UPDATES 6 pm Israel time, Saturday, December 22 2013:
**Welcome to the surreal world of the so-called “peace” negotiation process which we all know is really a process of forcing Israel into concession after concession. In the last 48 hours we have had:
–the Arab League reject the latest United States “security” proposal
–Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesman reject any notion that the PLO/PA will ever agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state
–Hamas reject any notion that the PLO/PA speaks for them in any way
–John Kerry announce through his surrogates that he now expects a framework agreement within a month–
Wait a minute. What was that last item? Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. But John Kerry expects a framework agreement within a month? How can one characterize this expectation? Surreal? Delusional? Crazy? I leave it for you, dear reader, to come up with the right word.
**The Iranians announced yesterday that “slow progress” was being made in the nuclear discussions in Geneva. This is actually code language to indicate that “no progress is being made but don’t blame us.”
Isn’t it amazing how the nuclear talks have completely fallen off of the world’s radar?
For example, were you aware that the Iranians in Geneva have indicated that they are “not optimistic” about the talks? Or that the Iranian team in Vienna negotiating technical details completely walked out of the talks on Thursday?
The Iranians have let it be known that despite what President Obama announced in his White House speech weeks ago, they never agreed–nor will they ever agree–to stop enriching uranium. So much for negotiations.
But no one cares now . . . the world has gone back to sleep.
Welcome to the real world of a child’s life in Israel.
It is a world in which every child is taught from the earliest age to run to the bomb shelter when the sirens go off; to walk through metal detectors in order to enter shopping malls, hospitals, and bus terminals; and to live surrounded by security guards at schools, at restaurants, and in all public places.
But perhaps the most basic lesson of all is to constantly be on the watch for suspicious people and suspicious objects. In particular, every Israeli child is taught to be constantly alert for unattended bags, sacks, suitcases, backpacks–for anything that can hold a bomb.
It was training that paid off this afternoon on bus 240 in Bat Yam.
A child on the bus saw a large unattended briefcase or backpack beside a seat on the bus and told the bus driver. When the bus driver stopped the bus, the object was examined by passenger David Papo who explains what happened next:
“I went to check and saw that it was really a big bag and when I tried to lift it, it was heavy. I opened it and saw something like a pressure cooker. I opened it a little further, and I saw a red wire that runs away; then I realized immediately what it was.”
(Later, Papo admitted that it was a gross mistake for him to open the briefcase/backpack because it could have exploded at that point with far worse results.)
“I told the driver to stop, and everyone got off the bus. As soon as the police came, they helped everyone. A few minutes later there was an explosion.”
In that blast an Israeli policeman was seriously wounded but is expected to recover.
Two hours later, Hamas in Gaza issued a statement praising the bomber for whom a full-scale search continues in the Bat Yam area.
But all your humble servant can think of is what if the child had never seen the object and never reported it?
I think we can all answer that question.