Prevalence of Female Attackers in Terror Wave Is ‘Tactic, Not Coincidence,’ Says Israeli Terror Expert (INTERVIEW)
A member of Israel’s Knesset and author of two books on suicide bombers told The Algemeiner on Monday that “girls are useful as terrorists, because they appear less suspicious than their male counterparts, and because it is easier for them to hide weapons under their garments.”
MK Anat Berko, a member Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, was responding to a question about the increasing rate of young females carrying out the terrorist attacks against Israelis that have become a near-daily occurrence over the last several weeks.
Indeed, on Monday alone, two of the four stabbings in Jerusalem — the fourth took place in the evening, on a bus entering the capital — were committed by teenage girls.
Berko, the author of The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers and The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, agrees with assessments on the part of the Israeli security establishment that the current wave of violence in Jerusalem – which has included rock-throwing, Molotov cocktails, stabbings and car-rammings – is not an organized uprising in the conventional sense.
However, stressed Berko — who had just emerged from the opening of the Knesset’s winter session, the focus of which was the dire security situation — “This does not mean it is not coordinated. We are seeing how the use of social media provides young [Arabs] a platform to inspire and be inspired by one another, or by a particularly charismatic figure among them, who serves as a kind of leader. And girls are just as susceptible to this, and as much a product of the Facebook generation, as boys.”
Likening the phenomenon to the sense of community that other kids get from belonging to otherwise benign youth groups, Berko said, “It is important to know that most of the parents of these teenagers do not want their kids to commit acts of terrorism, because doing so endangers their future.
“Even those parents whose ideology, and perhaps behavior, as well, is radical, want to keep their own children out of the fray. It’s similar to hardened criminals who want a different life for their offspring,” she argued. To back these claims, Berko adduced interviews she conducted with numerous terrorists and dispatchers, among them the notorious Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Yassin, a founder of Hamas, who served as its spiritual guide, was killed in an Israeli helicopter strike in 2004. Figures such as Yassin expect their children to attend the best universities and have full family lives, not strap explosive belts to their bodies or put themselves in the line of IDF fire while hurling firebombs.
But she also pointed out the “benefit” of using children, particularly girls, to carry out acts that get them killed. “There is nothing better for portraying victimhood in the international media than wounded or dead youngsters,” she said. “It is a tactic, not a coincidence.”
Meanwhile, women from the Shuafat refugee camp in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of the same name – a camp built by Jordan in 1965 – told Israel’s Channel 2 News on Monday evening that they are proud to participate in the “resistance” against Israel.
One woman said that girls are playing various important roles in the uprising, from cooking food for male fighters, to throwing rocks at soldiers, to cheering the boys when they go out to riot, to obtaining their own knives with which to stab Jews.
“This is nothing new,” Berko insisted, pointing to a case from several years ago of a young Palestinian woman seducing a young Israeli boy through chats on ICQ, and arranging to meet him at a location from where she and an accomplice were waiting to kidnap him.
“It’s just much more prevalent today, with the universal use of electronic devices and websites,” she said.