After years of relative quiet in Jerusalem, a bomb has shattered the shaky sense of equilibrium those living in the city may have been feeling. The powerful bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop in Central Jerusalem on Wednesday. It wounded at least 25 people, four of them critically. Reports now say that one woman is dead.
This is the third instance of major violence recently in Israel, but the first bomb in some time. Two weeks ago, a terrorist stabbed five members of a Jewish family (including a brand new baby and two toddlers) to death in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. Earlier on Wednesday, terrorists fired several rockets and mortar shells into the Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, wounding one person. And now this.
Though authorities were quick to blame terrorism for the four-pound bomb that was in a bag next to the stop, no one is claiming responsibility for the attack just yet. What is clear is that somehow, in some way, this attack will be blamed on Israel. And if they fight back, well then that will be blamed on them, too.
Somehow in our left-leaning media, stories like last summer's flotilla raid, which was terrible for Israeli PR, always end up inciting borderline (and some overt) acts of anti-Zionism, which crosses the line very often into anti-Semitism.
People were in the streets of New York City carrying Israeli flags dripping with "blood" (red paint) and calling for retribution. And yet when a family is murdered in Itamar in cold blood with a KNIFE, nobody says a word. And this bombing will be the same. The US government may condemn the bombing, but no one will take to the streets in the US against the terrorists. Should Israel retaliate? We will hear about it from the lefties.
The violence in the Middle East is awful. On both sides. The history of Israel is long and complicated, but it isn't as simple as people will have you believe. To hear some talk, the Israelis came in, stole the land, and are now oppressing the Palestinians, but it isn't that simple.
The history is long and complicated and impossible to go into without a long-winded explanation, but suffice it to say that the Jews have always been in the area. It was hardly as if the land was stolen and it wasn't the Israelis who rejected the original agreement to divide the land. Even though things aren't good now and Israel and their current government are partly to blame for that, the notion that one side is innocent and the other has blood on their hands is quite blind to the actual history of the region and infuriating, to boot.
The knee jerk response from the political left always seems to be to smack Israel, but I wonder what their position on the Chinese occupation of Tibet might be? I wonder if they think the US should return California and Texas to Mexico? I also wonder what they thought when they visited the land and spoke to people on both sides. When people reveal that they have no opinions on the former two issues and haven't visited Israel, then perhaps it's time to question their motives.
Questioning Israeli policy makes you smart and interested in the world at large. Questioning Israel's right to exist and defend itself is hateful. No matter how you look at it. If we want peace -- and I think most of us do -- we are going to have to get past the hatred and the violence and accept that both sides have the right to the land.
What happens in the future remains to be seen, but this feels like a step backwards from peace and should disappoint people on all sides. If you want to raise your voices in protest, now would be a good time to start.
Do you choose sides on this issue?