The UK Guardian, uncharacteristically, manages to be quite sympathetic-ish in its report about the attack. It actually blames the Palestinian suicide bomber for shattering the peace process (what peace process? It was never more than a shaky, volatile three-month cease-fire) and not the infantile victims. I disliked the emphasis it made on the fact that the bus was full of orthodox Jews (this was mentioned three times, in case anyone should miss it), as if it made any difference.
The inevitable question, as always, is how a grown man climbs on to a bus full of small children and babies and blows himself up in their midst. This is quite an easy one, actually. Because if he doesn't see them as human beings worthy of life in the first place, and has such lack of respect for his own life that he sees death as an exalted goal, we can't really judge him with the same values as we would ourselves, can we?
For us the murderous attack immediately raised an uneasy question. On Thursday, Bish, the girls and I are going up to Jerusalem to spend the weekend there at a hotel. Years of troubles have created a situation whereby the girls no longer remember Jerusalem. We just never go. I decided that we have to go. It's high time, regardless. We have to give them the opportunity to experience the magic of this place, drink in the smell, touch the stones of the Kotel. They have to know Jerusalem, although ours will be a watered down version. We'll stay mainly in the west of the city. We won't sit on Ben Yehuda Street or in Nahalat Shiva. They certainly won't get to experience my favorite in my youth – the old city (not the Jewish quarter). When I was a teenager we used to roam the alleys of the old city freely, eating hummous in Abu-something-or-other's (forgot the name), buying Rahat Lokoum (Turkish Delight) and Armenian bells.
Bish was the first to voice our unease. Let's not go, he said, while we were watching the pictures of children and babies being evacuated to ambulances. He's not crazy about the idea anyway.
As of today, we're still going. Tomorrow is a long way away. Who knows?
Wednesday, August 20, 2003