While the Israeli government has turned the Gaza strip and West Bank regions of Palestine into virtual prison camps, there is one section of the Palestinian community that appears to enjoy unhindered freedom of movement and a blind eye form the Israeli camps guards: "suicide bombers".
Today, one of these rare breed allegedly managed to get all the way down to the southern tip of Israel, to the Red Sea resort town of Eilat.
At 9.45 this morning (Eilat time), we are told that a "Palestinian suicide bomber" detonated his explosives in a small bakery, killing three people and himself. As with every other "suicide bombing" attributed to Palestinians over the past 6 years, we are forced to rely only on the claims of Israeli state security forces that each bombing was indeed a "suicide" attack. Such claims are almost always made within minutes of the event, subsequently propagating virus-like around the world's news agencies so that, by the time the world public gets wind of the news, it is already a closed case. There is however much to be gained from looking at the details of these alleged suicide bombings, because when we do, problems with the story invariably arise, not to mention uncomfortable questions.
In this case, the first such problem is that of authorship of the attack. Again as was the case in many previous bombings, exactly who was responsible is not very clear.
First we read:
Three dead in suicide attack in Israeli resort
A deadly suicide attack has struck the Israeli Red Sea town of Eilat. At least three people have been killed in a bombing inside a bakery. This is the first suicide attack in Israel since April, and the first ever in Eilat, a popular tourist resort. Palestinian militant groups immediately claimed responsibility.
Then Reuters informs us:
Three Palestinian militant groups claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Monday that killed three people in Israel's Red Sea resort of Eilat.
Islamic Jihad, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades -- part of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction -- and the previously unknown "Army of Believers" each said it carried out the attack, the first Palestinian bombing in Israel since April.
The al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and a previously unknown group calling itself the "Army of Believers" say they carried out the attack. And an Islamic Jihad spokesman Khader Habib had this comment: "We don't have any information that our movement is responsible. But anyway this is part of our right to resist occupation. It's a normal reaction against acts of Israeli occupation on our people which never stop," he said.
Fatah spokesman Ahmad Abdul Rahman condemned the violence, saying, "We are against any operation that targets civilians, Israelis or Palestinians."
So, if both the leader of Fatah and the spokesman for Islamic Jihad, the militant wing of Fatah that is alleged to have carried out the attack, both say that they either knew nothing about the attack or are utterly against such attacks, who in the hell is carrying them out? And more to the point, who do they think they are representing by carrying out such bombings? The entire Palestinian people give their support to one of just two groups, either Fatah or Hamas, yet it seems that whoever carried out today's attack is either unknown to or unaffiliated with both!
That just leaves us with the third potential candidate, the mysterious (and ubiquitous in "Islamic terror attacks) "previously unknown group". You may remember that the London bombings were originally claimed by the comically named "Secret Group of Al-Qaeda in Europe", also a "previously unknown group". In fact, these previously unknown groups have sprung up on many occasions to claim responsiblity for attacks that no self-respecting and intelligent Arab group would ever want to be associated with. For example:
The Madrid train bombings were carried out by the previously unknown group Lions of al-Mufridoon
The murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was claimed by the previously unknown group "The Group for Advocacy and Holy War in the Levant"
Then there was the murder of anti-Syrian Lebanese journalist and politician Gibran Tueni in December 2005 by the previously unknown group 'Strugglers for the Unity and Freedom of the Levant'
In the Occupied Palestinian Territories we have been treated to, the previously unknown group Army of Islam, who claimed responsibility for the unbelieveable (literally) kidnapping of Corporal Shalit last summer, an event that was used by Israel to justify another round of slaughter of Palestinians.
Then there was the previously unknown group "Holy Jihad Brigades" who abducted two Fox News journalists in Gaza and made the outlandish demand the release of all Muslims imprisoned by the United States.
Not forgetting the previously unknown group "Lions of Monotheism" that claimed responsibility for attacking two churches Friday night in West Bank city of Nablus in September 2006.
Not to mention the previously unknown "Just Swords of Islam" which claimed credit last December for throwing acid in the face of an "immodestly dressed" woman in Gaza City. A nice bit of PR work for the Palestinians indeed.
Even in Iran, a previously unknown group called 'Arab Struggle Movement for Liberating Ahvaz' claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed 8 Iranians in 2005.
To name but a few.
What do all of these attacks have in common? They demonise Arabs as crazed killers. Whose general agenda does that serve? Israel's.
Of course, there remains the fact that someone claiming to be members of "Islamic Jihad" claimed responsibility for the bombing, heck, they even took to the streets with a picture of the bomber:
The question that must be asked here is: when is a Palestinian terrorist not a Palestinian terrorist? Answer: When he's a "musta'ribeen":
Israel's control of and entrenchment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, its continual attempts to stamp out Palestinian resistance to the occupation at any cost, relies heavily on intelligence gathered by Shabak, the 5,000-strong Internal General Security Service of Israel, whose motto is "Defender who shall not be seen".Neither are they surprised when they hear that their brother or father has gone off with some "previously unknown group" to become a "martyr".
