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Sunday, 27 January, 2002, 17:00 GMT
Analysis: Mistrust deepens
Injured woman at scene of bombing
Accusations began as the injured were being treated
By Rachel Harvey in Jerusalem

The suicide bombing in Jerusalem in which two people died was just the most recent example of increasingly violent attacks in the region.

In the past week there have been three attacks by Palestinian militants on Israeli cities.

Yasser Arafat
Officials say Arafat's defiant speech was misquoted
For their part, Israeli security forces have stepped up operations; fighter planes have been used to strike targets in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and there has been a resumption of what Israel calls its policy of targeted killings.

The recriminations began on Sunday even as the injured were still being treated at the scene of the suicide bombing.

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack, but it says Israel's relentless security operations are inflaming an already tense situation.

Israel blames Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for the violence, saying that far from restraining the extremists, he is inciting further attacks.

Man at scene of bombing
This is the third attack on Israeli cities in a week
The Israelis point to a defiant speech by Mr Arafat on Saturday in which he called on all Palestinians to continue their struggle for statehood.

"We're going to Jerusalem in our millions," said Mr Arafat. "God made me one of the Jerusalem martyrs."

Palestinian officials say that quote has been misinterpreted. Mr Arafat was not equating himself with suicide attacks, he simply meant in a general sense that he is a martyr to the Palestinian cause.

Israel counters that such language is bound to rouse the passions of potential suicide bombers.

In truth, the language on both sides is ever more belligerent.

Outside intervention

The Palestinians have called on the United States to send its envoy Anthony Zinni back to the region immediately to resume his mediation efforts.

That seems unlikely. President Bush has said he is disappointed with Mr Arafat and wants to see firm action taken against Palestinian militants before any resumption of peace efforts.

But it may be impossible to stop the violence without some kind of outside intervention.

The mistrust between Mr Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has built up over many years and it grows deeper by the day.

In the current climate peace talks are an unrealistic dream.

See also:

27 Jan 02 | Middle East
Two die in Jerusalem suicide blast
27 Jan 02 | Middle East
In pictures: Jerusalem blast
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