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Ashdod: Yet another suicide bombing poisons hopes for peace


Really and truly, I was going to write today about new hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian authority announced that the different factions had reached agreement about governing Gaza after the proposed Israeli pullout. Palestinian and Israeli representatives met to plan the agenda of the first meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei. For the the first time in many months, things were looking up.

That was before the suicide bombings in Ashdod that took 9 lives and injured 19. The ink was not dry on the agreements of the Palestinian factions before the combined efforts of Yasser Arafat's Fatah Al-Aqsa martyrs brigades and the Izzedin El-Qassam terrorists of the Hamas blow the agreements to smithereens.

There is always an excuse for such bombings. The bus bombings of 1996 were supposedly vengeance for the massacre committed by Baruch Goldstein in Hebron, and for the killing of terror master-mind Yihyeh Ayash by the Israeli security forces. Today's bombings were supposedly reprisals for recent IDF actions in Gaza, which killed civilians as well as terrorists.

However, as an internal Palestinian study showed, the timing of such actions are no accident. The bombings become worst whenever there is the slightest chance for peace. They are not protesting "the occupation." The extremists are protesting the possibility of a peace agreement. Such an agreement would leave them unemployed, since their sole vocational aptitude is murdering people.

The history of the past 8 years repeats itself endlessly, dreadfully, like some existential vision of Hell. The suicide bombings and terror that were inaugurated with the first announcements of the Oslo accords, have accompanied the 'peace process' with sickening regularity. The most memorable cases that come to mind: bus bombings in 1996 forced postponement of the interim agreement and brought about the defeat of Shimon Peres. The tunnel riots forced postponement of the Hebron agreement. Riots in May of 2000 forced cancellation of the transfer of Abu Dis; the terror that began in September 2000 brought an end to any realistic chance for a negotiated peace in the framework of the Oslo accords; suicide attacks during the tenure of PM Abu Mazen were timed to prevent Israeli concessions related to execution of the roadmap.

The meeting between Ahmed Qurei and Ariel Sharon has now been postponed - perhaps forever. The two terrorists apparently came from Gaza according to reports, despite the vaunted Gaza security fence. Ariel Sharon had planned a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza based on the idea that the security barrier would prevent attacks like these. Whether or not the idea is still technically sound, it has probably become untenable in view of today's attack.

It is time to understand that the suicide bombings are doing more damage to the Palestinian cause than the incursions of the IDF. In this war, the winner will be the side that kills the least civilians. Suicide attacks will not convince Israelis to leave the territories- quite the opposite. Suicide bombings will certainly not win friends for the Palestinian cause in Europe and the USA. While the bombers are killing Israelis, they are aiming to destroy the heart of Palestinian society, and the last hopes of peace. From Madrid to New York, from Karbala to Ashdod, from Bali to Moscow, the suicide bombers are killing us all.

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/00000224.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.

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Replies: 7 comments

Regarding "new hope for peace", I'll start being hopeful when I hear Jews rejecting the idea of a Jewish state while the Arabs reject the idea of an Islamic one, and both sides start embracing non-discriminatory, non-exclusionary ideals.

The exclusionary ideals of both sides are the root causes of this conflict. Address the root causes and the bombings will disappear on their own. Exactly as they did in South Africa and post-segregation America.

Posted by Brad Cox @ 03/14/2004 08:10 PM CST

Funny that you never mentioned the death of the at leats 30 Palestinians, 8 of whom were children, during the last incursion into Gaza. Not a single day goes by that at least 2-4 Palestinian are murdered by the IDF. The title of your article should have been IDF incursions and the killing of innocent cvilians ON BOTH sides poisons peace. The killing of Palestinians coupled with the theft and destruction of their lands are the root cause of the problems of the conflict.

Posted by Mike Odetalla @ 03/14/2004 08:41 PM CST

Funny that the poster who said the writer did not mention civilian deaths in Gaza did NOT read paragraph 3, which DOES mention them.

Both sides reject exclusionary ideas..dream on. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon. The best to hope for is 2 states for 2 people. This is not science fiction, it is real life.

Bombings and incursions help the extremists on both sides, and will continue as long as moderates let them take control.

