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Monday, 20 August, 2001, 08:44 GMT 09:44 UK
Can the cycle of violence be stopped?
A powerful explosion in a restaurant near the Israeli coastal town of Haifa has left one person dead and injured up to 20 others.

The explosion on the outskirts of Haifa comes three days after another suicide bombing at a Jerusalem restaurant that killed 15 people.

The Israeli Government responded to that attack with air strikes on Palestinian targets and by seizing the unofficial Palestinian headquarters in Jerusalem, Orient House.

Can this cycle of violence be stopped?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Israel has shown incredible restraint in defending her citizens against murderous attacks

Sara Solomon, USA
There is no "cycle of violence". This would assume that both sides are equally responsible. The Palestinians in this case are clearly the aggressors. From the very beginning they have directed increasingly violent attacks on innocent Israeli citizens. Israel has, in the meantime, shown incredible restraint in defending her citizens against murderous attacks by only targeting known terrorists and pinpointing the sources of attacks. To equate acts of self-defence to terrorism and murder is morally reprehensible and irresponsible journalism.
Sara Solomon, United States

A nation of people who have lost everything - including their land, identity and basic human rights - know that they cannot lose any further. Such a life is worse than death. No doubt why so many Palestinians are willing to face Israel's bullets, tanks and sharpshooters. Unless a concerted effort is made to restore the rights taken away from this nation, the UNO and the world leaders stand to face the blame of being hypocrites. I would have liked to believe that Jews, of all the people, would be against any kind of persecution - but seems even history has short memory. And now persecuted have turned persecutors.
Shafi, USA/India

Many comments on this page show the inaccuracies and falsehoods on both sides that poison the search for peace

Paul, UK
Yes the violence can be stopped. And the only way to do so is through education. Many comments on this page show the inaccuracies and falsehoods on both sides that poison the search for peace. However, the biggest falsehood of all is that one's enemy is some sort of subhuman demon and that it is therefore OK to kill him. Palestinian and Israeli schools should employ teachers from the other side and teach about the history and religion of the other to promote reconciliation from a young age, rather than subject them to propaganda or, even worse, military training camps!
Paul, UK

This cycle will not end till Israel is driven out of the area. The Palestinians and Israelis will come to an agreement and then it will be broken. No other country is doing anything about it. The West is with Israel and the East is with Palestine.
Omar Ibrahim, Egypt

Religion is the root cause of these troubles. People should be asking themselves how to peacefully integrate and why in the name of religion they are fighting.
Peter Smith, Australia

I think Jerusalem should be made an independent state rather like Monaco. People entitled to call themselves natives should be those who lived there prior to the setting up of the State of Israel and their offspring together with those who currently live there. This, at least, should stop part of the fighting since it could then belong to neither side.
Val Dunmore, Britain

Ed Sasson is wrong to say that Arafat is responsible for the failure of Camp David. According to Robert Malley, a member of the US negotiating team at Camp David, Barak and Clinton used the negotiations to set a trap for the Palestinians. The talks were "designed to increase the pressure on the Palestinians to reach a quick agreement while heightening the political and symbolic costs if they did not". This was done even though Barak had not implemented previous promises made by Israel to clear illegal settlements and give the Palestinians a State under the Oslo accords.

Clinton promised both Barak and Arafat that no blame would be apportioned to either side but true to form, he then pointed the finger at Arafat in front of the cameras. This is a general pattern with Israel: it breaks promises it makes and then blames Arafat for them. Israel blamed Arafat even while it was invading Lebanon in 1982. Israel should be careful. Without Arafat, do they think they will be able to negotiate with Hamas or Islamic Jihad?
Bilal Patel, London, UK

This is a dispute over land and self-determination

Jeff Garner, USA
Both the responses of Margaret Carre, Belgium and Bob Brown of Australia represent the ignorance many people have of this conflict. The belief that this conflict is based on Muslims wanting to destroy all Jews out of intolerance is dangerous because it leads to support for Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people (many of whom are Christian). This is a dispute over land and self-determination. The West must forcefully demand that Israel end its occupation of Palestinian land to prevent this violence from spreading.
Jeff Garner, USA

