Two Suicide Bombs Rip Through Jerusalem Market
JERUSALEM 30 th July 1997 - At least 18 people were killed yesterday when two bombs ripped through a crowded outdoor market in Jewish West Jerusalem. Witnesses said two explosions tore through the Mahane Yehuda market in swift succession near fruit stands crowded with lunch-time shoppers. Israeli police said they believed two suicide bombers carrying bags in parallel roads in the market were responsible for the attack.,in which more than 100 people were injured. Israeli Police Chief Assaf Hefetz said the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been closed, barring the entry of Palestinians to Israel;
Witnesses described a fireball and body parts "flying in the air." Blood covered the ground, where it mixed with the debris of fruit and vegetables. One witness told Israeli Radio that he was in a shop during the explosions. "I was blown over, there was dust everywhere. Anybody who was between two walls was saved, anybody who poked his head out was killed.' Another witness, storekeeper David Boneh, said he heard the two explosions three seconds apart. "Suddenly everything went black. My store is completely wrecked," he said.
The peace process is cursed, the aftermath, a shocked injured victim.
Police ordered the area cleared and the wail of ambulance sirens sounded through the city. The attack on the Mahane Yehuda market was the deadliest against Israelis since the election of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, 14 months ago on a promise to better protect Israelis' security from suicide bombing attacks. Yesterday's explosions occurred on the eve of a planned visit to the region by United States Middle East envoy Dennis Ross with what America says are " to revive stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Mr Ross was expected to meet Mr Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat separately today. Palestinian and Israeli negotiators have had some contact but no formal negotiations since March when bulldozers began carving up a hill in Arab East Jerusalem where Israel Plans a new settlement. The last big bomb blast to rock the Jewish state, on March 21, killed three Israeli women along with the Palestinian attacker, and wounded 42 people at an outdoor cafe in Tel Aviv- - REUTER
The Irony of Sakina: To Israel Tourist Cooperation 28-7-97
I am interested in facilitating a small cultural event in Jerusalem while on sabbatical, as outlined below. A millennial birthday celebration in honour of tranquillity, feminine Wisdom and the Shekinah. I believe this event could be of interest and value to women and men in Israel and many other countries.
I would appreciate the help and support of Israeli Tourism to further this, because I believe the event could be a unique touristic asset, set a new tone of tranquillity, further peace and spiritual understanding in your country, human welfare and your "long-term future goodness" as a nation.
JERUSALEM Epiphany 2000
SAKINA PASSION: THE CEREMONY OF THE DOVE
Healing Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A celebration by women and men of kindred spirit for restoration of peace in the new millennium, to draw down the Holy Spirit, of the Shekinah, (Sakina) through the cooperative vision of the Feminine for the oneness of Life within the diversity of traditions.
SAKINA (tranquillity) is intended to be three things: a spiritual invocation, a cultural and musical celebration and a conference of Wisdom in which prominent female scholars and theologians from the three paths of the Book are invited to contribute their cooperative vision of the next millennium.
18th August 1997 2 civilians killed and 11 injured in Sidon when mortar rounds are fired from the Israeli security zone in Lebanon. These activities break a long lull.
21st August 1997 Four Israeli warplanes raid Hizbollah positions in the Bekaa Valley after Katusha rockets are fired into Israel. There was no immediate report on casualties.
The Second Wave: 6-9-97 Jerusalem
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has warned that there can be no peace process as long as Israelis "get blown up in the streets." Mr Netanyahu, speaking yesterday after three suicide bombers struck once again in Jerusalem, vowed that the Jewish state would take its own action if the Palestinian Authority failed to move against the militants. 'We see [Palestinian President] Arafat and his security people, who are supposed to fight them, hugging and kissing then we are not ready to continue in this way,' Mr Netanyahu said. Hours later Israeli security forces rounded up 69 Palestinians. The bombers, three young men, one of them dressed as a woman, killed themselves and four other people on a balmy late-summer afternoon in a defiant attack in the crowded Ben Yehuda mall in West Jerusalem. Another man died later. Police said 192 people were wounded, 35 of whom remain in hospital. Ben Yehuda St is a short stroll from the Jerusalem market where 17 people were blown up five weeks ago. Police said the trio blew themselves up within seconds of each other, a few metres apart. Each had up to 2kg of explosives Body parts were strewn over the side walks and debris from stores and street cafes. Mr Arafat condemned the latest -bombings as "terrorist activities" which harmed Israelis, Palestinians and the peace Process but said he believed their masterminds. were abroad. Last month Mr Arafat resisted Israeli pressure to round up activists of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He instead met and embraced their political leaders at "national unity" talks. The armed wing of the Islamic militant movement Hamas said it had organised the bombing. Security sources said three of the dead were schoolgirls who had been strolling in the outdoor mall with classmates on their way home. Israeli officials said a man aged 48 was also killed by the bombers, who had yet to be identified.
