Friday, March 21, 2008

Conflict getting closer?


People are bracing for increased violence inside Israel during these holidays as the daily news reports bode ill. A recent poll showing that 84 per cent of Palestinians condone rocket attacks and the mass murder at Yeshiva Mercaz Harav made many Israelis take notice, as did Osama bin Laden's brand new tape, calling for Gaza to be retaken by jihadists through "fire and iron", and not negotiation. Peace talks indeed have stalled, and since the big show of concern Annapolis, more than 500 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict. (Security sources pointed out that more Palestinians have died from the homemade Qassam rockets than Israelis, due to misfires, backfires, and militant incompetence.)

There is a sense of despair and anger at every checkpoint, and that bubble of protection we'd grown accustomed to inside Jerusalem seems to have burst. Terrorist attacks seem less random now, and the targets are not just of opportunity; they appear to be specifically political. Earlier this week, a right wing Rabbi was stabbed while walking in the old city. He was a member of Ateret Cohanim, which aids hardline Jewish settlers to purchase property in the Arab and Christian sections of the Old City.


The attack happened near the Old City's Damascus Gate, a busy area of Palestinian shops and cafes.

Emergency volunteers said the rabbi's bodyguard chased the assailant but he escaped, leaving behind a blood-stained knife.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and claims the whole city its capital.

Palestinians want the occupied portion, which includes the walled Old City and its holy sites, as the capital of a state which they want to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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