As I helped my toddler get dressed this morning, in a crisp white T-shirt imprinted with an American flag and a pair of embroidered blue jeans, I couldn't erase a heinous picture from my mind. It was an Associated Press photo taken Saturday in Berlin, Germany, of a father and his little girl. He is an unidentified Palestinian demonstrator; she is riding on his shoulders with a giant poster of Yasser Arafat in the backdrop.
The smiling child -- no more than 4 or 5 years old -- has dark, wavy hair and caramel skin like my daughter's. She is dressed in a powder-blue sweatshirt. Maybe she picked it out herself and pulled it over her head without any help at all. But what's wrapped around her waist had to be all daddy's doing. And what a monstrous fashion statement it is: Strapped to the child is a costume belt of explosives -- three sticks of mock dynamite, complete with long white fuses, taped to her tiny belly.
It's the latest in kiddie suicide bomber chic.
In Washington, the heated linguistic debate is over whether the young Palestinians who keep blowing themselves up in Israeli markets, malls and restaurants -- 66 of them since September 2000 -- should be called "suicide bombers" or "homicide bombers." Either way, the need remains for truth in labeling the deranged adults who are grooming these young terrorists in training.
Human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, famous for their clamorous advocacy of children's rights, stand by silently as Palestine and its sympathizers indoctrinate their youth in the glories of self-destruction. We hear about the evils of child labor in Indian sweatshops and the cruelty of conscripting child soldiers in Sierra Leone. But nothing of the Palestinian barbarians who revel in turning their toddlers and teens into nitroglycerine-wrapped killing machines.
These are the ultimate child abusers, willing to sacrifice their own flesh and blood to satisfy a state craving for vengeance while cashing in on financial incentives offered by terrorist insurers.
Listen to the father of a 20-something bomber who killed 21 Israelis at a Tel Aviv discotheque last summer: "I am very happy and proud of what my son did and, frankly, am a bit jealous ... I wish I had done it myself."
Listen to the Palestinian Broadcasting Corp., where toddlers recite bloodthirsty verses on Sesame Street-like programs: "When I wander into the entrance of Jerusalem, I will turn into a suicide warrior in battle dress! In battle dress!" sang one little girl. "Palestine! Amidst the shooting of the revolution, I turn to you with my blood and the blood of my brother and of the son of my neighbors. My heart will cleanse your image. Allah is great! Allah is great!" warbled another child, while adult leaders coached them on.
"Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!" the grown-ups cheered.
Listen to the Saudi ambassador to Britain, who sung the praises of the teen-age Palestinian girl who blew herself up three weeks ago in a Jerusalem market: "You died to honor God's word," Ghazi Algosaibi rhapsodized. "She embraced death with a smile while the leaders are running away from death. Doors of heaven are opened for her."
And listen to Arafat's wife, Suha, goading other Palestinian parents to endorse the suicide/homicide "operations" on Jews: There would have been "no greater honor," Arafat reportedly told a London-based paper this week, than watching her son take his own life for the Palestinian struggle for independence -- if only she had a son.
Mrs. Arafat, it should be noted, is safely in Paris, where she and her 6-year-old daughter are seeking respite from "martyrdom" while other people's sons and daughters do the "honor" of splattering themselves and innocent bystanders all over the sidewalks. Asked whether suicide bombings served the Palestinian cause, Mrs. Arafat responded: "Let me ask: 'What is one's position (supposed to be toward) an enemy who kills father, brother, sister, mother and grandfather in cold blood?' ... Should we remain with arms folded?"