9th September 1997 Israelis in Despair
"Shalom" peace is the only word left on a gift-shop's cracked window front. The rest of the gold letters were blown off in the blast. "Ironic isn't it" said shop worker Nurit Spangenthal. "Youcould have the enitre Army out here and it wouldn't help. A bent old man with explosives strapped to his body could just walk down here and set himself off". "The political process has reached a dead end: There is no security, there is no peace. There is terror" opposition leader Ehud Barak wrote in the mass circulation newspaper Yediot Ahronot "There is no hope and heaven forbid, violence and war are approaching". The tragedy of the bombings intensified when Israelis awoke Friday to the news that 11 of Israel's most elite soldiers died in a surprise clash with Shi'ite Muslim guerillas.
13th Septemeber 1997 The Sacred Dimension
Madeleine Albright told Yasser Arafat he had a "sacred obligation" to crack down on Islamist groups behind the bombings. She 'blindsighted' Mt. Netanyahu "Israel should refrain from unilateral acts including what Palestinians perceive as provocative expansion of settlements, land confiscation, home demolitions and confiscations of IDs." (rejected by an embarrased Netenyahu administration). However she noted "there was no moral equivalence between killing people and building houses".
Sept 25 1997 Village friends chose Shared Fate as Suicide Bombers
ASSIRA - They grew up in the same poor, deeply religious West Bank -village. They sometimes prayed at dawn together in the local mosque. They came under the sway of a respected older man who schooled them in the ways of the Islamic militant group Hamas. They shared a prison cell, and fled it together. And, according to Israeli authorities, the four young Palestinian men shared what they considered a glorious martyrdom - they blew themselves up in suicide bombings in Jerusalem. The two attacks - one at Jerusalem's crowded Mahane Yehuda vegetable market on July 30, and the other in the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall on September 4 - killed 25 people, including five bombers. Yesterday, Israel said it had positively identified four of the bombers through DNA tests. All were wanted men - and all from Assira, which has been besieged for several days by Israeli troops searching for evidence.
In the town, the suicide bombers were known as hangers-on at the fringes of Hamas, not as leading activists. From the cramped, shabby homes and the narrow, winding streets of this village of 7000 people, friends and family described the young men who set off together on their deadly path. Tawfiq Yassin, aged 25, lived in a two-room house with his family. His brother Mohammed said Yassin never watched television or listened to the radio; when he was home, he spent most of his time reading the Koran. "We are a conservative family,' said Mohammed Yassin. Like most of the women of the village, his sisters and - mother wear headscarves to cover their hair, a mark of devout Muslim belief A tall, thin, dark-haired young . man, Tawfiq Yassin wasn't much of a student; he failed his high school finals. He then held various jobs in Tel Aviv at a firm that makes pipes, for a local telephone company. Mohammed never- knew what his brother was thinking. His brother, he said, "was not the talkative type." Bashar Salawah, aged 23, changed when he and his friends came under the influence of Mahmoud Abu Hanude, a local Hamas leader. "It's Mahmoud who took those- boys ... and turned them into the Hamas line," recalled Salawah's brother, Yasser. After getting involved with Mr Abu Hanude, the young men began adhering to stricter Islamic practices. "He [Bashar] used to pray on Fridays only, then mother noticed he started praying five times a day," Yasser Salawah said.
The third man was 22-year-old Moawiya Jaara. In March of 1996, together with three friends, Jaara surrendered to Palestinian authorities in Nablus, hoping to save himself from an Israeli jail. He and the others were wanted by the Israelis for questioning after a series of bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Bashir Thaher, a young man from a neighbouring village who turned himself in as well, said they were treated poorly by Palestinian interrogators and escaped together. After that, their families say, the young men dropped out of sight. Nothing was known of their whereabouts until they were named yesterday as the bombers. Yousef Showli was only 22, but his reddish-brown hair already was going grey. In other ways, too, he acted older than his years. His former roommate, Bashir Thaher, recalled him as quiet and spiritual. "He was a very intelligent person, always made observations, always explained things through the Koran." The two studied Islamic law together at An Najah University, and Mr Thaher recalled once asking his friend what he wanted to do after they finished their studies. His friend, he said, replied in a calm voice: "I am a wanted man. I have no future. AP
25th Sept 1997 Benjamin Netenyahu promised to dot the Arab West Bank with more homes for Jews. Abdel-Aziz al Rantissi, a leader of Hamas, asked how many Palestinian young men were prepared to be suidicde bombers he said "Thousands, thousands. And if I said tens of thousands, I am saying the truth". REUTERS
Palestinians Reflect on 50 years of Insecurity and Lack of Peace
It is easy to understand the frustrations of the Palestinian people at the loss of their land, culture and independence and to sympathize and wish to see justice done.
