Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

West Bank: The New Militant Focus? ; Israel Suspended Talks with Palestinians Monday after Three Young Israelis Were Killed Sunday in the West Bank

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

West Bank: The New Militant Focus? ; Israel Suspended Talks with Palestinians Monday after Three Young Israelis Were Killed Sunday in the West Bank

Article excerpt

As they prepared Monday to bury their daughters - cousins who were killed along with a teenage boy in a drive-by shooting by Palestinian militants in the West Bank - parents blamed the Israeli government for not doing more to protect them.

"I did my part," one of the grieving fathers cried as Kinneret Mandel and Matat Adler, women in their early 20s, were eulogized at a hilltop cemetery here after Sunday's shooting attack in the Gush Etzion settlements, south of Jerusalem. "Why didn't others do theirs? Why couldn't anyone defend you from this?"

Unlike at most Israeli funerals of terror-attack victims, no government officials were in attendance - at the families' request. But the mix of anger and insecurity felt by many settlers in the aftermath of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Gaza Strip disengagement plan is reverberating throughout the halls of Israel's political and military establishment.

Officials said Monday they were cutting off security ties with the Palestinians and reversing a decision to ease up on the movement of Palestinian traffic around the West Bank. Reuters, quoting a defense ministry source, reported that Israeli troops will ring major West Bank cities and require that Palestinians travel between them by public transportation only, rather than in private cars.

Sunday's shooting attacks, in two different locations in the West Bank, raise the specter of a return to intifada-style bloodshed, something Israelis and Palestinians alike have predicted. Given that Israel has pulled out from the Gaza Strip, some analysts suggest that the focus will now shift to the West Bank, home to about 245,000 settlers and some 2.4 million Palestinians.

Many Israelis view such attacks as proof that Palestinians have either no will - or no way - to put an end to violence against Israelis. Many Palestinians, according to recent polls, view attacks on Israelis in the West Bank as wholly legitimate, in contrast to attacks inside the Green Line, Israel's pre-1967 boundaries.

Further complicating the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations, which appeared to be promising enough for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to plan for a summit this week, was the factor of who perpetrated the attack.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a militant offshoot of the Fatah faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, took responsibility. Some wings of the somewhat fragmented organization have denied involvement. Fatah, the party founded by the late Yasser Arafat and now headed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has already been scrambling to assert its authority in Gaza, where various militant groups have engaged in regular shootings and kidnappings of foreigners in the wake of Israel's withdrawal.

While senior Israeli and Palestinian officials have said that reining in Muslim militant groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad is key to establishing stability and rule of law, Sunday's shootings by a Fatah-related group not only embarrasses Mr. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.