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Update – 5 February 2008

Dear Advocates,

Last night I heard one of the words that has terrified me over the years in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “Piguah” – “terrorist attack”.

Yesterday, at approximately 10:30am Israel time (7:30pm AEDST) a Palestinian suicide bomber killed one woman and wounded eleven others when he blew himself up in a crowded mall in the southern Israel city of Dimona. A second bomber was killed before he could detonate a second explosive belt. This was the first suicide inside of Israel since 27 January 2007, when three Israelis were killed in an attack in Eilat.

Mixed reports have been coming through as to which terrorist group was responsible for the attack. Earlier reports stated that the Al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility. It was claimed that the suicide bombers had entered Israel following the border breach with Egypt. At the time, a Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha “said that he did not know whether his group was involved, but said the attackwas justified.” He also told the Associated Press news agency that “the resistance used every opportunity to make these glorious acts… they show the Palestinians can respond to the enemy and their crimes”.

Hamas appears to also be claiming responsibility for the attack, and claim the bombers came from Hebron in the West Bank. Read ‘Hamas claims Dimona bombers came from Hebron’.

Ed O’Loughlin of the Melbourne Age today filed a report on the attack entitled ‘Israeli dies inPalestinian suicide attack’. Following a very brief account of events O’Loughlin states that since lasts year’s suicide bombing attack on Eilat, “six Israeli civilians, six soldiers and an Ecuadorian migrant labourer have been killed by Palestinians.” He then continues, “at least 420 Palestinian civilians and militants were killed by Israeli action in the same period,” but he provides no context and no explanation for delving into these statistics in this manner.

He seems to be attempting to draw comparisons between the deliberate murder of a civilian in Dimona with the consequences of IDF measures to counter terrorism initiated by various Palestinian groups in circumstances where the terrorists put their own people at risk by operating from within civilian populations. He might also have added another statistic to the pile to demonstrate how little store Palestinian terrorism puts on the lives of its own people. That is, the fact that 612 Palestinian Arabs were violently killed by each other in 2007(including 41 women and 44 children) and 14 (including 2 women and 1 child) have been killed in 2008 alone in violence between Palestinians.

O’Loughlin fails to mention the Hamas connection to the attack or the response of its leadership which gives its approval to a murderous act of terrorism committed against a civilian target. He continues to ignore the fact that this attack, like the Kassam rockets that continue to be fired daily at Sderot and other southern towns, are completely indiscriminate and in fact, deliberately target civilians. Click here to read the MFA report on the nature of these attacks.

While Israelis mourned the death of 74-year-old Razdolskya Lyobov, Palestinians teens took to the streets handing out “candy and flowers” in response to the attacks. For more on this,read ‘Hamas Celebrates as Palestinian Suicide Bomber Kills; Israel Still Works for Peace’ by the Israel Project, with some information on the attack, background on more recent suicide attacks and a timeline of peace initiative since the 1970s.

For more from our local media, read ‘Bomber strikes near Israeli reactor’, an AP AFP articlethat appeared in the print edition of the Australian, and ‘Suicide bombing returns to Israel’ from the Australian online by Abraham Rabinovich.To unsubscribe from this email, click here.

Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
Research Officer
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507