Ha’aretz’s ‘Quiet’ Myth

“Since the 1996 elections in Israel, and almost through the end of Ehud Barak’s government, there was quite a long period of quiet on the security front. There were almost no terror attacks,” asserts Ha’aretz’s Danny Rubinstein in an Op-Ed today (“Why recognize Israel?”). In this so-called period of quiet in which supposedly “almost no terror attacks” were carried out, some 63 Israelis were killed in more than 40 terror attacks including stabbings, bombings and shootings. The period in question begins in June 1996 and extends through 2000. (Barak’s term ended in March 2001, but since Rubinstein does not specify what he considers “almost through the end of Ehud Barak’s government,” this analysis includes terror attacks through 2000.) Information on the scores of attacks during this period were taken from Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the database of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism.

Some of the worst attacks include:

* Oct. 30,2000: Suicide bomb attack at the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem kills 15 and injures 130

* Sept. 4, 1997: Suicide bomb attack in Ben-Yehuda pedestrian mall kills five and wounds 181

* July 30, 1997: Two consecutive suicide bomb attacks kill 16 and wound 178 in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem

Other serious attacks in this period of “almost no terror attacks” include. (This is a partial list of attacks during this period):

* Dec. 28, 2000: A bomb on a Tel Aviv bus injures 14

* Dec. 22, 2000: A suicide bomb attack at a roadside cafJ in the Jordan Valley wounds 3

* Nov. 22, 2000: A car bomb next to a crowded bus kills 2 and injures 55

* Nov. 2, 2000: A car packed with explosives detonates near Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market, killing 2 and injuring 10

* Nov. 7, 1999: Several pipe bombs detonate at a busy intersection in Netanya, injuring 27

* Aug. 10, 1999: A driver twice rams his car into a bus stop packed with civilians and soldiers in central Israel, wounding six

* Nov. 6, 1998: A suicide bomb attack in Mahane Yehuda kills 2 and injures 20

* Oct. 19, 1998: A hand grenade attack at Beer Sheva’s central bus station wounds 59

* May 7, 1998: A fatal stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem kills one

* Aug. 27, 1998: A bombing during rush hour in Tel Aviv injures 14

* March 21, 1997: A suicide bombing at Apropo CafJ in Tel Aviv kills two and wounds 48

* July 20, 1997: A Palestinian attacks two Israelis with an iron rod in Rishon Lezion, killing one and injuring one

* July 22, 1997: An Israeli Arab tries to run over a group of English and Canadian tourists in Jaffa, and then attempts to stab them, injuring 11

* Jan. 9, 1997: Two bombs explode near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv, wounding 16

On Feb. 28, 2005, Ha’aretz writer Sefi Rachlevsky also wrote about four years of “nearly absolute quiet” during some unspecified point in 1990s, despite the fact that there was no such quiet. Likewise, Yossi Beilin, writing about his idyllic period, claimed that “only 20 people were killed by hostile operations” during the period of 1957 to 1967, while the actual figure of fatalities was twice that amount (June 5, 2005).

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