The Israel National News(Arutz Sheva) is reporting that an Arab suicide bomber blew himself up at the Sharon Mall in Netanya today. So far, it appears that two shoppers have been killed and that 30 are seriously wounded. It is believed, but not yet confirmed, that the terrorist came from Tulkarm in the West Bank, just a few miles east of Netanya. Apparently the bomber was able to get through the Israeli checkpoint.
I have two comments.
The first is that the U.N., Europe and the U.S. media have been pushing to have Israel relax the thoroughness with which it checks Arabs passing into Israel because it causes inconvenience and long lines. This is from an article in the Washington Post of November 29, 2004:
On days when the Hawara checkpoint is open, it is one of the busiest in the West Bank. Sometimes as many as 5,000 Palestinians a day request permission to cross. They stand in line in searing heat or icy rains, depending on the season, until they reach an open-air shed with a corrugated tin roof. Often packed together by the hundreds, they must then wait their turn to pass, one by one, through narrow metal turnstiles that the soldiers open and close electronically.
Apparently it is okay if some Israelis out shopping at a mall get killed or wounded, as long as Arabs don’t have to wait in the sun or the rain at the checkpoints. I don’t think we will now see the Washington Post calling for more stringent scrutiny of Arabs at the checkpoints.
The second comment has to do with the origin of the terrorist. If it is true that he came from Tulkarm, that is a city that was recently handed over to the Palestine Authority by Israel. It is clear that the PA does not have the means or the will to prevent its citizens from entering Israel with the intent to harm Israelis. If that is the case, why is Israel abandoning Gush Katif (Gaza) to the Arabs? It is appeasement pure and simple – and appeasement never works.
Israel will be more vulnerable after the withdrawal from Gush Katif. Further, Israel has not held the PA to its commitment to disarm and dismantle the terrorist organizations in its territory.
Prime Minister Sharon has a duty to his people to protect them and keep them safe. Abandoning Gush Katif is not the way to do that.
Update: July 12, 2005 4:31pm PDT
The bomber was from a village near Tulkarm.
Update: July 12, 2005 5:47 pm PDT
One of the wounded has died. The death toll is now 3.
One of the wounded is a 6 year old child severely burned.
Update: July 13, 2005 7:44am PDT
Another of the wounded has died. The death toll is now 4 women.
The four who have died from this horrific act are:
Anya Lifschitz, 50
Yulia Voloshin, 31
Rachel ben Abu, 16
Nofar Horovitz, 16
Also, Israel, which handed over Tulkarm to the Palestine Authority three months ago has taken back control of Tulkarm and apprehended five members of Islamic Jihad and uncovered caches of weapons. The homicide bomber belonged to a branch of the PA Security Services.