This was the kneejerk inclination after a Gazan bus driver slammed his vehicle on February 14, 2001 into a bus stop at the Azur junction, killing eight and wounding a further 21. Although he steered directly into the crowd of passengers on the pavement at a speed of 147 kilometers per hour and plowed the length of the sidewalk, the initial reaction was that this was a road traffic accident.
The driver continued in a mad race southwards toward Gaza, until he was finally apprehended near Gan Yavneh. He then inconsiderately spoiled Israeli officialdom’s pretense by announcing to all and sundry that he had intentionally set out to run down Israelis. The murderer, who never expressed even a vague suggestion of remorse, was freed in the Gilad Schalit deal to a hero’s welcome in Gaza.
This was hardly the only instance of an attempt to pass off a terrorist atrocity as something else. The Israeli penchant for identifying spit in the face as droplets of rain is ongoing. Continue reading