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Palestinian Father Proud That Son Became Terrorist

Associated Press

Ahmad Hazza says his father didn’t know he was a terrorist. When he found out, he wept with joy.

Hazza was one of three Palestinian inmate representatives interviewed by the Associated Press at the Nablus Central Prison, which houses 800 prisoners, most convicted by Israeli military courts of bombings, gun smuggling and other violations of Israel’s national security, offenses described as terrorism.

“When I joined the Fatah movement it was a secret. My father didn’t know,” Hazza, 37, recounted.

“He didn’t know until they put me in prison. Then he came to visit, and he was so happy, proud. There were tears in his eyes.”

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Hazza was sentenced in 1969 to 20 years in prison for bombings in the West Bank town of Qalqilya.

His and other prisoners’ stories showed how the Palestinian “armed struggle” is often tied to feelings of family and community--unlike the terrorism of West European radicals, which many psychologists ascribe to a desire to repudiate family.

Hazza’s comrade, Jamal Abdel Latif Shobaki, 33, said two of his brothers have been imprisoned for anti-Israeli activity, and he himself joined the Fatah guerrillas because his family suffered from “Israeli terrorism.”

The Israelis drove them from their ancestral village in 1948 and blew up their homes, Shobaki said. In the 1967 Mideast War, the Israelis occupied the family’s second home village, in the West Bank, he said.

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“I joined Fatah in 1979 after I was convinced the political struggle wouldn’t stop Israel,” Shobaki said. In 1980, he was sentenced to eight years in prison for supplying weapons used in the slaying of six Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

The sad-eyed young man, who repeatedly referred to his “dream” of a Palestinian state, said he has no regrets over those killings.

He and the others insisted that they mean no harm to innocent civilians. But, Hazza said, “We are at war. . . . And of course maybe some operations killed Israeli civilians or children. . . .

“Palestinians are fighting for their national rights. We didn’t accept violence because we love violence,” Hazza said.

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