint announcement by Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Yasir Arafat of a truce brokered by U.S. President Bill Clinton several weeks earlier. Phil Reeves, "Truce hangs in the balance after car bomb explodes in Jerusalem," The Independent (London), November 3, 2000.
6 Dina Kraft, "Two dead, more than fifty injured, in car bomb explosion in northern Israel," Associated Press, November 21, 2000. Human Rights Watch has been unable to identify a claimant for the attack.
7 In separate reports Human Rights Watch has documented multiple violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during the clashes by Israeli security forces (including the excessive use of lethal force, collective punishments, the use of human shields by IDF forces, and willful killings) and Palestinian armed groups (including attacks targeting Israeli civilians and attacks that put Palestinian civilians at risk). See Human Rights Watch, "Jenin: IDF Military Operations," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 14, no. 3 (E), May 2002; Human Rights Watch, "In A Dark Hour: the Forced Use of Civilians during IDF Arrest Operations," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 14, no. 2 (E), April 2002; Human Rights Watch, "Justice Undermined: Balancing Security and Human Rights in the Palestinian Justice System," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 13, no. 4 (E), November 2001; Human Rights Watch, Center of the Storm: A Case Study of Human Rights Abuses in Hebron District (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2001); and Human Rights Watch, "Investigation into the Unlawful Use of Force in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Northern Israel October 4 Through October 11," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 12, no. 3(E), October 2000.
8 Statistics on wounded are minimum estimates based on Israeli official information and press accounts from the time; when the authorities' and press accounts varied, Human Rights Watch used the lower figure. No breakdown on the proportion of civilian vs. military is available for the wounded.
9 The July 27-29, 2000 public opinion survey by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed an increase from the previous March from 44 to 52 percent of those who favored "violent confrontations" in the absence of an agreement on Palestinian statehood by the Oslo deadline of September 13, 2000. Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, "Public Opinion Poll #1, Camp David Summit, Chances for Reconciliation and Lasting Peace, Violence and Confrontations, Hierarchies of Priorities, and Domestic Politics, 27-29 July 2000," www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2000/p1a, p. 4 (accessed August 29, 2002). In this and most other PCPSR polls, the questions did not distinguish between civilians or military targets. One poll that did, conducted in August-September 1995 by Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, found that 70 percent of those questioned supported attacks on soldiers and settlers; 19 percent also favored attacks on residents of Israel and nearly 74 percent opposed such attacks. Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research "Public Opinion Poll # 19," http://www.pcpsr.org/survey/cprspolls/95/poll19a (accessed August 29, 2002).
10 Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, "Public Opinion Poll #2, The Mitchell Report, Cease Fire, and Return to Negotiations; Intifada and Armed Confrontations; Chances for Reconciliation; and, Internal Palestinian Conditions, 5-9 July 2001," www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2001/p2a (accessed August 29, 2002).
11 Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, "Public Opinion Poll #4, Palestinians Give Less Support For Bombings Inside Israel While Two Thirds Support The Saudi Plan And 91% Support Reforming The PA, But A Majority Opposes Arrests And Opposes The Agreements That Led To Ending The Siege On Arafat's Headquarter, Nativity Church, And Preventive Security Headquarter, 15-19 May 2002," at www.pcpsr.org/survey/polls/2002/p4a, p. 2 (accessed August 29, 2002). A different survey, by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center in late May, indicated 68 percent (down from 72 percent) support for suicide bombings against civilians: Jerusalem Media and Communications Center, "JMCC Public Opinion Poll no. 45 - May 29- 31, June 1-2, 2002, On The Palestinian Attitudes Towards The Palestinian Situation in General" at http://www.jmcc.org/publicpoll/results/2002/index.htm (accessed August 29, 2002).
12 Suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians in late February and early March 1996 killed fifty-six and injured more than 150. Five attacks in 1997 killed twenty-nine and wounded more than two hundred. The last suicide bombing prior to the current unrest was an attack in November 1998 that wounded twenty-four. There were no Palestinian suicide bomb attacks against civilians in 1999 or 2000.
