Blaming operative’s death on Israel, Hezbollah chief vows revenge


Hassan Nasrallah, the top leader of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah, blamed the killing of operative Samir Kuntar on Israel and said his group would retaliate.

“We reserve the right to respond to this assassination at the time and place of our choosing,” Nasrallah said Monday evening in a televised speech from Beirut, the Times of Israel reported. The newspaper cited an English translation from a journalist with the al-Mayadeen Arabic satellite television channel.

Nasrallah’s statement came hours after a Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility for the airstrike in Damascus that killed Kuntar, who was released in a 2008 prisoner swap after spending nearly three decades in Israeli prison for his role in a deadly terrorist attack.

“We have no doubt that the Israeli enemy was behind the assassination in a blatant military operation,” Nasrallah said, according to the Naharnet news site.

Israel has not confirmed whether or not it was involved in the attack, but several Israeli officials praised Kuntar’s death.

Kuntar was responsible for the deaths of four Israelis, including a 4-year-old girl and her father, in a 1979 attack in Nahariya. He is suspected of planning multiple attacks against Israeli soldiers in the Golan Heights.

The ‘revenge of the fired’ could fill a book — and does


Because I’ve been fired from nearly every job I’ve ever held, I always thought nobody in the world understands what I’ve been through. Boo-hoo, right?
But along comes Annabelle Gurwitch and her book, “Fired!: Tales of the Canned, Canceled, Downsized, and Dismissed,” which includes the pink-slipped memories of folks like Robert Reich, Felicity Huffman and Bill Maher. So when Gurwitch hosted an event for the book not long ago — in a lovely, long, willowy slip-of-a-thing of her own — I immediately quit what I was doing (pretending to work) and attended.
 
Gurwitch first planned her literary revenge after being fired off a film set by Woody Allen.

 
“You look retarded,” he told her.

 
Now, she seems to have found fortune in the awful feelings that follow getting shown the door. Along with her anthology, there’s a CD and DVD. And she’s been taking her show on the road, including the performance I attended at the Skirball Cultural Center, which also included 10 funny fellow “firees.” She’ll lead a panel at this weekend’s West Hollywood Book Fair, with guests Jeff Garlin, Jeff Kahn, Glenn Rosenbloom and Cathryn Michon (for more information, see page 43).

 
“Have you ever been fired?” I ask the woman sitting next to me at the Skirball.
“No,” she says. “Unless you count my kids washing their hands of me.”

 
Not really. One time, I tell her, I was selling ice cream to kids and got fired right in the middle of my Good Humor route because they attacked my truck.
Skirball gal shushes me as the show starts.

 
The adorable Gurwitch recounts some of the aftermath of losing a job:

  • You deserve it.
  • It can lead to something so much better than you ever dreamed of in your entire life.
  • It was crappy, but you get a good story.

 
For example, while most of his high school friends in Evanston, Ill., worked at the Banana Republic, actor Matt Price spent one summer as a knife company salesman.

 
“Top-level cutlery?” he says. “That was a sign of becoming a man.” His clientele: “Forty-five-year-old Jewish women and 70-year-old Jewish women.”
Poor Price could cut a penny with the company’s scissors, but by July he had to “hang up the knit tie” when he discoveredthe company was a pyramid scheme.

 
Gurwitch hears stories from people who are canned for “not trimming the nose hairs of the boss” and for “not nesting” correctly. Like Jessica Van Der Valk, who found herself having to confront her boss one day with: “You’re firing me for not having any knickknacks in my cubicle?”

 
“Yep,” said the boss.

 
Actor Kahn, Gurwitch’s husband, calls his contribution to the book, “The World’s Worst Waiter.” At D.B. Kaplan’s Deli in Chicago, they require waiters to memorize the contents of hundreds of sandwiches. But Kahn says he really only knew three: “The Ditka,” “The Oprah” and “Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow.”

 
Unable to total up checks correctly, Kahn had to take another job just to support the deli gig. Finally losing it after scorching his hand on a pile of hot cheese, he pulled a knife on an unsympathetic cook and … see ya!

