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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

The international mainstream media missed it

New Targets for Suicide Bombers by Dr. Walid Phares
When al-Jazeera reported the suicide attack against the Haifa restaurant, one item went unnoticed by the international media. The reporter said "the restaurant is co-owned by an Arab. A number of Arabs were killed in the explosion." At first sight, there is no striking news in it. It is not the first time Arabs are killed by istishadis (Islamist suicide bombers). Nor would it be impossible that Israeli Arabs would be casualties in jihad operations against the Jews. One-third of Haifa's population is Arab. Moreover, many "scholars" of jihad have long warned that Muslims and Arabs could become collateral damage of martyrdom strikes. That has happened and will happen and al-Jazeera's panels will always find an answer to it. But the south Haifa restaurant was not owned by an "Arab," nor were most of the killed workers "Arabs." And here lies the issue.

The owner of "Maxime," the South Haifa restaurant is a Lebanese Christian. George Matar is not an Arab Muslim; he is a Maronite Catholic from Lebanon whose roots are Aramaic. Many of the workers who got killed or injured are Lebanese Christians, as well. Al-Jazeera and many Arab media outlets missed that point, possibly intentionally, since indicating the real ethnic and religious identities of this owner and some of the workers would open a new file on the jihadists both in Israel and in the Middle East. Why would the Islamist suicide bombers particularly target a Lebanese Christian restaurant in Israel, when they could have attacked an Arab-Muslim culinary establishment anywhere else in the city? Mainstream Jews in Haifa eat at all kinds of restaurants, especially on the Sabbath. So what's behind Hanadi's mission? Was she there to kill Jews or Christians -- or both?

How did "Abu Charbel" (George Matar's acronym) ended up being bombed in Israel by Palestinian Islamic Jihad? Was he part of that war between the Islamists and the Israelis? All law-abiding civilians basically want peace and security, regardless of whether they are Jews, Christians or Muslims. Only fanatical ideologies transform them into "missiles" - such as the bomber Hanadi Jaradat or "shreds" such as the companions of bombed George Matar. But while we know more about the perpetrators of jihad and their views of the world, most around us knows much less about those Christians of Lebanon, crushed in an exploding Middle East.
It gets even more fascinating - read the rest at FrontPageMagazine.