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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Terrorist Atrocity in Beersheba

In Beersheba, Israel two suicide terrorists attacked two civilian buses killing 16 people and wounding 90. The bombers were allegedly dispatched by Hamas whose website, at this point in time, is for some reason silent about this particular attack.

The Israelinsider report says,
...Hamas in Hebron claimed responsibility. The blasts occurred in the city center, close to its municipal building. Israeli officials blamed the lack of a security barrier as contributing to the vulnerability of the southern region.

Terrorist access from Mt Hebron to Beersheba is unimpeded by security barrier whose construction has been held up for high court rulings. The government has not been able even to agree on the barrier's route.
This attack was a despicable atrocity, and Israel has every right to relentlessly pursue those behind it. It is worth noting, however, that the missing section of the barrier could probably be constructed without excess controversy if it were constructed along the Green Line and not inside the disputed territories.

And while nothing justifies the terrorist assaults like this one, it is not entirely surprising that Hebron is a hotbed of Palestinian extremism and that today's attackers came from there. A city where tens of thousands of residents belonging to the ethnic majority (Arabs) are subjected to regular curfews (sometimes for days on end) for the benefit of a small minority, only about 500 strong (Jews) is bound to be ripe for resentment, extremism and violence. And I believe that Israel can greatly improve its prospects for peace and security by resolving the issue of Hebron. While it is certainly necessary to pursue terror groups that already have been formed, the victory over them is not very likely when such a ripe climate is in place for terrorist recruiters.

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