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February 26, 2005
Palestinians Shocked, Shocked! To Find Terrorists Among Them

The AP reports tonight that ordinary Palestinians are outraged by the Tel Aviv bombing that killed four Israelis yesterday. Instead of the usual ululations and street celebrations, Mohammed Ballas reports that Palestinians voiced complaints instead:

Palestinians expressed anger Saturday at an overnight suicide bombing in Tel Aviv that killed four Israelis and threatened a fragile truce, a departure from former times when they welcomed attacks on their Israeli foes.

Official condemnations and denials were followed by public anger toward the perpetrators as Israeli blamed Syria and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the attack. The Palestinians pointed fingers at the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah. Syria denied the allegations. ...

In contrast to the dozens of previous suicide bombings, no celebrations were held in the West Bank on Saturday and militant groups didn't hang the customary posters of congratulations at the bomber's home.

What a blow that must have been. No $25,000 check from Saddam and now the family doesn't even get its posters. What a crackdown!

And let's take this report with a huge, Lot's-Wife-sized grain of salt. This is the same Palestinian population that elected Hamas to two-thirds of the Gaza council seats in the last election, double the number that Abbas' Fatah faction got on their peace platform. Now we're supposed to believe that they elected Hamas to push the peace process along? Perhaps the AP wants to win the coveted Captain Louis award for feigning shock at the ridiculously obvious, or more accurately, trying to get us to buy into it.

UPDATE: My RNC colleague (and all-around good guy) Roger L. Simon notes my skepticism and counters with the argument that there isn't much difference between Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad except a franchise label:

Ed Morrissey seems to believe that Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad can actually be differentiated in an ultimate sense. I respectfully disagree. I believe they share personnel, goals, information, everything, and take credit in the most elusive way possible. What is Al Qaeda, after all, but the fungible name of the old Muslim Brotherhood?

Actually, what I argue is that Palestinian IJ cannot be differentiated in an ultimate sense from Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, if not Fatah itself, for the same reasons Roger gives. That's what makes this Palestinian triangle offense so powerful. Hamas and the PLO may oppose each other for political purposes, but their goals are exactly the same: the annihilation of the Jewish state. Hamas speaks more openly about it. PIJ serves as a handy subset of the two in order to provide yet another voice in the mix. And if no one considered that before, the reports of the arrest certainly bear it out; the men arrested had ties to AAMB while PIJ took credit for the operation.

That's why I am so skeptical of both the Abbas "election", a product of widespread electoral fraud, and the Palestinian desire for a negotiated peace that leaves Israel in place. When Palestinians quit electing terrorists over moderates (if Fatah can even be called that), then I'll re-evaluate my skepticism.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 26, 2005 11:55 PM

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