President Mahmoud Hamas, I mean Abbas, has sent a condolence letter to the parents of Muataz Ibrahim Hijazi, who last Wednesday night, shot an unarmed man in the chest and stomach three times. Abbas told Hijazi’s parents that their son “rose to the heavens as a martyr for the defense of the rights of the Palestinian nation and the holy places.”
I would like to also write them a condolence letter…and through the wonders of the Internet, I will…
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hijazi,
Allow me to offer my sincere condolences on the unfortunate death of your son. From all accounts, it was a quick death – one resulting from your son opening fire on Israeli soldiers who had called for his surrender. I am not surprised he opened fire for I have no doubt he was taught, long ago, that surrender is an insult, an action unbecoming a soldier of Allah.
He died, as he lived, fighting his enemies, and for that, perhaps, I am sorriest of all. We never had to be enemies – your people and mine. We had a choice – way back at the beginning when we could have chosen to share this land in peace. My people accepted this compromise and your people chose war. That war that they chose and continue to choose each and every day, is what killed your son…that, and the hatred you instilled in him.
So I’m sorry you chose to raise him in hatred, fill his mind with lies and the belief he had no other option but to fight against impossible odds, a nation which sought only to fulfill its destiny. That’s right – this land has always been ours and it was our destiny, from the minute we were expelled by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, to return to it.
I’m sorry that your son spent nearly one third of his life in prison for the crimes he committed. Though he was guilty of those crimes, the saddest part is that had he been raised to talk and not to fight; to listen and not to hate, his life may have added up to something, anything, other than his dying for nothing. And make no mistake, he certainly died for nothing. Not for the glory of Allah, not for the wonder of Islam.
Not only did he, thankfully, fail to murder Rabbi Yehudah Glick, he failed to do anything but prove that he, not Rabbi Glick, was the extremist. All Rabbi Glick ever did was talk – of the glory of my religion and of the history and future of this land. Rabbi Glick never raised a gun to shoot an innocent man; Rabbi Glick never threw stones at innocent cars and buses. He never firebombed anything; he never stabbed or bombed anyone.
The extremist is not a man who speaks words and dreams but a pathetic human being who chooses the path of barbaric violence in shooting an unarmed man. More, because police suspect your son also shot an unarmed soldier just minutes after I passed the bus station where he was waiting for a ride last August.
So, I write to you in great sadness. I can’t be easy to lose a son, especially one that you failed so miserably. You raised him in darkness, in evil. You raised him to cherish death, not life. You taught him to seek martyrdom, not the way to return home each day safe and sound. His goal was to die, not to live to see his children grow in sunshine. That was what you taught him, what you allowed him to be taught.
May your son’s memory live on among his people, as a prime example of what happens to those who choose violence, those not smart enough to realize the inevitability of defeat in this battle. Your son died for nothing and that perhaps is the greatest blessing to us, and the greatest curse for you.
I cannot wish your son well in the world to come. I believe in justice and I know that God will provide the justice that your son’s quick death denied Israel. Your son will sit in prison…the prison of the heavens. He will pay the ultimate and eternal price for the vengeance and the blind hatred instilled from his youth.
In anger you raised your child; in anger and hate, he died. I cannot offer you my hope that things will change, that other Palestinian parents will now realize the futility of teaching your young to value and desire death and martyrdom.
Perhaps, rather than condolences, what I should offer you is my pity.
And I will sign this letter not with my name, but with that of my people, Israel. This is the message Israel should deliver to you and yours. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we pity you.
First posted at ‘A Soldier’s Mother’