BICOM Daily Briefing January 15 2004
Last updated: 2004-01-15
In other news, the British media reports extensively on the death of International Solidarity Movement activist Tom Hurndall, who died in hospital Tuesday night, and the arrest and indictment of an Israeli soldier in connection with Hurndalls death. The Independent has a leader article which comments on the likely effects this incident will have on
All Israeli papers lead with the suicide attack in
Quotes of the Day:
Ireland's Foreign Minister on EU policy towards Israel
Brian Cowen, Irish Foreign Minister (Haaretz, 15/01): I am aware that a simplistic view exists regarding the EU policy toward
Suicide bomber kills four Israelis at Erez checkpoint
Col. Yoav Mordechai, Commander of the DCO at Erez, (Jerusalem Post, 15/01): The suicide bomber took advantage of her gender, knowing that she would not be asked to lift her clothes as the males are to ensure they have no explosives strapped to their bodies. She also took advantage of her medical situation.
Ashur Salha, Palestinian factory owner at Erez, (Jerusalem Post, 15/01): Of course I'm angry at her [the bomber]. This is not only the place where we work, but our home...Whoever ordered the bombing must have known that 30,000 mouths depend on our employment here. After all, this hurts us [the Palestinians] much more than it does the Israelis.
Ehud Olmert, Trade and Industry Minister (Jerusalem Post, 15/1): "We will pull out from any area that is not necessary for the security of the State of Israel and which is densely populated by Palestinians It will not be easy, it will be heartbreaking and very painful. But we come to the conclusion that we have to break the cycle. We have to break the cycle of violence, the cycle of hatred, the cycle of viciousness, the cycle of blood."
Behind the News:
Female suicide bomber kills four at Erez checkpoint
Four Israelis were killed yesterday, when a Hamas member carried out a suicide attack at the Erez checkpoint. The fact that the bomber was female represents a new approach for the Hamas organisation. While other Palestinian terror groups, including Islamic Jihad, have used women as human bombs in the past, yesterdays incident is the first example of Hamas employing this practice. The bomber took advantage of special considerations afforded Palestinian women in Israeli procedures, in carrying out her attack. To protect their dignity, search procedures for Palestinian women stipulate that if a physical examination proves necessary, it must be carried out in a side room and by a female guard. An alarm went off as the bomber passed through the metal detector. As a female guard prepared to examine her, the bomber advanced into the terminal and detonated the explosive belt she was wearing. The device contained around five kilos of explosive material. In addition to the four killed, nine others were wounded. The wounded include the female guard, and a Palestinian woman.
Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz imposed a 24 hour closure on the Gaza Strip following the attack. Palestinian Authority officials refused to condemn the attack, with Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia declaring that Israeli aggression and restrictions on Palestinians were to blame for it. Voice of Palestine Radio, the official station of the Palestinian Authority, showered praise on the Hamas bomber. The channel greeted the news of the attack with enthusiastic support, declaring in its news broadcast that Citizen Reem al-Riashi was heroically martyred when she carried out an explosive operation at the Beit Hanoun Junction,killing four soldiers of the occupation. The broadcast blamed
British ISM (International Solidarity Movement) member Tom Hurndall died on Tuesday night of injuries sustained when the 22 year old was shot by an Israeli soldier during an incident in the Gaza Strip nine months ago. An IDF soldier has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection with the shooting. Following news of Hurndalls death, the Embassy of Israel in
US: We dont like
US Democrat Senator Bill Nelson (
Comment and Opinion:
The Daily Telegraph (15/01): The International Solidarity Movement is often described as a peace group but its founders back the Palestinian right to wage an "armed struggle". Launched in 2001, the ISM says it uses "non-violent direct action" in the style of Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Martin Luther King.
A closer look reveals that the leadership sees volunteers not as pacifists but as combatants on the Palestinian side. In a 2002 article, the movement's co-founders, Adam Shapiro, a New York Jew, and Huwaida Arraf, a Palestinian Christian, urged: "The Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both non-violent and violent." Mr Shapiro and Miss Arraf predicted that "yes, people will get killed and injured" and suggested that the casualties "would be considered shaheed", using the Arabic term for martyrs applied to suicide bombers.