Israel's feet-dragging over the implementation of the Oslo accords and numerous UN resolutions respectively is the prime reason for the violence we see. Why is Iraq continuously bombed and starved for not complying with UN resolutions (Israel doesn't) and "developing weapons of mass destruction" (Israel possesses nuclear weapons)? Oh, sorry, Israel is a strategic ally of the West. Double standards anyone?
Diran Mardirian, Lebanon

It's obvious from reading the comments that there are people who will blindly support and rationalize the wrong and immoral actions of whichever group with whom they identify. There will only be peace when enough people on both sides refuse to accept violence as a solution and admit they both have made mistakes. Peace is not simply a goal - it is also the means to that end. To get peace you have to act peacefully and honestly.

It's too bad that 53 years ago the Arab people were unable or unwilling to accept the Jewish settlers returning to their homeland. With all the economic advances in Israel the Palestinian people would have been much better off today had they been integrated into the Israeli state.
Rosalyn Chatt, USA

They have just to learn that they have to live along with each other. The solution is to have a government that represents both the Arabs and the Israeli like many other countries with different ethnicity. We have to face it that there are both Arabs and Israelis and we cannot say to any of them go away
Rania H, Egypt

It's clear to me that the biggest hurdle in the whole peace process is the fact that the Palestinians are split into so many factions and there is no one group to have peace talks with. Arafat can't control any of them, he is just a figurehead, Hamas and Islamic Jihad both pay him no mind. They need to become a real nation with the people actually united and willing to follow someone's lead before any peace negotiations can go anywhere.
Alan, USA

The only honest Arab point of view openly proclaims a war against Israel. There is no cycle of violence, other than the endless attacks that never needed "justifications". This website records a history of bomb attacks against Israel. From 1994 till 1998, there are fifteen dates, all during the height of the so-called "peace process". What acts of "provocation" or "retaliation" did Israel commit to allow its enemies to justify their murderous attacks? None. Israel gave up control of territory and the ability to act against its enemies. In return, the enemies continue to attack and to blame the victim for fighting back. There can be no hope for peace as long as the world confuses "aggression and defence" with "a cycle of violence". This confusion is a key element in the propaganda war being waged against Israel.
Ben Sirota, Israel

If you think that this battle in Palestine is about religion, then think again. This is about a nation that is battling to obtain fundamental human rights. We have seen what happens when you deny people what is naturally theirs. Remember the apartheid regime that caused so much pain in South Africa. Please look at the parallels that are occurring in Palestine today. Can this cycle of violence be stopped? Yes! Absolutely! But only when we learn to recognise and overcome our own prejudices.
G, South Africa

As long as the settlements remain in the West Bank and Gaza and their highways criss-crossing the Palestinian territories, Israelis can only dream of security and peace. Settlers will always be a fair game and will always be targeted by the Palestinians. Peace or no peace, the settlers and their settlements must go, if there's any chance for peace.
Abdel Judeh, USA

Calling for peace now is like putting a golden crown on an abscessed tooth. And since the rotting and decay is kept in the Palestinian areas this will suffice for Israel. Israel's idea of peace is to keep Palestinians poor and economically reliant on Israel. Israel has never tried to improve the situation in the West Bank and Gaza, and never have they treated Palestinians as equal human beings. Since before the formation of Israel it has been the stated policy of the Zionist movement to clear the area of its Arab inhabitants. They were so efficient in doing so that the generals felt sorry for their own soldiers for having to commit such brutal acts.

