2 beautiful teenage girls killed in one fell swoop. Rachel Levy and Ayat al-Akhras. A victim and a perpetrator. An Israeli girl innocently shopping at a supermarket, and the Palestinian suicide bomber who in an instant, in the name of her almighty Allah, blew them both to bits.
I just watched the HBO Documentary "To Die In Jerusalem" and, although I'm not sure this was the filmmakers' intention, it confirmed my belief that the Palestinian/Israeli situation is hopelessly and tragically unsolvable. Not that I ever thought it was anything but.
Suffering greatly from her daughter's death, the film documents (over a period of 4 years or more) Avigail Levy's oft frustrating quest for answers from Ayat's mother Um Samir al Akhras. Both families are interviewed throughout the film, but it isn't until the end that the mothers finally meet (though not face to face) and Avigail is able to ask Um Samir "why?" Ultimately, all Avigail wants is for Um Samir to declare (on film) that violence and suicide bombings are not the way to achieve peace, but Um Samir is unable to do that, and the meeting is ended.
It's a riveting, albeit frustrating film, in as much as it demonstrates the futility of trying to reach out to someone who refuses to do their part and refuses to reach back. At least that's how I viewed it. I felt no empathy, whatsoever, for or from the al-Akhras. I saw no contrition, no guilt, no condemnation for what Ayat had done, some grief for having lost a daughter, but that's it, other than a truck-load of self-pity.
Um-Samir, like most Palestinians, is entrenched in the whole victim-hood, suicide-culture, hatred-of-Israel mentality. Through her comments (and those of her husband) you come to realize that she believes that because of the plight of the Palestinian people, violent actions are warranted. She refuses to acknowledge the fundamental truth that violence begets violence, and that until the Palestinians lay down their bombs and replace enmity with amity, until they stop insisting that "terrorism" is actually "resistance", until they stop equating "suicide bombings" with "God's Will", until they stop glorifying "martyrdom" and celebrate life over death, until they stop engaging in "Jihad for the sake of Allah", until they purge from their belief system that they are "pre-ordained to be martyrs", until they stop teaching their children to hate, there will never be peace in that region.
At one point Ayat's father says "Islam is peace". In another future lifetime, perhaps, but not this one!