PALESTINIANS AGAIN EMBRACE TERROR BOMBER
BY MICHAEL WIDLANSKI (for IMRA) Thursday, 29 December, 2005
A Palestinian man strapped with explosives blew himself up today at an
Israeli army checkpoint, and the Palestinian Authority's (PA) official radio
station declined to condemn the attack, and it repeatedly referred to the
man as a martyr, suggesting he had "carried out an explosive operation"
against a legitimate military target.
The Palestinian radio station also suggested that the attack was a
response to "Israeli aggression" in the area-a reference to continued
Israeli attempts to intercept car bombers before they get inside Israel.
"Three citizens were heroically martyred today in an explosive operation
that targeted Israeli soldiers at a roadblock south of Tulkarm," declared
Voice of Palestine radio in the lead item of its two main news shows
Thursday afternoon. (14:00 AND 16:00 Jerusalem time/7 AM and 9AM-NY)
At the end of its remarks, VOP radio reported that PA spokesman Nabil
Abu-Rudeina, a top advisor of PA leader Abbas and late PLO chairman Yasser
Arafat, "considered today's attack as something that might be used to
justify Israeli aggression."
One soldier at the roadblock said the carnage was similar to that of
suicide bomb and explosive tunnel attacks in Gaza earlier this year where
Israeli units had to scour the area to bury the personal remains of
The attack today comes amid a sharp rise in rocket attacks by
Palestinians in Gaza and Lebanon on Israeli towns in the south and north of
Israel-attacks which the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas has not
really attempted to stop.
More than 300 Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks have taken place
since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, including 30 Qassam rocket
attacks in October, 43 in November, and over 50 this month so far.
PA President and PLO chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who controls the
Palestinian media, did not immediately issue a statement on today's attack,
nor has he made any broadcast remarks on Palestinian rocket attacks.
The Palestinian leader has been seen in public and on the front pages of
Arab newspapers here, but there is a strong sense that he is losing any
measure of control of his own PA regime and his own Fatah organization as
Palestinians are set to vote in next month's legislative elections.
Dr. Abbas, who is on one of his frequent tours of Arab countries, has
been largely silent about the escalation of attacks on Israel, though one
vague statement issued this week in the name of "the Palestinian
leadership" said the Palestinian attacks were "counterproductive" or
"serve Israeli interests."
Abbas and his top aides-people who were also close to the late PLO
leader Yasser Arafat-have repeatedly called Israeli actions "barbaric" while
generally remaining silent about Palestinian attacks unless they elicit a
strong Israeli response.
Israeli soldiers and officers at the roadblock said it was clear that the
Palestinian terrorist was attempting to smuggle his explosives into an
Israeli city for use against Israeli civilians-a pattern used by the Islamic
Jihad terror organization in the area in recent attacks on Netanya, Tel Aviv
and other Israeli towns.
The soldiers said that the terrorist blew himself up earlier than he had
planned when soldiers stopped his car to search him.
Dr. Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab politics and communication
whose doctorate dealt with the Palestinian broadcast media. He is a former
reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively, at The New York Times
,The Cox Newspapers-Atlanta Constitution, and The Jerusalem Post.