ISRAEL

"I class my friends by how afraid they are"

Our Observer in Israel responds to the media reaction to a suicide bombing that killed three (including two bombers) in Dimona, south Israel on Monday. The attack was the first in Israel for over a year.

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Our Observer in Israel responds to the media reaction to a suicide bombing that killed three (including two bombers) in Dimona, south Israel on Monday. The attack was the first in Israel for over a year.

The amateur video of the police shooting the second bomber

© Ronen Peretz, Channel 2 News, 4 February 2008

There was a suicide bombing yesterday [4 February 2008]. It was in Dimona - which is a kind of depressing one-horse town, distinguished by high unemployment and a dearth of entertainment options, in the middle of the Negev. "Only" one person was killed. I don't have to make any effort to recall a time when I barely noticed a bombing that killed "only" one person. Actually, I still live with that feeling of waiting for the daily bombing to occur, of classifying my friends according to those who were afraid to hang out in cafes and those who were not, and of spending a lot of money on taxis because buses just weren't worth the risk.

I stopped getting upset by suicide bombings more than five years ago. (...) One of the things that really tired me out was the script: the initial reports, followed by the live feed, followed by the speculation (where was the bomber from and what group did he represent, etc.), followed by the rolling script at the bottom of the television screen, with the increasing number of dead and wounded, followed by condemnations issued by the Palestinian Authority, followed by a statement from the prime minister's office, etc. etc.

It was always the same.

The Dimona bombing was unusual for three reasons:

1. Dimona had never been hit before;

2. A lot of people thought the bombers may have come from Gaza, through the Sinai (turns out they were wrong), which would give us all another reason to be hysterical about the Rafah qui a été ouverte le 23 janvier 2007, à l'aide d'explosifs, par le Hamas [that was opened with the help of explosives by Hamas on 23 January 2008] border being blasted open by Hamas two weeks ago;

3. One of the bombers failed to detonate himself, and was subsequently "liquidated" by Police Officer Kobi Mor, a.k.a. The Hero of the South. The liquidation was caught on film, by a guy who just happened to be there with a video camera because he had been hired to film a bar mitzvah celebration nearby.

I watched the footage of Kobi Mor shooting the wounded second suicide bomber - the one whose belt didn't explode - about three times. It was a tricky operation, you see, because if Mor had missed he could've detonated the explosives belt. Or he might have given the terrorist another opportunity to pull the detonator.

Then I started to feel disgusted. With the coverage of the event. With myself, for watching."