Newsletter : 5fax0726.txt
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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
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
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
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
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
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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