A bakery in a holiday resort town in this country came under armed attack today. Three ordinary people, makers of fresh bread, were blown to pieces by a bomber. He is an Arab. He died in his own explosion.
Today's act of hate-driven terrorism happened in Eilat, the southern-most town in Israel. Eilat is filled with hotels and a fairly un-Israeli relaxed ambiance. The fact that it has not previously been hit by self-mutiliating Arab murderers may explain why security in the town has been relatively relaxed. Until now.
We know from bitter experience that until a tragedy like today's hits you personally, you tend to think that it happens only to other people.
We've also learned that those with an inclination towards pontificating and placing things in neat moral boxes tend to sink to the occasion when faced with the opportunity to express an opinion about a tragedy of this kind. Unfortunately most editors and many consumers of news seem unable to distinguish between the pontificators and those with something valuable, insightful and instructive to offer.
So let's review a few published reactions from this day's reporting, and see how much light, as opposed to cheap heat, they manage to generate.
Report: "Israeli leaders said the bombing jeopardized a two-month truce in Gaza."
We say: Really? A two-month truce? We must have come awfully close to peaceful relations with our nation-building neighbours in those two months, right? Hardly. Consider this: "In 2006, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) caught over 100 Palestinian terrorists who originated in the Gaza Strip and tried crossing into Israel from the Sinai Desert in Egypt. Among the terrorists were suicide bombers, weapons experts on their way to establish terror infrastructure in the West Bank and masterminds of soldier-kidnapping plots. In addition to the terrorists, security forces also succeeded in dismantling 11 terror rings that had established infrastructure which was used for infiltrations along the border. "
Report: "Prime Minister Olmert vowed to continue the "ongoing and never-ending struggle against terrorists.""We say: Really? Yediot Aharonot sees it differently.
"No obstacle along border, IDF officer says
"There is a substantial need for a physical obstacle along the border with Egypt, sources in the Israel Defense Forces said several hours after the Eilat terror attack , which claimed the lives of three people. A senior IDF officer said Monday evening that building such an obstacle, such as a fence along the Israel-Egypt border, was necessary in order to meet the challenges posed by terror organizations in the area. "What worries me is that what happened today will only tempt other terror groups to continue their attempts to carry out attack in the same pattern," the officer said. "We must remember that what happened today was not a record incident and that graver incident could take place. There is no physical, artificial or mental obstacle along the border," he added."
Report: Our defense minister, Amir Peretz, convening an emergency meeting of top security officials said: "This is a grave incident, it's an escalation and we shall treat it as such."
We say: Yes, it's grave. Every time the forces of terror manage to break through the defences which civilized societies put up against the barbarians, it's grave. But it's not an escalation of any sort. It's precisely the same old same old -- Arab terror is a constant -- that leaves us so exasperated by the empty words and incoherent actions of the political figures who bring so much noise and so little wisdom to public life here and in most other places.
Report: "A spokesman for Hamas, the radical Islamic group that controls the Palestinian parliament and Cabinet, praised the bombing as a "natural response"."
We say: Praising terror is what separates barbarian society from civilized society. So then why do the hate-filled statements of the barbarians receive so much air time? They're not only a threat to our society here in Israel. They're a threat to all societies.
Report: "Palestinian terror organizations Al Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, an arm of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization, and Islamic Jihad have claimed joint responsibility for the attack. "
We say: A Jerusalem Post analysis puts this in perspective: "It also does not make much of a difference which terror group was behind the attack. Nowadays, most of the groups - Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Tanzim, Al Aksa Brigades, PFLP - work together with one supplying the bomb, the other the bomber, and a third the infiltration route. The attack is also a way of trying to divert the attention from the Palestinian internal factional fighting and unite the groups to fight against their common enemy Israel instead of against one another."
Report: "A senior aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the attack. "We reject these acts and we do not believe that they are in the interest of the Palestinian cause and that they blacken the image of the Palestinian people," Yasser Abed Rabbo told AFP news agency. "
We say: It isn't really a condemnation when you say something shouldn't have been done because it spoils your image. Can you imagine the impact of a Palestinian Arab leader getting up and saying "We have to stop these acts of murder and hatred because they're sending our society back to the stone age and creating a moral burden for our children's children's children that no society can ever bear. We have to stop this because it's immoral and appallingly wrong."
Well, we can dream.
Report: "The last suicide attack was at a Tel Aviv restaurant, killing 10 people. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in that time, mainly in the Gaza Strip."
We say: The BBC has an interesting way of framing the story. There was a previous terror attack, they say. Then afterwards the Israelis killed hundreds of Arabs (a toll that presumably includes deaths like that of the cowardly thug who attacked the bread loaves and ovens this morning). Tit for tat. Classic BBC-talk. Cycle of violence. Want to understand why today's killings happened? asks the BBC's editor. Because hundreds of Palestinians have been killed. Except that this killing by Arabs of Jews in the Jewish homeland has been happening for more than a hundred years. Long before there were occupied territories. Long before there were any Israeli forces. Long before the BBC and the other purveyors of morally-confused news reporting began sending their ill-informed and agenda-driven reporters and photographers to this area.