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Suicide Bombing: Between the "Fence" and the Fanatics


Tomorrow, the International Court of Justice at the Hague will begin hearings about the Israeli security "fence." Today, there was a reminder of what it is all about. The reminder came from Yasser Arafat's Fateh Al-Aqsa brigades, in the form of a suicide bombing on the Number 14a bus in Jerusalem. Seven people were killed (thus far) and perhaps 44 were wounded.

I take these bombings personally. They are aimed at me, at my family, at my friends. My son is a student in Jerusalem. Platitudes about peace and ending the occupation and "compassion" are not going to be helpful here, nor will mindless calls for revenge do anything other than make this awful situation worse.

The latest handiwork of Mr. Arafat's friends is shown at right. The PNA hurried to condemn the bombing, not because killing civilians might be wrong, but because it hurts the interests of the Palestinian people.

Beginning with the Black September movement in 1972, Arafat and the PLO have often long used the tactic of creating terrorist factions that do their dirty work, allowing him to deny that the PLO is involved in terror. However, documents captured in Operation Defensive Wall and verified by European investigators show that the Al-Aqsa brigades are funded by the PNA, and orders to pay "militants' bear the signature of Yasser Arafat.

The bombing is already being used by Israeli spokesmen to justify the barrier Israel is building. Critics, call it a "wall." Apologists call it a fence. Well, OK, look at the picture that appeared in Haaretz newspaper, what would you call it? Clearly, I do not like this wall or fence or whatever it is called. I would rather that there was no barrier at all, and that there was peace between an independent Palestinan state, and Israel. If there was a barrier, I would rather that it didn't encroach so blatantly on the lives of Palestinians. There is no doubt at all that the fence/barrier/wall as implemented by Ariel Sharon's government is intended to leverage on the legitimate terror issue to perpetuate the occupation. That is part of his strategy. But none of these pacifistic and humanistic choices are on the menu.

The Palestinians can chose too. With all due respect to the inconvenience posed to Palestinians by the fence, they have a way out. The PNA can put its house in order and put the Fateh el-Aqsa brigades out of business. there were no suicide bombings, Israel would have no case at all, and the pressure on Sharon to rip up the fence would be enormous. Even if the PNA only made an honest effort to stop the bombings, it would be hard to justify Sharon's policies.

Amazingly, no Palestinian has suggested that the PNA should do this. If they can't do even stop their own Al-Aqsa brigades, if they cannot even try to do that, then they don't represent anyone except themselves, and have no power, and there really is no sense negotiating with them.

As for us Israelis, we are only given the choice between building the "fence," and getting blown up. If there is a choice beween the fence and the bombs, how do I chose? How would you choose?

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000195.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

by Moderator @ 01:31 PM CST [Link]


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Replies: 6 comments

my god, is this really ami isseroff writing this? the same ami who is so quick to blame Israel for damn near everything? you may not quite be able to get yourself to say it straight out, so let me say it for you...if the choice is a wall 100 feet high that inconveniences everyone living under the Arafat regime, or one more death of a school child on a bus...then the hell with every lousy palestinian supporter of homicide bombers!!

Posted by mike levine @ 02/22/2004 06:12 PM CST

An article well written, but unfortunately does not really offer any real solution to put an end to these awful and cruel suicide bombings.

Sometimes the conclusions that one has to draw are painful and not well received by Palestinian cause sympathisers, which include many in the free world who are onlookers to the Israel-bashing session at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Al Aqsa Brigades and their ilk, connected to and financed by Yasser Arafat and his corrupt cronies, are not bound by any rules or peacemaking efforts which to them is irrelevent and not binding. They are a allies of Yasser Arafat, whose main purpose is to oppose Israel's existance. Even a two state solution is not part of their lexicon. So there we have it, Arafat's allies speaking with a forked tongue. One for a two state solution and one for an end to the occupation including an end to Israel's very existance. We, who wish to see a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and an end to this violent insanity are on the firing line of Yasser Arafat's Al Aqsa Brigades no less.

It is quite possible that Islamic extremism, which opposes a non-Moslem entity(Israel) in their midst, has something to do with the suicide bombings which we in Israel have to endure.