 
Back at Skirball, Jonathan Goff described the dynamic between “the firer and the firee.” One of his first jobs was in Rhode Island announcing morning traffic reports from a Chevette. Just before being let go, he realized he was “driving a tiny car in the wee hours in a miniscule state with no traffic.”

 
Still, no matter what job you lose, “you feel small,” Groff said. “And they are tall.”

 
Speaking of self-worth, Gurwitch saved the strong and sensitive for last: Jane Edith Wilson, a striking redheaded comedian. Sure, she said, who isn’t happy to be “released from an astounding, soul-sucking job.” However, she added, any firing doesn’t feel good. “There’s something heavy in the air … once you have that stink on you.”

 
“You charm people,” one boss told her. “It’s disgusting.” Waitressing at the Greenwich Village V&G café, Wilson became known for her hilarious antics, like the dance she did with the plastic honey bears. (I remember; I used to enjoy her!)

 
She always exacted “a look of murder” at a customer, she says. “I wanted him to know I was deeply aware of my own self-worth.”

 
Wilson gave people lip, was “often hung-over” and always late. But after 12 years at V&G, “to this day,” says Wilson, “whenever I hear ‘Crazy for You’ by Madonna, I have an urge to put a plate of fries in front of a drunk person.”
In the moment of being fired, Wilson says she “felt an odd resignation.”

 
And I think I know what she means. I felt awful being fired from my job at a Westside car wash last summer. But I was resigned. They had to can me. I accidentally smashed a cherry Chevy Tahoe into a pole driving it to the drying area.

 
And when I got fired as deejay on “The Voice of Peace” pirate radio ship in Israel, peace ship owner Abie Natan sent an Arab dinghy out from Jaffa to yank me off the air. Now that was an interesting way to get thrown over.

 

Hank Rosenfeld has been fired from every radio announcing and car-washing job he’s ever had. “Fired!” books, CDs, and DVDs are available at www.firedbyannabellegurwitch.com.

The Ethics of Revenge


My beloved son, Arik, my own flesh and blood, was murdered by Palestinians.

My tall, blue-eyed, golden-haired son who was always smiling with the innocence of a child and the understanding of an adult. My son. To hit his killers, innocent Palestinian children and other civilians would have to be killed. I would ask the security forces to wait for another opportunity. If the security forces were to kill innocent Palestinians as well, I would tell them they were no better than my son’s killers.

My beloved son, Arik, was murdered by a Palestinian. Should the security forces have information of this murderer’s whereabouts, and should it turn out that he was surrounded by innocent children and other Palestinian civilians, then — even if the security forces knew that the killer was planning another murderous attack that was to be launched within hours and they now had the choice of curbing a terror attack that would kill innocent Israeli civilians, but at the cost of hitting innocent Palestinians — I would tell the security forces not to seek revenge, but to try to avoid and prevent the death of innocent civilians, be they Israelis or Palestinians.

I would rather have the finger that pushes the trigger or the button that drops the bomb tremble before it kills my son’s murderer than for innocent civilians to be killed. I would say to the security forces: do not kill the killer. Rather, bring him before an Israeli court. You are not the judiciary. Your only motivation should not be vengeance, but the prevention of any injury to innocent civilians.

Ethics are not black and white — they are all white. Ethics have to be free of vengefulness and rashness. Every act must be carefully weighed before a decision is made to see whether it meets the strict ethical criteria. Ethics cannot be left to the discretion of anyone who is frivolous or trigger-happy. Our ethics are hanging by a thread, at the mercy of every soldier and politician. I am not at all sure that I am willing to delegate my ethics to them.

It is unethical to kill innocent Israeli or Palestinian women and children. It is also unethical to control another nation and to lead it to lose its humaneness. It is patently unethical to drop a bomb that kills innocent Palestinians. It is blatantly unethical to wreak vengeance upon innocent bystanders. It is, on the other hand, supremely ethical to prevent the death of any human being. But if such prevention causes the futile death of others, the ethical foundation for such prevention is lost.

A nation that cannot draw the line is doomed to eventually apply unethical measures against its own people. The worst in my mind is not what has already happened but what I am sure one day will. And it will — because ethics are now being twisted and the political and military leadership does not even have the most basic integrity to say: "We are sorry."

