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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The continuing violence in and around Gaza caused me to revisit a specific occurrence that struck me in a very emotional way. The following is a personal view of the events in Gaza on May 2, 2004.

LEGACY – The Chaos Of Gaza

With the death of Arafat, and the election of Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority, I thought perhaps the Palestinians could gain control of their own future, and insist that their leaders reach a fair settlement of the issues between themselves and the Israelis. Perhaps. But I think not. The election of Hamas to lead their political infrastructure guarantees that the Palestinians will continue to be represented by the faceless monsters who roam the through the Middle East bent on terror, mayhem and murder, regardless of who the nominal leader may be. So long as they continue to produce ‘freedom fighters’ capable of the most dastardly deeds, they will not realize their hope for their own place in the sun.

Let me illustrate the face that the Palestinians have shown to me, but in narrative form rather than as a wire service news clip.

This is the story most Americans read in May, 2004. The mainstream media sanitized it for our protection.

Dateline Jerusalem: May 2 – Five Israelis were killed on a road in the occupied territory of Gaza this morning. Both Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed credit for the successful attack.

What happened that morning has a bit more to it than these two sentences. The following is a narrative of the probable events of that day, based on the evidence left behind, and similar attacks over the course of several years. While some of this reconstruction is conjecture, it is based on the best available evidence, as well as comments from both Fatah and Islamic Jihad members. Unfortunately, there are no witnesses to this attack, other than the gunmen, as there were no survivors among the targets.

Tali Hatuem was very careful to buckle the children securely in the car before leaving home. Very safety conscious, her car contained the proper restraints for each child. Her four young daughters were very precious to her.

Leaving the small settlement where they lived, she turned onto the main road, and drove into another beautiful May day. She did not expect the stinging pain from the gunshots that penetrated the car into the driver’s compartment. Both she and the car were crippled by the many shots that hit the small vehicle. The car rolled to a stop, with Tali’s wounds severe enough that she was unable to unbuckle herself, or make any attempt to flee. Of course, with their mother immobile, the children also stayed in the car.

The two hooded men arose from their place of concealment, their automatic rifles held at the ready. They approached the car carefully, knowing that some of the residents of the settlement carried weapons. However, as they came nearer, they noted with relief that there was no man in the car, and the female driver appeared gravely wounded.

Relaxed now, and feeling more confident, the two young men reached the disabled auto. In the drivers seat was 34-year-old Tali Hatuem. She was too weak to make any defensive move at all. The first man slowly raised his rifle, and placed it against Tali’s temple. The loud retort of the gunshot echoed through the car, bringing screams of terror from the back seat. Blood and brains splattered across the front passenger seat. The gunman then noticed the large bulge of Tali’s belly. Although she was clearly dead, the man wanted to take no chance the baby might be saved. He aimed the Kalashnikov at Tali’s abdomen, and squeezed off two more rounds.

The second man was now at the open window of the rear seat. He first noted 11-year-old Hila. She was starting to make a move to cover the other occupants. Seeing her as the most likely to cause a problem, the man shot her in the face, from a distance of perhaps 12 inches. Again, the car’s interior was sprayed with the gore of the now dead girl. Both men now brought their weapons to bear on the remaining occupants. 9-year-old Hadar was screaming, while 7-year-old Roni and 2-year-old Merav were both crying. None were making any defensive moves, and they were too scared to take evasive action. Merav was especially vulnerable, as she was safely strapped into a child restraint seat.

The two men took their time, calmly putting the muzzle end of their automatic weapons against the temples of the three girls. One at a time, they blew apart the children’s heads, silencing forever the annoying screams.

Smiling, the two shouldered their rifles, and calmly walked away from the acrid smell of cordite and the sickly sweet smell of massive amounts of blood and brains. They had done a good days work. In the name of Allah, they had eliminated 5 enemies of Islam. In fact, they had not only killed these hated Jewish infidels, daughters of pigs and monkeys; but in killing the female children, they had eliminated a future generation of these most hated of people. They would have been more pleased had they known that the unborn child of Hila was also a daughter. Later news reports would comment on the Israelis killing several suspected “militants” in another “targeted attack”. There was never a news report on the fact that the “targeted attack” was, in fact, the elimination of the men responsible for the slaughter of the Hatuem family.

Did we grieve for these dead, or are they incidental in the greater scheme of things? Did their deaths generate the same outpouring of condolences as that of Arafat? Is there a linkage here? What does this incident have to do with Arafat? Actually, they are directly connected.

The two men were members of the Islamic Jihad faction of the Fatah movement. Fatah and Islamic Jihad were both founded by Arafat, under the auspices of the PLO. Financial support, weapons purchases, salaries and reward bonuses were all paid directly by Arafat from funds received by the Palestinian Authority, from both the European Union, United Nations and the United States. The Fatah movement, and others, still run training camps where men learn the use of weapons, and the skills of ambush.

And what of the men themselves? Both were products of the schools run by the Palestinian Authority, where, from the age of 5, they had been taught that Jews are not human, but vermin to be exterminated. Both were raised watching television that pictured all non-Muslims as inferior, and all Israelis as enemies to be killed in any way possible. Both attended mosques where the Imam’s preached that killing any Jew, at any time, would be rewarded by special treatment in Paradise.

The chaos that is the Palestinian Territories pits at least six rival groups, all vying for dominance. The Palestinian Authority itself has police and security personnel. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Fatah all maintain armed bands of men and potential homicide bombers who are at war with each other, as well as continuing their attacks against Israel.

Arafat’s legacy of hated, murder, terror, and intolerance will live on long after him. The Palestinian educational system, entertainment industry, local media and the religious leaders have all worked hard to insure that the fanaticism they have constructed will infect generation after generation. And we can expect that this will not be the last time we hear of this kind of attack by the ‘freedom fighters’ of Islam. But the next time you read the one or two sentence news blurb, think about the actual events, and the participants. And if you can’t grieve for the victims, I would suggest you grieve for yourself. This is what the Islamic fanatics have promised they will bring to all who oppose them.

Dedicated with a heavy heart to the memory of

Tali – Mother – Age 34
Hila – Daughter – Age 11
Hadar – Daughter - Age 9
Roni – Daughter – Age 7
Merav – Daughter – Age 2
Unnamed – Daughter – One month from birth

Tom Glennon


Tom Glennon recently retired as a Manager with an international bank. A Chicago native, he retired at the location of his last assignment, in the Des Moines, Iowa area.

He is an award winning speaker for the Volunteer Oil Industry Communications Effort, an industry advocacy group, and writes essays and opinion pieces for a variety of on-line and print publications.

Tom has served on his County Republican Committee, as well as having served as the County Campaign Chair for Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa). His volunteer work has covered a variety of community based efforts, including youth athletic organizations, Junior Achievement, Youth at Risk, and the Boy Scouts.

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