In doing so Israel turned a peaceful Palestinian population of farmers into a population of resistance filled with hate. If Israel wants to know were the suicide bombers were reared they only have to look in the mirror. The Palestinian resistance "violence" must continue until the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine is ended. Why should the thief be allowed to sleep comfortably on the bed he has stolen and in the house he has stolen, while the rightful owner is sleeping in the street?
Abed Kanaana, U.S.A

Israel is condemned for acting in self- defence while innocent people are blown up on a daily basis. What kind of arrogance, smugness and ignorance is being displayed by all those constantly blaming Israel for the violence? There would be no cycle of violence if Arafat was a man to talk peace to, if there were no DAILY terror attacks in Israel, if Arafat would stick to agreements and seek a diplomatic answer. How much terror does the world expect Israel to take? How much would the world take? Most people who write in these forums have obviously never seen the aftermath of a bomb. I hope for your sake it stays the way.
Caroline, UK (Austria)

Violence will never end unless Israel stops the occupation of Palestinian land. When you have a people that have been living like animals for over 55 years, must have special licence plates to drive, special identification to walk, no flag, no passport, no country to call their own, no jobs, limited food and medical supplies, no freedom etc. What do you expect the Palestinians to do? Any logical person will fight on until their basic rights are preserved. This is the core of the Intifada "fighting for basic rights to live like everyone else in the world".
Mike, Canada

What is to be expected from Israel? How should they respond to the violence? Simply withdrawing from the West Bank and Gaza would only encourage Arab-Israelis to create their own Intifada. Should Israel simply bleed to death so as to appease the Palestinians? What concessions are the Palestinians willing to make, if any? What kind of peace is there to look forward to? The peace between Israel and Egypt, and with Israel and Jordan doesn't mean too much. Israelis cannot visit either country, and both countries spew anti-Israeli propaganda.

The only solution to the Middle East is to make the countries of the area economically tied to one another, so as to create a motivation against violent confrontations. However, I highly doubt that most of the Arab countries, whose population is mostly impoverished and poor, would like their people to focus on their own internal problems than the external ones of Israel. The same could be said of Israel as well. People would no longer have to be victims.
Erez, USA

Both sides are as bad as each other

Russ, UK
With regard to the comments of Mark Morris - how can he suggest that Israel cares about what other people think when they flaunt international law and agreements and ignore the protests of foreign governments? Both sides are as bad as each other and until one of them is prepared to stop the violence nothing will change.
Russ, UK

The violence can be stopped only if Israel stops annexing the West Bank and Gaza. The occupation should end. To build confidence, Israel should immediately lift the blockade of towns and villages so that Palestinian civilians can resume normal life. Talks between Israel and Palestinians should begin forthwith under the mediation of the United Nations to work out a peace agreement based on equality between the two peoples. All UN resolutions should be implemented and there should be an immediate cessation of hostilities between the two parties.
Saleh Mamon, UK

The trouble with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is that everyone ends up blind and toothless. The violence will stop the day everyone involved realises the truth of these words. Or when everyone is dead. The choice is theirs on both sides.
Colin Wright, UK

Well said Bob Brown of Australia. I couldn't have put it better! Look at all the wars based on religion, Ireland (Catholics against Protestants), ex-Yugoslavia (exterminate the Muslims), WWII (exterminate all the Jews) Sri-Lanka and so on and so on. Religion seems to be the root of all evil. Politicians are next to religion - they only seem to make things worse. I don't believe there will every be a solution in Israel during my lifetime!
Margaret Carre, Belgium

Israel tells the Palestinians to collaborate in the fight against terrorism and to hold the extremists at bay etc. All Israel does meanwhile is destroy Palestinian police headquarters and so on. How do they expect the Palestinian authorities to do anything??
Karim Moukaddem, Spain

