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Last night: letter from Lisa in Israel
Horrible scenes on TV tonight. I got a pop-up newsflash on my PC almost as soon as the bombing occurred (I was reading your blog entry - lovely - and flipping over to the NY Times coverage of the suicide bombing on the UN Hotel in Iraq). Spent the rest of the night in a grim, familiar ritual - clicking between TV stations to compare coverage.

(Israeli TV didn't even bother to cover the bombing in Iraq. CNN led with the Jerusalem bombing, and BBC World led with the Iraq bombing. The BBC's coverage of the Jerusalem bombing was typically outrageous: they spent about 2 minutes reporting on the actual event, then moved on to extensive talking head analysis of how this would affect the ceasefire and Road Map - with much tongue-clucking over how much the Palestinians were sure to suffer from Israel's predicted revenge for the bombing).

The bus was one of those extra-long things that looks like two buses attached by an accordion. It was so full that the driver hadn't stopped to pick up passengers at the previous two stops, meaning that the bomber stood among all those sweating people, all pressed together, for at least three stops before he decided to detonate himself.

It was full of ultra-Orthodox people on their way back from the kotel [Western Wall] - evidently there was some big bar mitzvah celebration there. I saw one old woman being led away from the bus - obviously in shock, bleeding from her eyes. Her wig had fallen off, revealing a shaved head. It was almost certainly the first time her bare head had been exposed in public since she got married. But she didn't notice... And all those injured children, screaming...

Abu Mazen condemned the bombing in classical Arabic, and sent his sympathy to the bereaved families. The Islamic Jihad claimed reponsibility, and a Hamas spokesperson told an Israeli TV reporter that as far as he was concerned the ceasefire -to which the Islamic Jihad was not a partner - was still on.

Then it turned out that the bomber, a 29 year-old father of two, was a Hamas member.

And now his wife is a widow, his children orphans. And the Israeli army will once again seal off the West Bank, meaning that other fathers with children to feed will be unable to get to work, and lots of people will suffer.

Who plans these things? And why? What in the world do they want to accomplish?

It's summer and the beaches are packed, I go to parties every weekend, the outdoor cafes are always full (am I the only person in TA who works full-time?), the streets are full of beautiful, tanned people wearing very little clothing, the city is buzzing with sexual energy and life seems pretty good. So you really, really want the ceasefire to be real, and the Road Map to be meaningful, because peace is good and war is bad.




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