Suicide Mission: March 8, 2016
At five o’clock in the evening, Fouad Tamimi turned his motorcycle east onto Sultan Suleiman Street on the north side of Jerusalem’s Old City, ready to die.
The young Palestinian sped along the ancient stone wall toward the Damascus Gate, a looming battlement leading into the bazaar between the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City. A squad of Border Police were posted at the entrance — probably more than usual, because earlier that day officers had gunned down a 50 year-old Arab woman who had allegedly tried to stab one of them with a serrated steak knife. The story was all over the news that morning. Her blood had barely dried when the Palestinian killer slowed his bike, leveled his Carl Gustav 9mm submachine gun, and opened fire on the Israelis.
One went down, blood spraying. The “Carlo” isn’t the most accurate weapon, but it works.
Tamimi revved his bike and cut left at the next roundabout, directly in front of an Israeli police station, and made his way north up the bustling Salah A-Din Street. Arabs were out shopping or just hanging around storefronts, talking. Security forces closed in on the gunman. Tamimi turned and fired again, hitting another Israeli. Shoppers scattered and scurried indoors. You could hear the shots from the National Hotel, just around the corner, where I was sitting in the dining room.
Reading back through the news stories today, I imagine the intensity of the young man’s experience: heart racing, wind roaring in his face, prayers to Allah on his lips, bursts of adrenaline dumping sugar into his bloodstream, pupils dilating, every sense sharpened, everything moving in slow motion. Years of heroic dreams finally coming to life. The ultimate sacrifice for Palestine, for family, for glory.
An Israeli officer took aim at Fouad Tamimi, and with a gentle squeeze of the finger created another martyr for the resistance. One soul goes under the surface and a thousand emotional ripples go out. When I arrived moments later, a crowd of Arabs had converged on their brother’s body. They held out cellphones for a few clear shots until an Israeli police unit arrived and pointed tricked out assault rifles at us.
God only knows why some people dive into the jaws of death like it’s good for them.