Every soldier knows they can be going to their death in any battle or operation

Laith, UAE
Steve from London speculates about the backgrounds of 'suicide bombers.' He believes they are lonely, confused or somehow brainwashed young men. First of all, to term them suicide is a direct insult to Islam, which honours those who give up their lives to protect their religion, nation, and family. In Arabic, they are termed martyrdom operations, or just 'operations'. Every soldier knows they can be going to their death in any battle or operation, and unless we call all battle deaths suicides, it is unfair to see that as some kind of aberration. Secondly, if Steve took the time to read the news, he will find that many of the bombers are married, have families and children, and even successful careers. Their families are cared for by charities. For example, in Bahrain, a wealthy businessman pledged to care for the family of a recent bomber for the rest of their lives, including education, housing, etc.
Laith, UAE

Let me point out an interesting dichotomy. Israel has been using the media for many years to promote peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. A simple glance at Israeli programming proves that. On the other hand, official Palestinian television encourages children to become martyrs and kill Jews on a daily basis. How can we then speak of Israel and the Palestinians at the same level?
Ilan Y. Yavor, Israel

I am in total rejection of any talk of peace without the stopping of violence from the Palestinians! Let them stop the suicide bombers then the Israelis can talk to them. That is the bone of contention - security for both peoples. I say with no reserve whatever. If the Palestinians want to play hard then the Israelis should play hard. Who doesn't want peace? We all do, but not when one sparks fire and calls the fireman who is trying to put out the fire an arsonist.

You may think I am a Zionist but I am far from that. The world is being hoodwinked to blame the Israelis. But haven't the Israelis stretched and overstretched way back to great limits and made very brave concessions? Come on U.N who is the real aggressor? Arafat is powerless to stop his people. The only reason he is still living is because nobody wants to think of a Saddam taking hold of power in the Middle East!
Kenny McCauley, Ghana

The UN has set out clear guidelines by which an occupation army must abide

Ibrahim, London, UK
It is always appalling to witness the deaths of innocent people, whether it be caused by the chaotic suicide bomber or the calculated sniper and air attack. However, Israel must share in the blame for the latest suicide attack, not only for its provocative policy of extra-judicial executions, but also for its clear disregard for international law. The UN has set out clear guidelines by which an occupation army must abide by, and one of these is the prohibition of building settlements and allowing civilians onto occupied lands. This is explicitly to protect non-military people from taking part in the occupation, and being used as a human shield by the occupation force. Israel is playing a dangerous game by putting its civilians on the front line, to be caught in the crossfire between its occupation and Palestinian resistance.
Ibrahim, London, UK

It seems insidious that a protagonist of the current wave of violence, Mr. Sharon, is now voted Prime Minister; that Israeli strikes at Palestinians who MAY undertake terrorist acts are viewed by Israeli politicians as legitimate at the same time as they berate Palestinian attacks. Can the cycle of violence be stopped? Only when moderate politicians on both side carry the majority of their people with them and terrorist acts are seen for what they are acts of war by both parties on each other.
Julian Winn, Wales, UK

Peace cannot be achieved in the Middle East for the simple reason that Israel occupied Palestine, forcing Palestinians to seek refuge. They are carrying out an assassination policy against Palestinians. How can Sharon ask Arafat to stop his "terrorist" attacks, when he, himself, has begun an assassination policy. To me, what Sharon is doing is worst, because he's a hypocrite; he says one thing and does another.

That land belongs to Palestinians and anyone who says that they should give up fighting for their land has no idea what it means to love one's country. Most Palestinians can only defend themselves again the bullets with stones. To ask them not to retaliate is absurd, because we have seen Israel retaliate repeatedly. Neither side wants peace because neither has stopped the violence. Palestinians want their land back, and Israelis have nowhere else to go. Therefore, it's a deadlock, with little hope.
Emma, Canada

The violence will stop when Arafat is held accountable for the war he started last year, and when the world forces him to stick to the agreements he signed yet consistently breaks.
BJ, New Zealand

The cycle of violence probably cannot be stopped. It continues in the Balkans, in Ireland, in Rwanda and Burundi, in Afghanistan, and in dozens of other places. There is no hope of peace in Israel, and those who wave olive branches are wasting their energy. These two peoples hate each other deeply, and will not be happy unless they are creating pain and suffering in each other's camps. Killing one's enemies brings a certain satisfaction to embattled people, and both camps feel embattled.
Tom Brucia, Houston, Texas,USA

