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Today in Jerusalem…

2 July 2008

Hopefully, none of y’all were too worried after hearing about the incident here in Jerusalem this morning.  It was nowhere near the campus neighborhood where I’m staying (although we are not far from the neighborhood where the driver of the bulldozer evidently lives).  Frankly, the whole incident seems quite bizarre–so much so that regardless of the sheer madness and bloodshed, I have a hard time buying the characterization of the whole thing as a “terrorist attack”.  I’d be the last person to claim expertise in these sorts of matters, but this seems much more akin to a construction worker going bezerk.  And as more than one Israeli on this campus reminded me today, whenever a crime occurs in which a Palestinian is a suspect, it is automatically deemed a terrorist attack by the government.  If that’s the case, then I can least pray that this one doesn’t end in some indiscriminate air strike into Gaza.  

That said, it was very interesting to hear reactions to the incident from Israelis today.  They ran a pretty wide spectrum, ranging from extremes of  “This happens all the time.  Nothing to be overly concerned about” to “This is why we can never have peace–Palestinians won’t stop until they’ve annihilated Israel”. Most, though, seemed to take on a subtle anger, tempered by the sentiment that putting up with these sorts of incidents is simply the price of building a country on this particular stretch of land.  One can’t help but feel physically sick thinking about just how many bus bombings it must have taken to achieve such a level of grudging acceptance.  

Then again, for anyone who didn’t read all the way to the bottom of whatever AP wire you happened to click on, there were also suggestions like this one:

Sara Nagani, 48, who was watching the emergency services work, said the driver’s neighborhood “has to be wiped out.” She said she had come to Jerusalem with her family from India at the age of 3. “I’ll live and die here,” she said, “but not like this.”

No wonder there seems to be so little optimism about the cease-fire these days.


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