Jihad leads only to jihad, crusade to only crusade, Armageddon only to Armageddon. The only way to stop the killing is to end the religious ethic of violence. It is this ethic applied by the Christians to the Jews which spilled over from the holocaust into the Palestinian crisis. In previous centuries Jews lived in peaceful co-existence with Palestinians and other Islamic Arab peoples. This problem comes from the very violence inherited from the crucifixion itself and it is these very crucifixion passages in the Qur'an which abet violent martyrdom.
Abrogating the Sura of the Crucifixion
There is only one person who can undo this history of the martyrs blood:
Suras 4.157, 3.55, 5.117 abrogated for Truth and Sakina - Christus Rex 31-7-97:
In the Qur'an, Muhammad stated that Isa did not die a death of agony on the cross but was taken straight up to heaven:
4.157 "And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the apostle of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. Nay! Allah took him up to Himself; and Allah is Mighty, Wise."
In 3:55, the phrase "I am gathering thee", and in 5:117, the phrase "when Thou tookest me" are forms of the same Arabic word "tawaffa". Both these verses refer to the return of Jesus to God at the end of his life, and the most straightforward interpretation of them is to suppose that they refer to a natural death of Jesus at the end of his earthly life, but it can also mean that he was taken to heaven without undergoing the experience of physical death.
Said Iyad Sarraj, a Palestinian psychiatrist who has studied suicide killers "the basic drive for self-destruction is the same ... They all believe that they are not going to die, that they are moving from one phase of life to a higher one." In paradise, they are told, the bomber wilI be crowned with glory and achieve the ultimate - he will see the face of Allah.
This idea has led to a long line of Islamic 'martyrs', particularly young bachelors, who commit murder-suicide in acts of violence believing they will attain the highest sainthood in heaven. It is an idea which Muhammad has spun on top of the blood of the Redeemer, and it is an idea that must stop once Jesus comes down from the Cross. It is in this spirit only - for the mistaken journey made by such martyrs - that this shrine is erected.
It is not so much the question of whether the Arab 'docetic' perspective in which Jesus was received directly without pain to God's grace is more or less correct than the orthodox New Testament account of pain and suffering, but the devastating heritage of using the Crucifixion as a key to establish the doctrine of blessing violent martyrdom, particularly against the Jews whom Christianity has often falsely laid the blame for Jesus' death. It is clear that suicide bombers often do feel no pain yet cause untold damage and suffering.
The lie is this:
Killing and maiming does not bring one closer to the face of Allah, personal pain or no pain.
One should also ask whether martyrdom in an act of bloody revenge is in any way compatibile with any true notion of God. Christian martyrs did not die in a violent act of killing. This question runs to the core of what the 'one God' can possibly mean if such a god can approve the genocide of followers of the same 'one God' under a different cultural guise. One should consider seriously the fact that in the souk of Medina 700 Jewish men lost their lives in an act of unjustifiable genocide, because, in the end Muhammad, made his journey to Mecca peacefully without himself suffering threat of bloodshed. This is the inerasable testament of history. In this century this would be a war crime of mass-murder of international reprobation and justice.
It is our duty to bring Jesus down from the Cross and in so doing end this river of blood that has run red through history from the Crucifixion to the jihad.
One also has to acknowledge that social justice is essential to this process. As long as the Palestinian people remain a repressed people, the struggle for freedom will go on. Only through genuine reconciliation can real peace come. There are extremists on both sides. Continuing lack of justice carries opinion to the brink of extremisim and war.
