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Alleged Israeli Arab Complicity in Bus Bombing

27 August 2002

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Seven Israeli Arabs from the Galilean village of Bi’ne were arrested as accomplices in the Mt. Meron bus bombing of three weeks ago.  Two were fully active in planning and implementing the attack which killed 9 and injured over 50.  All are from the large extended Bakri family. 

The Right is in a feisty mood, generally an ‘I told you so,’ attitude.  The Arab leadership is accusing the police and the General Security Services of fabricating the story and/or violating the rights of the ‘accused’ since everyone is innocent until proven guilty.  And the political Left is silent, completely silent, unless confronted directly with a question.

The Right should not be so smug.  Strong Israeli Arab identification with the Palestinian cause can be traced to the late 1970’s and 1980’s when Menachem Begin and the Likud (Ariel Sharon included) began a massive settlement campaign throughout the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza claiming there was no border between Israel and these areas and Jews had the right to settle everywhere.  Israeli and Palestinian Arabs, who come from the same background absorbed the message of no border and no two state solution, and began to identify more closely with each other.

True, the process was arrested by the Oslo process by the mid-1990’s when a two state solution was back on the boards, but Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasir Arafat took care of any hopes for a negotiated peace with his terror offensive of the last 23 months.  He even more emphatically erased the borders of a two state solution.

In the past two years much of the Israeli Arab leadership pronouncements have been as violent as those of Arafat and the PA.  On Sunday the Islamic Front called for elimination of all Jews from the Jordan River to the sea.  (There is an interesting legal debate as to whether this is ‘incitement’.)  Arab Knesset members and many village leaders have called for an Israeli Arab uprising.  They claim it is all a matter of socio-economic disability and has little to do with Palestinian nationalism.

The hope of Oslo was the hope of the Left, and it is a massive failure, at least at the moment.  The Left cannot publicly admit failure and therefore has a difficult time taking the initiative to condemn Israeli Arab complicity in terrorism.  Their great expectations were dashed by a cruel reality.  At least they are the greatest supporters of a security fence and dividing line between Israel and the Palestinian areas.  If the left wing members of the Meretz party would read the ‘riot act’ to the Israeli Arab leadership, it might have an effect.

And all this becomes personal as Bi’ne is only ten miles from my home.  My wife sells health products in the village and along with my daughter use a hair dresser in the village.  And she’s a member of the Bakri family.