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Issues of the Day Thursday's Terror Attacks: Suffering on All Fronts

The violence touched off by the murderous rampage of Palestinian infiltrators who penetrated the Egyptian-Israeli border on Thursday not only took Israeli lives, but that of Egyptians and Gazans as well.  The murder spree, in which hostage-taking was apparently a major objective, provides another pyrrhic victory for those who believe that the only way out of the Israel-Palestine imbroglio is bloodletting.

The alleged ringleaders of the terrorist operatives, including the planner of Israeli captive Gilad Shalit's kidnapping, received their due when Israel air craft attacked their south Gaza base and eliminated them several hours after the attack. Subsequent air attacks were less laudatory given the civilian collateral that reportedly occurred. As expected, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other armed gangs immediately responded by volleying more than seventy missiles and mortars at civilian targets in  Israel over the subsequent two days. 

Another casualty  of Thursday's terrorist incursion included considerable injury to the fragile relations between Egypt and Israel. A cavalier statement made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak while Thursday's hostilities were still playing  out and which seemed to blame raid on the deterioration of Egyptian security in the Sinai Desert, inflamed the hyper-sensitivities of the Egyptian authorities. The latter were also chafed by the death of three Egyptian troops in Thursday's firefight. Anti-Israel groups in Cairo and two savvy candidates for the Egyptian presidency immediately began burning the Israeli standard and called for sanctions – or worse –against Israel.

In Jerusalem, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman donned the inflammatory red plumes of which he is so fond and reportedly called for cutting off ties with the Palestinian Authority because, after all, Thursday's terrorists were Palestinian. The Foreign Minister, of course, is anxious for any excuse he can find to distract attention from his rejectionist policies concerning peacemaking with our neighbors. For his part, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu offered his own flourish of closed-circuit thinking by waving the security banner to justify his commitment to a stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian affairs.

A less obvious victim of the terror debauchery that began when a civilian bus was attacked by heavily-armed Palestinian assailants on an isolated road north of Eilat on Thursday, was the social movement that has been changing the face of Israel for the last six weeks. The weekly Saturday night rallies were discontinued last night in deference to the worry and anger that rattled the Israeli populace following Thursday's attack.

This loss of momentum is greatly regretted, especially since the social struggle must continue and build. As intimated to a group of protest leaders in Modiin last week by Eyal Gabbai, outgoing director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, the Netanayahu Government has no intention of  implementing the socioeconomic reforms that the Trajtenberg Committee is likely to call for.

In very short order, it seems, Israelis will have to contend not only with terror and other threats originating from our enemies, but the continuing intransigence, short-sightedness and insensitivity of Israel's current government concerning both foreign and domestic policy. The current administration remains detached from the needs and demands of the people as well as from regional realities which affect us deeply.

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved