Newspapers in Israel and the Palestinian territories are sharply divided over the reasons for and ramifications of Wednesday's suicide attack in the northern Israeli town of Hadera, in which several people died.
In Israel, a sense of anger and frustration is manifest, together with recriminations against both the Israeli and Palestinian governments, which are accused of a failure to tackle terrorism effectively.
Palestinian commentators argue that such attacks are inevitable and will continue as long as Israel continues to maintain its stranglehold on Palestinian areas. They point to the fact that the latest attack came after Israeli troops killed an Islamic Jihad leader on Monday.
Editorial in Israel's Hatzofe
Whoever thought that a period of calm would follow the destruction of Gush Katif [Gaza Jewish settlement] and the surrender to Palestinian terrorism was wrong. The terrorist attack in Hadera and the Qassam rockets in Sderot and taught us that what happened in the past will happen again and in the end, the price will be paid by the Jews. [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon is hero enough to send the police special unit to act against pioneering Jewish citizens but he stands helpless before Palestinian terrorism.
Commentator in Israel's largest circulation Yediot Aharonot
In the short term, the number of terrorist attacks could rise - as we learned at Hadera market yesterday. [Islamic] Jihad knows how to avenge; in the medium term the number could decline: the operatives will be liquidated or sit in prison. In the long term, the liquidations do not change much and this is what is so frustrating. The liquidated terrorists will be replaced by another more murderous generation.
Commentary in Israel's Maariv
Does the barrel of terrorism have a bottom? Is it possible to dry out the swamp of terrorism? It is difficult to tell. The next few months will not be simple and also not calm. The weight now shifts to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. The [Palestinian militant] organizations will try to create a balance of terror opposite Israel. The best that can be expected in this situation is to ensure that terrorist attacks occur one every few months rather than several a month, and the understanding that this will not be simple, will not be short and will not always be pleasant.
Editorial in English-language Jerusalem Post
Even today, as the victims of the Hadera bombing are buried, Israel's government is sure to be criticized for the way it protects its citizens. It will doubtlessly be told that it brought this tragedy upon itself, and that it must assume a passive posture if it is to avoid further bloodshed... It will be stated or implied that Israel has roused the anger of the terrorists by rounding up them up and targeting their commanders.. People of conscience should recognize that the only provocation here was the slaughter of innocents - a slaughter carried out in the open-air market of Hadera, perpetrated against people who were simply waiting in line to buy falafel... If the Palestinians do not combat terrorism from their midst, Israel must... So this time, for a change, spare us the lectures about how defending ourselves is futile and the wisdom of "humanitarian" measures that lay the groundwork for the next atrocity, or even release its perpetrator.
Commentary in Palestinian al-Hayat al-Jadidah
It is true that there are those of us - individuals and factions - who are working to make things worse through their free and easy retaliation against Israel. However, this does not decrease in any way Israel's responsibility, as it has the keys to the doors and windows that it closes on us, thus leaving us ready to explode.
Commentator in Palestinian al-Ayyam
It is common sense that the [Palestinian] endurance of the calm while receiving blows like killings, assassinations, injuries and arrests can continue only for a limited period of time. It is possible to control reactions for a while but not indefinitely under the occupation and its aggression. The Hadera operation was a clear indication the Palestinians cannot absorb the occupation's actions anymore.
Columnist in al-Ayyam
Israel has never desisted from carrying out incursions, harassment and assassinations in the West Bank, knowing full well that the Palestinians' patience will come to an end. It was waiting for this minute. The Israeli retaliation will be comprehensive and violent.
Editorial in Palestinian al-Quds
The only exit from this stifling crisis is an Israeli government commitment to maintain calm as a prelude to resuming the peace process, rather than exploiting the Palestinian commitment to it to carry out more attacks. The calm needs two parties to make it succeed. It will not continue if the Palestinians are the only ones committed to it.
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