13 For two discussions of suicide bombings more generally, see the essay by Navid Kermani ("A dynamite of the spirit: Why Nietzsche, not the Koran, is the key to understanding the suicide bombers,") in the Times Literary Supplement ( March 29, 2002, pp. 13-15) and the review by Walter Lacquer, "Life as a weapon," also in the TLS (September 6, 2002, pp. 3-4).
14 According to one report, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has "dispatched more suicide bombers than anyone in the world," carrying out 220 suicide bomb attacks (Celia W. Dugger, "After ferocious fighting, Sri Lanka struggles with peace," New York Times, April 8, 2002). An LTTE suicide bomber also killed Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
15 Nasra Hassan, "An Arsenal of Believers," New Yorker, November 19, 2001.
17 Another Hamas suicide bombing on February 25, 1996, killed one IDF soldier and wounded thirty-four.
18 Hassan, "An Arsenal...," New Yorker.
19 Human Rights Watch interview with Moti Mizrachi, age thirty-one, Jerusalem, June 23, 2002.
20 Human Rights Watch interview with Daniel Turjeman, age twenty-six, Jerusalem, June 23, 2002.
22 Human Rights Watch interview with Efrat Ravid, age twenty, Ma'aleh Adumim, June 12, 2002.
23 Human Rights Watch interview with Olesya Sorokin, age twenty-seven, Rishon Le Tzion, June 14, 2002.
26 Human Rights Watch visits to Clara Rosenberger, Jerusalem, June 13, 2002 and June 23, 2002.
27 Human Rights Watch interview with Rachel Klirs, daughter of Clara Rosenberger, Jerusalem, July 2, 2002.
29 Human Rights Watch interview with Ben Tsion Maltabashi, age sixty-five, Jerusalem, June 13, 2002,
30 Human Rights Watch interview with Li Yuan Wong, age twenty-eight, assistant to Lin Jin Mou, age forty-one, Jerusalem, June 23, 2002.
31 Human Rights Watch interview with Sabrina Belhadev, age twenty, Jerusalem, June 17, 2002.
32 Human Rights Watch interview with Eva Krief, age twenty, Jerusalem, July 5, 2002.
35 Human Rights Watch interview with Hussam Abu Hussein, Baka al-Gharbiya, June 26, 2002.
38 The Associated Press reported that four car bombs over the previous week had "failed to cause casualties." Dan Perry, "Tel Aviv suicide bombing kills 17 Israelis," Associated Press, June 2, 2001.
39 Allyn Fisher-Ilan, "Five from one school dead in attack; others saved by a `twist of fate,'" Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2001.
40 `Ala'a Saftawi, former editor-in-chief of the pro-Islamic Jihad weekly newspaper Al-Istiqlal, told Human Rights Watch that Hamas was responsible for the Dolphinarium attack. Human Rights Watch interview, Gaza City, May 15, 2002. News reports also cited Hamas' claims of responsibility for the attack. See Ewen MacAskill, "Arafat refuses to arrest bombers: Palestinian leader voices respect for extremist groups but warns of future roundup," Guardian (London), June 30, 2001. Some news reports at the time said that a previously unknown group, Palestinian Hizbollah, had also claimed responsibility.
41 German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer was in Ramallah at the time and, along with U.N. Special Coordinator Terje Larsen, worked with Arafat to draft the statement. Fatah agreed to comply with Arafat's call, but Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine pointedly did not. George Tenet, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, negotiated a cease-fire agreement that was announced on June 13, 2001. Some Palestinian Authority-Israeli security contacts were re-established, and the number of serious incidents of Palestinian violence declined for several weeks. On June 23, 2001, the Palestinian Authority reportedly detained Islamic Jihad leader `Abdallah Shami in Gaza for "acting against Palestinian interests" in criticizing the cease-fire. By mid-July, however, the level of violence initiated by Palestinians and Israelis had returned to that which prevailed prior to the Dolphinarium attack. On June 22 and July 16, 2001, Hamas and Islamic Jihad respectively carried out suicide bombing attacks that killed four IDF soldiers in Gaza and Binyamina and wounded ten others.
