June 1, 2001, Friday. The international day of protection of children.
The Arabian terrorist - suicide-bomber from a grouping "Islamic
Jihad" Said Khutari, 22 years old, from Kalkylia city tries to
penetrate to a disco "Dolfi" on quay of Tel Aviv. He was asked by
the security guard on an entrance, that at him for a kind and that
in such kind that is going to do here. "To dance", the terrorist has
answered. Him did not search, as the rights have no on it, but also
have not let. Then he has exploded the explosive device in turn of
children on an entrance...
You may have read newspaper accounts. But I can
tell you - you have seen almost nothing. This editor visited the site
of the terror attack this afternoon. There is no account that I have
read or seen which has represented or has come even marginally
close to the whole picture. Perhaps we have grown use to seeing the
flashing blue and red lights of ambulances and police cars.
Perhaps it's too easy for us to integrate the violent images of
Hollywood with real life - and at the end of the day just turn
off the TV.
I hold in my hand the shining remnants of a
hardware store. Fresh pieces of metal picked up off the black
asphalt ground from outside the Tel Aviv disco. Sharp washers, bent
screws, small ball bearings and twisted wires. Part of the deadly
elements which escaped from an explosive device claiming 21 lives.
Pieces of metal which flew for up to 300 meters unless they were
stopped short by a human body. Any human body. For these pieces of
metal could not distinguish between Jew and Arab, White or Black,
Russian or American. Nor could the Palestinian suicide bomber
distinguish between civilized values of life and death. With blind
hatred and religious obsession, the young Palestinian was most
likely dropped off in front of the disco, calmly carrying a 40 pound
load of explosives and lethal metal parts directly into a waiting
crowd of teenage girls. Innocents who were most likely concerned
with their make-up, their clothes and the opportunity to dance with
a cute guy, catch a few smiles.
As you approach the disco, you can see that it is
sandwiched between other stores directly on the beach. You can't
miss the large memorial Israeli flag draped in front of the area.
You can't miss two makeshift memorial sites - one very small by the
main road running parallel to the building, the second - a large
memorial sitting directly in front of the disco. It looks like
oil stains on the parking lot entrance to the disco, but it is
actually teenage blood. Covering many of these dark stains are
flowers, black and green wreaths, color pictures of the dead,
freshly lit candles and weeping relatives and friends of the
victims. The tears have not yet dried. Looking up from the
memorial site, you can see dozens of small holes about an inch
deep on the outside blue walls of the disco building. Scattered
for about 40 yards in every direction. Standing against the
building and looking at these fresh puncture marks on the wall,
you measure your body up against the height of these holes.
You quickly realize with fright that if you stood in the right
or the wrong place - one of these metal objects would have
hit your foot, knees, stomach, chest and head.
I'm approaching the wall of the of the disco,
touching the holes in the concrete and trying to find out where
exactly the spot of explosion was. I'm unable to imagine it's
appalling strength . I find the spot on the asphalt and suddenly
feel that the entire space is broken here. Strong summer rays of
the sun intensify this effect. Intoxicating smell of burning and
blood. Something awful happened here, something that my mind refuses
In this place which embraces such potent
natural beauty on the Tel Aviv beachfront - the warm sun, a steady
cool breeze and the sound of waves brushing up against the sand,
an area silence is broken by people crying. One person says: "This
was an act of barbarism". Another responds: "The barbarians would
not have even does this."
Across the street and behind a high mobile "Bungy"
jumping amusement ride with it's neon lights glowing, one can see a
Muslim holy place, it's tan, round brick tower overshadowed by
shining, modern Tel Aviv skyscrapers. You can easily understand
how one of the members of this Holy place may have told Hamas,
Islamic Jihad and the PA: "We have a target for you". You try not
to generalize - but the physical logistics are just too damn
As you walk away from the disco's blood stained
parking lot, you can't help but think how, how can one person
callously commit such a cold, cruel atrocity to others - innocents
whose only political agenda was how their lipstick and nails
appeared. You pass one of the small makeshift memorial sites as
you distance yourself from this horror movie and come across a few
signs in English. Black magic marker on white paper held up to
knee level by thin wooden sticks. One sign reads: "We Ask for
Peace, They Ask for Blood". The sign bears no hatred. It
reflects only a clear reality of two very different cultures
converging. One brought up to value and preserve life, the
other conditioned and destined to hate and destroy. The word
incitement takes on new meaning. And you know it will now take
several years of understanding and objective education for both
sides to entertain the word "trust" and shake hands. You wonder,
how many lives will be wasted in this period.
You look down at the white sandy beach and blue,
white breaking waves knowing that the beauty and peace there is
eternal. You wish, you pray that only some, just a particle of that
natural peace could ride a wind into the souls of Israel's neighbors.