Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Cycle of violence" returns: the truce is over

Writing in Sunday’s Yedioth Ahronoth, Sima Kadmon bemoans the chain of events that led to the terrorist attack at Mercaz Harav.

“And perhaps therein lies the problem: the rigid thinking that an assassination in Gaza leads to rocket fire on Sderot, which leads to a ground operation and the death of 120 Hamas members in Gaza, which leads to the detonation of a bomb at Kissufim, which ensures the continued bombardment of Gaza, which leads to the decision by a man with the anti-profile of a suicide-terrorist to set off on a campaign of murder in the center of Jerusalem… And perhaps what we need here is a new way of thinking. To look for the crack we can use to burst forward. After all, it has been clear for a long time that it was a mistake to assume that time was working in our favor, just as it has been clear that the argument ‘when force doesn’t work use even greater force’ was misguided. (Haaretz, 3/9/08; Yedioth Ahronoth, 3/10/08; Council for Peace and Security, 3/4/08 cited in Occupation Magazine Mar 10 08).

In reporting on the bombing of the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in East Jerusalem, BBC notes "it is becoming more clear that the cycle of violence is driven by a dehumanizing hatred of the "enemy" and that there is no clear leadership from any world power equally condeming the horrible violence on both sides."

In contrast to the CBC report from there on the day, the BBC article mentions that Gaza residents "are still reeling after Israeli incursions over last weekend killed at least 120 Palestinians with about half of them civilians and about one fifth of that number children."

While the CBC reporter noted anger among Israeli mourners, he evidently missed a dimension of that anger reported by the New York Times: "...angry students and local residents lined up behind police tapes, chanting, 'Death to Arabs,' 'Olmert — you are to blame' and 'Who gave them weapons?'"

BBC compared the sound of celebratory gunfire in Gaza and the change of mood to one of fear and dread anticipating retaliation with similar Israeli celebrations of the assassination in Damascus of Imad Mughniyah last month which also soon turned to the expection of retaliation.

"The attack happened in Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, a Jewish seminary most often associated with the Israeli settler movement and the Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook who has done much to foster the "Greater Israel" movement or "Kookian" philosophy during the 1970's and 1980's where all the land of Palestine is seen as belonging to Israel and none for the indigenous Arab Palestinians in direct contrast to United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. In more recent years, the younger generation has embraced more of a "new age" view of Hasidic belief and were focusing more on spirituality than settlements although there is a strong emotional tie to the old way of armed "reclaiming" of land in the name of religion.

"Hamas spokesman Fawzi Bakhoum said on satellite TV - after reciting a familiar litany of what many Palestinians and observers around the world see as decades of continued incitement justifying resistance, including extra-judicial assassinations, near daily incursions, the ongoing blockade and the deaths of Palestinian civilians including women and children - that the Israelis should have 'anticipated that Palestinians will resist the occupation.'"
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Anonymous said...

That was a Hezbollah attack in revenge for Israel killing Mughniyeh in Syria,
look here:

Jim Terral said...

Thanks Alex.

Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs give this account of organizational responsibility:

Hamas issued a statement saying the group 'blesses the (Jerusalem) operation. It will not be the last.'

"Hamas radio broadcast Friday a statement, in which the organization claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was a 'jolting response to the violence in Gaza in which more than 120 Palestinians were killed,' and calling on all Hamas supporters to 'celebrate this victory against the brutal enemy.'

"Reuters reported that 'the Hamas movement announces its full responsibility for the Jerusalem operation.'"

Lebanon's Naharnet says, "Hizbullah's Al Manar television said the deadly attack on a Jewish religious college in Jerusalem Thursday was carried out by the previously unknown 'Phalange of Free Men of Galilee - Groups of the Martyr Imad Mughniyeh and Martyrs of Gaza.'

"The claim, which was made on the TV's news bar at the bottom of the screen, could not be immediately verified."