Chess and the exploding bus

I don’t think Hamas officials know how to play chess.

chess cake

An explosion on a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday reminded everyone that these are dangerous times. Thankfully, no one was killed or injured.  A passenger reported a suspicious package under a seat in the back of the bus and alerted the driver, who ordered everyone off the bus before the explosion occurred.

No one has taken responsibility, but the Shin Bet believe it was a Palestinian terrorist attack and are treating it as such. The Jerusalem Post reported that Hamas and Islamic Jihad “welcomed” the terror attack.

The New York Times reported:

The United States condemned the bombing. Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said in a statement, “Violent acts targeting civilians are deplorable. We reaffirm our unshakable bond with Israel.”

Unfortunately, there was a very different response from Gaza.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, praised the act. “This is a brave, heroic work in response to the crimes of the occupation,” referring to Israel. “Resistance continues.”

Islamic Jihad, a militant group, also praised the attempted attack, saying, “God willing, this will be a prologue for the resumption of martyrdom operations.”

The Guardian also reported on the explosion here.

This is so damn predictable!  Here’s how it goes.

#1. An act of terror in Israel frightens the public. (Acts of terror in Gaza also frighten the public on a regular basis.)

#2. The blame game begins. Shin Bet believes Palestinian militants are responsible but Hamas and Islamic Jihad don’t claim responsibility. (No one has to guess who perpetrates the terror on the civilians in Gaza.)

#3. Western media quickly picks up the story and shares the soundbites that Israeli officials provide, never questioning the veracity of the claims or allegations.  (Western media often fails to pick up stories about acts of terror perpetrated against the Palestinians, with the resulting lop-sided perception among Westerners that one side is the aggressor and the other side is the victim. That explains why President Obama can pontificate about Israel’s right to defend herself even as that country’s military is bombing Gaza for 8 days straight.)

#4.  Hamas and the Islamic Jihad praise the acts of violence against innocent civilians in Israel while denying responsibility. Exactly the response Israeli leaders must be hoping for.  (“See, we told you! Hamas and those other Palestinian militants are blood thirsty terrorists. You can’t trust them.”)

Wait a spell (2 or 3 months) and repeat steps #1 through #4.

It doesn’t matter who actually planted the bomb on the bus — it could have been a Shin Bet False Flag operation for all we know — it only matters that the blame be placed on Palestinian militants and that Hamas officials express approval of the act of terror.


Israel needs a fall guy to demonstrate to the world that the occupation and the siege are reasonable and necessary in response to the terror at its doorstep. Apparently Hamas and Islamic Jihad are willing to be the fall guys. Shame on them!

Some of my Palestinian friends are quick to point out to me that Palestinians have a right to resist the occupation, violently or nonviolently, as circumstances demand.

Certainly, when Israel’s superior military is dropping bombs on Gaza, Palestinians have a right to strike back.  But a bomb exploding on a bus is not an act of defense —- it’s an act of stupidity and violates international law.

If Hamas and Islamic Jihad were smarter, they wouldn’t play by Israel’s playbook, but instead denounce this act of terror.  That would shift the whole calculus and world opinion too.

Check mate.



Filed under Gaza, Israel, Media

2 responses to “Chess and the exploding bus

  1. Absolutely correct. Plenty of blame to go around. Time for everyone to stop hurting innocent people.

  2. Harry

    Lora, I really appreciate this piece and the time and thoughtful analysis you’ve put into it. I don’t disagree with you on any your points.

    You make a very strong, clinical (even cold) analytical case that explains so damn clearly — nay, beautifully clearly —, why these attacks don’t work, and why the ‘heroising’ doesn’t work for Palestinians and their strategic interests.

    Some will exclaim, who are we to criticise some Palestinians, their leaders or actions? Well, we are human beings, and part of a human family, and feel the full weight of conscience and responsibility towards our beloved Gaza. Our caution, cynicism, and even criticism, is borne out of upmost care and attachment.

    There’s one point I wish that people would also ‘get’, in addition to your excellent piece here. People should know that ‘Hamas’ is not this monolithic entity, nor is the Islamic Jihad. Its own leaders, figures, spokespersons often contradict each other and confuse each other’s messages. That point was articulated well in a couple of sentences in a strange interview I watched recently on RT (


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