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Israel Holds Off on Retaliatory Strike


Henry

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http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20030820/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians&cid=540&ncid=716

JERUSALEM - With a U.S.-backed peace plan hanging in the balance, Israel decided Wednesday to hold off on a major military strike in response to a Hamas bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed at least 20 people, including as many as six children, a security official said.

The attack was one of the deadliest in three years of fighting, and about 40 of the more than 100 wounded were children. Tuesday's blast ripped through a bus packed with ultra-Orthodox Jewish families returning from the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites ) and top defense officials decided Wednesday to give Palestinian security chief Mohammed Dahlan some time to begin cracking down on the militants, as Israel has long demanded, the security official said. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said Israel would not wait long and expected to see some action already Wednesday.

Dahlan met with Palestinian security commanders in the Gaza Strip (news - web sites ), but a decision on possible action against those involved in the bombing will only be made later Wednesday, at a Palestinian Cabinet meeting, said Dahlan spokesman Elias Zananiri.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who could lose his job if violence persists, has said he will not confront the militants because he fears internal fighting. However, Abbas is now under growing pressure to take strong action against militants, as required by the "road map" peace plan.

Abbas was meeting with Islamic Jihad leaders in Gaza City on Tuesday evening when he received word of the bombing. Condemning the attack as a "terrible crime," he broke off contact with Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He also called off trips to Italy and Norway, initially planned for later this week, and convened an emergency Cabinet meeting.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas leaders insisted Wednesday they remain committed to a three-month truce they and other militants declared unilaterally on June 29, but said they reserve the right to take revenge for the killing of operatives by Israeli troops.

There were some indications that the bomber, who had disguised himself as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, had also tried to settle a personal score with the attack. The assailant, 29-year-old mosque preacher Raed Mesk from the West Bank city of Hebron, was friends with an Islamic Jihad leader in Hebron, Mohammed Sidr, who was killed by troops last week.

Israel is expected to intensify its hunt for wanted militants if the Palestinian security forces do not take action, but a major military strike, on par with last year's offensives in response to bombings of a similar scale, is not being considered, the Israeli defense official said.

Security officials also decided against targeting Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (news - web sites), the official said. In the past, troops have repeatedly besieged Arafat's West Bank headquarters.

Both sides appear to have a continued interest in keeping the U.S.-backed peace plan alive.

"It is absolutely necessary to continue on the political track because the alternative is a return to the never-ending cycle of blood," military correspondent Alex Fishman wrote in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot. He said the United States would likely increase its pressure on the Palestinian Authority (news - web sites) to round up militants.

In the meantime, Israel froze all contacts with the Palestinian Authority and canceled the planned handover of two West Bank towns to Palestinian control, a move that had been expected later this week. The Israeli army also closed border crossings to seal off the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Palestinian legislator Saeb Erekat criticized Israel's decision, saying it was important to maintain contacts. "The main message I want to send to the Americans is that ... every possible effort should be exerted to keep the road map and the truce alive," he said.

The suicide bomber detonated the explosives in the center of a tandem bus, which has two passenger sections, shortly after 9 p.m. (1800 GMT) on a main thoroughfare in central Jerusalem.

Many Jewish worshippers had stepped aboard at the Jewish holy site, the Western Wall. The bus was headed to an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood on the city's outskirts, and families with children were packed in the seats and aisles.

A rescue worker, Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, said he was one of the first people on the scene and while checking to see if there were any people alive among the dead, he found a baby just a few months old, crying and alive. The baby is hospitalized, and after a nightlong search, rescue workers found the parents alive in another hospital, officials said.

"I had just come home from praying at the Western Wall and was heading home," said Zvi Weiss, an 18-year-old seminary student from New York City who sat in the front of the bus and escaped unharmed.

"The bomb went off at the back of the bus. Everything went black. I climbed out of the broken window and started running," Weiss said. "All around me there were people covered in blood, screaming, some with limbs missing."

