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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan

                      July 26, 1995, V3, #135
All the News the Big Guys Missed

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Aftermath: Terror in Tel Aviv

By Al Pessin (Jerusalem)

Israel and the Palestinians had hoped to sign an agreement Tuesday on the next phase of Palestinian autonomy. Instead, talks were in recess while Israel buried the victims of the latest attack by palestinian extremists.

There were tearful scenes in several Israeli cemeteries Tuesday as the five victims of Monday's explosion were buried. All of them were elderly and all were riding bus number 20 in a suburb of Tel Aviv when a suicide attacker set off a powerful bomb on the bus.

The names of those killed are: Moshe Shkedi, 75, of Ramat Gan; Zehava Oren, 60, of Tel Aviv; Tzvia Cohen, 62, of Ramat Ha'Hayal; Rachel Tamari, 65, of Tel Aviv; and Nehama Lubovich of Tel Aviv.

Such attacks, and scenes of the funerals which follow, tend to reduce Israeli public support for the peace process. But Israeli and Palestinian officials have pledged to go on. They say peace talks will resume after the funerals, but they have not said exactly where or when.

They still hope to finish a complex accord on the expansion of Palestinian autonomy within the next week or two.

Meanwhile, one Israeli woman had something to celebrate on Tuesday. Thirty-five year-old Anat Shemtov is a survivor of Monday's bombing, hospitalized with a cut over her right eye. She is also a survivor of last October's fatal bus bombing in central Tel Aviv, which blasted her through a glass storefront. Shemtov says she does not know if she is lucky or unlucky, but she says her two brushes with death have taught her to live every moment of life, and to live them well.

Nineteen of the 32 injured in the attack remain hospitalized, with one listed in critical condition and another listed in very severe condition.

Israeli Editorial

Ma'ariv condemns the attack as the work of "an insane animal, even if he committed suicide in the name of some revolutionary ideal." While declaring that "the Israeli Government may make peace with the Palestinians, even under heavy and painful conditions," the editors say that "Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres have no mandate to make peace with the Palestinians as long as they deal in the mass killing of Jews, and add that "the opposition is justly demanding that the peace talks be suspended." The paper agrees with government ministers who point out that halting the peace talks will not lead to a cessation of terrorist attacks, but asks, "if the peace does not bring us peace, why continue the negotiations?"

There Is No Ceasefire
Commentary by Oded Granot, Ma'ariv

It is already clear now, that the relative relaxation in terrorist activities which has prevailed in recent months, was not a continuing phenomenon.

This illusion -- according to which terrorism was in continuous retreat -- was based on the combination of three components:

One, intensive activity by the security forces, which succeeded -- with the aid of good intelligence -- in foiling many attacks.

Two, the Palestinian Authority's increasing awareness that it must take more aggressive measures against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. And indeed, arrests were carried out in Gaza, and suspects did stand trial.

Three, we were very lucky.

But yesterday, this combination was not enough to prevent the murderous attack on the Dan bus at Elite Junction, and also proved that there was nothing substantial in the hints that were dropped by the Palestinian Authority, to the effect that an understanding had been reached with Hamas and Islamic Jihad to halt attacks inside Israel, at least until the implementation of the interim settlement.

It is true that there were contacts between the Authority and the Islamic opposition, but no agreement was reached. Also, the determination of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to continue acting against Israel has not dissipated, and it makes no difference exactly who was responsible for the attack: the "engineer" Yehia Ayash (by the way, there is no proof that he has succeeded in leaving the territories) or one of his students. Assembling a pipe bomb, such as the one which exploded yesterday, does not require the expertise of an engineer.

The extremist Islamic opposition has not laid down its weapons, and has not declared a ceasefire. Yesterday was the proof that it still has the power to mobilize volunteers for suicide actions. The timing of the attack at Elite Junction was very significant.

There is almost no doubt that those who planned the bombing of the bus made a great effort to have it occur this week, which included the date on which the interim settlement was to be signed. They believed that only a massive attack, with many casualties, was capable of derailing the signing ceremony; it would greatly embarrass the Palestinian Authority and, even more, would inflame the opposition among Israelis and settlers to the IDF's withdrawal from city centers on the West Bank.

This assessment was proven wrong yesterday when the Prime Minister announced that the attack would not stop the negotiations over the interim settlement. But Arafat, who condemned terrorism yesterday, must do more in order to convince Israel that he is able to foil terrorists from setting out from the areas that he will receive.

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