when will the killing stop?

Posted on March 7, 2008

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It is tragic every time senseless killings make the news.

It is even sadder when it involves the long-running blood feud between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

After a lull in suicide attacks by Palestinians on Israel for almost two years, the peace was shattered today by the killing of eight Jewish seminary students in Jerusalem by a gunman believed to be Palestinian or Israeli Arab.

BBC photo

The shooting also left nine others injured, three gravely. The attacker, who was reportedly working alone, was killed on the spot by an Israeli army officer. Apparently, a little-known group calling themselves the Jalil Freedom Battalions – the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh and Gaza was behind the killing.

What a horrible waste of young lives this incident is. The worst thing is that it will not end here.

While families of those affected grieve, others are already demanding retaliation on the Palestinians.

The anger among the Israelis is understandable. They have already been going through a nerve-wreaking week, with the recent firing of more powerful rockets by Palestinians extremists from Gaza into Israeli towns. The Israeli army had been busy answering that by launching a raid into Gaza, resulting in over a hundred Palestinian deaths and a dangerous increase in tension.

Today’s massacre will only toughen Israeli resolve to retaliate and crush further attempts. What will follow, to the detriment of all sides, is another cycle of violence, where more deaths and sadness will result.

It is risible that the Hamas government, which is in charge of the Gaza Strip, called the shooting “heroic”.

“This is a normal response to all the Israel occupation, commission and aggression, and they [have] committed massacres inside the Gaza and West Bank – about 128 [people were] killed, 30 of them children and infants, people and elderly and [women]. So I find this is a normal response to all Israel’s occupational crimes, and waging a war against the Palestinians,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told the world unrepentantly.

And while the rest of the world sent condolences to the victims’ families and condemned the violence, Palestinians were out celebrating on the streets at the news of shooting.

When will they ever learn that their problems would not be solved by blowing themselves up or taking others’ lives?

When will they realize that violence only begets more violence and lives lost would be in vain?

With attitudes like this, there seems to be little hope in the continuation of peace talks between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Just yesterday, after talks with US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, the two had agreed to restart peace talks that had stalled in the wake of the recent violence. Though they did not say when that might happen, that now seems extremely unlikely to be anytime soon, in the wake of today’s shooting.

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