The recent acts of terrorism in Israel and occupied territories in the Palestinian autonomy demonstrated once again that violence is a broken track for both parties.
Last night, three people were killed and 30 wounded as a result of an attack on a restaurant in Tel Aviv. The gunman who fired on the restaurant with M-16 rifle was then shot dead by the policemen.
Israeli radio informs that the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant wing of Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the restaurant attack. The seeds of hatred sown in a fertilized land have brought young crops. An explosion sounded at a school yard in Tzur Baher on the edge of Jerusalem early in the morning. A Palestinian teacher and eight pupils were injured. Close to the explosion site, the police found two more undetonated bombs. An unknown Jewish radical group ,Nikmat ha-Olalim, claimed responsibility for the school bombing. One of the group’s members called the press-service of an Israeli radio staion and said that the terrorist act was in response to the killing of Jewish women and children by Palestinian terrorists. It is not yet clear whether the school bombing was a revenge action or a deliberate provocation, but the fact makes us reflect on it.
Israel no longer believes in the effectiveness of its special operations. Militants from the radical groups are arrested all over the country, and weapon caches and factories are destroyed; however, the wave of terrorism is still gaining force. Under the present conditions, Israel reminds on of Don Quijote tilting at windmills. It seems to me that Ariel Sharon himself and other cabinet members realized this fact perfectly well.
Several days ago, Israel made a harsh statement explaining its attitude towards a peace plan submitted by HRH Crown Prince Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince suggested that Israel should be recognised by all Arab nations in exchange for a return to the borders of the Jewish state that existed before the “six-day war” in 1967, when the West Bank and Gaza Strip were invaded.
At the session of the Israeli Security Cabinet on March 3rd, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that the Saudi suggestions “pose a threat to Israel’s security.” At the same time, Cabinet Secretary Gideon Saar said “any demands for the restoration of the 1967 borders makes further talks needless.” “Israel will not accept any conditions that pose a threat to its security; the problem of the restoration of the 1967 borders is such a requirement," said Mr.Saar. In his words, this is the opinion of the whole of the Israeli government.
In less than two days, the situation changed drastically. CNN informs that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked for organization of a secret meeting with Crown Prince Abdallah of Saudi Arabia during his telephone conversation with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak. In Mubarak’s words, Ariel Sharon wants to have a close look at Abdallah’s suggestions. Is this Sharon’s tactical move aimed at the conciliation of the Arab nations or an unofficial acknowledgement of a defeat in the struggle with Arafat? The first variant is slightly probable, as the Arab world has no single position regarding the Saudi suggestions. Libya’s leader Muammer Kaddafi called the peace plan shocking, and he is sure that prolonged negotiations will follow. Legislators from Kuwait consider the plan to be “a grave strategic error." Radical Muslim groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories have also strictly criticized the Saudi suggestions. Saudi’s traditional ally, Syria, still abstains from making any comments regarding initiatives. The recognition of Israel by the Arab world ties the hands of the radical forces and constricts the opportunities for a maneuver at prospective talks. On the very eve of the Arab regional summit, a split occurred in the Arab world. The actions of the Israeli prime minister will aggravate the split.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/05/37866.html
Since the likes of the traditional Inauguration Day in the national Capitol are likely never to be witnessed again, take this opportunity from one who has been there to relate some truth about the experience