The Immediate Trigger: The Outrage of the Pig
JERUSALEM 12th July 1997 - Like a lost Dostoyevskian soul, pale and aimless, Tatiana Susskind drifted through the back streets of her new homeland for six years, searching for direction. Two weeks ago, the Russian- born 25-year-old revealed that her search was over. Striding into the heart of the West Bank city of Hebron, she pasted on to doors in the Arab marketplace a sketch she had drawn depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a pig stamping on the Koran. This gross desecration of the holiest of Islam's symbols touched off a literal firestorm in Hebron as enraged residents hurled hundreds of Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops in the ensuing days. Dozens of Israeli troops and Palestinian demonstrators were injured, some severely. The deed threatened to touch off much more than that, injecting into the political dispute between Jews and Arabs the dangerously explosive element of religious confrontation. In Tehran, 15,000 demonstrators chanted "Death to Israel." Similar demonstrations were held across the Islamic world. In the Gaza Strip, leaders of Hamas, responsible for past suicide bombings, signalled that their recent self-restraint might be ending. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose regard for Arab sensitivities has been little evident in the past, was so alarmed by Susskind's act that he telephoned the Arab mayor of Hebron to apologise in the name of his countrymen for the insult "to one of the world's great religions." One of Israel's two chief rabbis travelled to Hebron to apologise personally to the leading Islamic religious figure in the city. Similar apologies came from President Ezer Weizman and other leading Israelis. Their reaction reflected a basic understanding by both Israelis and Arabs that whatever else their disagreements might be about, religion must be kept out of it. The swift Israeli response succeeded in dampening, although not extinguishing, the fires that had been set. Susskind's act demonstrated the potential for calamity in this volatile region from isolated individuals wandering between the conventional battle lines in a no-man's-land of emotional disturbance.
She had succumbed to the influence of her extremist boy friend whom she she had met at a gym where he was training 'to beat up Arabs'. "A week ago I finally convinced her" - that the mosques on Jerusalem's temple mount had to be destroyed - that there would shortly be a great war in the region and few would survive it. The subject of marriage came up but Shomron said "Why marry? Why have children when everything will shortly be destroyed?
Mar 97: The Martyr who Wasn't
The militant group Hamas, which claimed responsibility for the killing of three Israeli women in Friday's bombing of the Apropos Cafe in Tel Aviv, threatened to launch further attacks if Israel went on building a Jewish settlement in Arab East Jerusalem. Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu vowed to keep building and summoned his inner security cabinet to a meeting yesterday after accusing Yasser Arafats Palestinian authority of having given Hamas the green light for the suicide bombing. Mr Netanyahu's communications chief, David Barlilan, said the cabinet ministers would meet to decide how to proceed in talks with Mr Arafat's Palestinian Authority - "if at all."
Meanwhile, authorities confirmed that the baby girl wounded in the Tel Aviv bombing lost her mother, Anat Rosen-Vinter, aged 31. Television pictures broadcast around the world showed an Israeli policewoman cradling the baby, dressed in a tattered clown costume, and looking frantically for the parents. The infant was taken to hospital and was expected to recover. The Israeli Army said it would demolish the West Bank home of the Palestinian man believed to have been the bomber.
Musa Ghneimat 10 years ago.
Musa Ghneimat, a father of four, walked nervously into a Tel Aviv cafe, sat at a table and detonated a bag of explosives, killing a mother, an expectant mother and another woman. What drove a family man to ruin the lives of other families relaxing over a drink in the spring sunshine last Friday?
Ghneimat, aged 28, was from the village of Sourif, near Hebron, the West Bank strong- hold of the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas. He had a wife, two sons and two daughters. Ghneimat's Arab acquaintances remember him as a man who went regularly to the mosque. "He was an educated guy" "I remember we would sit until the early hours of the morning and exchange experiences."
However Musa did not fit the profile of suicide bombers who are almost inevitably young bachelors and who do not generally blow themselves up while in possession of their identity cards. Subsequently it was discovered that the cafe explosion was not a suicide bombing and fur other members of the Hamas cell responsible for killing in all 11 Israelis and injuring 48 were arrested, two by the Israelis and two by the Palestinians.
The Other Side of the Coin
Israeli Violence against the Palestinian
There is however another side to this coin that has to be taken into account in the total picture. Palestinians are also the targets of violent attack in a numbers game of stones versus bullets which sometimes seems one-sided at unfairly greater cost to Palestinian rather than Israeli lives. There are also Jewish fundamentalists who are as extreme in their views and actions. A good example is the unprovoked shooting of defenceless Palestinian people in Hebron by an Israeli soldier Noam Friedman in January 1997.
It is difficult to feel there is a sense of justice unless there is an equal sense of concern for the preservation of life and respect for individual freedom on both sides.
7 May 98 An Israeli youth was stabbed to death in an apparent Palestinian militant attack yesterday in Jerusalem's walled Old City. Later, a Jewish settler shot dead a Palestinian who attacked him with a knife.