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Return to peace table

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th February 2001 03:00 AM

EIGHT Israelis have been killed and at least 10 injured after a Palestinian rammed a coach into a crowded bus stop used by Israeli soldiers and civilians.

EIGHT Israelis have been killed and at least 10 injured after a Palestinian rammed a coach into a crowded bus stop used by Israeli soldiers and civilians. It has not yet been established whether the incident was an accident or a pre-meditated move. But if it is the latter, and many are likely to interprete it as so, it would have come hot on the heels of yet more bloodletting. The previous day, the Israeli military had used a helicopter to kill a member of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's bodyguards. The tit-for-tat could continue unabated, with unimaginable consequences. Already, the omens are frightening the ascendance to power of Ariel Sharon in Tel Aviv, and the arrival in the White House of George W. Bush. Sharon is a hardliner, who has a record of aggressiveness against the Palestinians and their Arab allies. He was elected earlier this month principally on the ticket of containing, but not accommodating, the Palestinians. Bush, on the other hand, has indicated that he may not follow through the peace efforts of his predecessor Bill Clinton. Sharon's grandstanding will only send the wrong signals to the Palestinians who will harden their stance. Bush needs to show the same tenacity that Clinton had in the last months of his presidency. Meanwhile Arafat, who is partly to blame for the defeat of Sharon's more accommodating predecessor Ehud Barak, will have to be less intransigent this time. Posturing by any of the sides will only lead to continued bloodshed. All sides need to soften their stands and let genuine peace moves get underway, otherwise the powder keg that is the Middle East could explode any time. Ends

Return to peace table

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