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February 25, 2005
Palestinian Triangle Offense Begins

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed four people in Tel Aviv today, shattering the cease-fire that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed had support from the terror groups in the occupied territories. Abbas decried the attack as sabotage on the Palestinians by isolated radicals as several groups claimed credit for the attack, while their leadership issued denials to the press:

Police said the bomber detonated his device in a crowd of young people waiting to enter the Stage nightclub on the city's popular Mediterranean beachfront promenade, about 600 yards south of the U.S. Embassy. More than 50 people were injured in the explosion, many seriously, police said. ...

There were several conflicting claims of responsibility by Palestinian groups, but none was definitive and all were subsequently denied by senior members of the organizations. An Islamic Jihad cell initially asserted responsibility for the attack, but a top official of the group in the Gaza Strip denied the claim and said his organization was continuing to honor an agreement with the Palestinian Authority to observe an informal truce with Israel. ...

Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator with Israel, condemned the attack "in the strongest possible terms."

"Whoever was behind this attack," Erekat said, "has one aim in mind: sabotage the peace process, undermine Palestinian national interests and undermine the democratic Palestinian process which the world has witnessed" since the death of Yasser Arafat three months ago and the subsequent election of Abbas as his successor.

Well, maybe. However, this looks remarkably similar to past Palestinian pledges to stop attacks on Israeli citizens that always collapsed as one of the three main power players in the occupied territories have always found justification to kick-start the war while Israel relaxed. The method of the bombing looks familiar as well, as the Post notes. It almost mirrors an earlier Palestinian suicide mission that took 21 lives in 2001 at the Dolphinarium. The similarity cannot have been accidental, nor do I believe it was meant to go unnoticed.

Abbas can scream "sabotage!" all he wants, but this three-step has been seen before. Unless Abbas offers up the perpetrators on a stick to the Israelis, and quickly, the Israelis will know that the power in the territories is not Fatah and Abbas but Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Neither group would sign onto the cease-fire, although both announced that they would informally follow it. Neither wants to allow Israel to survive in any form, and the local elections held last month show that Hamas and its agenda of murder and destruction has twice as much support as Fatah does.

Watch carefully for the tired responses decrying this brutal attack, blah blah blah. If the Israelis make an arrest, expect to see another attack, or perhaps a cluster of them, until they press Israel into retaliation. That will give Abbas the excuse he needs to go back to war, and back to his decades-long quest to exterminate the Israelis, getting Fatah at the head of the intifada once more - if it ever left it at all.

I give it until the end of March before this completely collapses, and I think I'm being far too generous.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 25, 2005 10:10 PM

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» Is it the old three step, or a new dance to a sweeter song? from Daly Thoughts
Last night, when the bomb went off in Tel Aviv, I knew what the reaction would be over on Little Green Footballs. I cannot say I blame the pro-Israelis for feeling betrayed, and wanting to lash out. I also cannot blame Captain Ed for thinking that ... [Read More]

Tracked on February 26, 2005 7:56 AM

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