Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What happened to the suicide bombers of Jerusalem?

Christopher Hitchens writes on the question: What happened to the suicide bombers of Jerusalem?

Since I am currently in Jerusalem, this is obviously a matter of some personal concern to me. Hitchens makes the important point that while the supply of people who are willing to become suicide bombers may be affected by despair (political, personal, economic, religious), what is really important is whether the "Nasty, vicious, fanatical old men, not human emotions, were making the decisions and deciding the days and the hours of death." Since Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade leaders stopped sending people, for whatever reason, the suicide bombings have stopped (at least for now).

He does, of course, cite a number of other factors, like Israeli targeted assassinations at leaders of the terrorist groups, and the building of the גדר הפרדה (variously translated as separation fence or wall), which made it harder for bombers to get into Israel proper.

Yesterday I went to the Old City to do some research for the course on Jerusalem that I'm teaching in the fall, and at the end of the day I went to the Cinematheque (on Hebron Rd., across the Gei Ben Hinnom valley from the Old City). I discovered that from there I had a very good view of a portion of the separation wall. (And here in Jerusalem at least it's certainly accurate to call it a wall, since it's made of huge slabs of concrete.

Here is a photo of one part of it which can be seen from above the Cinematheque.

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