Jewish World Review April 26, 2002 / 14 Iyar, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
Saudis' money for martyrs
Saudi Arabia's telethon for the families of
Palestinian "martyrs," sponsored by the Saudi
Committee for Support of the Al Aqsa Intifada,
raised some $92 million in 11 hours. A similar
telethon in Abu Dhabi -- dubbed "For You,
Palestine" -- raised more than $50 million, while a
Bahrain martyr-thon raised $10 million.
On "Meet the Press," Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign policy
adviser to the Saudi crown prince, told NBC's Tim
Russert, "The term 'martyr' refers to anyone who
died innocently. That's what we mean." Of course, if
that's what the Saudis really meant, they'd also be
sending money to the families of Israelis who died in
homicide bombings, so it's not what they mean.
Especially not when al- Jazeera television aired a
tape entitled "The Wills of New York and
Washington Battle Martyrs" at about the same time.
Jubeir added that the money for martyrs "is not
going to support the suicide bombers." (Of course
not -- dead men don't cash checks.) Instead, he
said, "the funds are going to put food on the tables
of Palestinian families who can't find it." (Which
sounds like: widows whose husbands went
The Intifada is uncivilized. There is no other word
for it. It sends young people out to deliberately
slaughter civilians and children. And there is no
other word for neighbors who choose to subsidize
the recruitment of teenagers and young adults to kill
other children and civilian adults.
Chronicle staff writer Anna Badkhen interviewed
Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi, who recruits
so-called suicide bombers. But when Rantisi's son,
who is in medical school, said he would be honored
to be a "martyr," Rantisi scoffed that his son didn't
know what he was saying "because of his youth."
Then: "Some men must grow up to become
doctors. But for that to happen, others have to
sacrifice themselves and become martyrs."
Suha Arafat, Yasser Arafat's wife, recently said that
if she had a son -- which she conveniently doesn't --
she could imagine "no greater honor" than for Junior
to be a killer-bomber.
"I want to be a martyr, martyr, martyr, martyr," her
husband recently crowed. (If so, Arafat might want
to dispense with his bodyguards.)
The Saudi ambassador to Britain recently published
a poem praising an 18- year-old Palestinian woman
who injured 28 people and killed two people as she
blew up herself. "O bride of spears," he gushed.
"May all beauty be sacrifice for your eyes."
He's no poet, but President Bush said it better when
he asked for the world to recognize the so-called
suicide bomber for what he or she really is: "just a
This week, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah --
ostensibly an American ally -- visits President Bush
in Crawford, Texas. Secretary of State Colin
Powell said he will bring up the martyr telethon
when they meet. Powell can bring it up, but he
shouldn't expect to shame people who bankroll the
intentional murder of civilians and children. He
shouldn't expect to shame people who fund these
bombings unhampered by the knowledge that many
Palestinians often die killing only themselves when
they're caught at an Israeli checkpoint.
After Russert pushed Jubeir on the Saudi support of
bomber-killers, Jubeir responded, "We have
condemned the killing of innocent lives because it's
against the teachings of our faith." It was such a
legalistic, insincere response. The Saudis oppose
terrorism because it's against their religious tenets?
You'd think the subject was eating pork, not killing
Indeed, while the Saudis are legalistic in their
denunciation of terrorism, Prince Abdullah has
voiced outrage at Palestinian "humiliation"
experienced at Israeli checkpoints. You get the
feeling that the Saud royal family values the feelings
of their Muslim neighbors more than they value the
lives of their Muslim
Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.
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