With a cadre of well-trained, Arabic-speaking Israeli informants who are indistinguishable physically from the Palestinian population, Shabak has little problem gathering intelligence on a people whose every movement is regulated by hundreds of check points and by total Israeli control on their borders. These infiltrators prey on Arab innate hospitality and friendliness. The Palestinians call them "musta'ribeen", i.e., "those who appear to be Arabs". Palestinians are not surprised when someone, somewhere comes up to them and says: Got you!
Coming at this precise time, today's attack can also be clearly linked to certain "concessions" that Israel has recently made (and will now be revoked) to the Palestinians:
Meanwhile, the Almagor Terror Victims Association released a statement calling on Olmert to "reverse the promise made to Egypt to release terrorists who were caught infiltrating Israel with weapons and cease all negotiations on the release of terrorists.
Right-wing Knesset Member Arieh Eldad said he hoped the attack would "bring sanity back to all those who call for negotiating with Hamas and strengthening [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas."
And of course, the blood-thirsty Israeli defence Minister Amir Peretz wasted no time in sharpening his sword:
Israeli leaders said the bombing jeopardized a two-month truce in Gaza.
His defense minister, Amir Peretz, convened an emergency meeting of top security officials. "This is a grave incident, it's an escalation and we shall treat it as such," Peretz said.
And drooling at the prospect of raining more death on the beleaguered people of the Gaza strip:
"I've talked with the prime minister and we've decided to act immediately," Peretz said. "There are several assumptions, it is clear the perpetrator is probably a resident of the Gaza Strip. An assessment will be held in an hour."
Most important of all however, is the fact that the Eilat blast occurred four days before the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators was to meet in Washington as part of a bid to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Coincidence?
So the result of today's bombing is clear - another opportunity for Israeli politicians to pitch the Palestinians as the agressors and themselves as the defenders while continuing their butchery of Palestinian civilians - but what about the details of the attack itself:
Well, let's start with the alleged bomber's route(s), sadly, this is far from clear, or logical.
According to Israeli police the bomber entered Egypt from Gaza and then made his way through the Sinai peninsula to the porous Egyptian-Israeli border north of Eilat, where he caught a ride with an Israeli motorist who drove him into the city.
However, an Islamic Jihad spokesmen declined to say how the bomber left Gaza (because he had no idea because, as already noted, another Islamic Jihad spokesman said "we don't have any information that our movement is responsible") although he insisted it was not through Gaza's often-closed Rafah crossing into Egypt - Gazans' only gateway to the outside world. This would of course, make sense because it is impossible for ANY Palestinian to get out of Gaza without a permit and without the Israelis knowing about it. Think Nazi Germany here, "papers please". Furthermore, the IDF stated that they had recently significantly boosted security along the Israel-Egypt border, forcing even the IDF to consider the possibility that the alleged bomber left Gaza with Israel's permission.
At the same time, another member of Islamic Jihad initially said that the bomber came from the West Bank, only to later claim that the bomber had crossed into Israel from neighboring Jordan. In response to this, the Jordanians stated that "the checks in all governmental institutions related to the case, as well as in all border checkpoints, revealed that he had never entered and stayed in Jordan."
The Israeli army did not however rule out the possibility that the alleged bomber did infiltrate Israel by digging a tunnel under the Gaza border with Egypt much like the "Palestinian" militants who staged the daring (and impossible) raid on the Israeli outpost last summer when Corporal Shalit was captured. (For the uninitiated, this was a staged attack by Israeli agents). There is one very good reason for the Israelis to push the Gaza crossing theory: If it is found that the "bomber" did leave through the Rafah crossing, a delicate, U.S-brokered arrangement involving Palestinian security forces and European monitors could be in jeopardy. Yes indeed, if the alleged bomber crossed out of Gaza, then that means that the "Palestinian terrorists" must be in cahoots with the EU monitors on the border crossings! You see! They're all in it together! Anti-Semites the lot of them! Unfortunately, it was the Egyptians' turn to spoil the party when a spokesman stated that " there is no way that the bomber or explosives came through the Sinai Peninsula."
But just for fun, let's go with the Israeli army's claim and assume that the alleged bomber did somehow manage to tunnel under the Gaza sand and into Egypt; we must then explain how he managed to travel the 150 miles south across the Sinai desert to Eilat. As you might imagine, security in the Sinai is very high, with the average traveller being forced to pass through about a dozen checkpoints - both Egyptian and United Nations. Only a few roads cross the desert, and local residents use either 4-wheel drive trucks or the more traditional camel as transportation. So is this what we are looking at?
Palestinian "suicide bomber" on his way to Jihad
Moving along. Once the alleged bomber got close to Eilat, our would-be bomber decided to try and hitch a ride, tired as he was from the long camel ride. Okay, now prepare yourself; guess who just happened to stop by and pick him up?
Eilat Resident Yossi Woltinski, a Lieutenant Colonel in the IDF reserves, reported Monday that he picked up the terrorist who bombed an Eilat bakery Monday morning. Woltinski was on his way to work when he picked up the terrorist, who was hitchhiking his way to downtown Eilat.
