Eye on the Middle East Dec/Jan 1997/1998
After the tragic suicide bombing on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem last September, Yasser Arafat was adamant. The bombers, he insisted, came from abroad; thus, he had no control over the invaders. As a matter of fact, the problem, he claimed, was with Israeli security forces who allowed the bombers to penetrate Israel’s borders. As it turned out, the Chairman, as is often the case, came up a bit short on his facts.
Three of the five bombers, it was concluded, were residents of a West Bank village near the town of Nablus—a hotbed of militant Muslim terrorist activity for years. The three, all belonging to the terrorist group Hamas, had walked away from a Palestinian jail in Nablus last year after they were allowed a trip to town. They simply decided not to return. Consequently, the three were being sought by Israeli and Palestinian security forces at the time of the bombing. The tragedy, as with all of these suicide raids, punishes Palestinians as well as Israelis. While 25 Israelis were killed in the Ben Yehuda blast, the three young escapees—ages 22, 23, and 25—gave their lives over to Islamic fanatics who cared less for them than for their own demented political agenda.
In the wake of their horrendous act, all Palestinians suffered. So, in the end, all they accomplished, besides killing innocent Jews, was to inflict prolonged misery on their own people. If Yasser Arafat and his comrades in the Palestinian Authority really care about their own people, they will act responsibly and stop the killing. It can be done.