Byline: PATRICK FLETCHER
DESPITE the biggest Israeli army offensive since the invasion of Lebanon 20 years ago, they are powerless to stop the suicide bombers killing soldiers and civilians alike.
QWhy is the suicide bomber such an effective weapon?
ASuicide bombing is an extremely lowtech, inexpensive and flexible way of taking a battle to an enemy. At it's most basic all you need is the explosive, a trigger and the carrier.
QSo it doesn't need any planning and you don't need to teach anyone anything except how to push the button?
ABasically. The September 11 suicide attacks were obviously on a different scale to those seen in Haifa and Jenin and elsewhere in Israel. But organising a suicide bombing is a lot less hassle than sorting out one where the person who plants it wants to escape with his life.
QAnd they're indiscriminate?
AAll bombs are. But the key bit is that until the bomb goes off, the carrier looks just like the person sitting next to you on the bus.
AWell, absolutely. There is no bombproof way to prevent someone who is determined, whatever Israeli authorities might say.
QWhy do the bombers do it?
AHow long have you got? If you're the bomb master, the one who sends the bombers, you will argue that they do it in defence of the Palestinian people and Islam.
QAnd if you're the bomber?
AYou might say a bit of that too. But it's more complicated when you're the one doing the dying.
QA bit difficult to ask after the event.
AYes. On the other hand you can speak to the families of bombers to try and get an insight. Quite often they will describe a young man (rarely do they send women) who had a quiet upbringing. Normally they will say that their sons were pushed to it by a sense of despair and injustice. Many are Palestinians whose parents and grandparents were pushed out of Israel in 1947 or 1967. …