ISRAEL / PALESTINE

"We’re waiting anxiously for the Israeli backlash"

The school after the shooting, 6 March 08. Photo: S. Meshi – ZAKA. An armed man walked into leaving eight dead and several injured. Our Observers in the region young Palestinian Rafe Jabari and Israeli Talmudic teacher Ariel Woolf react to the killing.

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The school after the shooting, 6 March 08. Photo: www.juif.org

An armed man walked into a religious school on Thursday evening and opened fire leaving eight dead and several injured. Our Observers in the region - young Palestinian Rafe Jabari and Israeli Talmudic teacher Ariel Woolf - react to the killing.

"I know this Yeshiva and I know that its students are peaceful"

Ariel Woolf, 23, teaches at the Hesder Petach Tiqwa Yeshiva, an institute of Talmudic studies near Tel-Aviv:

The yeshiva that was struck by the attack is the oldest religious Zionist yeshiva in Israel. It was founded by a great Jewish figure, the rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, and dates back to before the creation of Israel. It's not a school only for settlers. But it does teach religious Zionism, which is a train of thought that most of the settlers follow.

Of course I was shocked by this attack. More so because I know this Yeshiva and I know that its students are peaceful. One of them had a weapon [the student who first shot the gunner], but that's not to say they're all armed. In fact it's very rare. Only army officers and people who live in danger zones are allowed to carry a gun.

Israel needs to react strongly to this. The government can't currently guarantee people's safety and that must change. But the reaction must come from the military, not the civilians."

"We're waiting anxiously for the Israeli backlash"

Rafe Jabari is a Palestinian from Hebron. He's currently writing a thesis on Palestinian aid at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris:

You mustn't think that every Palestinian celebrated this slaughter. The photos that the media showed of Palestinians rejoicing were taken in Gaza. Those people are militants of Hama - whereas most Palestinians are either worried or frustrated. This attack has come after a fatal offensive carried out by the Israeli army in Gaza [127 reported dead since Feb. 27] which sparked no reaction in the international community. And the media hardly spoke about it either, compared with yesterday's attack. The Palestinians get a raw deal with these double standards.

A military defeat to Hamas is actually a political victory. They come out stronger after each Israeli army incursion. This last intervention into Gaza has allowed the most extreme members of Hamas to take control, even though they're not the majority. The few people who did actually believe in the Annapolis agreement have lost their faith now. We're waiting anxiously for the Israeli backlash."