Only Thursday, she was talking about her upcoming exams, and her future plans.
Friday, the 18-year-old was making very different plans. She made a videotape in which she read a statement that criticized Arab leaders for not being willing to do what was necessary to reclaim her homeland. Then, as directed by the Al Aqsa Brigades (an arm of Arafat's organization), she wrapped a bomb around her body, traveled to the SuperSol supermarket in southeast Jerusalem, and blew herself up.
From the ancient perspective of forty-seven, I discover in myself a surprising bias: I tend to assume that young people can see through old people's bigotry. I am saddened to be reminded that this is not true.
Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have legitimate claim to the lands over which they fight. For a time I found it possible, even valuable, to consider the Palestinian perspective. I wish that I still could.
Instead I'm reminded of the Biblical story of Solomon, who offered to divide a child in half in order to satisfy two women who both claimed it. One woman agreed: the other said no, let the other woman have the whole child. Solomon recognized that the first woman was thinking only of herself, but the second was thinking of the child.
Anyone who would wrap a bomb around a teenaged girl does not deserve to lead a nation. A nation that would endorse such a thing has no right to exist.
Never has the blood of so many Israelis been shed in such a brief period and never have the Palestinians been subjected to such harsh conditions of occupation as they are now. So now, of all times, it has to be stated clearly once again: Interwoven with them as we are, as long as their holiday is ruined, ours will be, too.
LATER YET: The NY Times (link requires registration) profiles a suicide bomber and her victim.