In its mission statement, the movement says that, for Palestinians, "armed struggle" is "their right". Activists have shown their hatred for the Jewish state. " '
Some links between ISM activists and Palestinian terrorists have emerged. Less than two weeks after Corrie's death, ISM members allegedly tried to prevent Israeli troops from searching their office in Jenin in the
ISM members also shared tea with Omar Khan Sharif and Assif Muhammad Hanif, Britons who visited the site of Corrie's death with the group last April before carrying out a suicide attack on Mike's Place, a Tel Aviv pub, killing three and injuring dozens.
Haaretz (15/01): Nothing has done more to tarnish the image of the Palestinian national movement than suicide bombings. After more than a hundred bombings have left over a thousand Israeli civilians dead and wounded, the exhaustively cultivated image of underage Palestinian Davids facing down machinegun-toting Israeli Goliaths with nothing more than stones, has yielded to grotesque scenes of blood-flooded restaurants, wedding halls, commuter buses, dance clubs, coffee shops, and street corners.
Nothing has done more to align Palestinians in the foreign - especially the American - mind with the feared and loathed likes of Al-Qaida. Nothing has done more to dishearten the Israeli left and to alienate it from the Palestinian cause. Nothing, in fact, has done more to fortify the arguments of the Israeli right than suicide bombings, as attacks in the hearts of Israeli cities added weight to the bottom-line claim of the settler movement: that Palestinians make no distinction between Tel Aviv and Tel Romeida - nor between Israeli soldiers, settlers, or leftist bleeding-hearts - and that their true goal is the eradication of the entirety of the Jewish state and the annihilation or exile of its non-Arab inhabitants.
Why, then, do armed Palestinian movements continue to order and execute suicide blasts?
After all, suicide bombings have prompted Israel to take and justify the precise measures most hated by grass-roots Palestinians - assassination airstrikes that kill admired militant commanders as well as innocent civilians trapped in the path of helicopter-borne missiles; wholesale military blockades, movement restrictions, midnight arrest raids, curfews and checkpoint humiliations; and, most prominently, the hated security barrier winding astride and into the West Bank.
In short, nothing in recent years has prolonged, expanded, institutionalized and intensified the occupation more than suicide bombings.
For the ideologues of militancy, of course, that is just the point.
Palestinian militants, bitter opponents of Israeli-Arab peace talks, have long been aware of the potency of suicide bombings in shaping
- Human-bomb mother kills four Israelis at Gaza checkpoint (The Guardian);
- Israeli soldier faces manslaughter charge over Briton's death (The Guardian);
- Death of a human shield (Daily Telegraph);
- The 'peace' group that embraces violence (Daily Telegraph);
- Hamas mother's suicide bombing kills 4 (Daily Telegraph);
- Suicide message of mother who left home to kill (The Independent);
- Israel's reputation, suicide bombers and the death of a peace activist (The Independent);
- Shin Bet spymaster turned peace advocate (The Independent);
- 'It was my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists' (The Times);
- Israelis name man alleged to have shot peace activist (The Times);
- WORLD NEWS: Suicide bomber kills four Israelis (Financial Times);
- The effects of landmines laid down by Israel (Glasgow Herald);
- Mother of Two Kills Four in Israel-Gaza Border Attack (Reuters);
- Syria Says No Hope of Peace with Sharon's Israel (Reuters);
- Israeli Deputy PM Gives Peace Plan Little Chance (Reuters);
- Gaza bomber and mother wanted to "become shrapnel" (Reuters);
- UN chief decries anti-Semitism in Mideast debate (Reuters);
- Mideast-Israel (Associated Press);
- Israel-Palestinians (Associated Press);
- Britain-Activist Shot (Associated Press);
- Syria rules out peace with Sharon (BBC Online);
- Report: Syrian leader ruled by old guard, unable to execute decisions (Haaretz);
- 24-hour closure on Strip after female bomber kills four (Haaretz);
- ANALYSIS: Amos Harel on the suicide bombing at the Erez checkpoint (Haaretz);
- Olmert: road map likely to fail as long at it depends on Palestinian leadership (Haaretz);
- Lost in translation (Haaretz);
- Lost in translation (2 of 2) (Haaretz);
- Conflict resolution is his native climate (Haaretz);
- Four suicide bomb victims to be laid to rest today (Jerusalem Post);
- Israel prepares for fence case (Jerusalem Post);
- 3 of the victims were immigrants (Jerusalem Post);
- Female suicide bombers on the rise (Jerusalem Post);
- 'It's simply stupid' (Jerusalem Post)
Israe Briefing supplied by BICOM