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Sunday, May 18, 2003

The BBC's website describes the scene of this morning's terrorist attack as follows:

The French Hill junction has been targeted by bombers before.

It is a busy intersection where many people board buses, including Jewish settlers moving in and out of the West Bank

What is the purpose of this reference to "settlers"? It can only be intended to allude to one thing: since this junction is used by "Jewish settlers moving in and out of the West Bank" it was somehow a legitimate target, and that somehow murdering a bunch of poor people on their way to work* is a legitimate act of war.

This is not the first time that the BBC have given such a "spin" to terror attacks. Some years ago, there was a case in which a bus driver picked up an Arab teenager who looked a bit suspicious. As he entered the bus, the driver, who suspected something was wrong, asked him where he was going. The teenager didn't know the answer, so the driver pushed him out of the bus, closed the door, and drove off, then ran back on foot to wrestle with the teenager, who had a suicide belt. Seeing the driver calling for help, two soldiers on the bus came out and helped him overpower the teenager.

All the Israeli papers reported the next day, "Bus Driver Prevents Suicide Bomb" and hailed the driver's presence of mind and bravery in preventing a serious distaster of the kind we witnessed today. Only the BBC reported "Soldiers Overpower Suicide Bomber".

What was the purpose of changing the "heros" of the story from a bus driver to solidiers? Well, bus drivers are civilians, so in a bus driver vs. terrorist struggle, it's clear who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. But when a bomber goes out to attack soldiers, well, somehow they expect to be a target; and if they manage to overpower the bomber, there's no heroics, they're just doing their job. All's fair in war, no? No good guys, no bad guys, just two armies fighting.

Incidentally, today's crime was perpetrated by Arafat's Al-Aqsa brigades. It's time to produce the Palestinian Pack of Cards and be rid of the Ace of Spades.

(*Most of the victims were immigrants over the age of 55, and were travelling out of one of Jerusalem's northern-most suburbs on the 5.45am bus. These details, coupled with my close knowledge of that neighbourhood's population, makes me suspect that the victims almost certainly represented the underprivileged classes. Terrorist attacks have disproportionately effected poorer people in Israel, who need to live on the peripheries and take public transport.)

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