Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Teenage Bride nabbed as bomber-to-be

Among yesterday's terror arrests was a teenage bomber-bride from Nablus, who was picked up at dawn with six others in a raid on her West Bank refugee camp. The story of this potential "femme fatale" from Palestine is troubling. She may have been trying to escape a dismal arranged marriage by pretending to be a terrorist. This morose wanna-be martyr could hardly be called feisty or drop-dead gorgeous. From all indications, the girl's preference would be to curl up and die.

Newlywed Najwa Hashash, just 19, despaired of married life with her increasingly feeble bridegroom. The honeymoon was definitely over, because the teenager was required to do the chores of a nurse and orderly along with the housework in cramped quarters. She was desperate to find a way out. Her husband, much older, had little chance of recovering from his debilitating illness according to this article in Ynet. Najwa was arrested yesterday by IDF paratroopers, after rumours circulated during the past three weeks that she planned to strap on an explosive belt and cross the closest checkpoint. Earlier, she'd been detained by the Palestinian Authority and released after questioning. Apparently, they deemed Ms Hashash incapable of anything so hush-hush.

In fact, Najwa's neighbours inside the Balata refugee camp in Nablus suggested that the bride had the blues and spread this malicious gossip herself, hoping to be arrested and jailed as a potential suicide bomber. It was just an escape gambit which would leave her "honor" intact and spare her being murdered if she managed to run away from a bad marriage. But others reckon that a recruiter for the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades took advantage of her misery and persuaded Najwa that if she planned to end her life, she might as well take out some Israelis with her. Why not be glorified as a martyr and get a stipend for her family? (Unsurprisingly, the al-Aqsa Brigades deny any contact with her.)

The Israeli army raided West Bank houses at dawn Tuesday and hauled Najwa in along with two dozen other terror suspects in an ironic twist to Palestine's annual Prisoner Day. They'd released 500 inmates in a good will gesture the previous afternoon, although at least 7600 more-- including 362 children and 82 women-- still are in lockup inside Israel. About ten per cent are held in protective custody indefinitely, without charges against them.

The IDF is not expected to be lenient with Najwa, and there is little hope that she'll be tried quickly. They say Palestinian women are increasingly taking an active part in the conflict, including kidnaps and stabbings. Motives don't really matter. Two of five suicide bombers last year were female, and one was a grandmother. IDF and Shin Bet forces recently arrested 19 Palestinian women suspected of terror activities against Israel. Ten of these women were allegedly affiliated with Fatah and the remainder with Islamic Jihad. Violent female militants are not the only threat. Women tend to serve as messengers, and frequently carry cash for militant groups. So did Najwa accomplish her plan by getting arrested? Did the IDF thwart a deadly attack or enable an adolescent scheme to replace the lonely prison of marriage with actual jail time? Was this girl ever an actual threat?

('Suicide Barbie' blonde bombshell poster is by the conceptual artist Simon Tyszk.)


Anonymous said...

OK, they say that a bigger proportion of Palestinians are locked up than any other group, something like 40 per cent of the male population. That is why young brides get stuck with unsuitable men.

But you are way too sympathetic to these barbie bombers. good photo LOL.
No justification for blowing up innocent Israelis . Gotta be a better solution.

Anonymous said...

Your Barbie looks like quite a bombshell! Another theory about your Palestinian bride: maybe the family of the decrepit groom didn't like her much and signed her up for a one-way ticket to marytrdom!
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