When Palestinian youths began a wave of grassroots and often suicidal stabbing attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians several months ago, it wasn’t his three sons that Ramiz Hassoneh was worried about – it was his daughter.
Ignoring her father’s warnings, 20-year-old Maram took a kitchen knife to an Israeli military checkpoint on Dec. 1 and was shot dead as she tried to attack the soldiers, according to the Israeli military. The deadly mission put her among some 20 young females who have been involved in attacks on Israelis in recent months – a new trend that has confounded both Palestinian families and Israeli security officials.
While battling Israel was once a role restricted to Palestinian men and boys, the current wave of violence has seen an unprecedented spike in female involvement. And where the few women who did engage in attacks in the past were typically underprivileged females seeking redemption after being rejected by their families, the attackers are now largely ideological, educated women from supportive homes.
Palestinians consider the trend to be a combination of rising Islamist zeal, the growing role of women in the conservative society and the brewing desperation of a younger generation with few prospects.
Well, whose fault is that they have “no prospects” in a culture that celebrates their picking up knives and attacking innocent people? Pretty hard to feel sorry for them. Perhaps there’s another reason she’s dead:
In Maram’s case, her family said she had a burning drive to resist the Israeli occupation somehow. A top English student at An-Najah University and a devout Muslim, Maram was deeply troubled by TV images showing the death of young Palestinians killed in attacks and clashes with Israel. She had memorized the entire Quran and cited religious and nationalistic motives for her desire to strike at Israelis. Unlike her younger brothers, who busied themselves with daily life, her father said Maram was an independent thinker who couldn’t be swayed from her convictions, even after serving six months in prison for another unsuccessful stabbing attempt on a soldier two years earlier.
When the sum total of your dysfunctional culture lies in memorizing a book, there’s little wonder it’s dysfunctional.