There can never be peace between Israel and the Palestinians unless the fundamental issues of Jerusalem is resolved. The failure by either party to acknowledge the right to exist of the other, will forever, negate any peace accord or treaty. It is pitiful that the Israelis and the Palestinians see it fit to destroy the lives of their children and their children with irrational hatred, and saddle generations to come with the misery that they and their forefathers have had to bear. All for no other reason than blind religious intolerance.

This must be one of the saddest episodes of human history. Israelis and Palestinians, how shameful is it to have history record your futile and callous attempts at annihilating one another. Surely, Jehovah or Allah never meant for his followers to bring such disgrace to his name.
W L Chong, US

This is a reply to Mr M M Zaman and his lovely stories - instead of complaining about Israel reaction why don't you ask the PLA leadership to stick to political negotiation without supporting terrorism at the same time. Without terror Israel will not have to exercise its military power and you could refer to the discussions in Camp David where your beloved chairman made up his mind not to decide and ever since he has been hiding behind terror and incitement. The blame is on your own people who choose the route of a physical fight rather than political negotiations.

If you think that one-sided terrorism is justified than think again - Israel has the power and will use that power in order to secure its safety and the big looser will be the Palestinians.
E. D. Sasson, UK

It is time the Jewish people stopped caring about what other people think and protect themselves

Mark Morris, USA
Even if the violence can be stopped, how long will it stop? The so-called occupied territories are a result of the 1967 war when the Arab countries tried to destroy Israel. Israel won that war and took over land that history records as theirs. It is time the Jewish people stopped caring about what other people think and protect themselves.
Mark Morris, USA

What is behind a suicide bomber, I wonder? Well, I gather that they tend to be males under 30 with no wives and children. The sort of people who are vulnerable perhaps. They have not experienced the joys of life and perhaps are unhappy. They are heavily pressurised into "doing the honourable thing" and are driven there by car, perhaps by their mentors. They are Palestinians, brought up to hate Israel, and dumped in the middle of Israel with a bomb. Well what choice do they have at that point? By then I expect it is too late. The simplest way out for them is to pull the cord that ends it all. Once they realise this, perhaps they will have more options.
Steve N, London UK

In response to the letter from Jack USA about Britain's response to mortar attacks. Well, we've been bombed before by the IRA, but you don't see us occupying the Republic of Ireland, bulldozing Catholic houses in Ulster, using air strikes against Sinn Fein or assassinating Sinn Fein/IRA leaders. Please don't try to characterise the rest of the world according to what Israel (or its sugar-daddy, the US) would do.
M. M. Zaman, UK in USA

The leaders of both sides have too much to lose both politically and physically

Ian Richards, UK
The leaders of both sides have too much to lose both politically and physically (remember Rabin) by being seen to give in to the other side's demands. Arafat and Sharon cannot make peace without the overwhelming backing of their electorates and, more importantly, their political entourages. Can you see this happening soon? I think not.
Ian Richards, UK

The "cycle of violence" will cease when the world forces Arafat to cease his war. When the aggressors stop their attacks, those defending themselves need not retaliate. WWII stopped when Germany and Japan surrendered. This war will stop when Arafat is too forced to do the same.
SJH, Australia

The violence will never end until religion is recognised as a dangerous mental disease and those who attempt to inflict this horror on children should be prosecuted with the same fervour decent societies prosecute any person deliberately spreading a physical disease. Religion is Aids of the mind, horrible in the misery it causes.
Bob Brown, Australia

In short there is no law, in its civilised meaning, behind the Green Line and the law and the accountability of the Palestinian government is the only prerequisite for peace

