Sunday, June 22, 2003

Another day, another bomb...

The Arab-Israeli conflict continues to be a mix of the tragic and the comical. To wit, this AP report:
JERUSALEM - Four Palestinian militants died late Sunday, apparently when a bomb they were planting went off in northern Gaza.
There's that word militants again, as though these guys simply had very strong feelings on the subject. I mean, really -- they died making a freaking bomb. Would calling them terrorists really be such an editorial stretch? Well, at least it's not Reuters -- they would have called the bombers "activists."
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Israel could still build Jewish settlements in defiance of a U.S.-backed peace plan.
In defiance of. Those uppity Israelis, not bowing to American authority. ...What? The U.S. has no authority? So where's the "defiance" part?
At first, Palestinian security officials said Israeli tanks fired at a group of militants from the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, affiliated with the Yasser Arafat's mainstream Fatah, killing three men and wounding four others, in the northeast Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. Another died later in a hospital, doctors said.
Well, if Palestinian security officials say it, it's gotta be true, right? Oh, oops, no:
Later, however, loudspeaker trucks drove through the area saying that the four died while "fulfilling their national duty," a phrase used in the past to announce accidental deaths.
I don't suppose this will cause the various news-gathering outfits in the PA to be a little more skeptical of PLO pronouncements in the future? ...didn't think so.

Also, love that bit about "fulfilling their national duty." Apparently, the people in the trucks consider it Palestinians' national duty to die stupidly and uselessly. Well, no surprise there.

Sharon adviser Raanan Gissin said Israel would continue construction in built-up areas of settlements. Asked about the required freeze, he noted that the Cabinet, in voting on the plan, attached objections.
I don't suppose anyone asked about the "required" cessation of violence that the Palestinians were supposed to deliver last month? Who the hell "requires" these things, anyway?
Mideast mediators, meanwhile, expressed concern over Israel's killing of Abdullah Kawasme, a local leader of the Hamas militant group in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said the killing Saturday could set back peace efforts, but stopped short of directly criticizing it.
Oh brother -- look, I know that Powell needs to say these things to appear "even-handed" and all, but really: Hamas has rejected this vaunted road map pretty unequivocally. They have refused to cease violence, simply because they are not yet defeated. They have told both Abbas and Egyptians to shove it. They have planned and carried out murderous attacks. So how exactly is killing one of their most red-handed leaders going to "set back the peace process"?!
The Quartet is trying to rescue the peace plan, buffeted by Mideast violence since its launch by President Bush on June 4.
I don't suppose the author even realizes how ironic this sounds. "Yeah, they have a nice peace plan, only the violence keeps getting in the way." Naturally, the word violence is used neutrally: Arabs kill bus passengers, Israelis kill Arabs that kill bus passengers, both sides equally at fault.
The statement did not refer to Israel's extrajudicial killings of wanted Palestinians, which have emerged as an obstacle to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas' efforts to persuade militant groups to halt attacks. The armed groups have said they will agree to a truce only if Israel halts military strikes, including such killings.
Oh, please! One might imagine that, had an Israeli court found these terrorist scum guilty before their "extrajudicial killings," Hamas and Islamic Jihad would be just fine with it. They want paperwork, dang it! And I believe Hamas has made it quite clear that they won't agree to a cease-fire, much less any kind of real peace, under any circumstances short of a mass Israeli suicide.
The Israeli military said troops tried to arrest Kawasme, and that he was killed after he did not heed calls to stop. The wanted man was armed, the military said.

A Palestinian witness, Mohammed Nasser Eddin, said Kawasme was unarmed and tried to run from soldiers encircling him in three vans outside a mosque in Hebron.
Well, since we can't possibly discount the tale of one "witness" living in the middle of Arafatistan, I guess we'll just have to believe that the Israelis were lying, and Kawasme was the only jihadi to fight against the evil usurper Zionists "unarmed."
Palestinian officials accused Israel of trying to undermine truce efforts.
Offered without comment.
The "road map" starts with a halt to violence, a crackdown on militant groups, the dismantling of settlement outposts and leads through three stages to a Palestinian state in 2005.
And we can expect the halt to "violence" and a crackdown on militant groups any time now. ...aaaaaany time now.... aaaany time...
Palestinians charge that Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are a major obstacle to a peace agreement because they encroach on land the Palestinians claim for a state.
I wonder if anyone asked the Israelis whether Palestinian mass murders of Israeli civilians and Hamas's calls for an Islamic state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean are "a major obstacle to a peace agreement."

Nah. Their opinion doesn't count. They are just Jews. And probably Zionists, too.

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