The blast, just across from a synagogue, was so powerful it blew a hole in the bus roof and shattered the windows of a passing bus. Rescuers had to use blowtorches to get out some of the wounded. Police said the bomb had been packed with bits of metal for greater deadliness.

Several crying children with tattered clothes and blood-smeared faces were led away from the scene. One paramedic cradled a little girl in his arms, while television footage showed doctors leaning over a bloodied infant in an ambulance. Paramedics treated the wounded on the sidewalk, and body parts were strewn amid broken glass.

In an Israeli prison, Palestinian security prisoners applauded joyously and passed out candy when they learned of the bombing, the Israel Prisons Authority said. The leaders among the inmates were sent into isolation and the rest had their TV sets removed as punishment, the authority said.

The ambassadors of the European Union (news - web sites ), Italy and Ireland laid a wreath Wednesday against a tree and lit 18 candles ? matching early estimates of the number of dead ? on a roundabout close to where the bomber struck. The bombing drew statements of condemnation and condolences from the United States, the European Union, Britain and the United Nations (news - web sites).

The blast came just hours after a truck packed with explosives devastated the U.N. headquarters in Iraq (news - web sites), killing at least 20 people.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites ) urged Abbas "to take decisive action to arrest the instigators of this attack and prevent such attacks from happening again," U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said in New York.

Since the intefadeh began in September 2000, more than 2,400 people have been killed on the Palestinian side and more than 800 on the Israeli side.

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What will it take for them to tolerate each other?

Restraint. And an extremely difficult leap of faith. Israel appears to be making an attempt here. Let's hope the Palestinian leadership is able and willing to do the same.

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Here they go!!

The Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank Aug. 20 —

Israel decided Wednesday to carry out a number of pinpointed strikes against Palestinian terror suspects in response to a Hamas suicide bombing that killed 20 people, a security official said.

The strikes will be carried out regardless of whether the Palestinian Authority decides to clamp down on militant groups, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Israeli raids were expected to begin later Wednesday.

A column of 13 Israeli tanks was seen lining up Wednesday night outside the West Bank town of Ramallah, Palestinian witnesses said.

Israel has said it will not launch a major offensive, as it did last year in response to other suicide bombings. At the time, Israel reoccupied most West Bank towns, and has been moving in and out of these areas repeatedly.

Hamas killed 20 people, including five Americans, in Tuesday's bombing in Jerusalem. \

Retaliation Time

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If it were me in charge, I'd level one town for each bombing. You can cry about civilians, but in a place where a LARGE majority of the people support some form of terrorism(murder of civilians and children) and dress up their own babies as homicide bombers and glorify genocidal anti-Semitism, are any of these people innocent?

Sure, maybe some, but unfortunately this is the way of war. You either stand up and make yourself heard so that people don't view you as evil, or you take collective punishment via military strike.

Then after 3 attacks, I'd level one village for each CASUALTY.

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Originally posted by Henry

Restraint. And an extremely difficult leap of faith. Israel appears to be making an attempt here. Let's hope the Palestinian leadership is able and willing to do the same.

Henry, nuthin' but love for ya bro, but you have to be kidding. At what point in history have the Palestinian leadership been able to prevent terrorist groups from killing innocent civilians? The problem is that the terrorist groups (ie: Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades) aren’t subservient to Palestinian leadership. The only time, recently, that the terrorist groups have ceased their murder is when Israel started carrying out targeted assassinations aimed directly at their leadership.

The only way I see this thing working out is the terror groups must be dismantled by any means necessary. Maybe we can have the Enola Gay take a friendly reminder flight over parts of the Middle East. No bombs, just a pass over.

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If it were me in charge, I'd level one town for each bombing. You can cry about civilians, but in a place where a LARGE majority of the people support some form of terrorism(murder of civilians and children) and dress up their own babies as homicide bombers and glorify genocidal anti-Semitism, are any of these people innocent?

So, let's see:

  • The folks in Palestine should just be killed, because they support the murder of civilians. But,
  • The folks in Israel, who are in command of their military, are innocents who cannot be touched (without being a savage).

