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Deja vu and the Dimona Bombing

This past year has been a relatively quiet one for most of Israel. (Though not for the citizens of Sderot who continue to be bombarded regularly by rocket fire from Gaza.) The security barrier has been working, saving lives. If only a security barrier were unnecessary. If only suicide terrorists were stopped by PA security and given no quarter or support by the Palestinian populace from which they spring.
But barriers are only as good as the people who guard them. Sources have suggested that Hamas was behind the barrier between Gaza and Egypt failing two weeks ago. The break in that barrier was all it took to provide 22-year-old Luay Laghwani and his accomplice access to Egypt’s Sinai and then Israel’s Negev into the desert town of Dimona. Luay killed one woman and wounded 11 others, some of whom are in critical condition. The death toll could have been higher, if not for fast thinking Israeli rescue workers who shot a second suicide terrorist as he tried to detonate his explosive belt.


It is troubling that various Palestinian factions lay claim to the attack: Hamas, the “Army of Palestine” wing of the Al-Aqsa Bridgade (part of Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Abbas), and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Even worse, Palestinian Authority news outlets lauded Luay and his partner as shahids, heroes who die a “holy death” for Allah and thereby serve as role models for others, particularly youth.
That doesn’t sound like the kind of response a government truly interested in peace would give. That’s why this attack seems more than just an obstructionist message from radicals seeking to undermine the path towards peace.
PA President Abbas’ condemnation of the attacks in the English press is commendable. I don’t read Arabic, so I do not know if he said the same to the Arab press. And where are the Arabic editorials decrying the attack as a threat to the newest chance for achieving an independent, thriving Palestinian state? I haven’t been able to find references to either.
All this makes me wonder if Dimona is déjà vu all over again.
Journalist Yossi Klein HaLevi once commented to me that part of the reason Oslo failed was because Israeli negotiators wanted peace so badly they could not believe that what Palestinian leaders were telling their followers in Arabic is what they really meant: that negotiations were only a tactic in their long term goal to conquer all Palestine (and eliminate Israel). They therefore never confronted Arafat and others for not preparing the Palestinian people for the kind of concessions necessary in any peace process between contending parties.
Are Israeli negotiators again stuck trying to negotiate with Palestinian leaders who say one thing to the West and another to their followers?
The stakes, and the death tolls, just seem to get higher each time a peace process fails so I hope not. But if so, then hopefully, in remembering the mistakes of Oslo, they will not repeat them.
The Bible teaches, “Seek peace and pursue it” (Psalms 34:14), reminding us that peace takes real work to achieve. Both Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas have little political capital to loose and much to gain if they have the courage to make the difficult concessions necessary for a final status peace that can provide both peoples with security and success. The majority of Israelis are ready for those concessions. Hopefully the majority of Palestinians can also agree to give peace a chance.

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posted February 12, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Its interesting that there have been far more comments about the writer’s strike than the Dimona bombing.

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posted March 9, 2008 at 11:16 am

All these killers are not martyrs, they are only cowards. When one takes it upon himself to fire upon unarmed, non-military targets, this is only cowardice. If it was heroic and political, then the military, or even the police would be the target. Targeting children, women with b abies, restaurants, stores for attack is a sign of cowardice.
When Particion was declared in 1948 the Palestinians were invied to be good citizens of Israel, instead of standing up for themselves and accepting the responsibilities of citizenship they let Syria and others convince them that Israel would be eliminated. But these countries that told them to leave Israel did not want as their citizens so they set up refugee camps to keep them away from their own people.
When will the anti-Israel faction realize that their celebration of cowardice is a reflection on them. They think that they are rooting for the underdog, but they are rooting for the attackers of soft targets and decrying the response toward military and quasi-military targets hidden nesxt to schools and hospitals. Cowards, cowards all!

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