January 7, 2003
A couple of things have pushed me to put finger to button again. It certainly follows yesterday’s 2 bombings not too far from here in Tel Aviv, but I was not too keen to write anything that could be interpreted as emotive.
First, British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, was one of several UK politicians who complained that the Israelis have cancelled next week’s visit to the UK of a few Palestinians to attend a conference set up by the British. Well, had Victoria Station environs suffered a similar tragedy, I really do think the British would start awakening. And when the Al Aqsa Brigade, openly and officially financed and supported by Arafat, claims responsibility, is that not more reason to tell them that there are certain conditions before discussing ANYTHING, let alone peace.
And in the very immediate aftermath of the horror, I flipped from BBC through CNN to SKY and back – and also the 3 Israeli channels that were showing the events. Mike Hanna of CNN seemed to want to concentrate on the fact that these were the first suicide attacks in 6 weeks. There had been a lull, during which discussions were going on in Cairo with the Palestinian factions, and there were the planned talks in London. He emphasised the quite large number of Palestinians who had been killed during Israeli incursions into the Territories. BBC were almost as single-minded; as usual, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky was, in my biased opinion, the fairest. They reminded us that:
There HAD been several ugly attacks against Israelis during that period; about 20 had died. It was just that none of them were suicide attackers. (That’s why I prefer the description ‘homicide killers’ or just ‘killers’. ‘Suicide killer’ seems to be taking on a martyrical – almost heroic – clang. I shiver).
The heavy-handed incursions by the IDF were primarily preventive. Many known terrorists had been killed – with, of course – it’s war – innocents caught in the action.
No news is good news as far as these attacks are concerned, but the ‘no news’ does not come by itself.
The deadly poison RICIN has been discovered in a N. London apartment. Now I’m treading on politically sensitive ground…..the suspects were from N. Africa – apparently Algeria. Currently (and I stress I don’t want to go too far back in history, where we discover antitheses galore), the great majority of international terrorism is perpetrated by Muslim extremists. Many local conflicts involve Muslims – perhaps it would be fairer to say that ‘conflicts’ in countries where there are substantial Muslim populations seem always to involve the Muslims.
There are so many complaints by moderate Muslims of the World at the amount of anti-Muslim feeling around. Well, I think they should push to get rid of the reaction before they criticise the reaction.
With the Israeli elections coming up, there is constant discussion as to how to vote. Some politicians do suggest possible solutions…but all solutions depend on a peace partner that in the mid- to long-term really is willing to accept an Israel as their neighbour.
And in Israel’s short life, experience tells us that such a thought does never was on the cards. It certainly wasn’t there in ’48, ’56, ’67 and ’73, when the neighbours were willing to fight wars on the subject. And now, after the 2 intifadas, methods of conflict that Israel was not able to solve by means of military victory, can one imagine the Palestinians’ and neighbour’s opinions to have softened?
Very best, and wishing everyone a peaceful and smiling New Year,