Gee, you're right. I can certainly see my the wholesale killing of thousand of people are fully justified, because they feel a way you don't like.

Y'know, I remember a lot of arguments with my brothers. I remember being very upset at my parents, because they wouldn't even try to figure out who's fault it was, when I clearely was in the right.

Now, looking back, it occurrs to me, every single one of those arguments took the form of a neverending string of "he did this, first."

I have no doubt, that for every action taken in that region for the last 30 years, somebody had a reason, a thing that "the other guy" did first.

I guess I'm just one of those terrible anti-semites. I'll recognize that there's a difference between blowing up a bus and buldozing 100 houses or firing artillery into an apartment building. But, I don't see much difference.

The only ways I can see out of this is: somebody has to start peace, or they may as well call it a war and get it over with. This whole "psudeo-war", where both sides are attacking the other, but neither side is really allowed to hurt the other, just isn't getting anywhere.

Maybe Captain Kirk needs to make the war less tolerable. (Except, I have grave doubts about that stunt working so well in real life.)

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Oh and you're forgetting that this really is NOT about some kind of "palestinian" homeland. It's about Muslims believing that any land that once belonged to Islam(even though it was conquered and the people brutalized) can never belong to anyone else. And when they aren't trying to reconquer by force or immigration some land(Spain, Andalusia as they call it, Jammu-Kashmir, France, etc) when they reach a critical mass in a country they seek to impose their 'laws' on everyone else(see Nigeria, see Sudan)

It's a GLOBAL problem, you're thinking is merely too limited to comprehend that without a friendly reminder. The list of international terrorist organizations is dominated by communist holdouts and Islamists. In every nation where they form a significant percentage of the population they demand concessions to their religion(not merely to be left alone) or to form their own alternative government as they have in Britain.

They've even demanded such things in the US and don't view our form of government or constitution as legitimate.

Once they reach a level of power, they begin to not merely demand special privileges, but then to impose their religion on others. If non-Muslims refuse they declare their little jihad and the "kafirs" are raped, enslaved and murdered as they are in the Sudan. And good luck building a church in Mecca, even though there's now a mosque in Rome.

Can anyone deny that the religion itself forms the underpinnings of this behavior? Is there a Buddhist jihad I'm unfamiliar with? lol

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Originally posted by Air Sarge

Just turn the IDF loose and tell them the can join us for a drink when they reach the western border of Iraq

Hell yeah, brother. I remember, when war was being so subtley pushed for Iraq :rolleyes: (which I do, by the way support, but the motives were seriously f.ucked up), people were saying, "Oh, we gave them 12 years. Now we're gonna act." How about this situation in Israel? Time after time after time, the Arabs were given chances to bring about peace. This latest effort by the Israelis to be peaceful and remove the troops really looked like a stepping stone, only to have the Arabs (and while not all are to blame, it is the simple truth that not only are these attacks supported by a silent sentiment, but they are openly backed and celebrated by the vast majority of the Arab public in the West Bank and Gaza) spit in the Israelis' faces.

This attack raises many questions. Can Abbas actually do anything to stop this attacks? More importantly, are he and his advisors EVEN trying to do anything, or are they just putting on a good act?

I boil the situation down to one defining moment. I believe it was Camp David, 2000 (Christ, it sounds like a damn concert at this point). Ehud Barak made what was the most progressive offer ever made and hasn't been topped yet. I believe that the offer included eventual dismantling of settlements, and more importantly, the claim to (not sure of exact numbers) about 95% of the land asked for. The one thing not included, and the one thing that will NEVER, EVER, EVER be included, was the right of the Arabs to return to Israel. And that did it. Arafat refused an AMAZINGLY generous offer because of the right of return.