Woltinski said he quickly became suspicious of the young man, who wore a red coat and did not talk. After deliberately driving to a sparsely populated area, Woltinski told the man to get out of the car. He then called the police and gave them a detailed description of the man.
What are the odds, eh?
From this point on, details are sketchy.
Witnesses said the bomber stood out because he wore a long winter coat on a warm, sunny day when he struck the small bakery in a residential neighborhood. Police said the bomb was in a bag he was carrying rather than an explosives belt often used in past suicide attacks.
"I thought to myself, 'What's that idiot dressed like that for?' A couple of seconds later I heard a massive explosion," Benny Mazgini, 45, told Israel Radio
With the mention that the suspect stood out because he was wearing a heavy coat on hot day, we are immediately reminded of the assassination by British police in 2005 of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Underground. British police justified the state-ordered murder, (by way of 7 bullets to the head at point blank range), by claiming that de Menezes was wearing a "thick coat" on a summer's day, evidence, as far as British police are concerned, of a potential "suicide bomber". The only problem was that, it was later revealed that British police had deliberately lied, that de Menezes was in fact wearing a light denim jacket.
Apparently what Mazgini saw then was a man walking towards the Bakery, and a few seconds later, (when the man was in the bakery supposedly although Magzini does not claim to have seen him walk into the bakery) he heard an explosion:
Residents of the neighborhood reported a violent blast that shook the windows off nearby buildings. Many reported seeing smoke rising from the area of the attack.Initially, police believed that the explosion was caused by a gas leak. Only later did they decide it was a "suicide bomber".
Interestingly enough, the only witness cited by papers was the above mentioned Benny Mazgini. It turns out that Mazgini is something of a public figure in the Eilat area, and perhaps beyond, being a member (as of Dec 2004) of the Central Committee of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party (and who knows what else).
Is Mazgini a credible witness? Why was the "bomber" wearing a thick coat, when Israeli police later said that the "bomber" was not wearing a "bomb belt" (thus negating the need for a thick coat to cover it up) but was in fact carrying a bomb in a bag. There is also the problem of video footage that is alleged to show the "bomber's" last moments. The footage, taken from a CCTV camera inside an adjoining shop, shows a man walking on the street wearing what Ynet news states is a red shirt, not a thick overcoat.
As with every other alleged Palestinian "suicide bombing", inconsistencies and contradictions abound.
What is clear is that in order to accept the claim that this was the work of a "suicide bomber", we must dispense with all critical judgment and think in simplistic black and white terms. Palestinians = terrorists. Israelis = peace keepers and defenders. We are being asked to believe, without question, the claims of the Israeli security forces, organisations that are founded on the 'principles' of deception and subterfuge.
What is beyond doubt is that it would be very easy for Israeli intelligence to stage a fake "suicide bombing". A bomb could be concealed in the chosen location, and when the chosen patsy enters or approaches, the bomb is detonated, with Israeli security forces quickly arriving on the scene to declare the cause and tie up any loose ends. What the world public must decide is if a section of the Israeli government possesses the political will to carry out such attacks. Basically, would our political leaders "do that". To answer that question, all that is required is a little reading on the details of Western state counter-insurgency tactics over the past 50 years. Those who do so, even the most skeptical, invariably find it impossible to deny the FACT that Western governments have, on many occasions and in some cases as a matter of ongoing policy, sacrificed the lives of innocent civilians in order to further political goals.
Most people have by now been sufficiently programmed to believe that "Islamic terrorists" wish to destroy Israel, but are reluctant to constate that Israel would never have attained its dominant position in the Middle East without an ongoing "terrorist threat" to its existence. In short, Israel needs terrorism.
The problem of course is that a real war with a real threat is not desirable because of the unpredictability of the outcome. So, in the case of Israel, when it has utterly destroyed the real threat, a more manageable and predictable 'homegrown' threat must be maintained. The Israeli government, with its complete control of the lives of not only the Palestinian people but also that of the Israeli people, has all of the means to stage-manage the no-longer-existent "Palestinian terrorist threat to its existence", and it does so with great skill, not least because of the significant control that is exerted over the mainstream media. Remember this?:
Israeli Censor Wielding Great Power
Thursday July 20, 2006
Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM - Here's some news you may never hear about Israel's war against Hezbollah: a missile falls into the sea, a strategic military installation is hit, a Cabinet minister plans to visit the front lines.
All these topics are subject to review by Israel's chief military censor, who has - in her own words - "extraordinary power." She can silence a broadcaster, block information and put journalists in jail.
"I can, for example, publish an order that no material can be published. I can close a newspaper or shut down a station. I can do almost anything," Col. Sima Vaknin said Wednesday. [...]
Over the past 6 years, over 500 Israeli citizens have been killed in about 130 "Palestinian suicide bombings". It is up to each individual to decide how many of those alleged suicide bombings were actually carried out by real Palestinian suicide bombers.
Based on the available evidence, I suggest that the answer is precisely none.