We lost sight of our ethics long before the suicide bombings. The breaking point was when we started to control another nation. My son, Arik, was born into a democracy with a chance for a decent, settled life. Arik’s killer was born into an appalling occupation, into an ethical chaos. Had my son been born in his stead, he may have ended up doing the same. Had I myself been born into the political and ethical chaos that is the Palestinians’ daily reality, I would certainly have tried to kill and hurt the occupier; had I not, I would have betrayed my essence as a free man. Let all the self-righteous who speak of ruthless Palestinian murderers take a hard look in the mirror and ask themselves what they would have done had they been the ones living under occupation. I can say for myself that I, Yitzhak Frankenthal, would have undoubtedly become a freedom fighter and would have killed as many on the other side as I possibly could. It is this depraved hypocrisy that pushes the Palestinians to fight us relentlessly — our double standard that allows us to boast the highest military ethics, while the same military slays innocent children. This lack of ethics is bound to corrupt us.

My son, Arik, was murdered when he was a soldier by Palestinian fighters who believed in the ethical basis of their struggle against the occupation. My son, Arik, was not murdered because he was Jewish, but because he is part of the nation that occupies the territory of another.

I know these are concepts that are unpalatable, but I must voice them loud and clear, because they come from my heart — the heart of a father whose son did not get to live because his people were blinded with power. As much as I would like to do so, I cannot say that the Palestinians are to blame for my son’s death. That would be the easy way out, but it is we, Israelis, who are to blame because of the occupation. Anyone who refuses to heed this awful truth will eventually lead to our destruction.

The Palestinians cannot drive us away — they have long acknowledged our existence. They have been ready to make peace with us; it is we who are unwilling to make peace with them. It is we who insist on maintaining our control over them; it is we who escalate the situation in the region and feed the cycle of bloodshed. I regret to say it, but the blame is entirely ours.

I do not mean to absolve the Palestinians and by no means justify attacks against Israeli civilians. No attack against civilians can be condoned. But as an occupation force, it is we who trample over human dignity, it is we who crush the liberty of Palestinians and it is we who push an entire nation to crazy acts of despair. Finally, I call on my brothers and sisters in the settlements — see what we have come to.

Food for Thought


The motive driving suicide volunteers is revenge. They have stopped fighting to liberate Palestine.

They have suspended the dream of a state. They now dream of killing as many Jews as possible, of revenge, of making life in Israel impossible — and they truly believe they can do it.

Let me, as accurately as I can, describe a conversation I had with a Palestinian peace activist over dinner in a European capital one Friday night in mid-June. We have known each other for quite a few years, and I have always had deep respect for his views, hence the importance I attach to what he said that night, despite the three glasses of wine that went down with his meal.

The Zionist experiment, he told me, is over. The Palestinians have discovered a strategic weapon: suicide bombers. Once anathema, they are now considered heroes. The shahids (martyrs), once seen as religious fanatics, are now nationalist freedom fighters. Moreover, he continued, they are growing in legitimacy all the time. The Arab world understands them and even some Europeans seem to. The Israelis have F-16s; the Palestinians, suicide bombers. The equivalency is obvious to all.

Now, he continued, there are thousands out there waiting in line to kill as many Israelis as they can, to make your lives hell on earth. They belong to no organization, but want revenge and are prepared to die for it. You think you are going to stop them by punishing their parents. You are wrong. You won’t even know who they are or where they came from.

We are going to hit you everywhere we can: gas stations, theaters, parks, wedding halls. It will be one funeral after the next.

And then, while you are reeling, the 1.5 million Palestinian allies, the Israeli Palestinians, our brothers and your enemy, will rise up as well. They are just waiting for a sign from us. They know you better than you know yourselves. They speak your language and know every street in every one of your cities. And they will join at the right time. Make no mistake about it.

And then what does Israel do? Transfer? Can you imagine CNN and the BBC reporting live as the Jews transfer truckload after truckload of Palestinians over the border? Your country will lose all legitimacy. The Arab world will go to war against it. You will be a pariah, worse than South Africa under apartheid. Your generals will be tried for war crimes. The world will impose sanctions. Your F-16s will run dry of fuel.

