- The Washington Times - Monday, August 20, 2001

JERUSALEM — With security officials warning of dozens of Palestinian suicide bombers being prepared for strikes against Israel, an Israeli official has suggested burying the remains of Islamic terrorists in pigskins as a deterrent.
Deputy Minister for Internal Security Gideon Ezra made the suggestion in a radio interview over the weekend, noting that such a burial would, according to Islamic belief, prevent the bomber from achieving the paradise promised those who die as martyrs. The practice was reportedly used by the British in battling terrorism in Malaysia in the last century.
In a second interview yesterday, Mr. Ezra said security forces should "liquidate" the fathers of Palestinian suicide bombers to discourage further such attacks.
"The would-be suicide bomber should know that his close relatives risk paying for his crime or even being liquidated," the Likud party member said on national television.
"Yes, the fathers should be liquidated to prevent the sons perpetrating suicide operations," Mr. Ezra continued. "The fathers know perfectly well what their sons are up to, and they could stop them."
The remarks reflect the frustration and search for fresh ideas among Israeli leaders as the Palestinian intifada stretches into its 11th month.
In the latest violence yesterday, Israeli troops shot dead two Palestinians, including a 13-year-old boy, while Jewish settlements came under mortar fire, the Associated Press reported.
In the southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian militants threw grenades and fired rifles at Israeli soldiers patrolling the Israel-Egypt border, prompting the soldiers to fire back, the military said.
Thirteen-year-old Muhammed Arrar was shot in the chest and killed, according to Palestinian security officials and doctors at the Rafah hospital.
Also in southern Gaza, Palestinian militants fired six mortars at the Jewish settlements of Gush Katif, slightly injuring one settler, the Israeli military reported. The army responded with Apache helicopters that fired missiles, flattening a Palestinian security base.
In the West Bank, Israeli troops blocking a road near the city of Nablus fired on Palestinians trying to skirt the checkpoint on foot, killing one and wounding three, Palestinians said. The dead man had ventured into Nablus to buy books for his shop and was returning to his village, his brother Jamal Abu Lawi told the AP.
Israel has been particularly sensitive to Palestinian movements in and out of Israel because of a wave of suicide attacks. Security sources said yesterday that dozens of new attacks were being prepared by fundamentalist organizations like Islamic Jihad and Hamas.
Nevertheless there was little visible enthusiasm in Israel for the pigskin idea put forward by Mr. Ezra, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet, or general security services, which are primarily responsible for dealing with Arab terror.
An unidentified "senior military source" told Israel Radio that it was unlikely that the security forces would adopt such a practice in the 21st century "unless so directed by the political level."
An academic expert on terror, Boaz Ganor, told a radio interviewer that Islamic fundamentalist religious leaders behind suicide bombings would, if such pigskin burials were implemented, simply come up with a religious ruling that martyrs would reach paradise even wrapped in pigskin.
"For someone in an official position to come up with such a suggestion gives the impression that there is nothing that can be done against suicide bombings," said Mr. Ganor. "In fact, there's lots that can be done. For one thing, every bomber is sent by people who don't want to die, and they can be gotten at."


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