I'll get back to that later. The reason this offer was so generous was mainly because legally, regardless of what any religion says, the land was not theirs. It was land either originally bought by Zionist founders, or won in wars that were NOT instigated by Israel, but in fact were really just a collection of Arab nations ganging up on Israel while it was in its infancy. Anything Israel choses to give back is gravy for the Arabs. They lost it by being hateful, belligerent, and stupid. And then they deny an offer to get back most of land they lost in their mindless attempt at overtaking Israel. And a side note, Yom Kippur is the holiest day in the Jewish religion. They try to destroy Israel on their holiest day, but if the US begins a relatively peaceful stage of their invasion of Iraq during the holy month, then we are insensitive, heartless ****s.

OK. Back to the right of return, which is really the monkey wrench in this whole "peace" process. I pose a question. In 2000, Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat land for a new Arab nation (which would be called Palestine). This would give all of the nationless Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip a place to live and attempt to govern themselves. Then why, may I ask, does he want the right of return? They would have a home. The right of return would take away the Jewish majority and it would no longer be a Jewish state. Unacceptable. Why do you need to take away the identity of a legal nation, not one obtained by force or belligerence, when you have your own? Simple. Because the Arabs (not just the ones in Israeli territory, but the majority all over the world) want to drive Israel into the Mediterranean Sea. In 2000, they could have had their homeland, and the Israelis could have had theirs. And hopefully, if their terrorism didn't just become government sponsered terrorism (and don't even start with the Israeli government "sponsering terrorism" bullshi.t, because who did it first DOES matter, and retaliation of the harshest form is the only way that has stopped the Arab terror so far) and actually was controlled, there would be peace. But in 2000, the trend continued, and continues today. That is the trend of Arab hate, ignorance, and fundamental greed.

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from OURYEAR#56

This situation is out of control. What will it take to have some semblance of peace in this region? It's clear both sides don't like each other. What will it take for them to tolerate each other?

from Larry

The only ways I can see out of this is: somebody has to start peace, or they may as well call it a war and get it over with. This whole "psudeo-war", where both sides are attacking the other, but neither side is really allowed to hurt the other, just isn't getting anywhere.

There will NEVER be peace between these two. So that leaves Larry's second way out. Which is the ONLY solution.

Winner take all.

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I'd like to hope that some other solution would be possible. Maybe some kind of DMZ, patrolled by somebody else. (The "good fences make good neighbors" approach. This area needs a really good fence.)

I'd volunteer the US to enforce the fence. (I know it's not our job, but it's a price I'd be willing to pay, if it got some peace into that region.) But, I don't think the muslims would accept the US as suffeciently neutral. (And that bothers me. I'd like for our country to be seen as the guys in the White Hats. Granted, a lot of the folks who have negative views of our country are simply basing their opinions on others' propaganda or outright ignorance, but I gotta admit that sometimes the things foreigners object to have at least a little basis to them.)

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The Palestinian Authority is now claiming they were 'just about' to launch major action against Hamas and other terror groups. Yeah.....right. Damn those Israelis for interfering with Arafat and his friend's anti-terror campaign.

If it were an American bus blown up, and American children getting blown to bits, we wouldn't hesitate, and its time to stop spewing the PC bull$hit (including the Bush Administrations hypocritical and constant call for Israeli 'restraint') and take out those willing to conduct murder against innocent civilians. Abbas has blown it (if he ever even intended to end Palestinian terror tactics) and its time to take out Arafat and his crew and stop screwing around. I think this is a watershed moment. And I think its quite possible we're looking a full-scale war there. And I'm not sure it would be the worst possible outcome.

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Originally posted by Tarhog

I think this is a watershed moment. And I think its quite possible we're looking a full-scale war there. And I'm not sure it would be the worst possible outcome.

Then do the americans get involved? What kind of attacks will then become of it against our troops in the middle east?

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Maybe Israel should try to discredit the Hamas group economically. I think it's hypocritical for Palestine to say they will start cracking down on Hamas leaders when these same leaders put bread on the people's table. Hamas is not some crack pot organization. They are very saphisticated. They provide alot of the resources the Plaestine peopel are lacking, such as food, education, ect. If the UN provided this same aid, then the Hamas will only be seen as a religios group bent on destruction and not the salvation of the Palestine.

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