Bomb Breaks 4 Month Lull in Israel

In more unfortunate news, there was an explosion set off by Palestinian militants in Tel Aviv today, killing one. It was the first explosion like it in Israel since March 14th.

Let's listen to the international response:
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in Bangkok, Thailand, for the World AIDS Conference, condemned the attack and sent his "sincere sympathy to Israel and the families of the victims."

"No cause whatsoever can justify terrorism," he said. "In this connection, the Secretary-General urges the Palestinian Authority to do everything possible to end terror."

Does referring to yourself in the third person constitute a weaker form of a statement? I don't know what that's about. Next response:
"We are against all bombings like this," said Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

I think he should just say "no comment" from now on.

The real news, however, is to be made by Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, the group claiming responsibility for the bombing, whose spokesman asserted after the bombing, "This says that we can reach every place, even when there is a fence." This strikes me as very unlikely. I suppose the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades could have waited until everyone thought they were completely safe, and then suddenly detonated a huge surprise attack to shatter everyone's sense of confidence. But the authorities are reporting that this blast was caused by a five pound bomb, hidden in the bushes alongside a bus-stop - hardly the kind of blast that says, "see, you're not safe anywhere." I'm not an expert in terrorist bombs, believe it or not, but that does seem like a relatively small bomb.

Actually it seems to me that Palestinian terrorist groups would be trying as hard as possible to sustain their previous level of attacks in spite of the wall, since what better endorsement is there for a temporary security wall than the fact that it's working? Certainly I have been converted to a supporter of the wall. At first I thought it was merely going to be inflammatory but now it's clear that it's saving lives on both sides. It also continues to put pressure on the Palestinian leadership to reform itself into a viable negotiating partner or lose out in the negotiating process altogether. Certainly the people who condemn Israel whenever it defends itself with force should be happy that the wall is making it less necessary. If they're not, what's their good alternative, and do they expect Israel to just do nothing?

It should show the double standard which Israel is weighed against that it is internationally criticized whenever it raids militant groups responsible for attacks on its citizens, but then also criticized when it enacts a plan for unilateral disengagement so that it doesn't have to. Ultimately the wall is supposed to be a temporary measure, and I hope it is. But for now, it gives Israel a non-violent way to unilaterally disengage itself from the Palestinians while protecting its own citizens from terror attacks.

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