Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Palestinians Fear Israeli Crackdowns ; Israel Declared Yesterday a Day of Mourning, as People around the Country Donated Blood and Sent Sympathies

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Palestinians Fear Israeli Crackdowns ; Israel Declared Yesterday a Day of Mourning, as People around the Country Donated Blood and Sent Sympathies

Article excerpt

In Jerusalem, near where candles were lit last month for Israeli victims of a suicide bombing by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, they were flickering again yesterday for the thousands of people who died in Monday's terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Teenage girls, their voices hushed, lined up to light new ones.

Among Israelis, there is a widespread sense of sympathy and identification with the victims in the United States, and an assumption that Muslim militants are to blame.

Palestinians are already feeling the heat. They say that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is already trying to use a heightened American focus on Muslim extremism to redefine the terms of the Middle East conflict at the expense of the Palestinians.

Already yesterday, Israeli troops escalated what the government describes as an antiterrorist drive in the Palestinian city of Jenin, West Bank, leaving seven Palestinians dead, including three militants and an 8-year-old girl.

According to one Palestinian report, Jenin Refugee Camp was surrounded by 40 tanks and armored personnel carriers, making the operation one of the largest Israel has mounted in recent months.

Israeli officials say that six suicide bombings by Muslim fundamentalists have emanated from Jenin. They vow that there will now be further tough steps, which they expect to be greeted with a new and greater sense of understanding.

"The world will not be as patient as it was before with the terror attacks conducted and supported by the Palestinian Authority," said defense ministry spokesman Yarden Vatikai. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, accused Israel of "taking advantage of the international situation to escalate its war against the Palestinian territories."

In Jerusalem, Yehezkel Abuzvili set up the impromptu candle memorial outside his photo shop on Jaffa Road, where passersby stopped and exchanged expressions of horror and disbelief. "I cannot work today, I simply cannot work," he says. "Every Israeli's heart is in America right now. But this is not about America only. The terrorists have harmed every decent person. They have destroyed human values."

Ronen Harbawi, manager of a restaurant that was bombed by Hamas on Aug. 9, said "I hope this will cause everyone to wake up and say the time has come to eliminate all this terrorism. What happened there is similar to what happened here, but on a larger scale."

The government declared yesterday a national day of mourning and organized a blood drive in which nearly 1,000 units of type-O blood were donated by midday for planned shipment to the US. Sharon said the attacks were not only against America but "against our common values."

"The fight against terrorism is an international struggle of the free world against the forces of darkness that seek to destroy our liberty and our way of life," said Sharon. …

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