- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 14, 2002

The Israelis say their war is against terrorism. The Palestinians say their war is against occupation. In the past 18 months, the two sides have racked up nearly 2,000 deaths, although the real toll may not be known for weeks.
Since Secretary of State Colin L. Powell left Washington for his Mideast peace mission one week ago, Israeli troops have battled Palestinian gunmen throughout the West Bank, with hundreds dead. Israel also has suffered two suicide attacks, which killed 13 Israeli commuters and shoppers.
The suicide bombing Friday at a packed market in Jerusalem pummeled Mr. Powell's peace mission only hours after he arrived.
"We go out to do our shopping, and we don't know if we'll come home," said Udi, who was buying vegetables on Jaffa Street when the teen-age girl blew herself up. "Peace is better than this."
But day by day, it seems, a thirst for vengeance supplants the desire for peace in all of these hearts.
"The last straw for me was the Passover massacre. Thirty people at a Seder. On our holiday. That is making it personal," said a Jerusalem shop owner. A suicide bomber killed 27 persons in a hotel dining room as they sat down to begin the weeklong holiday on March 27.
On the Palestinian side, Suzanne Abutair, a U.N. medic who lives in Bethlehem, said she supports the suicide bombings because they are resisting an occupying army that is far better armed.
"We are not leaving, and we will not put up with this anymore," said Mrs. Abutair, whose family of four has been under curfew in their Bethlehem home for nearly two weeks. "We will not die quietly any longer."
With both the Palestinians and the Israelis living under an emotional and physical siege, here is a look at life in wartime as it unfolded last week in the Middle East.

Lost hope
JERUSALEM On Friday afternoon, David Margan watched the emergency units scream past on their way to Jaffa Street, where so many Israelis come to buy their groceries.
He was only a few blocks from the lethal bombing that afternoon outside the Mahane Yehuda market, and for the computer programmer, it is a queasily familiar sensation.
Another bomb exploded on nearly the same site two years ago, and his mother was nearly trapped in the rubble.
"I am an ordinary man. I don't seek out this danger," Mr. Margan said, "but this is everywhere now. This is our life, and it's not going to get any better while the Palestinians, the terrorists, are allowed to run free."
A tall, slender man whose yarmulke is nearly hidden by unruly hair, Mr. Margan said he once had hopes for a peace between the two states, with a divided Jerusalem as their capitals. But now, he said, that is just too close.
"I don't know why Palestinians need Jerusalem. It is not in the Koran. It is in the Old Testament. It belongs to us, to the Jews."
Mr. Mardan, a somewhat shy man in his 30s, tried to speak deliberately and politely. But he raised his voice to be heard above the passing sirens, and before long, the words rushed from him like air from a blown tire.
"Why do they need a state? Why do they have to be here? They could go anywhere. There is no other place for us, the Jewish people, to go. We are hunted everywhere. Now," he said, slamming the counter at a convenience store, "we are even hunted, persecuted, here."
Mr. Margan said he just came back from Amsterdam, on a business trip that he admitted he extended because he couldn't bear to come home to the land he loves.
"I am white with envy; I am just white," he said. "They walk, they shop, they don't need to have the eyes in the back of their heads."
He turned to face the street, where ambulances were in less of a hurry, but police jeeps streamed to the scene of Israel's 36th completed or attempted bombing incident since late January.
He took the change from an orange drink that had turned warm on the counter. And after apologizing for his "anguish," he ambled off to watch the cleanup begin.

