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The Hamas Bombing(s) of July 30, 1997 in Context

© by Michael A. Hoffman II

It happened at 1:05 p.m. on July 30, 1997 in Jerusalem's busy Mahane Yehuda outdoor market, crowded with Israeli civilians and Palestinian workers. Two bombs detonated moments apart by two suicide bombers killed more than a dozen people, including the two bombers and innocent Jewish and Arab by-standers.

The Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, took responsibility for the explosions in the marketplace and claimed in a leaflet found outside the Red Cross offices in Ramallah that the attack was to avenge a Jewish woman's pasting of posters on Hebron shopfronts depicting the Muslim Prophet Mohammed as a pig; and the publication in the Israeli science magazine Galilo of a photomontage of the Virgin Mary with a cow's head (pictured below left) --Times of London, July 31, 1997.

The Hamas flyer said the bombing "was a present from Mohammed's soldiers in response to the satanic leaflet that the pigs distributed in Hebron." This is an apparent reference to the leaflets depicting Mohammed as a pig allegedly posted by Tatiana Susskin in Hebron. -Jerusalem Post, July 31, 1997.

Hamas, by stating a reason for its attack, offers context and thus undercuts past Western propaganda which typically implies that when Arabs bomb civilians it is simply due to their "savage nature" as terrorists, whereas when Israelis bomb civilians (in Lebanon for example), it is reported as a "retaliatory strike" for some previous Arab outrage (and since the bomb is delivered by an Israeli warplane, this makes it somehow more moral than when delivered by two Palestinian pedestrians in west Jerusalem).

For the establishment media to concede that the bombing was retaliation for Susskin's hateful depiction of Mohammed as a pig and the Israeli magazine's blasphemous insult to Blessed Mary, will undoubtedly add a dimension to the bombing which will elicit some understanding or equivocation in the mind of the American public (although no sane person can equivocate with regard to the evil of killing civilians of any religion for any reason).

On this issue of insults to Christian figures, recall that last summer a very popular science fiction movie debuted, "Independence Day," which not only showed the universe being saved by a "Jew" and by the Talmudic prayers of his Jewish father, but which repeatedly took the name of Jesus Christ in vain.

This little Talmudic affinity for taking Christ's name in vain has also popped up in this summer's feel-good New World Order epic, "Air Force One," which will be hailed by the ditto-heads as a wondrous revival of squeaky-clean American patriotic values. But it just goes to show how deep is the rot at the core of American-Zionist pseudo-patriotism, that "Air Force One" features the obligatory use of Christ's name as a swear word repeatedly throughout the film's dialogue.

The implausible, cornball cliffhanger "Air Force One" also revives the stereotype of evil white Russians & A-rabs vs. the noble, racially integrated/feminist US government where blacks and whites team together to police the world.

At this time the American government and media seem united in urging the Israelis to use counter-terror against the Palestinians. When the terror bomber-in-chief for the African National Congress (ANC) --the Lithuanian Jewish Communist Joe Slovo--masterminded the murder of white civilians in South Africa, any measures taken against the ANC on par with what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinians now, would have been condemned as "Nazi tactics" by the Western governments and media.

The Israelis have since July 30 "sealed" all Palestinian cities. The Israelis are conducting mass arrests of the wives, children and parents of Palestinians with links to Hamas. The N.Y. Times in a July 31 editorial declared that "violent protests" by Palestinians (wherein Palestinians march in the streets and throw stones at Israeli soldiers) is a form of "terrorism" which is "condoned" or "instigated" by Yasir Arafat. If that's the case--that street marches and stone-throwing constitute terrorism--then a sizeable portion of the black civil rights' protests in America were also a form of terrorism.

Over and again, the media fail to provide the context for Palestinian rage. The racist inference is that Arabs are simply bloodthirsty maniacs. But beyond the pig flyer and the Mary "cow-head" magazine photo, is a far deeper grievance--the ongoing, gradual theft of Palestinian land by the Israelis--by deporting Palestinians from Palestinian East Jerusalem for example and then building huge Jewish housing blocks on their ancestral soil.

There is much talk in the media today of Arafat failing to observe the Oslo accords, but it was Netanyahu who permitted the start of the East Jerusalem housing project on Palestinian land. On February 26, 1997 the Israeli Government approved the construction of 2465 residential units for Israelis in Har Homa, the first stage of a 6500 unit project to be built on land expropriated from Palestinians in Southeast Jerusalem.

Also overlooked is the rancid hatred and racism of the Jewish rightists in the Israeli state, who openly embrace the Talmudic concept that non-Jews are not human, who seek the extermination of the Palestinians and who take a step forward in that genocidal process whenever one of their ilk dons an IDF army uniform and grabs an M-16 and shoots stone-throwing Palestinian children in the head. When that atrocity is perpetrated the headlines are small; seldom is the victim even named in the Western media and it's "business as usual."

This past April was the first anniversary of the Israeli massacre at Qana, Lebanon where the Jewish military slaughtered more than 100 civilians at a U.N. sanctuary. The Israelis were asked to pay reparations and apologize for this horror. They adamantly and arrogantly refused.

Bombings against civilians are always heinous and wicked in any context and Hamas is criminal and stupid to perpetrate them. But if we are to prevent future Middle East terrorism we must address the cause of terrorism and this entails acknowledging the role of Israeli terrorism in fomenting the Palestinian version.

To pretend, as the American media are doing now, that the evil is all on one side, is no service to Jews or Muslims, but only gives license to further Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people and their soil, generating more vengeance acts from the Palestinians. For the hideous cycle to be broken, culpability must be assigned to the Israeli occupiers as well as to those desperate and deranged Palestinians driven mad wth grief at the loss of their ancient homeland.

--Michael A. Hoffman II

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