The weekend suicide bombings that claimed the lives of 25 Israelis are but the latest chapter in a long series of terror attacks launched by Palestinians against Israeli targets.
Following is a timeline of such attacks since the “Al-Aksa Intifada” began in late September 2000:
Oct. 26, 2000 — In a suicide attack in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian youth rides a bicycle to an Israel Defense Force post and detonates explosives, killing himself and slightly wounding an Israeli soldier. Israel’s local army commander says it appears that Islamic Jihad is behind the bombing. The commander calls the attack a “disgusting” example of the Palestinians’ use of a youth, whose school bag was packed with a “sandwich and a bomb.”
Nov. 2, 2000 — Two people are killed when a car bomb explodes on a small side street near Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda open-air market. Nine people are lightly injured. In a statement faxed to the Reuters news agency, Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.
Nov. 20, 2000 — Two Israelis are killed and nine others, including five children, are wounded in a roadside bomb attack against a school bus traveling from Kfar Darom in the Gaza Strip. The powerful bomb blows apart a section of the reinforced bus, which is carrying children, parents and teachers to an elementary school in a Jewish settlement in Gaza. Among the injured are three young siblings who have to have their arms or legs partially amputated.
Nov. 22, 2000 — A car bomb explodes in the northern Israeli town of Hadera, killing at least two people and wounding at least 20 others.
Dec. 22, 2000 — Hamas claims responsibility for a suicide bombing near a roadside restaurant in the Jordan Valley in which three Israeli soldiers are wounded, two of them seriously.
Dec. 28, 2000 — Two pipe bombs explode on a commuter bus in Tel Aviv, wounding 14 people, one of them seriously.
Jan. 1, 2001 — A car bomb explodes in the coastal city of Netanya. At least 50 Israelis are wounded.
Feb. 8, 2001 — A car bomb in a fervently Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem wounds one person.
Feb. 14, 2001 — At least eight Israelis are killed and 21 wounded when a bus driven by a Palestinian plows into a group of soldiers and civilians waiting at a bus stop in a suburb south of Tel Aviv. Seven soldiers are among the dead. An anonymous caller to Israel Radio’s Arabic service says the military wing of Hamas carried out the attack. Israeli police said the driver is a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who has Israeli security clearance and has worked for the Egged bus company for five years ferrying Palestinian workers to jobs in Israel.
March 1, 2001 — At least one person is killed and nine injured when a van explodes in an apparent terrorist attack in northern Israel. The explosion takes place on a main highway near the Arab city of Umm el-Fahm in the Lower Galilee. Reports say the explosion occurs shortly after Israeli police, who have been on heightened security for possible attacks, stop the van and begin checking it.
March 4, 2001 — A suicide bomber blows himself up in Netanya, killing three Israelis and wounding at least 65. Following the bombing, several bystanders attack Arab workers in the area, injuring one seriously.
March 26, 2001 — Palestinian snipers kill a 10-month-old Jewish girl in Hebron. Shalhevet Pass is with her parents when snipers open fire on Hebron’s Avraham Avinu enclave from the Palestinian neighborhood of Abu Sneineh, which overlooks the Jewish neighborhood. Shalhevet is shot in the head. Her father, Yitzhak, also is injured.
March 27, 2001 — Two separate explosions rock Jerusalem, killing at least one person, apparently a bomber, and wounding dozens. Police say at least 30 people are wounded, one of them critically, when a suicide bomber blows himself up beside a bus at the French Hill intersection. About five hours earlier, five people are wounded, one of them moderately, when a car bomb detonates in a shopping area in the neighborhood of Talpiot.
March 28, 2001 — A suicide bomber kills himself and two Israeli teen-agers when he detonates a nail-bomb among a group of Israeli teens waiting near Kfar Saba in central Israel for their ride to school. Four teen-agers are wounded, one of them critically. Hamas claims responsibility, saying it has seven more suicide bombers ready to carry out attacks.
April 14, 2001 — Two bombs explode within a short period in the Tel Aviv suburb of Kfar Saba. One man is seriously injured in the second blast. A day later, no one is injured when a bomb goes off near an Israeli checkpoint close to the West Bank city of Kalkilya.
April 22, 2001 — A suicide bomber kills a 53-year-old physician and wounds at least 50 other Israelis when he detonates explosives strapped to his body at a crowded bus stop in a Tel Aviv suburb. The attacker sets off the bomb as a Herzliyah-bound bus stops to pick up passengers along a busy street in Kfar Saba, police say. Kfar Saba Mayor Yitzhak Wald demands that a fence be erected to separate his city from the West Bank.
May 18, 2001 — A suicide bomber kills himself and at least five others in a blast at a crowded shopping mall in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya. The Islamic fundamentalist Hamas group claims responsibility for the attack, which wounds more than 100 people. Israel responds by launching its first jet strikes on the West Bank and Gaza Strip since violence erupted last September. The air strikes kill 12 Palestinians and wound dozens.
