Anne Applebaum ["The Irrationality of Terror," op-ed, Sept. 8] cited the "desire for revenge" as among the reasons that young Palestinian Arabs become suicide bombers. She is evidently referring to the myth that many of these bombers had been driven to ter- rorism after they or someone in their family had been harmed by Israelis.

The Jerusalem Post reported on Aug. 6, "Surprisingly few suicide bombers were injured or had a close family member killed by the army, says Ariel Merari, a professor of psychology and head of Tel Aviv University's Program on Political Violence."

As for Ms. Applebaum's reference to "despair" as a motive for suicide bombers, Scott Atran of the Paris-based National Center for Scientific Research, citing the findings of a team of researchers headed by Princeton University economist Alan Krueger in 2002, reported: "Suicide attackers don't opt for paradise out of despair. If they did, say Muslim clerics who countenance martyrdom for Allah but not personal suicide, their actions would be criminal and blasphemous."

What, then, motivates Palestinian Arab suicide bombers?

Hatred. Religious and nationalist-driven hatred, nurtured by the anti-Israel and anti-Jew venom that fills the Palestinian Authority's schools, summer camps, newspapers, television and radio broadcasts, speeches by officials, and religious sermons.


National President

Zionist Organization of America

New York