A child goes to his grave

August 21, 2003

CONTENTS

1. "A child goes to his grave, one more victim of conflict" (Daily Telegraph, U.K., August 21, 2003)
2. "Suicide bomber's 'goodbye' to his children" (Daily Telegraph, U.K., August 21, 2003)
3. "DNA Tests Needed to Identify Jerusalem Bomb Dead" (Reuters, August 20, 2003)
4. "Al-Aqsa brigades highlight Palestinians' right to resist occupation" (By Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) August 21, 2003)


[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach four further articles relating to Tuesday's Jerusalem bus bomb, with summaries first:

1. "A child goes to his grave, one more victim of conflict" (Daily Telegraph, U.K., August 21, 2003). As the tiny bundle bearing the remains of 11-month-old Shmuel Zargari was lowered into the parched earth on a Jerusalem hillside the wails of grief swelled, overwhelming the chanted prayers. There were no parents or grandparents present, no friends and no other children just two uncles and a brother among little more than 50 mourners who gathered to pay their last respects to the child who had not even seen his first birthday. Shmuel's mother Nava was bearing the child in her arms when he died. As he was laid to rest, she was in a hospital bed on the other side of Jerusalem, unable to pay her last respects. Her husband was still in a critical condition. Four of the five children killed were babies or toddlers.

2. "Suicide bomber's 'goodbye' to his children" (Daily Telegraph, U.K., August 21, 2003). The man who killed at least 20 people and wounded more than 100 when he blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem was a married 29-year-old with two children. But before he went off to kill, Raed Abdel Misk, a religious scholar from the West Bank town of Hebron, and his Hamas and Islamic Jihad handlers recorded video footage of him holding his son and daughter in his arms. After strapping explosives to his body on Tuesday night, his mission left more than five children dead and injured 40 others.

3. "DNA Tests Needed to Identify Jerusalem Bomb Dead" (Reuters, August 20, 2003). Israeli pathologists used DNA tests and dental X-rays on Wednesday to identify the bodies of 18 people, including five children, killed in the Palestinian suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus. "You can imagine what a bombing like this does to the bodies of children," said Zelig Feiner, a volunteer from the Zaka group which helps collect and identify those killed in bombings. Funerals for the handful of dead already identified were scheduled, including a 22-year-old woman in her final month of pregnancy and an 11-month-old baby. One little girl had lost an eye, doctors said.

4. "Al-Aqsa brigades highlight Palestinians' right to resist occupation" (published by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) August 21, 2003). Al-Aqsa martyrs brigades, the military wing of Hamas, asserted Thursday that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves and resist occupation. (Some of the facts given in this report, should be treated skeptically, given the unreliability of KUNA.)

 


FULL ARTICLES

A CHILD GOES TO HIS GRAVE

A child goes to his grave, one more victim of conflict
Daily Telegraph, U.K.
August 21, 2003

As the tiny bundle bearing the remains of 11-month-old Shmuel Zargari was lowered into the parched earth on a Jerusalem hillside the wails of grief swelled, overwhelming the chanted prayers.

Just a few minutes earlier the baby, wrapped in a prayer shroud, was carried aloft up a steep flight of stone stairs on a piece of plywood, now put to use as an undignified stretcher for the dead toddler.

There were no parents or grandparents present, no friends and no other children - just two uncles and a brother among little more than 50 mourners who gathered to pay their last respects to the child who had not even seen his first birthday.

A small handwritten sign bore testament to the identity of one of the latest and youngest victims of this endless conflict. Shmuel's mother Nava was bearing the child in her arms when he died. She was travelling in the bus with her husband Yakov, a quiet and intense man who is studying in a religious school, when the suicide bomber struck.

Members of the ultra-Orthodox family rarely travel beyond their neighbourhood but on Tuesday night they had gone on a family outing to pray at the Wailing Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine. Five of the six children went along.

Just moments before the bomber struck, seven-year-old Esther had given up her seat for a pregnant woman who was later identified among the dead. The girl was in intensive care yesterday. The other children escaped with minor injuries. As her tiny brother was laid to rest, her mother was in a hospital bed on the other side of Jerusalem, unable to pay her last respects. Her husband was still in a critical condition.

By last night most of the 20 dead had been identified, among them a mother of 13 from New York. Pathologists were using DNA tests and dental records. Four of the five children killed were babies or toddlers.

 

SUICIDE BOMBER'S 'GOODBYE' TO HIS CHILDREN

Suicide bomber's 'goodbye' to his children
Daily Telegraph, U.K.
August 21, 2003

The man who killed at least 18 people and wounded more than 100 when he blew himself up on a bus in Jerusalem was a married 29-year-old with two children, illustrating the scale of the problem facing the Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Most suicide bombers recruited by militant leaders have been much younger, frequently in their late teens, with no dependents.

But before he went off to kill, Raed Abdel Misk, a religious scholar from the West Bank town of Hebron, and his Hamas and Islamic Jihad handlers recorded video footage of him holding his son and daughter in his arms.

After strapping explosives to his body on Tuesday night, his mission left five children dead and injured 40 others.

That such individuals are now prepared to volunteer for suicide attacks shows the power wielded over the Palestinians by the militant leaders that Mr Abbas has promised Israel he will bring under control.

Mr Abbas, whose appointment was supposed to be a catalyst for a renewed drive for peace in the Middle East, is now besieged on both sides.

The Israeli cabinet was last night set to approve a range of military actions against the militants in his territories.