Posted by Karen @ 03/15/2004 02:11 AM CST

The suicide bombings that occurred at the Ashdod Port really comes as no surprise. The idea of a peace agreement which would put an end to terror is in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians unfortunately is not part of the lexicon of Hamas and their notorious allies.

The Palestinian Authority is bankrupt and impotent and, in practice, exists in name only.

Once again, for the umpteenth time, we have an example of the intransigence of Hamas and Co in coming to terms with Israel's existance. Many of us believe that the occupation must end. However, there is no party with whom Israel can negotiate. Total anarchy exists in Palestinian street - well exploited by Hamas and Co.

How much longer must this carnage continue until sanity arrives in the Middle East? If there is no terror then Hamas and their evil ilk would cease to exist. Their murderous allies can only survive in instability and exploit the sufferings of the Palestinian people which they had played a great part in exacerbating.

Posted by Shimon Z. Klein @ 03/15/2004 01:01 PM CST

Most plans for attacks against Israel are foiled. When terrorist groups manage to carry out one, they usually say it is a revenge for the last IDF action. In reality these attacks were planned before these last actions and can have a lot of reasons.
There are terrorist attacks when there is hope for peace, as you make clear. But there are as well attacks when there is no hope for peace. When Israel strikes back harshly there are attacks, and as well when they restrain.
Maybe these attacks were committed because some militants think they can force Israel to withdraw, maybe to destroy the little hope you see, maybe because they feel desparate and don´t see any hope at all for peace under Sharon, and maybe because some are brainwashed to believe they will come in heaven with 70 virgins.
I would like to know how many Palestinians are willing to recognize Israels existence and want to live with them in peace if they see some hope for that? With these people Israel should talk and keep talking, despite or maybe even because of the ongoing violence. And maybe the first thing they should talk about is the revision of the Palestinian education material and the organising of school exchanges so children meet each other and hear each others stories. Doesn´t the ending of hate and violence start in the hearts and minds of children?

Posted by Ratna Pelle @ 03/15/2004 07:21 PM CST

It isn't as simple as a murdering gang named Hamas (or al-Aqsa Martyrs, or Islamic Jihad, or Hizbollah, etc.). The weapons of these gangs don't grow out of the ground. There are only 4 nations among the 57 member-nations of the Organization of Islamic Conferences (including 3 out of the 22 member-nations of the Arab League) who even recognize the legitimacy of Israel, a fellow UN member-nation.

If antisemitism could finally be acknowledged as a problem within the overall human rights framework; if the ongoing rejection of the legitimacy of Jewish national self-determination were recognized as a significant part of the problem of antisemitism; and if the conceptual distinction between terrorism and resistance could finally be determined in the world body; then perhaps the work of the UN and its attendant human rights community could be more effective (and Israeli policies more responsive to their ostensible human rights concerns), and the relatively simple solution of two states for two peoples could finally be realized.

Big ifs, for sure.

Posted by Zionista @ 03/17/2004 12:03 AM CST

Oh yeah, Brian, discarding the idea of Islamic statehood in the Middle East... like THAT's going to happen till Hell freezes over!

How can you even compare the reality of a state for a percentage of the world's Jewish population, which stands at something like .1 percent, to the size of pan-Arab Islamic. society?? And why should there NOT be a Jewish state, in a world that's increasingly anti-Semitic, in a land where the Jewish people were birthed over 5000 years ago?

It's so easy for non-Jews to decide the fate of the Jewish people, like Christians did such a great job reorganizing the Middle East during the Crusades.

I think that, when Islam accepts the notion of Arab societies that are open to all, with freedom of religion for all their peoples, then we may be able to accept an Israel open to all, as well. Till then, don't count on Israelis baring their throats for their neighbours to slide their knives across the jugular.

And if you want to convince Israelis to trust the Arab nations of the Middle East, show them some Arab leaders who aren't lying, murderous despots, stop teaching Palestinian children to hate, start with REAL dialogue that isn't interrupted by regular suicide bombings.

And start being even-handed and holding the Palestinians accountable for their actions, as well. They aren't only victims, you know, but participants in murder, in guile, in propaganda. Sainthood is not quite something I would recommend for Yasser Arafat, for Hamas and for the homicide bombers who murder innocent men, women and children.


Posted by Bram @ 03/20/2004 11:02 PM CST

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