The crying man
HAIFA, Israel Ahmed Masri, a burly man who used to teach karate, refused to take off his sunglasses because his eyes were swollen.
"My crew said I am the crying man," he said, "but I can't help it."
Mr. Masri, an Israeli Arab with six small children, is the foreman of a road crew that cleans up accidents around the port city of Haifa.
Usually, it's a fender-bender with broken glass and maybe spilled oil.
But during the rush hour Wednesday, a Palestinian from the nearby Jenin refugee camp boarded a commuter bus and detonated a belt packed with explosives and nails.
Seven Israelis died with the suicide bomber, and 14 were wounded. Mr. Masri's crew was summoned to clean up.
"I found people on the road, [body] parts, their clothing, all up and down the road. I know I will keep seeing this day. I am not going to feel good for a week."
Mr. Masri, 40, said he cannot understand what would drive a man, even a desperate one, to kill himself and many others.
"I have to say, when this happens, I don't feel good about the Arabs. They are wrong, this is wrong."
It was the third suicide bombing in the Haifa area in the last six weeks.
By now, he says, his eight-man emergency crew can clean up the scene of a bombing in under three hours.
"The only hope is peace," Mr. Masri said, lighting up a fresh Marlboro with the stub of a smoldering cigarette butt crushed between his fingers.

Separate lives
JERUSALEM It is a pleasant Friday evening in West Jerusalem, and there is only one restaurant open, a pleasant Italian eatery with a welcoming patio and soft pop music.
As darkness falls and the Sabbath begins, two men in the black frock coats and broad-brimmed hats of Orthodox Judaism pause, scowl and shout abuse into the restaurant, called La Piatto.
Sarah Barkai, 26, rushes to the street, yelling after them in Hebrew.
"I'm very sorry," she said later. "I never shout at them, but tonight I just got too angry. Week after week, they don't let us live."
With the recent spate of suicide bombings, business has been bad all over Jerusalem. Tourism has evaporated, and Israelis have moved their vaunted cafe society inside. Restaurants, bars and coffee shops are surviving on hope.
But it's been especially hard on secular Jews such as Miss Barkai, whose family moved here from France a decade ago and who think of themselves first as Israelis.
"We want to work, we want to stay open on the Sabbath," she said, sitting down on the patio with a glass of red wine that shakes in her hands.
"Why can't they live their lives and we live ours?" she asked of the Orthodox Jews.
Differences between nonobservant Jews and the Orthodox have been simmering for decades and have shaped everything in Israel from the placement of hospitals to the character of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
But some secular Jews say the friction has been exacerbated by fears of the next suicide attack.
The restaurant has just hired a security guard, a shy Ethiopian Jew, to sit on the patio and screen all diners.
He seemed to tense up when groups of Othodox Jewish men, called Haredim, slow down to scowl and shout.
"It's one threat or the other," Miss Barkai said. "We paid extra for the permit to open over Passover, and we were busy every night. But if you ask me, never again."
Miss Barkai, a short-story writer who loves music, said she has never been so afraid of anger and prejudice.
With Israel's incursion into Ramallah that began nearly three weeks ago, and a new bus bombing on Wednesday morning, an already tense city has redlined into fear.
La Piatto, like many restaurants in Jerusalem's central pedestrian mall, have begun to impose a one-shekel surcharge about a quarter to subsidize the cost of a security guard.
So far, merchants say, no one objects to the extra expense.

Suffering Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM It's all far too quiet for Sister Munera, who runs a Catholic orphanage and maternity hospital on the western edge of this small city best known as Jesus' birthplace.
The facility has about 100 maternity patients, one-third of normal, and 50 orphans right now.
Sister Munera, a Catholic nun in her 50s, is perplexed, fearful and very angry.
"The mothers cannot get here, and I don't know what they are doing," she said. "The babies will not wait for the Israelis to leave."
Sister Munera fears that women, unable to get to the hospital, are trying to deliver babies at home, or in small clinics that may not be equipped for complicated births.
"When they open up the roads again, I am afraid of what we will find," she said.
More than a week after Israeli troops stormed Bethlehem, the overwhelming impression here is one of silence, occasionally broken by the sound of gunfire and exploding tank shells.
Around the Church of the Nativity, the city center has been immobilized by a tense standoff between armed Palestinians inside and Israeli soldiers outside.
But only four blocks away, just beyond the Israeli army's tourniquet of tanks and troops, shops are closed with metal shutters pulled tight.
An Internet cafe, a dry cleaner, electronics shops and grocery stores have folded in on themselves to present the most anonymous face possible.
Above the street, apartments lie strangely quiet: Without television, there is no sound. Without electricity, there is no light.
The only sounds are the crunch of our boots over broken glass and the gurgling of broken water pipes. Occasionally, there is the pop of gunfire from the direction of the Deheishe refugee camp, a few miles south.
Posters of young men line the empty streets. A few have suits and smiles; the rest are posing with rifles, sunglasses or the Palestinian flag. These are local martyrs, heroes: Some were killed by Israeli soldiers. Others became suicide bombers bent on dying a death that matters.
The posters evoke memories of the weeks after September 11, when faces of World Trade Center victims lined the streets of New York. Public mourning here seemed every bit as intense.
At night, Sister Munera said she and her staff carry tiny mattresses into an inner hallway, so the children can sleep away from the boom of firing tanks.
Even so, she says, the constant rumble and recurring booms are creating psychological problems for her charges.
The younger children, no more than 6, have begun wetting themselves and picking fights. The babies cry all the time.
"Do I tell them they are Nazis?" the nun said of the Israelis. "Do they think this way of treating people will stop the attacks? They will see more attacks now and again when these children grow up."

