Israelis wary, Palestinians, Americans worried as terror stalks peace talks

10:23, September 03, 2010      

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by Dave Bender

Hamas officials in Gaza said Thursday that they were behind a second shooting ambush against Israeli civilian motorists in the West Bank late Wednesday night. Unidentified Palestinian gunmen sprayed a car with bullets moderately wounding two passengers near Ramallah.

In a similar attack Tuesday evening, gunmen, who are still at large, killed four Israeli motorists as they neared the entrance of the Israeli town of Kiryat Arba by Hebron.


The four - one of them a woman nine months pregnant - were all members of the nearby settlement of Beit Hagai. Settlement members, family and friends delivered agonized eulogies for the four victims Wednesday morning, who left behind seven orphans in the small community.

Beit Hagai, established in 1984, is an acronym for the names of three Israeli victims of a 1980 terror attack in Kiryat Arba.

Thousands of mourners quietly walked alongside the vans carrying the bodies along roads in the vicinity in a show of traditional Jewish mourning - and defiance. Fellow Israelis lined the roadside at several points to offer their final respects, as the vehicles passed by freshly-printed billboards and banners opposing territorial compromise with the Palestinians.

Some are fearful of a renewal of roadside terror attacks and angry at international political maneuverings that many view as treating them - and Palestinians - as exploitable ciphers on a geopolitical chessboard in Washington and elsewhere.

"There's an anger at Obama, Netanyahu, Barak and the world that pushed Israel to take down roadblocks that are essential to our security," said Avi Abelow, an American-born resident and independent filmmaker, who lives along the route in the Israeli town of Efrat.

"We're sick of the world telling us we have to make sacrifices for peace," said Abelow, who watched the procession as it passed by his front window on route 60, about 20 km northwards towards Jerusalem - the same road where Tuesday's attack took place.

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