Your people will leave in droves, especially professionals. The Zionist experiment is over.

That, in essence, was what was said. Was he entirely serious? Who knows? Was he trying to ruin my meal? Perhaps. But there are several harsh truths there and, in tune with the old adage that when wine goes in, secrets come out, I took note of the following: Advertisements in the Palestinian press against suicide bombings signed by several hundred Palestinian intellectuals notwithstanding, suicide bombings have the full support of the Palestinian people, including some intellectuals. It has become almost politically correct. Soldiers die in battle. The suicide bombers are soldiers, their deaths are legitimate and the killing of civilians is legitimate, they say. Israelis do it with tanks all the time.

The strategy is to push Israel into responding in a way that would turn it into another South Africa, a pariah state. The goal is no longer to draw international intervention, which the Palestinians have been trying to do since the outbreak of the current conflict, but to achieve Israel’s international isolation — to strangle the country diplomatically, economically and morally while managing, with great dexterity and skill, to maintain the image of the Palestinians as victims.

If this thinking has indeed penetrated serious Palestinian circles, we are in for a long and hard period. But it will not follow the outlined scenario. Israel will build a fence, increase its vigilance, take security measures, exile the families of suicide bombers, maintain a constant presence in Palestinian-controlled territories if suspected terrorists are there, maintain the stranglehold it has over the cities and the roadblocks that makes it impossible to move from point to point. There are a million steps between suicide bombers and transfer and yes, there will be casualties. But Palestinian suicide bombers are not going to defeat the state of Israel. And, incidentally, there are gas stations on both sides.

Food for Thought


The motive driving suicide volunteers is revenge. They have stopped fighting to liberate Palestine. They have suspended

the dream of a state. They now dream of killing as many Jews as possible, of revenge, of making life in Israel impossible — and they truly believe they can do it.

Let me, as accurately as I can, describe a conversation I had with a Palestinian peace activist over dinner in a European capital one Friday night in mid-June. We have known each other for quite a few years, and I have always had deep respect for his views, hence the importance I attach to what he said that night, despite the three glasses of wine that went down with his meal.

The Zionist experiment, he told me, is over. The Palestinians have discovered a strategic weapon: suicide bombers. Once anathema, they are now considered heroes. The shahids (martyrs), once seen as religious fanatics, are now nationalist freedom fighters. Moreover, he continued, they are growing in legitimacy all the time. The Arab world understands them and even some Europeans seem to. The Israelis have F-16s; the Palestinians, suicide bombers. The equivalency is obvious to all.

Now, he continued, there are thousands out there waiting in line to kill as many Israelis as they can, to make your lives hell on earth. They belong to no organization, but want revenge and are prepared to die for it. You think you are going to stop them by punishing their parents. You are wrong. You won’t even know who they are or where they came from.

We are going to hit you everywhere we can: gas stations, theaters, parks, wedding halls. It will be one funeral after the next.

And then, while you are reeling, the 1.5 million Palestinian allies, the Israeli Palestinians, our brothers and your enemy, will rise up as well. They are just waiting for a sign from us. They know you better than you know yourselves. They speak your language and know every street in every one of your cities. And they will join at the right time. Make no mistake about it.

And then what does Israel do? Transfer? Can you imagine CNN and the BBC reporting live as the Jews transfer truckload after truckload of Palestinians over the border? Your country will lose all legitimacy. The Arab world will go to war against it. You will be a pariah, worse than South Africa under apartheid. Your generals will be tried for war crimes. The world will impose sanctions. Your F-16s will run dry of fuel.

Your people will leave in droves, especially professionals. The Zionist experiment is over.

That, in essence, was what was said. Was he entirely serious? Who knows? Was he trying to ruin my meal? Perhaps. But there are several harsh truths there and, in tune with the old adage that when wine goes in, secrets come out, I took note of the following: Advertisements in the Palestinian press against suicide bombings signed by several hundred Palestinian intellectuals notwithstanding, suicide bombings have the full support of the Palestinian people, including some intellectuals. It has become almost politically correct. Soldiers die in battle. The suicide bombers are soldiers, their deaths are legitimate and the killing of civilians is legitimate, they say. Israelis do it with tanks all the time.

