Fox news reached a new low today granting an interview to Wafa al-Biss, a convicted Palestinian who was freed as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, was sentenced to a 12-year term for planning to blow herself up Be’er Sheva’s Soroka hospital in 2005.
This woman was travelling to for medical treatment in 2005 when Israeli soldiers at the Erez border aroused the suspicion of the soldiers at the crossing and during her security check, when she realized they had discovered the explosive belt on her body Panicked and frustrated, Wafa al-Biss decided to kill herself anyway. Security camera video shows her reaching into her right pocket to pull the detonator string. But instead of exploding in a lethal mass of fire, smoke, and metal shards, the string came out in her hand. Again and again she thrust her hand into her pocket, pushing the detonator. The cameras dispassionately record her failed mission’s final moments — Wafa al-Biss, alone in the hall, screaming and crying, clawing at her. The suicide vest, stuffed with explosives, nails, ball bearings and various metal fragments, weighed close to 40 pounds. But it felt “like roses on my shoulders,” Shefa’a al-Qudsi told me when I interviewed her this spring in an Israeli security prison near Tel Aviv. “I was even more eager to do it after I put the vest on,” said the now 31-year-old Palestinian from Tulkarem. “Many would have died. No fence in the world would have stopped me.”
Wafa al-Biss, A member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party,had the opposite reaction when she tried on the explosive pants she had been given for her mission. “I told them the pants were too tight and too heavy,” she said, tugging at her headscarf with her scarred fingertips as she recounted her conversation with the men who were sending her to kill and die. “They said: ‘Don’t worry. We have a bigger size for you!’ I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself,” al-Biss told me, her eyes welling with tears. “And I thought: What am I doing here?”
Speaking after her release she said: ‘As long as there is going to be occupation over all of Palestine, martyrs will be there to resist and to fight, and I will be among the first of the strugglers. ‘This is an honorable thing and I would be a suicide bomber three times over if I could. She had a permit given to her by Israel allowing her to leave Gaza for treatment for burns she sustained in an accident at her home in Gaza’s Jebaliya refugee camp. “Although I’ve spent the best years of my life in here,” she said. “I regret nothing. What I did was not wrong.” “I chose Netanya,” she said proudly. “I told the guys: bring me the explosives; I’ll do the rest.” She also decided to disguise herself as a pregnant woman to avoid suspicion.
Al-Biss, upon release also told cheering schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip the day after her release on Wednesday she hoped they would follow her example. “I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs,” Biss said she plans to complete university psychology studies but added that she remained defiant in the face of Israeli warnings to act against those who return to militancy. “We will pursue our struggle and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) knows that. Arrests will not deter us from our strong battles and confrontation in the face of Zionist arrogance in the land of Palestine,” she said. Given her sacrifice, she says, “many jobs will be waiting for me.” She may work in the part of the Palestinian Authority still run by Yasir Arafat’s Fatah, or at the “prisoners club,” which has paid her family 1,000 shekels a month since her incarceration — about $350 a month, not an insignificant sum in economically hard-pressed Palestine whose average per capita annual income is under $1,000. Her father has opened a new café in Tulkarem. With her enhanced social status as a would-be shaheeda, she looks forward to working with men now, she said. “I’ve had more than enough of women in jail,” she laughed. But she does not want to remarry, to go “from one prison to another.”She has become “more political” and “closer to God” in prison, she says. She has also perfected her Hebrew. “We need to know the language of our enemy to better confront him, she said, a giggle softening the threat she is still determined to convey. Like al-Biss, other released prisoners have also said they have no remorse. Among those freed were more than 280 who had been sentenced to life terms for attacks that killed several hundred Israelis.
In the debate over the swap, opponents in Israel warned that the released prisoners could unleash a new wave of violence. However, the vast majority of the released prisoners were sent to Gaza, tightly sealed by Israel, or into exile. In the West Bank, the security forces of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have clamped down on militants in recent years. In the disputed West Bank, released prisoners were taken to the grave of iconic Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas greeted them, and several thousand people filled the courtyard outside his headquarters to celebrate. The ones exiled to Gaza were all given rooms at the Al-Mashtal hotel for a gift, while all of them received around 10,000 USD from both Fatah and Hamas as rewards for their being freed.These prisoners get cable TV and full benefits in prison,including a college education.They also receive a salary from the PA, Questions arise from this as we pay them alot of money
Would she discourage her daughter Diana from emulating her path towards martyrdom? “I will teach her that education is the most important thing in life,” “But our children can be shot coming home from school. The best of our children become martyrs, whether or not they want to be. So if she wanted to do this, I wouldn’t try to stop her.”
And you provided her airtime, that’s nice…