A Palestinian psychologist claims that more than half of Palestinian children aged 6 to 11 dream of becoming suicide bombers, according to a video presentation produced by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The documentary says Dr. Shafiq Massalha conducted a study that has led him to conclude that “in about 10 years, a very murderous generation will come of age, full of hatred and ready to die in suicide missions,” the Israeli National News Service reported.
Massalha, a clinical psychologist in East Jerusalem, was a featured presenter at the United Nations North American NGO [Non-governmental organization] Symposium on the Question of Palestine at U.N. headquarters in New York in 1995.
In the film titled “Seeds of Hate,” the narrator says: “In a society in which the legitimization of child murderers becomes a part of its ideology, then normative human morality no longer exists. Which moral rules shall these children pass onto their children when they in turn become parents?”
The scene moves to Arab men yelling and holding up pieces of human organs with a child’s loud voice in the background saying, “I will eat the flesh of my conqueror.”
“All of this has been orchestrated quite methodically by the Palestinian Authority,” the narrator says. “What kind of government calls upon its citizens to become uncompromising killers, while presenting itself to the world as a victim striving only for its peace? This untenable hypocrisy should not be tolerated by enlightened civilization – yet this is the reality happening here and now.”
‘Bombs all over her body’
A July 11, 2001, story in the London Independent newspaper featured Massalha’s research on the night dreams of children during the first intifada in 1989 and the current uprising.
Massalha gave an example of an 11-year-old Palestinian girl who dreamed that she went to a market in Israel with bombs all over her body. She stopped in the middle of a crowd of shoppers, counted to 10, then blew herself up.
The Independent said Massalha, with the assistance of teachers and social workers, distributed notebooks in the spring of 2001 to a random sample of 150 boys and girls aged 10 and 11. The psychologist asked the children to record their dreams every morning for 10 days and to illustrate them.
He found 78 percent of the dreams were political and tended to be physically violent.
Fifteen percent of the sample wanted to be “martyrs,” said Massalha, who added that almost every child knew and cited the names of “martyrs” from their own area, along with Mohammed al Dura, the 12-year-old boy whose death amid crossfire was captured on film.
The psychologist said the “martyrs” were idols to the children.
“I would like to go to Heaven,” one child wrote.
Another was more specific: “On May 4, I want to become a martyr.”
Massalha’s conclusions are bleak, the Independent commented.
“Any experience, especially the very strong and unusual, is never completely erased,” Massalha said. “If the situation continues as it is, the trauma will grow. If it stops and a new reality takes over, it will still take a lot of time and effort to overcome the mistrust and hatred.”
Last month, the London-based Arabic paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published an article by psychologist Dr. Ahmed Najam A-Din, who asserts that suicide terrorists have a “psychological disease.”
He called on Arab society to fight it just as they would fight any other illness.
“Suicide is a sickness, and [the terrorist leaders] are using it for perverse political ends,” he said. “The increasing suicide actions, which receive support and admiration amongst Muslim youth in general and Palestinian youth in particular, have become one of our most dangerous social and psychological phenomena. …”
A-Din said that “as a psychologist, I can say clearly that the psychological profile of the suicide killers is that of a mentally ill person in every sense.”
Instead of being treated, he said, “there are groups within the Palestinian and Arab societies that encourage them not only to continue along this path, but even to broaden the ranks and get others to join in their ‘sickness.'”