high-profile CBS television show "60 Minutes" focused on three
Palestinian mass murderers in a Bob Simon segment called
Terror Behind Bars [transcript
here]. The highlight was the delicately-phrased
statement of Abdullah Barghouti quoted below.
An open letter from Frimet and Arnold Roth in
21st April 2006
This coming weekend, the high-profile television
program "60 Minutes" is going to give public exposure to a convicted
murderer and terrorist called Barghouti. Speaking from an Israeli
prison, the interview will show him taking credit for a massacre at
a restaurant in the center of Jerusalem in August 2001 and another
at the Hebrew University's cafeteria a year later. In front of a
huge audience throughout North America, he will say of the number of
people killed in the attacks he masterminded: "I feel bad because
the number is only 66."
Our daughter Malki, fifteen years old, was one of Barghouti's 66.
We, together with our neighbors living here in Jerusalem and
throughout Israel, belong to the much larger number of living people
about whom Barghouti feels so bad.
We have nothing to say to Barghouti, and he has nothing to say that
deserves to be heard. His opinions are worthless to us and to anyone
with a sense of morality. His life is a disgrace to the society
which nurtured him.
But while we have no interest in him, we are very interested in the
leadership of the society which has turned Barghouti into a hero -
in their opinions and even more in their actions.
The political leadership of the Palestinians was decided by a
process that seemed democratic when their elections took place two
months ago. Whether or not a democracy can truly function when gangs
of heavily armed Arab thugs rule the streets of their towns and
villages is a fair question. But the legitimacy of the Palestinian
government is not for us Israelis to determine. The Palestinians and
most of the media called it a democratic process, and no one
seriously suggests today that the Hamas leadership lacks political
legitimacy. Their stated viewpoints therefore have to be heard and
For those like us with a special sensitivity to terror, the
Palestinian leadership today is the world's outstanding embodiment
of unadulterated terrorism: a government which actively supports
terror, promotes terror, honors terror and justifies terror. We hear
them speak, and we hear the voice of terror. The current minister of
the interior in the Hamas government says he will not arrest those
who carry out terror attacks against us. His actions make clear that
he should be believed.
As ugly and repugnant as the words of Barghouti will likely be to
the viewers of "60 Minutes", we urge them and CBS not to focus on
the man. He is irrelevant, except that he creates a context.
Barghouti's evil deeds are the concrete expression of the desires of
a government which wants to be accepted as an equal by the community
of nations. The anger and revulsion which his interview creates
should be redirected at them - at the terrorists in business suits
who plot and scheme every day to increase Barghouti's 66 to the
largest number they can think of.
Frimet and Arnold Roth established the Malki Foundation (www.kerenmalki.org)
in honor of the life of their daughter,
Malka Chana Roth, who was murdered in the Sbarro restaurant
massacre in Jerusalem on 9th August 2001. The foundation
provides support - without
discrimination as to religion or anything else - to families in
Israel wanting to provide home-care for their disabled child. The
foundation currently provides this support to more than a thousand
families, and is growing quickly, funded entirely by donations.