42 Etgar Lefkowitz, "Fifteen killed in Jerusalem suicide bombing; cabinet deliberates retaliation for attack," Jerusalem Post, August 10, 2001.
43 For a detailed account of the preparations for this attack and a portrait of al-Masri and his accomplices, see Sarah Helm, "The Human Time Bomb," Sunday Times Magazine, January 6, 2002.
44 Alan Philips, "Arafat's arrest of militants fails to halt the `martyrs,'" Daily Telegraph, August 13, 2001. Other reports identified two of those detained as `Abdallah and Bilal Barghouti.
45 On Ramallah, see "Israeli soldiers close further building as U.S. envoy starts talks," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, August 12, 2001; on Nablus, see "Arafat Closes `Suicide Bombing' Art Show", BBC online news, 26 September 2001 at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/1564188.stm (accessed August 29, 2002).
46 On November 16, 2001, in a televised speech in Arabic marking the end of Ramadan, Yasir Arafat called for "the complete cessation of all military activities, especially suicide attacks, which we have always condemned," adding that the PA would "punish all planners and executors and hunt down the violators." Graham Usher, "Entering the storm," Middle East International, December 21, 2001, p. 7.
47 Tracy Wilkinson, "Suicide bombers strike in heart of Jerusalem," Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2001.
49 Lee Hockstader, "Bomber on bus kills fifteen in Israel," Washington Post, December 3, 2001.
51 Khalid Amayreh, "Pushing Arafat into a corner," Middle East International, December 7, 2001, p. 5.
52 The Jerusalem Post cited an unnamed "senior Israeli official" as dismissing the PA effort: "Rantisi is a symbol and the least of the real terrorists. And these people [Arafat] is not arresting. He is going for the symbols." Lamia Lahoud, "Hamas, Fatah strike deal to prevent Rantisi's arrest," Jerusalem Post, December 22, 2001.
53 During the lull, shooting attacks against Israeli military targets and settlements continued. The break on attacks inside Israel was interrupted from the Palestinian side when Hamas militants ambushed and killed four Israeli soldiers in Israel near the Gaza border on January 9, 2002. Israel the next day destroyed some fifty-nine homes in Gaza's Rafah refugee camp.
54 Graham Usher, "Six Shot Dead at Bat Mitzvah," Guardian (London), January 18, 2002.
55 "Ceasefire Offer Follows Bus Stop Attack," Guardian (London), January 23, 2002.
56 In Lebanon, Hizbollah's al-Manar television first claimed, on behalf of Hamas, that the bomber was a twenty-year-old woman student from al-Najah University in Nablus. Hamas leader Shaikh Yassin later said that "in this phase, the participation of women is not needed in martyr operations like men." See "We don't need women suicide bombers: Hamas spiritual leader," Agence France-Presse, February 2, 2002. A second suicide bombing attack carried out by a woman, and also claimed by the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, wounded three Israeli police at a checkpoint on February 27, 2002.
57 Interview with `Ata Abu Rumaila, Jenin refugee camp, June 11, 2002. An official in the PA General Intelligence Service told Human Rights Watch, "When the al-Aqsa Brigades responded to Karmi's assassination-this was not a political decision on the level of the central committee. We were shocked. I knew what the Palestinian answer would be-not Arafat's or Fatah's, but the friends and neighbors. And what I expected happened." Human Rights Watch interview, Ramallah, June 5, 2002. A Western security official involved in security negotiations in 2001-2002 told Human Rights Watch, "the December-January cease-fire was effective because it was informal and locally based.... The [Israeli] assassinations have been timed to destroy cease-fires." Human Rights Watch interview, Jerusalem, June 6, 2002.
58 The March 7 attack by the PFLP on a hotel on the outskirts of Ariel settlement wounded fifteen. The other PFLP suicide bombing attack, on February 16, killed three and wounded more than thirty in a pizzeria in the Karnei Shomron settlement.
59 Some reports give Daraghmeh's age as twenty and his full name as Muhammad Daraghmeh Ashouani; Human Rights Watch uses the name and age as given by his family.
60 "Hamas claims responsibility for Jerusalem bombing," Reuters, March 9, 2002.