Kirill Gokhberg, Israel
Human rights, freedom, and universal tolerance are extremely beneficial assets of any society. Unfortunately these are only the top layer which should rest on a solid foundation of law. What the Palestinians need most badly are the efficient law-enforcing and law abiding institutions.
In short there is no law, in its civilised meaning, behind the Green Line, and the law and the accountability of the Palestinian government is the only prerequisite for peace.
Kirill Gokhberg, Israel

What a lot of people don't realise when they say that Israel has to get out of "the territories" is the small size of Israel. If you were to take all of Israel you could lay it between Lands End and Dover almost exactly. Now take a big bite the size of Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire out of the middle. That's the size of "the territories".
What's needed is a realisation by the Palestinians that succession is not feasible and by Israel that the Palestinians are here to stay. In a country that small there is no choice of splitting it. They're just going to have to learn to live together.
Mark T, USA

Israel expects that the Palestinians accept without resistance the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, whilst Israel itself is in breach of the Geneva Convention in settling the occupied territories and defies all U.N resolutions which it dislikes. As long as this continues, there is not much hope for peace
E.G. Bowyer-Wilson, France

The real question though is 'how soon' and 'who can break it'

Raghda Azizieh, Jordan
Yes, the cycle of violence can be broken. The real question though is 'how soon' and 'who can break it'.
The last suicide bombing is nothing but a retaliation to the recent Israeli assassinations of political Palestinian figures. If Israel wants to break the cycle, it could. The problem is Sharon is too far involved to stop it. The issue of 'when' remains the most crucial but remains bleak in the foreseeable future.
Raghda Azizieh, Jordan

I can only repeat words of Former Prime Minister Golda Meir: "We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than hate us".
Ilya Grinblat, Israel

The terrorists who kill innocents in Jerusalem are the made of the same cowardly stuff as the IRA murderers here in the UK. They murder innocent and defenceless people in order to perpetuate a circle of violence and further their aims of destruction. No country can allow itself to give in to terrorism, only dialogue can solve problems and dialogue can only happen after the thugs have been contained by their own people, who should be decrying and denouncing them.
Mike, UK

What we are seeing now is the continuous effects of violence begetting violence

J. Williams, USA
The Israelis must learn this simple truth: If you want the violence to end, you must leave the Occupied Territories. We Americans had to learn this lesson in Viet Nam - if you don't want your child to die in Viet Nam, take them out of Viet Nam. What we are seeing now is the continuous effects of violence begetting violence, all due to the fact that Israelis should be in Israel, not the Occupied Territories.
J. Williams, USA

The cycle of violence will not cease with the current attitude of Ariel Sharon. With each passing day, his policies are deepening the hatred of the two peoples against one another. The proposals put forward by the Mitchell report need to be fully implemented by both sides. I don't think this situation will be resolved any time soon. Both sides have growing support for hard-line groups and this will only make things worse. I would also like to express my deepest sympathies to all the innocent victims of this terrible conflict - both Palestinian and Israeli.
Malek, Australia

How can Israel tolerate watching innocent men, women and children being murdered just because the Arab nations do not agree with Israeli government policies? The UK does not tolerate the IRA's acts of violence. Why should Israel tolerate Hamas? There is NEVER any excuse that can justify killing innocent civilians.
Simon, Australia

Perhaps it would be better if there were not so much international publicity given to the issue

George M. Jee, Malaysia
Perhaps it would be better if there were not so much international publicity given to the issue of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The so-called Islamic Jihad in various parts of the world given much publicity tends to become more menacing. Give it dead silence and let less people know about it. It will die a natural death. Publicity helps to boost the ego of those concerned.
George M. Jee, Malaysia

Palestinians should follow the Mahatma Gandhi's principle of peaceful resistance rather than the violent means they follow. Unfortunately, violence creates more violence, which will never end for a long time.
Sharad Bhuskute, USA