The strategy is to push Israel into responding in a way that would turn it into another South Africa, a pariah state. The goal is no longer to draw international intervention, which the Palestinians have been trying to do since the outbreak of the current conflict, but to achieve Israel’s international isolation — to strangle the country diplomatically, economically and morally while managing, with great dexterity and skill, to maintain the image of the Palestinians as victims.

If this thinking has indeed penetrated serious Palestinian circles, we are in for a long and hard period. But it will not follow the outlined scenario. Israel will build a fence, increase its vigilance, take security measures, exile the families of suicide bombers, maintain a constant presence in Palestinian-controlled territories if suspected terrorists are there, maintain the stranglehold it has over the cities and the roadblocks that makes it impossible to move from point to point. There are a million steps between suicide bombers and transfer and yes, there will be casualties. But Palestinian suicide bombers are not going to defeat the state of Israel. And, incidentally, there are gas stations on both sides.


Hirsh Goodman is a columnist for The Jerusalem Report. Reprinted with permission,

Mating Call or Terrorist Revenge?


A new weapon may have emerged in the Palestinians’ battle against Israel — the "siren call."

In several ads in New York’s Village Voice newspaper, Palestinians — or people posing as Palestinians — solicit romantically available Jews or Israelis to take them "home" to Israel.

"You stole the land. May as well take the women," reads one ad. "Redhead Palestinian ready to be colonized by your army."

Another makes a similar point: "Shalom baby! Hot Palestinian Semite gal hoping to find my perfect Israeli man. Let’s stroll the beaches of Akka and live and love in Jerusalem. No Fatties."

Some Jewish leaders say the unusual barrage of ads — at least 18 in the one February issue — is some kind of publicity stunt. Others fear a more serious ploy to infiltrate Israel and realize the "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to homes they fled in Israel.

Still others remember the incident last year when a Palestinian woman struck up a cyber-romance with an Israeli teenager to lure him to Ramallah, where he was murdered.

Kenneth Jacobson, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said that before Sept. 11, he might have dismissed the ads as a gimmick. Now he’s a little more skeptical. "It’s as if some in the Palestinian world [may be looking for] ways to begin to inject more and more Palestinians into Israel proper," Jacobson said.

For its part, the Village Voice said this was the only phone call they received about the ads, and that the advertising department would "review the ads in question," said the paper’s public relations director, Jessica Bellucci.

"We feel they don’t raise any red flags," she said, but "we’re going to continue to monitor [them] and then take appropriate actions necessary."

That could mean pulling ads if they are fraudulent.

Jacobson said the ADL hasn’t received many calls on the ads, but after Sept. 11, "When we see something we might dismiss as ludicrous, today we have to give it some due attention, because we know crazy and dangerous things have happened and can happen again," he said.

Ido Aharoni, spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York, said the ads are a "kind of guerrilla P.R. warfare that" reflects negatively on those who placed them.

Yet, he doesn’t think the ads warrant further concern.

"I don’t think it’s serious. I don’t think it’s for real," Aharoni said. "Here’s a relatively inexpensive way to reach hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers."

In addition, he noted, such ads are protected under the First Amendment’s free speech provisions.

Bellucci of the Village Voice said the paper sees "trends from time to time" in the personal ads that may highlight religion, for example, or sexual orientation.

The Palestinian ads are "in keeping" with the background and interests of the Voice’s diverse readership, she said.

Now It’s Jewish Terrorists


The settler movement is in serious denial over last week’s killings of three Palestinians, including 3-month-old Dia Tmeizi. While all settlers publicly condemn the killings, even the most "mainstream" don’t see any connection between the nighttime ambush near Hebron and the incessant cries for "revenge" by settlers at funerals, demonstrations and elsewhere.

"I also shouted ‘revenge’ at demonstrations," says Yehoshua Mor-Yosef, spokesman of the YESHA Council, the lead political action committee of the settler movement. "There’s nothing forbidden about revenge, it’s perfectly legitimate as long as it’s carried out by the state, not by individuals taking the law into their own hands."

