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Read the latest Israel Faxx commentary below. Then send your Op-Ed piece to israelfaxx@israelfaxx.com. Include your name address, email address and telephone number. Pieces will not be considered for publication unless this information is provided. However, at your request we will only credit you by name.


Homicide Bomber on Israeli Bus Kills 8

By Sonja Pace (VOA-Jerusalem), IsraelNationalNews.com & Ha'aretz

A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded bus in Jerusalem Sunday morning, killing at least eight people, including an 18-year-old boy, and injuring 66 others, most of whom were teenagers on the way to school. The militant Palestinian group, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the attack.

With an all-too-familiar sound, ambulances rushed to the scene Sunday morning, the beginning of the workweek. It was the height of the rush hour and bus number 14 was making its way up Emek Refaim Street towards central Jerusalem when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives. The bus had stopped at a red light just opposite a gasoline station. Across the intersection Nir Barkat sat waiting for the light to change. He saw the bus explode.

"I immediately realized what's going on, and I told the woman next to me to dial 101 and ran to the bus. It's a terrible scene. I had to stomp on pieces of bodies," the said. A reporter observed that his hands were covered with blood. "Yeah, my hands, my feet. Look at my shoes. I had to step on, on - I don't want to say what I stepped on to help people get out of the car."

The blast sent shattered glass and body parts flying across the intersection. Police and emergency personnel moved in quickly to cordon off the area. But a half hour after the blast there were still one or two bodies on the sidewalk; they'd been covered in white sheets.

On Jan. 29, a suicide bus bombing not far from here killed 11 people. Palestinian militants had warned of further attacks in retaliation for an Israeli raid into the Gaza Strip that left 15 Palestinians dead over a week ago. Palestinian officials condemned the bombing and urged the United States to step up efforts to revive peace negotiations.

Sunday's bombing comes just one day before the International Court of Justice at The Hague was to hear arguments about the legality of the barrier Israel is building in and around the West Bank. Nir Barkat, a member of the Jerusalem City Council, said it should be clear to everyone that the barrier is necessary to try to prevent bombings such as this one. "Life is more important than anything else, and our right to defend ourselves is more important than anything else. Excuse me; we just cannot see scenes like this. We have to stop it."

Israel says the barrier is for security only. Critics say it encloses Palestinian towns and villages in virtual prisons and Palestinians argue Israel is creating de facto borders and grabbing as much Palestinian land as possible in the process. Israelis argue the barrier has helped cut down on the number of attacks such as Sunday's, however critics say the barrier would never be able to stop such attacks.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations told Israel Radio he and his contingent of some 100 American leaders were several hundred yards away in the Inbal Hotel (formerly Laromme) being briefed by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon.

"If anyone should be put on trial, its Yasir Arafat, not Israel," he stated, referring to Monday's scheduled opening of the case against Israel in the International Court of Justice. Hoenlein added the construction of the security barrier is not only Israel's right, "but obligation".

The United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Terje Rode-Larsen, on Sunday condemned the suicide bombing, Army Radio reported. But Larsen also cautioned that Palestinian terrorism should not be allowed to hijack Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to evacuate the settlements in the Gaza Strip, the radio said.

Danny Seaman, who heads the Government Press Office, was on his way to work in Jerusalem, when the suicide bombing occurred. He said that his first concern was that Israel must be able to protect itself from the murder of its citizens "merely because they are Israelis," and that in his professional capacity, "I am here to help the international media transmit this story accurately."

Arutz-7 reported last week, based on an interview in the Kuwaiti Al-Siyasah newspaper, that 40 representatives of Arab terror groups and Syrian, Lebanese and Iranian intelligence officials convened in Lebanon early this month and decided upon a renewed terrorist offensive against Israelis and Israeli interests abroad.

In addition, PA officials have declared Monday to be a "Day of Rage and Protest" throughout Judea and Samaria, in honor of The Hague hearings. Protest activities will be held throughout the Palestinian Authority, and Israel's police and military will be closely monitoring the situation.

Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz called Sunday morning, during the weekly Cabinet meeting, for the expulsion of Arafat, whom he called the "leader of the terrorism." Arafat has been holed up in his Mukata headquarters in Ramallah for the past two years, but is in constant contact there with terrorist leaders from all over the Palestinian Authority.

Katz added that Israel must also strike out against the leaders of Hamas. "These are decisions that the government has already made, but has not carried out." He also joined the chorus of those calling for the completion of the anti-terrorism partition fence.

Two security guards who were on the bus while the suicide bomber was riding failed to detect him. (Experts explain that once on the bus, even if detected, stopping a bomber is most difficult unless he/she cab be "neutralized" by the security agent).

It appears the bomber boarded the ill-fated number 14 bus on HaTa'asiya Street in the Talpiot industrial area of southern Jerusalem. The first public transportation security agent boarded and got off the bus while the terrorist was on board. Shortly thereafter, another security agent boarded on Emek Refaim Street and got off at Liberty Bell Park. The blast occurred immediately thereafter at the corner of David Remez Street.


What Do We Now Do?

By Don Canaan (Commentary appearing on www.israelfaxx.com)

It's now 10:35 a.m. EST -- about seven hours before I start compiling Monday's edition of Israel Faxx, and nine hours after a Palestinian gorilla (yes, I misspelled it on purpose because these terrorists are not freedom fighters, but animals that hit and smash with no regard for the consequences) murdered seven innocent Israelis.

Or should we start dropping these niceties of name. Once again, Israelis have died at the hands of these animals. At this hour, seven Israelis riding to their Jerusalem jobs by bus are dead and 62 wounded. And it took place just blocks from Liberty Bell Park. The suicide bomber, a misguided fool, apparently wanted to proclaim liberty across the land and reach paradise, as defined by his version of hell.

What do we do? Yes we are Americans, but we are also Jews and Israel is our ancestral homeland. What do we do? Are there any answers? If so send them to israelfaxx@israelfaxx.com, along with your name, address, e-mail address and telephone number. At your request, we will not publish your address, just your name. Israel Faxx will publish a selection of solutions. It's up to us to get involved and counter the anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism that appears certain to increase.
















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