Beautiful eyes of Israeli baby stops suicide bomber
By Zaihan Mohamed Yusof
July 26, 2009 Print Ready Email Article
HER sweaty finger rested close to the trigger.
One press of the button, and Ms Arin Awad Hussein Shuibat would blow herself – and others around her – to bits.
The 20-year-old Palestinian student was carrying a 35kg explosive device in her bag at a mall in Rishon Lezion, 10km south of Tel Aviv, Israel.
Her mind was focused on her mission as a ‘shaheeda’ or female martyr.
Yet, as she stood across the road waiting for the signal to detonate the bomb that day in May 2002, MsArin was suddenly pulled back from the brink.
Strolling past her was an Israeli mother with a child in a pram.
In that split second, her mental image of her target changed, from an oppressive enemy to an innocent pair of eyes.
She never set off the bomb, and ended up spending the next seven years in an Israeli jail.
Ms Arin, who was released in February, spoke to The New Paper through Prof Ziad Darwish of Al Quds University. She said: ‘I was ready to push the button.
‘I was in a kind of euphoria, since I believed that I will be doing something good for my people.
‘All of a sudden, I saw these beautiful eyes from a baby in a pram being pushed by his mother.
‘For half an hour, I kept telling myself that I didn’t have the right to take the souls of these innocent people… then the Israelis will tell the whole world that I was a criminal and a terrorist.’
While Ms Arin battled with questions in her head, a fellow bomber, a 17-year-old boy, went ahead.
Standing near a group of chess players, he detonated his bomb, killing himself and two Israelis, and injuring 50 others.
That was when Ms Arin was supposed to trigger hers, as she saw Israelis fleeing in her direction.
When she wrote her farewell letter to her family earlier, she had been confident that she would be able to do it.
Yet, after the teenager blew himself up, Ms Arin, who belonged to an Al-Fatah faction, left her designated ambush area.
She returned to her handlers waiting by a parked car. They were furious that she had aborted her mission. They tried to convince her to go for another mission at a mall in Jerusalem.
But she refused.
A few days later, she was arrested by Israeli security forces at her home in Beit Shahour, near Bethlehem.
In June 2002, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Ms Arin was interviewed by then Minister of Defence Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who wanted to understand her motives.
She reportedly said she was angry her boyfriend, also a Palestinian militant, had been killed by Israeli forces in March 2002.
When she volunteered to be a suicide bomber, she thought she would get at least a few months of training.
But she was on the job just four days later.
Ms Arin had told the newspaper: ‘They didn’t give me enough time to think about what was happening. They pushed and encouraged me. I did everything they told me.’