At the same time, leaders of the Islamic radical groups issued thinly-veiled threats of a violent backlash should Mr Abbas take them on.

As he grappled with the biggest crisis since assuming office, and with the militants' ceasefire seemingly in tatters, even his own ranks appeared confused on how to proceed.

Mr Abbas ordered the arrest of the terrorists responsible for Tuesday's bombing but Ghassen Khatieb, the labour minister, told The Daily Telegraph it was "impossible to act" while Israel was still occupying all major West Bank towns except Bethlehem.

In Hebron, which is under Israeli control, 17 members of the bomber's family were arrested.

"I do not know how the Palestinian Authority can crack down on anything," Mr Khatieb said. "Yes, it should be done, but there are no Palestinian security services in Hebron and Israel is occupying the town. Can our forces move, can they use their arms? The answer is no."

The ceasefire, agreed upon between militant groups and the Palestinian Authority, was supposed to help ease the way for Mr Abbas to get the US-sponsored "road map" peace plan off the ground.

But critics said it was fundamentally flawed as it did not get Israel's commitment to stopping its targeted killing of militant leaders.

Blaming Israel for destroying the ceasefire, Khaled al Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank, also condemned Mr Abbas's decision to cut contact with militant Islamic groups, calling it "a crime against the national unity".

He said: "His decision will increase the tension in the Palestinian streets. If he starts fighting us, he will lose his political credibility. He told us he will not push things to the edge of the civil war, that he will not be the claws of the Israeli cat.

"If he decides to pressure us, our attacks will hit the heart of Tel Aviv and other cities. There will be a backlash on Israel."

Prior to the bombing, Palestinian and Israeli officers had been discussing how Palestinian forces would assume responsibility from Israel for policing two West Bank cities, continuing an exchange of control called for by the peace plan.

Israeli officials have expressed frustration toward the peace plan, which some said was endangering their security. Israeli officials noted that Israel had recently softened its own demands on the Palestinian leadership, insisting only that it supervise the people Israel considers terrorists and prevent them from committing new attacks, rather than putting them in jail.

Analysts say the coming days could make or break Mr Abbas.

Mr Khatieb fears that the faltering peace plan cannot move forward unless there is decisive international intervention, including international monitors on the ground to supervise the process.

He said: "Israel was dragged into the 'road map' by American pressure but Hamas has now given them the excuses they need not to fulfil their obligations by reacting to their provocations. At the moment the extremists are reinforcing each other."

 

DNA TESTS NEEDED TO IDENTIFY JERUSALEM BOMB DEAD

DNA Tests Needed to Identify Jerusalem Bomb Dead
Reuters
August 20, 2003

Israeli pathologists used DNA tests and dental X-rays on Wednesday to identify the bodies of 18 people, including five children, killed in the Palestinian suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus.

Four of the five children killed when the bomber blew himself up on a bus crowded with ultra-Orthodox families were babies or toddlers, according to medical officials.

Most of the passengers had been returning from prayers at Jerusalem's Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites. "We are having huge problems identifying them and we are doing DNA tests," said Zelig Feiner, a volunteer from the Zaka group which helps collect and identify those killed in bombings.

"You can imagine what a bombing like this does to the bodies of children," he told Reuters. Dozens of people, most of them ultra-Orthodox Jews, gathered at the Abu Kabir morgue in Tel Aviv to look for their loved ones, fearing the worst after fruitless searches of Jerusalem hospitals.

Funerals for the handful of dead already identified were scheduled for Wednesday, including a 22-year-old woman in her final month of pregnancy and an 11-month-old baby.

"It's one of the worst terrorist attacks both because of the large number of victims and the difficulty of identifying them and because among the victims are children," Professor Yehuda Hiss, Israel's chief pathologist, told Israel radio. Around 15 children hurt in the blast were still in hospital on Wednesday, suffering from wounds including head and lung injuries. One little girl had lost an eye, doctors said.

 

AL-AQSA BRIGADES HIGHLIGHT PALESTINIANS' RIGHT TO RESIST OCCUPATION

Al-Aqsa brigades highlight Palestinians' right to resist occupation
published by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
August 21, 2003

Al-Aqsa martyrs brigades, the military wing of Hamas, asserted Thursday that the Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves and resist occupation. The brigades said in a statement issued in Gaza that it warned against internal conflicts among Palestinians, based on the Israeli requests, forwarded by the U.S. President, to clamp down on Palestinian militants.

The statement asserted, that the current events show Israeli violations, including the killing of many militants, civilians and children, storming into cities and camps, bombing homes and many other violations all shown to the world, which was not criticised or condemned. It added, "Then we are faced with accusations when defending our land and ourselves".

The brigades called upon the Palestinian Authority to adopt resistance and Mujahideen as ways of protecting national unity.

Meanwhile, the Israeli radio announced the exchange of fire last night between Palestinian militants and occupying troops in a settlement west Khan Yunis. The radio quoted military sources as saying "a mortar shell fell near Israeli military areas in the settlement. The source said that Palestinian militants opened fire towards Israeli bases the settlement of Rafiah-yam southeast Gaza Strip.

Whereas Palestinian eyewitnesses said that occupying forces opened fire randomly towards residential homes in Rafah.

On the other hand, Israeli security bodies issued last night a list of Palestinian citizens wanted by the occupying force, accused of carrying out military mission against it.

Israeli media sources said that Israel transferred those names to the Palestinian security bodies, and requested their arrest. The list includes names of members of Fatah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.