The gunman or gunmen, who opened fire on the car driven by the Tmeizi family, fled in the direction of "Israel proper," not towards a Jewish settlement or Palestinian Authority territory inside. It’s possible the gunmen were not settlers. But the more radical settlers insist that Arabs might well have been the killers.

This was the argument Adir Zik, a tremendously popular commentator on the settler radio station Arutz 7, made on his program the morning after the killings. "It’s being taken for granted that this was done by Jews, but it’s very doubtful," Zik said in an interview, recalling a 1995 murder of Halhoul Arabs at first thought to have been committed by settler extremists, when it turned out to have been done by Palestinians.

Reminded that there have been instances of settlers killing innocent Palestinians, the most grievous case being the massacre of 29 Palestinians by Baruch Goldstein in Hebron, Zik replied, "I have many doubts whether he killed the people there. He might have been pulled into [Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs, where the Arab victims were shot during prayer]. It might have really been a feud between Arab clans."

That Goldstein was seen going into the tomb with his Army rifle; his dead body was found in the tomb afterward; his rifle and his spent bullets were recovered from the tomb; and scores of Palestinian survivors testified that it was Goldstein who opened fire, evidently hasn’t made an impression on Zik. Soon after the killings, Women in Green sent out an e-mail headlined, "Don’t Blame the Jews!" "The fact that Arab survivors testified that the attackers looked Jewish doesn’t mean anything," said Women in Green, noting that Efrat settler Sarah Blaustein was shot to death by Palestinians wearing a kippah. There is no known case of Arabs disguising themselves as religious Jews and killing Arabs for the purpose of discrediting settlers, but this doesn’t deter the Women in Green. With Arab pressure mounting to bring international observers to the territories, there is a "clear Arab interest in portraying themselves as victims," went the statement.

A few days before the assault on the Tmeizi family — all told, three of them were killed and four wounded, including Dia’s mother — Shin Bet head Avi Dichter told a Knesset committee that at least one Jewish terror cell was operating in the West Bank. In June, a Palestinian was killed in a drive-by shooting by unknown gunmen calling themselves the Shalhevet-Zar Brigade, named for two Jewish settler victims of the intifada, the infant girl Shalhevet Pass and security officer Gilad Zar. At the time of Dichter’s warning, explosives were found in the car of the wife of Noam Federman, a Kach leader and Hebron settler arrested and convicted numerous times for hate crimes.

Yet while even moderate settlers say the guilt for the Tmeizi killings are confined to the gunmen who carried them out, the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem says that all told during the current intifada, eight Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians in what could be called murders. In some cases the killers were never found, in other cases the police arrested settlers but freed them for lack of evidence — over the testimony of Palestinian who said they witnessed the killings. Beyond these killings, B’tselem points out, settler vigilantism is a continuous phenomenon, and has been especially grievous during this intifada.

"In recent months, settlers have shot at Palestinians, stoned their cars, damaged property, uprooted trees, burned a mosque, harmed Palestinian medical teams, attacked journalists, prevented farmers from going to their fields and blocked Palestinian cars from traveling on roads. Although some of the shooting was in self-defense, the vast majority of violence was premeditated," B’tselem stated.

Asked to respond to this statement, Mor-Yosef interrupted the reading of it and said, "I believe a B’tselem as much as I believe a Hamas report. I don’t believe a word they say."

Palestinians have killed scores of West Bank and Gaza settlers in this intifada, and hundreds have been wounded. The roads the Palestinians drive to and from home have become killing zones. But settlers have not only been victims during the current fighting, they have also been victimizers. Their claims of innocence in the killing of the Tmeizis are hollow when their cry of "Revenge!" has become so common.

The View from


On Salah a-Din Street, the main street on the Arab side of thecapital, the spirit was very different. People kept their heads down,aware that they were being watched, aware that the Jews weren’t toofond of them these days. But if they were expected to feel remorsefulabout Mahane Yehuda, some did, while others felt roughly theopposite.

“Most Palestinians are not sad about these things,” said Ibrahim,a 26-year-old electrician, sitting outside a cafe. “On a personallevel, they’re afraid it will hurt them, make their lives harder,make it harder for them to work in Israel.”

