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Media Analyses





Economist Corrects Error on Hamas Suicide Bombing Campaign


CAMERA contacted the Economist about a piece in its October 11 issue which repeats an Israeli security official's assertion that Baruch Goldstein's massacre of Palestinians in a Hebron mosque in 1994 prompted Hamas to begin suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. CAMERA submitted a list of suicide bombings claimed by Hamas in 1993 as evidence that the terrorist group had already adopted suicide bombings as a tactic prior to Goldstein's violent act.  The wording of the relevant phrase (see below) was changed on the Economist web site version from "prompted" to "exacerbated" so that it no longer suggests Hamas adopted suicide bombing as a tactic in response to Goldstein's attack. The Economist also published a CAMERA letter pointing out the erroneous claim.

Error ( "Israeli Settlers, One Reason for the Absence of  Peace,"  Economist, 10/11/07): ... For the true believers, constant war with the Arabs was essential to avoid "assimilation [of Jews] into the Semitic expanse". The costs of this ideology to Israel, let alone the Palestinians, have been enormous. Rabin's assassin in 1995 was inspired by a settler, Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Palestinians in a Hebron mosque in 1994. Goldstein's rampage, according to a former adviser to the head of Israel's security service, also prompted Hamas to begin the tactic of suicide-bombings against Israeli civilians. [bold and italics added]

Correction ( "Israeli Settlers, One Reason for the Absence of  Peace,"  Economist, 11/10/07): "...For the true believers, constant war with the Arabs was essential to avoid “assimilation [of Jews] into the Semitic expanse”. The costs of this ideology to Israel, let alone the Palestinians, have been enormous. Rabin's assassin in 1995 was inspired by a settler, Baruch Goldstein, who killed 29 Palestinians in a Hebron mosque in 1994. Goldstein's rampage, according to a former adviser to the head of Israel's security service, also prompted Hamas to exacerbate the tactic of suicide-bombings against Israeli civilians.." [bold and italics added]

 

The CAMERA letter published in the November 10 issue of the Economist:

Suicide bombs in Israel

In a review of a book on Israel's settlers you quote a former adviser to the head of Israeli security as saying that Hamas's suicide-bombing campaign against Israel was prompted by Baruch Goldstein's attack on a Hebron mosque in February 1994 (“One reason for the absence of peace”, October 13th). In fact, the first suicide-bombing by Hamas occurred nearly a year before Goldstein's attack.

Steven Stotsky
Research analyst
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
Boston
 
 
The Facts:

List of suicide bombing attacks by Hamas in 1993:

 "On April 16, 1993, at a roadside café at Mehola Junction, Hamas operative Tamam Nabulsi drove a van into a parked bus and detonated it. Two passengers on the bus were killed and five were injured. This was the first suicide terrorist attack in Israel by a Palestinian terrorist group." ( Who are the Palestinian Suicide Terrorists?, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, Sept. 2003)

The Jerusalem Post reported the attack on April 18, 1993. The article noted that this was the first suicide bombing in Israeli territory. Hamas took credit for the attack.

 An abortive suicide attack was reported in Gaza on September 13, 1993.

Sept. 26, 1993: Hamas member Ashraf Mahadi , died in the Gaza Strip, when his explosive-ridden car blew up (botched attempt)

Oct. 4, 1993: Kamal Bani Ohed, rammed explosive-laden car in Israeli bus near Ramallah and Beit El, 29 Israelis injured. Hamas claimed responsibility.

Nov. 2, 1993: A botched car-bomb attack near Sinjil; Hamas claimed credit

Dec. 13, 1993: Anwar Aziz, drove bomb-laden ambulance into a jeep-load of Israeli soldiers in Gaza Strip, wounding three.

 Dec. 14, 1993: Ossama Hamid, Hamas member, Israelis killed him before he detonated the bomb. According to the Jerusalem Post, he was driving an ambulance.

The Jerusalem Post on Dec. 24, 1993:  "About a dozen suicide bombings have been attempted since the PLO-Israel accord was signed in September."


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