May 25, 2001 — A car bomb explodes near the Hadera bus station. At least 39 people are injured in the blast. The incident occurs after Israel says its troops will fire at Palestinians only in self-defense. Another suicide bombing takes place outside an Israeli army post in the Gaza Strip, killing only the perpetrator. Hamas videotapes the Gaza truck bombing and later releases the footage — a practice copied from Hezbollah, which often filmed its attacks on Israeli troops.
May 27, 2001 — Two car bombings in the heart of western Jerusalem complicate the diplomatic mission of President Bush’s Middle East envoy, William Burns. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claims responsibility for the first blast, which takes place shortly after midnight, causing no injuries. The second car bombing, hours before the start of the Shavuot holiday, is packed with mortar shells. The Islamic Jihad terror group claims responsibility for the blast, which injures some 30 people, none seriously.
June 1, 2001 — A suicide bomber kills 21 Israelis and wounds more than 100 at a Tel Aviv beachside disco. After a Cabinet meeting the following day, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon rescinds the unilateral cease-fire he announced May 22.
June 22, 2001 — A Palestinian suicide bomber in a jeep kills two Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip. The soldiers are responding to a call for help, Israel says. As they approach the jeep, the bomber sets off his explosives. Hamas claims responsibility for the attack.
July 16, 2001 — Two Israelis — a male and female soldier — are killed when a Palestinian suicide bomber strikes in the Israeli coastal town of Binyamina, located between Netanya and Haifa. Monday’s attack — which wounds at least 11, three of them seriously — takes place at a bus station near the town’s train station, police said. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.
[[[ July 19, 2001 — Israeli vigilantes kill three Palestinians, including a 3-month-old baby. A group calling itself The Committee for Road Safety takes responsibility for the attack. ]]]
Aug. 9, 2001 — 15 people are killed and more than 130 wounded in a suicide bombing at the Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. Five or six of the dead are infants, according to Magen David Adom officials. The bombing takes place during lunch hour at the restaurant on the corner of King George and Jaffa streets, one of Jerusalem’s busiest intersections. Islamic Jihad claims responsibility.
Aug. 12, 2001 — Islamic Jihad claims responsibility for a suicide bombing that wounds at least 20 people in a suburb of Haifa. In a statement faxed to Reuters in Beirut, the group says one of its members blew himself up in the Wall Street Restaurant in the town of Kiryat Motzkin.
Sept. 4, 2001 — A Palestinian suicide bomber disguised as a fervently Orthodox Jew blows himself up outside a hospital entrance in downtown Jerusalem, wounding 16 people, one critically. The bomber detonates his explosives after two border police approach him. The attack comes a day after four bombs explode in Jerusalem — in the French Hill, Gilo and Ma’alot Dafna neighborhoods — slightly wounding three people.
Sept. 9, 2001 — An Israeli Arab suicide bomber strikes in the train station in the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya, killing at least three Israelis. The station is packed with soldiers returning to base. Hamas claims responsibility for the attack, believed to be the first time the group has used an Israeli Arab to carry out attacks. The same day, Palestinian gunmen open fire on a van ferrying teachers to a school in the West Bank. A teacher and the driver are killed, and four other teachers are injured.
Oct. 1, 2001 — A large car bomb explodes in the Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem. Several people are lightly injured.
Oct. 4, 2001 — A Palestinian disguised as an IDF paratrooper kills three people and wounds 16 at the bus station in Afula, in the central Galilee, when he opens fire on a crowd of Israelis.
Oct. 7, 2001 — Yair Mordechai, 43, is killed when a Palestinian affiliated with Islamic Jihad detonates a large bomb strapped to his body near the entrance of Kibbutz Shluchot in the Beit She’an Valley.
Oct. 17, 2001– Gunmen lurking in a Jerusalem hotel hallway assassinate Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a PLO faction, claims responsibility — in revenge, the group says, for Israel’s killing of the PFLP’s secretary-general, Mustafa Zibri.
Oct. 28, 2001 — A Palestinian gunman kills four Israelis and wounds approximately 40 when he sprays automatic gunfire at a bus stop in the coastal city of Hadera. Earlier, Palestinian gunmen kill an Israeli soldier in a drive-by shooting.
Nov. 4, 2001 — A Palestinian gunman fires on a bus in Jerusalem, killing two people. At least 50 others are wounded, six seriously. Police shoot and kill the gunman during the attack in the city’s French Hill section. The attacker is a member of Islamic Jihad, Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy says.
Nov. 26, 2001 — A Palestinian suicide bomber lightly wounds two border police at the Erez Checkpoint in the Gaza Strip. The bomber joined workers waiting to be cleared for entry into Israel. Hamas claims responsibility for the attack.
Nov. 27, 2001 — Two Israelis are killed and dozens wounded when two Palestinian gunmen open fire in the northern Israeli city of Afula. Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aksa Brigade, a group affiliated with Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah movement, claim responsibility for the attack
Nov. 29, 2001 — Three people are killed and nine wounded in a suicide bombing on a bus near the city of Hadera. The Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction claim responsibility for the attack.
Dec. 1, 2001 — Ten people are killed and 188 injured when two suicide bombers detonate bombs on Ben Yehuda Street, a pedestrian mall in the center of Jerusalem. A car bomb explodes nearby 20 minutes later. Hamas claims responsibility.
