Reprinted from Mike Malloy
Is there any hope for a lasting peace between Palestine and Israel? Is it even a topic worth discussion, given the nightmare that has plagued the region for over two millennia? It seems that every American president in the last 70 years has outlined a plan to bring peace to the Middle East, or develop a two-state solution. Carter came the closest, with Begin and Sadat in 1978, but to what possible end? Why do they keep trying? It's like the similarly futile attempt to "subdue" Afghanistan. You just want to go up to the superpowers in DC, be they in the Oval Office, Pentagon, or Lobby hallway and whisper in their ears ...
The events of the last several decades should be a clear demonstration that while we had a hand in creating the issue that divides the region, we have no power to affect a solution. And the events of the last 24 hours should be a clear indication that the divide between Palestine and Israel has never been greater.
The NY Times reports from Jerusalem:
"Two Palestinians armed with a gun, knives and axes stormed a synagogue complex in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Tuesday morning and killed four men in the middle of their morning prayers, the Israeli police said.- Advertisement -
"The assailants were killed at the scene in a gun battle with the police that wounded two officers, one of whom died of his injuries on Tuesday night. It was the deadliest attack on Israeli civilians in more than three years, and the worst in Jerusalem since 2008.
"Witnesses and Israeli leaders were particularly horrified at the religious overtones of an attack on a synagogue that killed men in ritual garments and spilled blood on prayer books.
"'To see Jews wearing tefillin and wrapped in the tallit lying in pools of blood, I wondered if I was imagining scenes from the Holocaust,' said Yehuda Meshi Zahav, the veteran leader of a religious emergency-response team, describing the straps and prayer shawls worn by the worshipers. 'It was a massacre of Jews at prayer.'
"The 7 a.m. attack on a synagogue complex that is the heart of community life in the Har Nof neighborhood shattered Israelis' sense of security and further strained relations with Palestinians at a time of heightened tension and violence. Six people, including a baby, a soldier and a border police officer, have been killed in a spate of vehicular and knife attacks fueled in large part by a dispute over a holy site in the Old City known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.
"Three of the four men killed in the synagogue Tuesday were rabbis, and all were immigrants to Israel with dual citizenship. One was born in England, and three in the United States, including Moshe Twersky, 59, part of a celebrated Hasidic dynasty.
"Relatives identified the attackers as two cousins, Odai Abed Abu Jamal, 22, and Ghassan Muhammad Abu Jamal, 32. They were said to be motivated by what they saw as threats to the revered plateau that contains Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock."- Advertisement -
There's more to the story. And, of course, the expected backlash from Israeli settlers against Palestinians. This time, in retaliation they attacked a school.
Al Jazeera has more:
"Just hours after the attack, Israeli settlers attacked a school in the village of Urif, south of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank. Clashes ensued and at least five Palestinians were wounded by rubber-coated steel bullets while others were taken to hospital with tear-gas-related injuries. Earlier on Tuesday, the Huwwara checkpoint, which allows Palestinians movement into the north of the West Bank, was shut by the Israeli authorities.
"Meanwhile, Israeli settlers began attacking Palestinian cars at bypass roads in the Hebron area, south of the West Bank. Throughout the day, a series of clashes also erupted in and around Jerusalem.
"At least 10 Palestinians were wounded in violence near al-Ram, a Jerusalem neighbourhood that has been cut off from the rest of the city by the Israeli separation wall. Approximately 25 others were wounded in Sur Baher, south of Jerusalem, Palestinian medical sources told Al Jazeera.