Friday, December 03, 2004
Frimet Roth: The Violin and the Guitar.
The story of the soldier and the violinist has been blown way out of proportion to its significance. I too would like it removed from the media burner. But not before another musical instrument gets its deserved mention.
I'm referring to a guitar. One that also grabbed a few headlines on 9th August, 2001.
On that morning, Izzadin Al-Masri, the newly-religious son of a well-to-do Palestinian restaurateur, passed through a machsom -- a checkpoint -- on the edge of West Jerusalem. Accompanied by a Palestinian women dressed as an Israeli to allay suspicions, he strode into the center of the city. A guitar case was slung over his shoulder. At 1:45 pm, he reached the intersection of King George and Jaffa streets. The restaurant was packed with mothers and children. This was lunch time, and the country's schools were closed for summer vacation. Al-Masri entered easily -- there was no security guard. Seconds later, he activated the explosives in his guitar and murdered fifteen Israelis in cold blood. My daughter Malki, 15, was one of them.
Has Machsom Watch forgotten that terror attack? Did Haaretz as well? And what about the apologetic IDF spokesperson? Or does the meddlesome Machsom Watch have them all shivering in their pants?
The person who truly ought to make them shiver is Abdullah Barghouti. On Tuesday, this senior Hamas operative was sentenced to 67 life terms in prison for his responsibility in terror attacks that resulted in the deaths, by murder, of 66 Israelis. Barghouti lived in his native Kuwait until five years ago when he moved to Ramallah. An engineer, he built the bomb that murdered the Sbarro fifteen as well as the victims of two other lethal attacks in Jerusalem and another in Rishon Letzion.
I watched him on television confessing that, yes, he did fill a guitar with explosives. "In a guitar? Why in a guitar?" a shocked TV interviewer asked.
"This is war," the stone-faced Barghouti answered.