Terrorists Win in Israel

Attack in Israeli Port Kills at Least 10; Talks Called Off

Two Palestinian suicide bombers killed at least 10 other people on Sunday in a double-attack at Israel’s port of Ashdod, prompting Israel to cancel talks on arranging an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit.

Police said at least 20 people were hurt in the blasts at Israel’s second-busiest port as day-shift workers headed home. Bloody limbs protruded from a shed that had been crumpled to a heap of twisted metal.

“People inside the workshop told us a guy came to them to ask for some water. When they gave it to him, he blew up,” said port worker Rafi Mashal.

The bombing took place just as aides of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie were wrapping up talks to arrange a long-awaited summit on reviving a plan for reciprocal steps meant to lead to a Palestinian state in return for peace.

The Israelis called off further contacts that had been planned for Monday ahead of a possible summit this week.

“We are not looking for a photo opportunity. We want a real undertaking from the Palestinians to crack down on terrorism,” said Sharon’s spokesman Raanan Gissin.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack by bombers who sneaked out of the fenced-in Gaza Strip, a hotbed of militancy 25 miles south of Ashdod, and said the attack appeared timed to scupper a summit.

Islamic militant group Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, part of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction, claimed it as a joint attack — the first suicide bombing in Israel since eight people were killed in a Jerusalem bus blast on February 22.

Clearly, the terrorists are in charge of the process since they can derail it any time a deal is near. With the Palestinian Authority unwilling or unable to do anything to stop them and the Israelis hamstrung by international opinion, there appears to be no end in sight to this cycle.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Eric Akawie says:

    Except that Israel (or at least Sharon) doesn’t really want talks with the P.A. Any talks would give them a boost in (international) legitimacy at a time when it is rapidly plummeting, even in Europe.

    The fewer official contacts until the fence is completed, the better. Once the fence is complete, then it’s time to talk.