Beyond rage
GAZA CITY Abu Ahmed Motteer has been angry for so long that he has transcended the rage and instead displays an outward calm.
He has fought the Israelis and has served time in their prisons.
With a quiet voice, he said his tormenters are about to taste Palestinian vengeance and that he's just waiting.
Mr. Motteer is a refugee living in a teeming and noisy camp on the edge of Gaza City, very close to the Mediterranean Sea he never looks at.
"This massacre in Jenin is nothing new," he said, referring to last week's battle in the West Bank city in which more than 100 Palestinians and more than a dozen Israeli soldiers died.
"Soon [the Israelis] will move here. And they will learn what resistance really is."
Mr. Motteer said he used to be a militant, although he has given that up to be an entrepreneur making furniture and to start a family. Today he is a businessman with a worried wife and four young children.
He used to belong to the Patriotic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group dedicated to the eradication of Israel.
"I have been in Israeli prisons five times," he said. "The last time was for three years, during the first intifada."
He hoisted his leg onto his desk and proudly displayed a horrific scar that runs most of the way around his ankle.
"Bullet," he said with pride. "Israeli."
Mr. Motteer said he won't be doing any more fighting, but he also seemed confident that his neighbors will know what to do when the Israeli army tries to penetrate the camp.
"When they come, we will be armed," he said through an interpreter. "Daytime, everyone is a worker. At night, we don't know who they are."
The narrow streets around his shop have been barricaded with sand berms, a trick that slows invading tanks and provides convenient sniper positions and a hiding spot for explosives.
Mr. Motteer said he thinks the Israeli invasion is inevitable and that when the war ends, he hopes business will pick up.
"No one can afford furniture now," he said, offering cigarettes to his visitors.
But when the Israelis are repulsed, people "will need new furniture," he said.

Saddened sisters
RAMALLAH Aya and Lamia Hamayel skittered quickly through the sunshine on a recent afternoon, liberated from their Ramallah home for the second time in two weeks.
The girls, both civil engineering students at Bir Zeit University, were happy to be out buying cucumbers and yogurt when the curfew was lifted. But they also were grieving for the city they love and the life of study that has been interrupted.
"The city is destroyed," Lamia, 22, said as the girls took in the trash-strewn streets the broken windows, and paused beside a poster of Yasser Arafat that Israeli soldiers had graffitied in Hebrew.
"I am so sad to see this. Look at what they have done," said Aya, seeming to shrink into her long cloak and head scarf.
The Hamayel family has been living without water, telephone lines or reliable electricity since the Israeli army invaded March 28. To cope, they began collecting rainwater in every bottle and bucket they could find.
"We wash clothing with the rain, but we have to buy our drinking water," said Aya, 24.
The Hamayel home quickly became a prison to the two older daughters.
"At first we would watch television, but then we couldn't do anything but cry," said Aya. "We cannot read at night. That is a torture."

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