Interview with a Commander of Suicide Bombers

Hassan Salameh, pictured above, is a Palestinian from Gaza.  He was a former military commander of Hamas, the Islamic military organization that has been involved in attacks against Israel (and which is now in political/military control of the Gaza Strip).  Fortunately, Salameh is in an Israeli security prison, sentenced to a 1,170-year term in solitary confinement!  The interview (from ’60 Minutes,’ the longest running news program in the U.S.) is worth watching because Salameh is described as someone who knows the most about suicide bombings, and he was the ‘mastermind’ of the deadliest campaign of bombings in Israel.  Although the news report is from 12 years ago, the interview with Hassan Salameh is still very relevant in trying to understand the violence behind suicide bombings in the present as well as past.

In Part 1 of the interview (6 minutes), find out what first motivated the ‘affable’ Hassan Salameh to become involved in terrorism against Israel. (video also available in Mr. Kenney’s StuShare folder)

In Part 2 of the interview, learn more about Salameh’s recruiter (photo here),…

a Palestinian college student of psychology and the person who chose the suicide bombers.  The recruiter had a lot of young men in a Palestinian refugee camp to choose from, but he explains why, for one particular mission, he shockingly chose his first cousin to be a suicide bomber! (photo here)

Find out what the news reporter means when he says this chosen suicide bomber, a 19-year-old boy, was not a zealot or psychopath but rather ‘quite simply, the boy next door.’ What is the reaction of the suicide bomber’s mother? And, what kind of ‘promises’ did the recruiter make that enticed the boy to strap bombs on his body and blow up a bus in Jerusalem? (video also available in Mr. Kenney’s StuShare folder)


Here’s Part 2 of the TV interview (6 minutes).

Who do you think is most to blame for the attack that was described in the TV report: the commander, the recruiter, the bomber, or the bomber’s mother? Why?

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