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Thursday, January 15, 2004


"It was always my wish . . . to knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists"
Arutz Sheva: Additional details of yesterday's murderous terrorist bombing in northern Gaza that claimed the lives of four Israelis paint a frightful picture of a woman who cried for mercy - and seconds later coldly murdered those who bestowed it upon her.

The suicide attack was perpetrated by a young woman, the mother of two children aged 3 and 1 - the first time that Hamas has employed such a weapon, and the seventh female suicide bomber of the Oslo War. It is now known that she made her way to the checkpoint without arousing suspicion, but when she passed through the electronic door, the alarm sounded, and the guard on duty turned her away. She began to cry that she had a metal implant in her leg, and the same guard then apparently took pity on her, and allowed her in for a body check - and then she killed him.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Tzvi Poleg, who served in the past as IDF Commander in Gaza, said this morning that the attack might have been prevented:
"Wherever you have easing of restrictions, you have attacks. If we were just a little less humanitarian, this attack would not have happened - or at least it would have been less costly. It is unacceptable that a terrorist should arrive at the checkpoint and not be checked. Even when a woman comes in crying that her leg hurts, we must not be too humanitarian. We always want to be nice, and good, and sensitive - but not at the expense of our sons. Wherever this happens, the terrorist organizations will see it as a weakness, and will take advantage to carry out attacks."
The results of Arab/PA incitement and hatred for Israel were manifest not only in yesterday's attack, but in the videotape the terrorist mother made before her death. Smiling and cradling a rifle, she said that she had dreamed since she was 13 years old of "becoming a martyr" and dying for her people.
"It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists and to knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists," she said.
The army is now looking into several difficult questions in the aftermath of the attack. The first critical issue, of course, is how to relate to women at the checkpoints. Col. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Gaza DCO liaison with the PA, says today that the army will have to "reconsider the manner in which it checks Arab women."

Hamas terrorist leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin said yesterday that Hamas will continue to use women terrorists for suicide attacks. He said that
"jihad [holy war] is an imperative for Muslim men and women," and that "resistance will escalate against this enemy until they leave our land and homeland."
Another dilemma on the IDF scales is the tension between the desire to allow the PA population to live normal lives and the need for security for Israeli citizens. The Erez Crossing will be closed today, and it is not known when it will be re-opened. Nineteen thousand Arab workers and businessmen generally cross the Green Line every day to work inside pre-1967 Israel, and another 5-6,000 are employed in the Jewish-owned businesses in the Erez Industrial Zone.

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz met with U.S. Senators yesterday, and told them that distinguishing between terrorists and the rest of the PA population is "complex," but that in any event, Israel will "continue to act as a humanitarian and democratic state."

Three of the four victims of yesterday's terrorist bombing were buried today:

* Security guard Gal Shapira, 29, of Ashkelon, was laid to rest in the cemetery in his hometown. He is survived by his parents and sister.

The father of slain Israeli Gal Shapira, cries over his body during his
funeral in the town of Ashkelon, January 15, 2004
REUTERS/Tsafrir Abayov

* The funeral of Sgt. Tzur Ohr, 20, of Rishon LeTzion was held in the military cemetery in Holon. He is surviced by his parents, Tal and Adi, his older sister Ma'ayan and yourger brother Barak.

An Israeli soldier cries during a funeral of Israeli soldier Tzur Or
in the town of Holon January 15, 2004. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

* At 3 PM in Nahariya, Corp. Andrei Kegeles, 19, was laid to rest. He is survived by his parents and younger brother.
Andrei Kegeles immigrated to Israel from Belarus six and a half years ago with his parents, Nina and Igor, and brother Dimitri. Drafted into the army just four months ago, Andrei decided to be a combat soldier, saying to his parents, "I want to my army service to be useful. That's my way of contributing to the state."

After his son's death yesterday, Igor's voice was choked with tears and sorrow, but also with pride. He spoke about his son, "who was a regular Israeli guy, who wanted to go to the army. He was not afraid to serve in Gaza, he was no coward, and wanted to go to an officers' course. I asked him to serve somewhere else, but he wouldn't."

* The funeral of the fourth victim - Border Guard St.-Sgt. Vladimir Trostinsky, 22, of Rehovot - has not yet been set. He immigrated to Israel six years ago with his mother Yevgenia and younger brother Constantin; his father remained in Russia. He is survived by these, and by his grandparents, Moshe and Ida.

Friends of Israeli Border Police Staff Sgt. Vladimir
Trostinsky comfort each other during his funeral
in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, Thursday Jan. 15,
2004. Trostiansky, 22, and three other soldiers
were killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber
Wednesday at the Erez Crossing between
the Gaza Strip and Israel.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

While I loathe infringing on the privacy of mourners, it seems important to bring this into our lives. We must never stop caring for what happens to our people. When Jews die for being Jews, it is part of us, and should be part of our experience. After all, their murderer wanted to "knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists" - it didn't matter which ones.

May the families and friends of these young men be comforted among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.