- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 19, 2001

JERUSALEM — When a Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a downtown Jerusalem pizzeria, he killed 15 persons in one of the worst attacks in the latest Mideast fighting. He also forced a change in lifestyle.
Crowds are thinning at malls and restaurants in Jerusalem, perceived as the main target of the bombing campaign by Islamic militants. Pizza delivery is up. Bus ridership is down. Some Israelis are staying away from the city altogether.
The threat of still more suicide bombers loomed yesterday after Israeli forces briefly entered the Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis and killed a Palestinian gunman in an exchange of fire.
At the man's funeral, hundreds of mourners clamored for revenge, chanting: "More suicide bombings."
Israel remains on high alert because of persistent attempts by the militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups to carry out suicide bombings.
On Friday, Israeli security forces seized a car carrying a 22-pound bomb and arrested the driver and a passenger, two Islamic Jihad activists from the West Bank, police said.
Hoping to reassure jittery customers, nightspots, cafes and restaurants have started hiring private security guards.
The manager of a Tel Aviv security company acknowledged that the demand for guards has at least doubled. Many guards, previously unarmed, now carry weapons.
The Israeli Restaurant Association has asked police to design a program that would give restaurant staff tips on identifying possible bombers and prevent attacks, association spokeswoman Livnat Kizner said.
Heavy clothing, used by suicide bombers to hide a belt of explosives, is a giveaway in the sweltering Mideast heat. A pale chin and cheeks — signs of a recently shaved beard — may indicate an Islamic militant trying to blend in with Israeli society, a security inspector at Israel's airport said.
Yet many Jerusalem residents prefer to stay home.
Shlomi Oshrey, the manager of a Domino's Pizza franchise in the city, said there has been a dramatic increase in pizza deliveries in recent weeks.
"I see they're basically winning," said bar owner Josh Weiner, referring to the militant Islamic Jihad and Hamas movements that together have claimed responsibility for a total of 17 suicide bombings in the last 10 months.
Standing in his almost deserted "Strudel" bar and Internet cafe in Jerusalem's Russian Compound district on a sunny afternoon, Mr. Weiner said the number of customers had dropped at least 75 percent since violence erupted last September.
Many Israelis have changed routines to lower the risk of getting caught in an attack. Some taxi drivers say it is increasingly difficult to get fares on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem route.
Others have stopped using public transportation because bombers also have targeted buses.
"I'm not prepared to get on buses," said Harel Itzchaki, 30, a Jerusalem resident. "If I want to go for a coffee, I feel boxed in. There's fear, stress, even anxiety, when you go into restaurants."
Mr. Itzchaki said he considered moving abroad.
"I really want to stay in Israel," he said. "It's a dilemma. But how can you raise children here?"
Conditions became too hot for the American band Red Hot Chili Peppers, which recently canceled a concert because of the "security situation," the Ronit Arbel public relations firm said.
"American schools are warning kids to stay away," said Jeffrey Seidell of the Jewish Student Information Center. Last year, he organized a group of 80 foreign students to take a course at Jerusalem's Hebrew University. The group numbers 21 this year.
But living in a country involved in five wars in five decades, some Israelis have adopted a fatalistic approach.
"If I die, I die," said Michael Moore, 33, as he walked through the heart of Jerusalem's shopping area, the scene of numerous bombing attacks over the years. "There is no solution to this situation."
In the violence yesterday, a 7-month-old Palestinian baby was seriously wounded near a West Bank road barrier.
Also in the West Bank, the body of a 32-year-old Palestinian man, suspected of collaborating with Israel, was found in a large trash container.
Since the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian fighting, more than 30 suspected informers have been killed by Palestinian vigilantes.


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