The solution to this has been alluded to in one of the earlier emails - American resolve. Instead of words, the US should cut off its donor aid to Israel, which strangely exceeds all the donor aid given by the US to Africa. Since violence requires weapons and fuel to perpetuate it, then denying the stronger side weapons will rapidly put a brake on matters. However the only people losing out in this struggle are Israelis and Palestinians, and the US military machine gets fatter on the proceeds of arms and keeps consuming more cheap oil from the pathetic Arab regimes. Hey, but what the heck, the US economy is booming! God bless America.
Dr Adnan Siddiqui, UK

The only hope for eliminating the cycle of violence is to remove the cause

AG, Japan
The escalation of violence in Middle East reflects the failure of the international community to impose its human rights principles on both sides of the conflict. Understanding terrorism is therefore a key element in finding solutions. If we define terrorism as "the last stage of provocation", we might seek the solution in the elimination of the cause rather than tackling the manifestations. At this point in time the only hope for eliminating the cycle of violence is to remove the cause and the Mitchell report might be a good road map.
AG, Japan

Israel should now kick out the Palestinian Authority once and for all. Enough with trying to satisfy the rest of the world. Kick out the PA and make real security borders away from the 1967 borders so that the Palestinians can't strike at Israeli cities.
Ralph Levy, USA

Wasn't it the UK who refused to talk to terrorists? How the legitimate government can be expected to talk to the leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad when the official aim of both is the destruction of the State of Israel? As long as those organisations act freely in Arafat's territory, as long as he refuses to announce a zero tolerance policy towards them, as long as hate-schools exist in Palestine, he - Arafat - is responsible for the killings. Israel should retaliate and give a direct signal to all the Palestinians, that the state is not prepared to talk to those who endorse the bomb attacks.
Alexander, Russia

Israel must respect the sanctity of Palestinian blood if it wants its own children to be safe

The cycle of violence can only stop when 1) The state of Israel stops the murder of innocent Palestinian civilians and acknowledges that its policies are the root core of the problem and 2) the USA stops blaming the Palestinians alone and puts equal pressure and blame on the Israelis. The world will no doubt rant about the "Arab Murderers" as will the Israeli propaganda machine, however, let us not lose sight of the fact that more children have been murdered by the Israeli army than all of the suicide bombings put together. That is not to say that the murder of any child is condoned in any shape or manner whatsoever. Israel must respect the sanctity of Palestinian blood if it wants its own children to be safe.

Yes, these cycles will be stopped when people start thinking and stop following somebody or some book blindly.
Ravi, India

The Israelis have full right to protect their citizens. They have full right to target terrorists even without a trial - in such a war there is no time for trials - "he who arises to kill you, kill him first". The only way out is for Israel to take a hard line and stand up for itself. We saw that after the six-day war all the Arab countries lay still. The world should realise that all Israel wants is a country to live in and that includes all of Israel which was given to us by g-d. The Arabs must know that, if they continue, hard retaliation will follow and the Israeli government should do exactly that and not with some pathetic response. That is the only way for peace!
Yechiel Wilhelm, UK

The only way left for a lasting peace in Middle East is total and complete withdrawal of Israelis from the area occupied since the 1967 war. No Muslim and Arab country can accept peace till that happens. Meanwhile the Israelis, having all the weapons in the world, could go on slaughtering the Palestinians in retaliation. This will lead to even bigger tragedies, for Palestinians have nothing more to lose except their lives. I believe many people in Israel oppose what Sharon's Government is doing to Palestinians. I don't see any hope for peace till a bigger tragedy brings some sense to the current administration in Washington to actively push for a lasting settlement.
Al Khan, USA

Lessons should have been learned by now

S. A. Joseph, UK
The simple answer to your question is 'yes'. All that needs to be done is for Israel to abide by UN resolutions on Palestine. They should end their occupation. Clearly, the policy of the present government to subjugate the Palestinians and to terrorise them will never work. Lessons should have been learned by now, but then the blinkered Israeli politicians have not learned from their previous miscalculations and until they do, resistance to their continued occupation of Palestinian land will continue.
S. A. Joseph, UK

