Newsletter : 6fax0304.txt
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Publisher\Editor Don Canaan
March 4, 1996 V4, #40
All the News the Big Guys Missed
19 More People Die in Suicide Bombing
By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)
Another suicide bombing claimed by the militant Palestinian group
Hamas killed 19 people Sunday in Jerusalem, one week -- almost to
the minute -- after a similar bombing just a few blocks away.
Israel's Cabinet held an emergency meeting and announced a major
crackdown on Hamas.
It was like a morbid replay of the week before. An explosion
rocked much of the city, followed by the sound of dozens of
ambulances -- this time centered just 325 feet from Jerusalem's
city government building.
The US Consul General in Jerusalem, Edward Abington, ran to the
scene from his home behind the consulate, less than 1/2-kilometer
away. "It was a scene out of hell. It was really terrible. There
were bodies lying there, body parts, and it was just a horrible
sight. I can not understand how people can do this, and just
mutilate and tear people up with bombs. It was absolutely
One witness said the bus appeared to fly through the air when the
35 pound bomb exploded. The bus continued to travel 150-feet
after the explosion, coming to rest at a major intersection. The
bus was left a charred skeleton and dozens of storefronts along
the street were blown in. The explosion came, like the bombings
last week, at the start of the morning rush hour on the first day
of the israeli work week, and on the same bus line.
A few hours later, Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres announced
a series of steps against Hamas, including what he called emergency
measures to, in his words, destroy Hamas completely and
immediately. He said centers of Hamas activity will be closed
and Israel will move against Hamas activists and their families.
Many Hamas activities are legal, including a network of schools and
clinics, making it difficult for Israel to legally close them.
But, Peres says this time Israel is ready to take all necessary
He summarized his lengthy Hebrew presentation in one sentence of
"The Hamas has declared war on Israel, and Israel will act
Peres also called for the Palestinian authority to outlaw and
disarm militant organizations, and to arrest their leaders.
Also Sunday, Peres' cabinet approved a plan to substantially
increase controls along the lines between Israel and the
Palestinian territories. Officials say this will include a network
of fences and electronic devices, and the closure of back roads
Palestinians use to avoid checkpoints.
Palestinians call the closures collective punishment, and say it
is particularly unfair of Israel to impose such a punishment
because the Palestinian economy is dependent on Israel for jobs
and as an export market. In the past, Israeli leaders have been
concerned prolonged, or very strict, closures would result in
more support for the militants. But last week, Foreign Minister
Ehud Barak said Israel is not so concerned about that any more.
Peres is facing elections in three months, and at the scene of the
bombing Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert of the opposition Likud Party
said such attacks will have a political fallout.
"One must understand that there is so much that people can
tolerate. If this is peace, then it is legitimate that people will
ask whether they want this kind of peace."
Since last Sunday, Arafat's Autonomy Authority has arrested more
than 200 alleged militants, and on Sunday Palestinian police
patrolled Gaza in armored personnel carriers, an unprecedented
show of force. They were also to begin enforcing a ban on
A statement faxed to news organizations said the latest bombing
was an operation of the same Hamas unit which claimed last Sunday's
two bombings, the students of Yehia Ayyash -- the chief Hamas bomb
maker who was killed two-months ago in an explosion widely blamed
on Israel. The statement says this is the last of the revenge
attacks for that killing, and the group will give the senior Hamas
leadership and the Israeli government three-months to negotiate a
ceasefire. Israel has already rejected such talks.
Sunday was a day for costume parties in the Israeli schools, to
mark the festival of Purim tonight, resulting in the paradoxical
image Sunday of children heading for school in brightly colored
outfits as ambulances sped by. Among them was Vladik Kushnirov, a
nine-year-old boy who lost his parents in one of last week's
bombings. He arrived at school Sunday with white face paint,
wearing a cowboy outfit.
Seven of the 19 people who died in Sunday's suicide bombing in
Jerusalem were foreigners, and two, in addition to the bomber, were
Sunday's bombing brings the total number of victims to 46 from four
attacks in Israel in the past eight days.
There were two suicide bombings last Sunday, and the following day
an Arab-American drove his car into a crowd at a bus stop, killing
one woman. All four attackers also died.
Condemnations came from around the world for all the attacks, as
well as condolences for the victims' families.
Editor's Note: Israel Faxx's Purim parody will appear in a future
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