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News ::
How about a vigil for the real innocents?
02 Dec 2001
Modified: 08:45:43 PM
where is the lefty outrage over these deaths?
HAIFA, Israel As Israelis were still reeling from a deadly duo of suicide bombings that exploded on a crowded Jerusalem pedestrian mall Saturday night, another bomber detonated nail-studded explosives on a bus Sunday, raising the death count.


The wave of violent attacks, including a shooting in Gaza, killed 26 people besides the bombers and injured nearly 200 within 12 hours.

Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, claimed responsibility for all of the attacks, which occured as a U.S. envoy was in the region trying to forge an Israeli-Palestinian truce.

The bus bombing took place in the northern port city of Haifa Sunday around noon, killing the bomber and 15 people just hours after Islamic militants set off deadly explosions in downtown Jerusalem, police said.

Deciding to cut his U.S. visit short, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rescheduled a meeting with President Bush for Sunday so he can leave return to Israel later in the day.

President Bush and European leaders demanded Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat arrest Islamic militants. Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke with Arafat by phone, saying he "made absolutely clear that these despicable and cowardly actions must be brought to an end" by "sustained" action.

Arafat condemned the bombings but Israeli officials blamed him for failing to crack down on militants, and there was pressure on the government to react more harshly than in the past. One cabinet minister said Arafat should be expelled from the region.
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the balance of power
02 Dec 2001
I don't think you will find anyone on the left who is working for Palestinian self-determination cheerleading Hamas or Islamic Jihad--in fact, I think you will find that they condemn such suicide bombings.

Why don't we hold vigils for those lost in attacks by Palestinian terrorists? That is a complex question.

I think you have to look at the balance of power in the region. I was told a story of a progressive rabbi who had just returned from a tour of Palestine and was speaking publically, condemning the horrors of the Israeli occupation. Someone in the audience asked him about balance--about condemning the Palestinian atrocities. His reply was that there was no way to be balanced in an unbalanced situation.

What Israelis view as their war of independence in 1948 was to Palestinians a war of conquest, in which 78% of their homeland was seized by these European colonists. Israel conquered the remaining 22% in 1967. All the majority of Palestinians are asking for is to be permitted to have a free Palestine in this measly 22% of their original homeland. Most Israelis don't seem to get this and see the 1967 invasion as the starting point of negotiations--not 1948 as the Palestinians do. Israel needs to recognize that the Palestinian agreement to recognize Israel's existence in 78% of their original homeland is very generous--and pull out of the remaining 22% with no further debate.

It is true that Jews have been persecuted often through the centuries. Now they have become the persecutors, betraying the best in their own heritage. This has to be recognized. The suicide attacks are born out of the despair and rage of the Israeli occupation--they are committed by people who feel they have nothing left to loose--because often they really have nothing left to loose. The harder Israel cracks down, the more Palestinians it drives into the arms of fanatics like Hamas.

Perhaps vigils should include the memories of those who died from suicide attacks--for they too are ultimately the victims of the Israeli occupation. If we do this, we can embrace all those who have died in this tragic conflict, while still clearly showing where the balance of power lies--and where the path to justice and peace lie.