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Two Israeli Security Guards Critically Wounded While Preventing Major Disaster

Some Fifty Other People Injured, Most Lightly

Israeli Official: 'After Israel's Withdrawal, Palestinians Again Show They Never Miss An Opportunity To Miss An Opportunity'

Be'er Sheva Bombing

The Palestinian terror organizations have not waited long after Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four West bank settlements to renew their attacks. They struck at the central bus station in Be'er Sheva, the 'capital of the Negev' and only the swift and courageous action of two security guards and an alert bus driver averted the massacre of scores of Israelis in the big explosion. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has declared there will be no Roadmap negotiations for a Palestinian state if Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas does not disarm Hamas and the other terrorists who threaten to annihilate Israel.

'The Palestinians are proving again that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity'. That's how an Israeli official responds to the Palestinian suicide bombing attack in Be'er Sheva that seriously wounded two Israeli security guards and injured another 40 Israelis outside the central bus station. It was the first suicide bombing since Israel evacuated 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and another four in northern Samaria.The explosion was set off during the rush hour on Sunday morning after Israelis return to work after the Sabbath. A Palestinian with a plastic bag first approached a bus at the central bus station asking the driver for directions to the Soroka hospital. Already suspicious, the driver told the Palestinian to board another bus and notified security guards. When two security guards approached the Palestinian, he detonated his explosives. The Israeli police credit the bus driver and the security guards with preventing a major disaster at the crowded bus station. The suicide bomber may have entered Be'er Sheva from the Hebron Hills area of the West Bank where Israel's security fence has not been erected yet.Ariel Sharon is telling Mahmoud Abbas that he must choose peaceful co-existence with Israel or peaceful co-existence with the terrorists. The Palestinians cannot have it both ways. In an interview with Israel Radio before the bombing, the Palestinian leader indicated that he would not disarm the terrorists but the current 'hudna' cease-fire would continue. Abbas also praised Sharon for carrying out the disengagement comparing him to David Ben-Gurion and Yitzhak Rabin. The Palestinian leader was also gratified by the Yediot Ahronot poll that showed 54% of Israelis favor withdrawing from more settlements and 68% back the dismantling of some 20 or so 'unauthorized outposts on the West Bank. While insisting that Sharon must fulfill all his commitments, but when asked whether he would disarm the terrorists, Abbas was non-committal.

'The Israelis Can Count On More Attacks': Just twenty-four hours earlier, Muhammad Deif, one of the most notorious terror chiefs, declared the 'armed struggle' had driven Israel out of the Gaza Strip and 'We vow that tomorrow all of Palestine will be Hell for Israelis'. Deif has murdered scores of Israelis by deadly bombings and has been #1 on Israel's most wanted list. In the past, he was seriously injured by an Israeli targeted killing. Taking a page out of Osama Bin Laden's book, Deif distributed a videotape to AP in the Gaza Strip declaring more attacks are on the way until Israel is exterminated.

    Apologize Or Condemn?: These are the terrorists that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refuses to disarm; he believes he can talk them into giving up violence. Not only does Abbas refuse to act against them, Abbas condemns Israel when it does. Two days after the evacuation of the settlers, Israeli security forces killed another armed terror chief in the West Bank town of Tul Karem. Four of his cohorts were also killed in a shoot-out when the Israelis swooped in, trying to take the terrorists alive. The terrorist leader was wanted for the recent suicide bombings in Netanya and at the Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv that killed and seriously wounded a number of Israeli civilians. Mahmoud Abbas called the Israeli operation a 'crime'. The terror chief was sitting in plain view on the street drinking Turkish coffee and, who knows, maybe talking about his next bombing atrocity when he was taken out. (Incidentally, Shabak security officials say they always prefer to take terrorists alive because they can provide priceless information about their organization and attacks being planned).
    Question: Rather than condemning Israel, should Mahmoud Abbas not be apologizing for the failure of the Palestinian security forces to arrest terrorists. If the Shabak knew of the terrorists' whereabouts surely the Palestinians must have also been ware. Instead, the Palestinian leader calls it a crime for Israel to kill terrorists who murdered Israelis and will try and do so again. Yasser Arafat was known to have conducted 'revolving door policy' arresting wanted terrorists one day and letting them go the next. In the case of Mahmoud Abbas, he does not bother even to go through the motions of arresting them.As usual, Palestinian official Saeb Erekat again condemned the Be'er Sheva bombing and called on all sides to maintain the truce and quiet. Palestinian leadership continues to act as if they are observers on the sidelines as if they do not bear responsibility for Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
    Bush backs Sharon on terrorist demand: In his weekly radio address, U.S. President George Bush said: 'We demand an end to terrorism and violence in every form because we know that progress depends on ending terror'. And he added that after Israel's withdrawal the Palestinian must show the world they will fight terrorism and govern in a peaceful way.

Although in command of tens of thousands of security personnel, Abbas pleads he is too weak to take on the terrorists; he turns this purported weakness into his greatest strength for not acting against the terrorists. As one Shabak security official once put it: 'Abbas expects Israel to bleed for him but that is not going to happen'.

David Essing

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