Posted by Shimon Z. Klein @ 02/23/2004 09:06 AM CST

re comments by joachim martillo
i thought "boys from brazil" was fictional now I am not sure

Posted by adi papadov @ 02/23/2004 04:21 PM CST

Dear Ami Isseroff, this may all be true, and I understand very well Israel desperately working on stopping the suicide bombings, but you leave me with one big question: why not build the fence on or at least much nearer to the pre-1967 border? I think that will also serve Israeli security more, because now hundreds of thousands Palestinians come to live west of the fence and are not separeted from Israel but from their land and institutions.
And that is also exactly what angers them so much, and will make the willingness to commit suicide attacks under the Palestinians increase.
It is also what make more and more people in Europe critisizing your country and symphatizing with the Palestinians, and that makes Israel feel alone in the world again.
You are right that the Palestinians do too little to fight terrorism, but the Israelis do too little to ease the lives of the Palestinians, and that is also true for the route of the fence. It has changed a little under national and international pressure, but far too little.

I like very much the experiment of mideast web of changing sides in the conflict, in which a Palestinian takes the Zionist view on Jerusalem, and an Israeli the Palestinian side. Let us not forget that that is the only durable solution and way to achieve peace.
What makes me sad and doubted on the possibility of this dialogue that is needed so much, is that even in the Netherlands, where I live, there is a wall between the sypathizers of Israel and the Palestinians. They both demonstrated today -carefully separeted from each other by the police- in The Hague, fighting their propaganda war, not wanting and, when forced in TV programmes to try, not able to talk to each other, what includes listening and taking the arguments of the Other seriously.
Let us think therefore on the Jerusalem experiment I mentioned above, and not dig us in.

Ratna Pelle.

Posted by Ratna Pelle @ 02/23/2004 10:08 PM CST

To Adi Papadov,
Joachim Jose Martillo AKA Jill AKA Leon Koppel etc. etc. is a known troublemaker and racist. His comments were deleted.

Ami Isseroff

Posted by Moderator @ 02/25/2004 03:28 PM CST

To Ratna Pelle and Mike Levine, others):
The problem is precisely as I have outlined it, and it shows itself in the nature of the comments. "Why doesn't Israel build the wall elsewhere?" asks Ratna. Mike Levine essentially asks "Why don't the Palestinians stop the suicide bombings?" They are both good questions, but individually they cover only half the problem. The Palestinians would of course object no matter where the wall/fence was built. Since they initiated the violence and broke the treaty, Israelis would argue that they are a bit like Germans complaining about allied bombings in 1944 and 1945. Did the Dutch people really worry that Bomber Harris was destroying Dresden then, or perhaps you had other priorities?
A while ago I wrote to Palestinians, people who used to be "peace partners" that suicide bombings were inexcusable, and that they were ruining the cause of the Palestinian people. The answer was not long in coming, for the same person shortly thereafter wrote an article saying that Israelis should not "whine" about suicide bombings as long as the occupation continues. This is an example of a "nonviolent" Palestinian. In such a situation, with the best intentions, we are powerless. As long as there is nobody on the other side speaking out for peace, as long as even the "nonviolent" Palestinians justify suicide bombings, the answer can only be, "As long as there are suicide bombings, Palestinians should not whine about the wall, and the incursions and the closures and the occupation."
But of course, Israel should not have built the wall as it is building it. The problem as usual is internal politics. The fence was a project of the Labor party, which wanted to build it near the Green Line. The settlers objected very loudly that the fence would be a de facto withdrawal from "Greater Israel" and leave many of them "stranded."
Then Sharon adopted and adapted the fence idea for his own uses - annexing chunks of the West Bank de facto and making life miserable for the Palestinians. Sharon has always had the policy of leveraging on the violence to perpetuate the occupation.

The violence brought Sharon to power and the violence is building the fence, and the violence is perpetuating the occupation. But when the violence stops, the occupation won't stop. That is the paradox. If the occupation stops, the violence won't stop either. The occupation, and the violence, set in motion historical processes and created new facts that are not going to erase themselves conveniently - they have an independent existence. Hamas and Islamic Jihad will not go away if Israel ends the occupation. They will say it is a victory on the way to liberating all of Palestine. Sharon will not resign if the Palestinians stop the violence. He will say "we beat them, so now we don't have to withdraw."
It is very hard to explain this awful and complicated symmetry that is in fact very obvious, and very easy to make cheap partisan comments.

Ami Isseroff

Posted by Moderator @ 02/25/2004 03:46 PM CST

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