Dec. 2, 2001 — Fifteen people are killed and at least 40 injured, several critically, when a suicide bomber blows up a bus in Haifa. Hamas claims responsibility.
After deadly weekend in Israel,
U.S. tells Arafat to prove himself WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 (JTA) — The deadly attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa have caused the United States to put the onus for curbing terrorism squarely on the Palestinian leadership, and the White House for the first time is not publicly telling Israel to restrain itself.
President Bush met Sunday with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and called on Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to make immediate arrests and take decisive action against the organizations responsible for the attacks in Jerusalem and Haifa over the weekend.
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed at least 25 people.
“Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must immediately find and arrest those responsible for these hideous murders,” President Bush said in a statement Saturday, following the attacks in Jerusalem. “Now more than ever, Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must demonstrate through their actions, and not merely their words, their commitment to fight terror.”
A senior Israeli official said Israel does not expect that Arafat will ever comply with American and international calls for a crackdown against terrorism.
“Arafat sits at the head of an empire of lies and the head of a coalition of terror,” the official said. “The Americans understand that the Israelis have to act.”
In a break from precedent, administration officials did not call on the Israeli government to restrain its reaction.
“We’re not about to tell Mr. Sharon what he should do as a freely elected leader of a democratic nation,” Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” He added, however, that Israel should consider the consequences of any action it takes.
Neither Bush nor Sharon spoke to reporters after their meeting. Sharon had been scheduled to meet with Bush on Monday, but the discussion was moved forward to allow Sharon to return quickly to Israel.
He is expected to meet with his Security Cabinet on Monday to formulate a retaliation plan.
The lack of a U.S. call for restraint emphasizes the significance of the attacks over the weekend, and the fact that America believes it is up to Arafat to take real action.
“If Chairman Arafat is going to be a leader, it is time to step up,” National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said.
Powell outlined steps Arafat must take to demonstrate his leadership, including arresting terrorists and actually keeping them in prison and dismantling the terror organizations’ infrastructure.
Israel has pointed out that it is not only militant groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad that are carrying out terror attacks, but mainstream organizations such as the militias of Arafat’s own Fatah Party, Palestinian Authority policemen and even members of Force 17, Arafat’s presidential guard.
In an appearance on CNN, Powell said Arafat must act against those groups, too, if evidence shows that they are involved in terror.
On Sunday, the Palestinian Authority gave its security forces extraordinary powers to arrest terrorists and began making some arrests, according to media reports. But it remains unclear whether the actions will be substantive or sustained enough to forestall Israeli retaliation.
Israeli spokesman Ra’anan Gissin said that the United States, which suffered its own devastating terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, now has a better understanding of Israel’s plight, and is acting accordingly.
“After Sept. 11, the United States understands what it’s like to be at Ground Zero,” said Gissin, referring to the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. “Today we are at Ground Zero.”
Numerous Israeli leaders drew analogies to the U.S. war in Afghanistan and said Israel must defend itself against terrorism in the same manner as the United States. They also are asking the Bush administration to make Hamas and other groups that threaten Israel targets of the U.S.-led coalition against terrorism.
One Middle East analyst said that if he is to avoid a strong Israeli retaliation, Arafat will have to reprise his crackdown of spring 1996, when he arrested more than 1,000 terrorists and confiscated weapons in the wake of a series of bus bombings.
“If he doesn’t do it, he is going to lose with the U.S. diplomatically, and Israel will make sure the P.A. loses physically,” said David Makovsky, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Makovsky said the Bush administration may threaten to downgrade the Palestinians’ diplomatic status in the United States — which was upgraded after the Oslo peace process began — if Arafat doesn’t take action.
American presidents for years have signed waivers postponing congressionally mandated sanctions on the Palestinians for failing to comply with their peace process obligations, and Bush could now refuse to waive the sanctions as a punishment.
But the U.S. administration seems to be losing faith that Arafat even can control the Palestinian terrorists.
“He is not a particularly strong leader, and I don’t know that he has good control over the Palestinian situation,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said of Arafat on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He has not ever delivered anything for the Palestinian people throughout history.”
Former U.S. Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, working as an envoy in the Middle East, is expected to have an increased role in trying to calm violence, including monitoring Palestinian actions against terrorism. Zinni, who visited the scene of the Jerusalem attacks Sunday, has issued some of the strongest denunciations of the attacks.
“These despicable actions can only be prevented if the Palestinians act in a comprehensive and sustained manner to root out terrorists and bring them to justice,” Zinni said in a statement. “Only a comprehensive and sustained effort by the Palestinian Authority against the individuals responsible for these acts and the infrastructure of the groups that support them, as well as effective cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli security organizations, will lead to the end of such actions.”
Zinni has said the attacks of the past week may be intended to thwart his mission to bring about a cease-fire, but said he would not be deterred from his goal.
Bush echoed those comments on Sunday.
“Clearly, there are some in the world who do not want us to achieve peace in the Middle East,” Bush said. We must not allow them to succeed. We must not allow terror to destroy the chance of peace in the Middle East.”