61 "Suicide Bomb Stalls Mideast Peace Talks," Boston Globe, March 22, 2002.
62 Human Rights Watch interview with Rachel Klirs, daughter of Clara Rosenberger, Jerusalem, July 2, 2002.
63 "Israeli source says Netanya bombing `declaration of war', 20 dead," BBC Monitoring Middle East, March 28, 2002. According to the Jerusalem Report, an Israeli biweekly, `Awdah joined Hamas after Israeli security forces had prevented him from crossing the Allenby bridge to Amman to marry his fiancée prior to the intifada. See Khaled Abu Toameh, "Love and Hate," Jerusalem Report, May 20, 2002, p. 27. Ya'ov Limor, writing in the daily Ma'ariv on August 17, 2001, many months before the Netanya attack, reported that Nahid Abu Ishaq, a Hamas activist detained by the Israeli Defense Force in connection with the Sbarro pizzeria bombing in Jerusalem, "was found in possession of the last testament of Basit `Awdah, who was about to carry out another suicide attack," in "Terror map of Hamas and Islamic Jihad," Ma'ariv, translated in Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Near East and South Asia, August 20, 2001, FBIS-NES-2001-0817. At around that time it appears that `Awdah went underground. He was reportedly on the list of persons sought by Israeli forces during the IDF incursion into Tulkarem in January 2002, but escaped capture at that time. (The IDF raid on Tulkarem is discussed in Human Rights Watch, "In a Dark Hour: The Use of Civilians during IDF Arrest," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 14, no. 2 (E), April 2002, pp. 16-19.)
64 Mohammed Daraghmeh, "Militia leader seeks to build Palestinian liberation arm," Associated Press, March 8, 2002. Al-Titi said in the same interview, "I believe that they have put me on the assassination list. So, sooner or later they are going to assassinate me, so I'll kill them, as many as I can." Al-Titi and three others were killed when an Israeli tank targeted them on May 22, 2002.
65 Hussein Dakroub, "Militant Palestinian Groups Reject Arab Peace Overture to Israel," Associated Press, March 28, 2002.
66 "The leadership strongly denounces Netanya operation against Israeli civilians and decides to prosecute those involved or responsible, " WAFA (official PA news agency), March 27, 2002. Translated from Arabic by Human Rights Watch.
67 "The Palestinian Authority denounces any operations targeting Palestinian and Israeli civilians, " WAFA (official PA news agency), March 2, 2002. Translated from Arabic by Human Rights Watch.
68 "Suicide Bomb Stalls Mideast Peace Talks," Boston Globe, March 22, 2002.
69 Greg Myre, "Israel destroys Arafat's Gaza office after suicide bombing in Jerusalem," Associated Press, March 10, 2002.
70 "Want Security? End the Occupation," Washington Post, January 16, 2002.
71 "Suicide Bomb Stalls Mideast Peace Talks," Boston Globe, March 22, 2002.
72 "Suicide bomber kills two in Jerusalem supermarket," Reuters, March 29, 2002.
73 For a detailed account of one component of this operation, see Human Rights Watch, "Jenin: IDF Military Operations," A Human Rights Watch Report, vol. 14, no. 3 (E), May 2002.
74 Statement as published in the New York Times, May 8, 2002.
75 Greg Myre, "Palestinians arrest Hamas members; Bethlehem talks break down," Associated Press, May 9, 2002.
76 Phil Reeves, "Arafat tries to stave off Gaza assault with arrests," The Independent (London), May 10, 2002.
77 For a detailed account of the killings in Halhoul, see Edward Cody, "Israel pursues focused attacks: In killing of West Bank intelligence agents, a pattern resumes," Washington Post, May 16, 2002.
78 Three other persons, two of them al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades members, were also killed by the Israeli tank shell that killed al-Titi. Israel asserted that al-Titi was responsible for the deaths of at least eleven Israelis, mostly in attacks employing automatic weapons.
79 John Kifner, "Israel thwarts bomb attack, but fears more to come," New York Times, May 25, 2002.
80 The encounter set off a blast that injured one person.
81 Gil Hoffman and Margot Dudkevitch, "Sharon: Massive Assault on Hamas Underway in Gaza," Jerusalem Post, June 25, 2002.
