Publisher: Fromm International, New York
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 2/28/2007
Summary: Highly recommended. Yehiya Ayyash, known as “The Engineer”, designed bombs used by suicide bombers between 1994 and 1997. This book recounts how the Israelis tracked him down. It also recount the actions of extremists on both sides of the Israelie-Palestinian conflict.
Yehiya Ayyash, “the Engineer”, is portrayed as an intelligent, levelheaded Palestinian who just happened to have skills put to the service of Hamas. Hamas at the time was just one of several Palestinian nationalist organizations dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Katz does an excellent job of explaining who the players are in this snippet of Middle East history. The result is less a focus on Ayyash and more on the politics of terror. It is a good trade off.
Hamas, the acronym for Harakt al-Muqaqama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement), means “zeal”. As the author points out, Hamas started out as a fundementalist Islamic movement. Hamas operatives learned the craft of terror from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in March 1928 by Hasan al-Banna. Hasan al-Banna was a fundementalist of the first order, desirous of establishing a state based on shari’a, or Islamic law. Contemporary terrorism got its start in 1935-1936 when the Brotherhood participated in attacks against Jewish enclaves throughout the Mandate Paslestine territory. Almost seventy years later the tactics employed during those early days are still being used. One would be hard pressed to find an instance in which political terror has achieved its goal. Terror does however make the perpetrators feel attached to a cause and makes victims feel righteous in their resistance.