Friday, August 05, 2005

Where's the outrage?

Because it's only news to the "A-List" when they kill us:

An Israeli army deserter opened fire on a bus in northern Israel yesterday, killing four Israeli Arabs in an attack that police said they believe was aimed at disrupting a government plan to dismantle settlements in the Gaza Strip this month.

An enraged mob set upon the gunman and beat him to death after the shootings, which wounded at least a dozen passengers.

The military identified the attacker as Eden Natan-Zada, a 19-year-old former soldier who deserted in June to avoid participating in the settler evacuation. He boarded an afternoon bus in northern Israel and began shooting when it reached the Israeli Arab town of Shfaram, authorities said. Witnesses said the gunman, dressed in an army uniform and carrying an automatic rifle, shot the driver first, then sprayed the inside of the bus with gunfire.

The attack was one of the deadliest by an Israeli on Palestinian civilians in years, and it followed predictions by security services that some opponents of the Gaza withdrawal would take extreme measures to prevent it as the Aug. 17 starting date approaches. In particular, Israeli authorities have said, opponents might launch attacks on Palestinians to draw reprisals against Israelis and reignite fighting between the two sides -- perhaps forcing the government to reconsider the plan.

(Via the Boston Globe)

Someone be sure to let me know when Tommy Friedman pens a column about how we need to reform the culture of Old Testament entitlement that fuels the Israeli settlers' irrational zeal to kill for so many hectares of desert. Or the fundamentalist Christian eschatology which enables such madness so as to hasten the Second Coming of Jesus and the end of days. Don't worry -- I won't hold my breath or anything! Funny, though, that when one of the supposed good guys perpetrates an act of terrorism or barbarism, that person is immediately branded a "bad apple" and not representative of a wider problem, whereas every lunatic who straps himself with dynamite in the name of Allah is somehow an indictment of the Muslim culture at-large. You'd imagine that the average reader of the New York Times would eventually tire of this obvious double standard, and yet Friedman's columns are still coin of the realm in the American discourse.

The good news is that there is outrage over this disturbing incident in Israel, where living in the everpresent shadow of terrorism has somehow not squelched genuine debate on how best to handle the nation's problems with the Palestinians and the Arab world in general. The Gaza pullout is an important step in improving relations with on-again, off-again friend/adversary Egypt. Despite the apocalytpic fulminations of the culture warriors both there and here, most Israelis are aware of the fact that they cannot survive without the other nations of the Middle East, and vice versa. Peace is in the best interest of everyone save the zealots, and yet for some reason they are calling the shots everywhere right now despite the fact that they represent a clear minority of opinion.

Why won't Tommy write a column about that? But that would muck up the narrative of East versus West, faith versus reason, oppression versus freedom, wouldn't it now -- if the war was not in truth an external clash of civilizations but an internal struggle between the forces of hope and fear, well then that's a completely different story, one which requires villains both at home and abroad. And that's a much tougher sell on the op-ed pages of the Sunday Times...

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