He added that Palestinians are also afraid of revenge attacks byJewish terrorists. (A Palestinian man was shot to death on Sundaynear a settlement south of Hebron. A Palestinian eyewitness said thatthe killer was wearing a yarmulke.)

“But, on the other hand,” Ibrahim said, “Palestinians think thisis the only way to fight against the Netanyahu government. They feellike they have nothing to lose. So, in the end, they support thiskind of action.”

Ibrahim himself didn’t think it was right to blow up civilians,saying, “If you want to fight, you should fight soldiers.” But hesaid that most of his friends supported the bombing of Mahane Yehuda.

Standing near the Old City’s Damascus Gate, William, 32, ahospital employee, said: “This is not the right way to build ourstate. These were innocent people — they have nothing to do with thegovernment’s actions. It wasn’t right, and this is not the way toachieve peace.”

A couple of high school students, who didn’t give their names,voiced the same opinion.

Mohammed, the owner of a hummus restaurant on Salah a-Din, said:”It was right and wrong at the same time. I’m against bloodshed ingeneral, but the Palestinians are still under occupation, and theyhave the right to fight against it anyway they see fit.”

Danny Rubinstein, perhaps Israel’s leading journalist onPalestinian affairs, wrote in Ha’aretz: “It’s doubtful that any otherterror attack has brought out such feelings of sympathy among peoplein the territories. The reason for this is undoubtedly the buildup ofbitterness and rage among all sectors of the Palestinian populationtoward what they see as the Netanyahu government’s destruction of anyhope in the peace process.”

Rubinstein wrote that a few hours after the bombing, “onlyexpressions of satisfaction” were heard on the streets of Arab EastJerusalem. The local newspaper, Al Kuds, printed condemnations andexpressions of sympathy from Yasser Arafat, Hanan Ashrawi and otherPalestinian leaders, but Al Kuds editors privately derided theseremarks as “false, put-on, lip service,” he wrote.

Yet Dr. Khalil Shkaki, widely considered the most reliable trackerof Palestinian public opinion, said that he believes mostPalestinians are uncomfortable with the Mahane Yehuda attack, even ifit expressed the political disillusionment they feel.

“It’s one thing to say you ‘understand’ the act, that youunderstand people’s frustration and despair, but it’s another thingto say you actually support that act,” said Shkaki, director of theCenter for Palestine Research and Studies in Nablus.

When the center conducts its next survey of Palestinian publicopinion next week, Shkaki said that he expects to find that theMahane Yehuda bombing has reversed a rise in popular support forterror.

It went down to about 20 percent when Netanyahu took office, butclimbed up to about 40 percent after the Hasmonean tunnel riots latelast year and stayed at that level after construction began on HarHoma.

“It’s easier for people to say they support violence in theorythan it is for them to say it after they see the faces, the blood,the death,” he said.

Asked how he reacted when he saw such images from Mahane Yehuda,Ibrahim said: “It’s difficult. It’s difficult to see such painfulthings. But if you see pictures from the intifada, it is moredifficult. Israelis did things to us that were even worse. I had afriend who was killed in the intifada. We Palestinians have adifficult past too, and we don’t forget it.”

Shkaki went on to predict that the bombing would not translateinto political gains for Hamas or Islamic Jihad. “Despite the factthat people are frustrated, Hamas can’t mobilize popular support;they can’t capture people’s imagination,” he said.

Palestinians are primarily concerned with improving their economicwelfare and with ending the corruption and abuse of their humanrights by the Palestinian Authority, but “Hamas isn’t dealing withany of these issues,” he said.

The impression from Palestinians on Salah a-Din Street was offluidity of opinion, of contradiction. Ibrahim, who said that “itwasn’t right to carry out such an explosion among people,” also saidthat when he first heard of the bombing, he was “happy.”

“Yes, I was happy,” he said, “because it showed that while thegovernment of Israel is doing everything it can to stop such actions,it cannot succeed.”

Mohammed, who insisted on the Palestinians’ right to fight theoccupation “anyway they see fit,” also said that when he first heardof the Mahane Yehuda attack, he felt “very bad. It showed that thingsare starting up all over again. It ought to stop. There should besome peace so that we can all just try to live.”

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