A Palestinian child kissing the corpse of a PIJ martyr (shaheed) killed by the IDF and buried in Gaza City on November 25, 2007. The corpse’s headband reads "Jerusalem Battalions” (the terrorist operative wing of the PIJ).
1. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in the Gaza Strip encourage children and adolescents to gather around the corpses of shaheeds ("martyrs for the sake of Allah”) and even to kiss them, although it is not rooted in the Muslim tradition (See below, Appendix 1 ). It is part of their indoctrination to hate Israel and employ violence, and it begins at an early age in both the formal and informal educational systems, and as part of the shaheed cult popular among Palestinians in the PA-administered territories during the current confrontation with Israel . (See below, Appendix 2 ).
2. The picture on the first page shows a child kissing the corpse of a PIJ terrorist operative buried on November 25. He was Yussuf Hussein Mousa, 19, a resident of the al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza strip, who was killed in a firefight with the IDF.
3. The following pictures show children gathering around the corpse of a Hamas terrorist operative killed at the end of October 2007.
4. Exploiting children and babies to send messages of hatred and violence against Israel is popular among the Palestinian terrorist organizations and is manifested in various ways, some of which follow.
Hamas displays of children wearing uniforms and carrying weapons.
Clockwise from left to right: Children waving rifles with telescopic sights; behind the child is Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman; kindergarten children in uniform, and behind them a row of women explosive vests. The sign reads "The jihad is our program of action.”
Children playing at being Palestinian terrorists handcuffed and blindfolded, pretending they were caught by Israeli security forces. One child is chained.
A baby wearing a Hamas headband and carried by its mother at a rally. "Hamas” is written on his cheek, and his headband reads "The [Izzedine al-Qassam] Brigades.”
The Islamic concept of the shaheed's corpse
1. According to Islamic tradition, a martyr is someone who had sacrificed his life on the battlefield for the sake of Allah, usually against a superior force. The martyr can be male (shaheed) or female (shaheeda). The prophet Muhammad is reported to have said that when a Muslim dies as a martyr as described, his corpse is not to be washed and he is to be buried as he fell, even if his clothes are torn and bloodstained. That is because on Judgment Day the stains will emit an especially pleasing odor.
2. According to the tradition, all corpses, including those of shaheeds, must be buried as quickly as possible. The corpse must not be washed, to preserve its sanctity. However, at least the face is often washed when the corpse is brought to the hospital.
3. Islamic burial and mourning traditions stated that a corpse has no value. For that reason, after a partner's death a husband may not touch his wife nor a wife her husband because their marriage is no longer considered valid.
4. According to the tradition, immediately after death the Muslim soul leaves the body, rises into the air and disappears to an unknown location. The soul of a shaheed, on the other hand, rises straight to heaven in the stomach of a green bird. It then descends to the earth and reenters the corpse, then rises again heavenward forever. From that moment on, the corpse has no importance.
5. Participation in a funeral, whether of a man or woman, but especially of a shaheed, is a profound emotional experience , which sometimes makes participants feel they must touch the corpse. That happens especially when the dead person was of high status, such as a leader considered a shaheed at his death or a shaheed who fell in battle. However, as noted, touching the corpse is not quoted in the Islamic tradition .
The Palestinian terrorist organization cult of the shaheed
1. During the violent confrontation against Israel (the second intifada), the glorification of terrorists who died as "martyrs” developed into a cult in Palestinian culture. Special attention has been given to the cult of suicide bombers ( ishtishhadiin ). It has been conspicuous in the confrontation with Israel and relies on a tradition related to the prophet Muhammad which says that a Muslim who dies at the hands of a Jew or of Jews is comparable to two shaheeds (i.e., his value is double).
2. The shaheed cult is particularly fostered among the younger generation of the Palestinian terrorist organizations as part of their basic indoctrination of hatred and the use of violence against Israel . The shaheed's corpse and his funeral are part of the cult, and the objective is to increase the emotional experience arising from participating in the rites and touching the shaheed's body. It is also intended to encourage those who participate in the funeral to become shaheeds themselves in the violent "resistance” ( maqawamah ) against Israel .
3. The cult has turned the funerals of shaheeds who fell in the confrontation with Israel into powerful emotional events attended by many Palestinians. The mass attendance at the funerals is exploited by the various terrorist organizations to present their ideology, call for revenge against Israel , create sympathy for their organization and enlist supporters. The emotional experience is made greater by shouted slogans giving praise to Allah and reviling the enemy, encouraged by the funeral organizers.
4. The shaheed cult during the violent confrontation with Israel has created unique burial customs. For example, the men are buried in their clothing and special care is made to cover their reproductive organs in prepration for their meeting with the 72 black-eyed virgins in paradise. There is also a myth that the grave of a shaheed gives off an especially pleasant odor.
5. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center 's display of captured material has many items relating to shaheeds and the shaheed culture seized in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories during the confrontation. There are albums with pictures of shaheeds for school children, posters of shaheeds (including those who died in suicide bombing attacks) hung in school and university hallways and classrooms, movies, CDs, books, articles of clothing (including explosive belts), movies of kindergarten performances, etc .