Maybe all three?
The Palestinian who struck a blow against the oppressor (Hamas' view of the matter) has been described as unmarried and as a father of two. Not mutually contradictory statements, but I had the impression that Muslims were generally a little more tidy in their relationships than that.
Whatever Hossam Dawiath's domestic arrangements, he deserves credit for thinking outside the box. Where most Palestinians would strap explosives on themselves, or use a gun, to kill Jews, this innovator used construction equipment: a front end loader, I think, but I'm no expert. Someone called it a bulldozer, which is about the same thing to someone outside the construction industry.
There are at several ways of looking at today's attack:
- Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri:
"We consider it as a natural reaction to the daily aggression and crimes committed against our people in the West Bank and all over the occupied lands"
- Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev:
A "senseless act of murderous violence," and: "Those who refuse to condemn this act of terror are exposing themselves for what they really are - namely the enemies of fundamental human values"
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's aide, Saeb Erekat
(Abbas is with Fatah):
"We condemn any attacks that target civilians, whether Israelis or Palestinians"
Crushing people with construction equipment, as today's 'martyr' did, or shooting seminary students, as a Palestinian did in March, isn't 'striking a blow against oppression.' Particularly when the targets are so blatantly and sincerely civilian by reasonable standards.
On the other hand, Mr. Dawiath's innovative choice of weapons did have one positive effect, from his point of view. Since death by front loader takes time, the attack took several minutes. As a result, we have video of part of the actual attack: not just the aftermath.
(from CBS News)
video: 0:31 commercial, 1:44 content
Not all Palestinian groups are on the same page. The President's aide seems to say that squashing Jews isn't nice. Three Palestinian terrorist groups say they did it.
Excuse me, that's three "Palestinian militant groups:"
- Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade
(loosely connected to Abbas' Fatah movement)
- Galilee Freedom Battalion
(maybe connected with Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas)
- The ever-popular Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
("fringe left-wing militant group," as CBS News put it)
Israeli police chief Dudi Cohen says: "It looks as if it was a spontaneous act," which doesn't contradict Israeli security people who called it a "terrorist" act. And, apologists for Palestinian terror groups still have to deal with how eagerly three of them claimed responsibility for this crush-a-Jew escapade.
Although Mr. Dawiath's Jew-squashing martyrdom may mark a change of pace from the monotonous routine of suicide vests, guns, rockets, and mortars.
Just what is this Killer-of-the Day?Terrorist? Criminal? Martyr?
I'll say: all three.
- His acts were those of a terrorist
- The acts were certainly criminal
- Unless something's changed drastically, he's going to be hailed as a Muslim Martyr
This is the twenty first century. The world is full of people who aren't exactly like each other.
Live with it.
Today's attack in the news:
- "Jerusalem 'bulldozer terrorist' was Palestinian father-of-two Hossam Dawiath"
TimesOnline (July 2, 2008)
- "A Palestinian father-of-two has been named as the driver of a bulldozer that careered through Jerusalem today, crushing cars and repeatedly ramming a public bus.
- "Three people were killed, including the mother of a young baby, when Hossam Dawiath commandeered the bulldozer from the light rail construction site in west Jerusalem where he worked, and careered the wrong way up the busy Jaffa road.
- "First of all Dawiath, a 31-year-old resident of the east Jerusalem village of Zur Bahar, drove over several queueing cars, crushing them and injuring the people inside...."
- "Deadly Road Rampage Rattles Jerusalem"
CBS News (July 2, 2008)
"Palestinian Construction Worker Plows Into Cars, Pedestrians; Dozens Injured
- "(CBS/AP) A Palestinian driving an enormous construction vehicle went on a deadly rampage on a busy Jerusalem street Wednesday, plowing into a string of cars, buses and pedestrians, killing at least three people and wounding at least 45 before he was shot dead by security officers.
- "The violence, the first major attack in Jerusalem since March, wreaked havoc and left a large swath of damage on Jaffa Road, a main thoroughfare in downtown Jerusalem. Traffic was halted, and hundreds of people fled through the streets in panic as medics treated the wounded.
- "Three Palestinian militant groups took responsibility for the attack, but the claims could not be independently verified and Israeli police referred to the attacker as a "terrorist" acting on his own. Israeli police said the man was a bulldozer operator who worked in the area for a local construction firm...."
- "Jerusalem bulldozer 'terrorist' kills 3 in rampage"
CNN (July 2, 2008)
- "JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli authorities are investigating why a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem rammed his bulldozer into several cars and buses Wednesday, killing three people before Israeli police shot him dead.
- "Israeli authorities are labeling it a terrorist attack, although they say there is no clear motive and the man -- a construction worker -- acted alone. It is not known if he had links to any terrorist organization.
- "Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN the bulldozer operator drove down a busy thoroughfare in West Jerusalem, crashing into four cars and two buses, before heading toward a crowded market.
- " 'We believe he acted on his own and tried to kill as many people as possible,' Rosenfeld said. ...."
A few related points:
- A comment on a previous post, about a Muslim community's reaction to a cute puppy (they were offended), brought up an important point.
- We all need to be patient.
- Not stupid: patient.
- I think that, in many cases, people who are Muslims are also going through a sort of cultural fast-forward. In a single generation, they're making a transition from a culture that was ancient in the times of Abraham, to the beginning of the Information Age.
- Hossam Dawiath's unauthorized use of equipment may have unhappy consequences for his fellow-Palestinians.
- Employers in Israel have been providing jobs to Palestinians. It's no charity: both sides benefit in this trade of time and effort for money.
- After Mr. Dawiath's demonstration of what can happen when the implied trust between employer and employee is broken, I suspect that the wisdom of hiring potential mass-murderers will be reviewed.
- If Israeli employers decide that the risk of getting killed is greater than the benefit of getting a particular task done, Palestinians who wouldn't go on a killing spree will suffer.