82 Serge Schmeann, "Israel Will Start Pullout in Gaza and Bethlehem," New York Times, August 19, 2002. As of late September, the IDF pullout has been limited to Bethlehem.
83 For example, the late Palestine Liberation Organization representative, Faisal Husseini, for whom posters were prominently displayed in East Jerusalem in 2001-2002.
84 Arabic-language media in other countries have used varying terms. See, for example, Daniel Sobelman, "Saudi Media Drops Shaheed in Coverage of Suicide Attacks," Ha'aretz, May 22, 2002.
85 See for example, "Statement in the name of Mr. President and Palestinian Leadership: Condemning all terrorist acts targeting civilians, be they Israelis or Palestinians, including state, group or individuals terrorism," April 13, 2002 at http://www.jmcc.org/banner/banner1/bayan/pasterror.htm (accessed September 3, 2002).
86 See for example, interviews by Arafat with Abu Dhabi Television on March 29, 2002, re-broadcast by PA TV the same day. See transcript of the interview in "Palestinian leader says "morale is high" among followers in compound," BBC Monitoring Middle East, March 29, 2002.
87 "The cancer of suicide bombing," New York Times, April 3, 2002.
88 See report by Palestinian Satellite Channel TV Gaza in "Palestinian official says suicide bomb "natural response" to Israeli offensive," BBC Monitoring Middle East, April 10, 2002.
89 See transcript of interview with al-Jazeera in Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre Daily Report, May 13, 2001.
90 Arieh O'Sullivan and Lamia Lahoud, "Rajoub praises Aksa Martyrs' Brigades," Jerusalem Post, March 19, 2002.
91 Speech by His Excellency the President Bashar al-Asad in the Opening Session of the Fourteenth Arab Summit, March 27, 2002, Beirut at http://www.arabsummitbeirut.org/submenu2c_a_syriacomplete.htm (accessed June 5, 2002). Ellipses in original text. Translated from Arabic by Human Rights Watch.
92 Interview by Huda al-Husayni with Ghazi al-Qusaybi, Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom, al-Sharq al-Awsat, 5 June 2002, pp. 8-9. FBIS Daily Report, FBIS-NES-2002-0605. In September 2002, Ambassador al-Qusaybi was recalled from his post. There was no indication from Saudi authorities if his well-publicized endorsements of suicide bombings were a factor.
93 Copy of broadcasts provided to Human Rights Watch by Itamar Marcus of the Israel-based Palestinian Media Watch
94 Agreement On The Gaza Strip And The Jericho Area, between the State of Israel and the PLO, May 4, 1994, Article XII (1); Annex I, "Protocol Concerning Redeployment and Security Arrangements, The Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip," Washington D.C., September 28, 1995, Article II (3) (c).
95 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Hani al-Masri, Ramallah, June 19, 2002.
97 Human Rights Watch interview with Ziad Abu `Amr, Washington, D.C., June 28, 2002.
98 Human Rights Watch interview with Ghassan Khatib, Jerusalem, June 6, 2002. Khatib was subsequently appointed minister of labor in the PA cabinet.
99 See Akiva Eldar, "Arafat to Ha'aretz: I Accept Clinton's Proposal to Bring Order," Ha'aretz, June 21, 2002. Translated from Hebrew by Human Rights Watch. See text of statement from WAFA (official PA news agency) in "Arafat Receives Chinese Official, Condemns Violence Against Civilians," BBC Monitoring Middle East, June 20, 2002.
100 For an English translation of the text and some critical responses from Palestinian political figures, including Hamas' `Abd al-`Aziz al-Rantisi, see Middle East Media Research Institute, "Special dispatch no. 393, A Palestinian Communiqué Against Martyrdom Attacks," June 25, 2002 at http://www.memri.org (accessed August 29, 2002). See also James Bennet, "Gingerly, Arabs Question Suicide Bombings," New York Times, July 3, 2002.
101 See Mark Lavie, "Palestinian: Stop Suicide Bombings," Associated Press, August 30, 2002.