As long as Palestinians have access to Israel there will be a very few who will successfully carry out acts of suicide/terror. It's a nightmare that's impossible to prevent without denying all Palestinians access to Israel. Somehow I think that might be seriously considered right now.
Tony Brower, USA

There are groups on both sides of this conflict that hold extreme views that cannot be a part of any compromise. And these groups (I believe they are minorities) have power and influence. The Palestinian extremists demand the "Jews be pushed into the sea." The Ultra-Orthodox Jews believe the whole of Palestine must be united under Jewish rule in preparation for their Messiah, hence the settlements. Religious conviction can't be rationalised away. I am afraid this cycle of violence will continue until both Israelis and Palestinians find themselves exhausted, afraid, and tired of life. Only then will these peoples be ready to make the painful compromises necessary for a lasting peace.
Roy Smeal, USA

Every sovereign nation has the right of self-defence

Jack, USA
Israel has endured a state of war by its hostile Arab neighbours for 50 years, resulting in this "occupation". Every sovereign nation has the right of self-defence. Apparently, Israel is denied that right, being told to exhibit "restraint". How many mortar rounds or suicide bombers would Britain or France allow in London or Paris without a firm response?
Jack, USA

I grow tired of seeing Israelis killing Palestinians, then Palestinians retaliating. It's obvious that these two sides will never reach an understanding. Their leaders should either call its quits or settle this with war once and for all. Stop beating around bush!
Rod, Australia

While every right thinking person will deplore terrorist bombing, it must be understood that the Palestinians feel an overwhelming sense of frustration at the total lack of progress towards a just settlement. The West, and particularly the US, base their responses on the voting power of the eloquent Jewish lobby, rather than an equitable solution, and violence seems inevitable. Arafat's position is precarious and any sensible negotiator would realise that he has to deliver something to his 'constituents'.
John, North Yorkshire, England

It's simple and easy...hate produces hate and attacks produce revenge and the cycle goes on. Sharon is looking for unrealistic goals, his policy of a complete stop to violence before negotiation won't get him anywhere. If he thinks that security can be achieved but destroying homes and confining people, he's wrong and his "security plan" is obviously not working.
Abdellah Elamiri, USA

Hate produces hate and attacks produce revenge and the cycle goes on

Abdellah Elamiri, USA
Arafat ordered the release of Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners from Palastinian jails at the start of the present violence. It is no surprise that terrorist attacks are being carried out by these organisations as they are opperating with impunity inside the Palastinian Authority controlled areas. Until Arafat starts to re-arrest the terrorists that he originally freed none of his statements of "condemnation" can be taken seriously.
David Hamer, Wales

I don't understand how any sane, free-thinking individual can possibly characterise a suicide bombing as "resistance" or "protest". Call a spade a spade: these acts are mass murder, and there is no excuse for them -- whatsoever.
O. Sandel, USA

We are human beings and can say enough is enough

Sia Bodbin, UK
I find no immediate solution. I pray for the common citizen of both countries. I feel that peace will only come after much more pain and death. May God help us all.
debi, usa

Yes, cycles can be broken. We are human beings and can say enough is enough. Politics and not force can break this cycle. The first ingredient for resistance is occupation. Israel has had 50 years in which to work for peace but on her half century elected a leader promising more land and delivering only blood from both sides.
Sia Bodbin, UK

We have seen many fingers pointing to the Palestinians for the cause of the violence. However, the cycle of violence is evidently caused by Sharon's use of excessive military force. How can violence be stopped if it is being instigated on bigger terms through the use of helicopters and tanks against the Palestinian people and their children?
Anna Cortinsky, Netherlands

The cycles of violence can be stopped. Both Palestinians and Israelis need impartial observers to verify instigators of violence after a period of calm. Unfortunately, the blood thirsty radicals on both sides; Ariel Sharon on Israelis side and Hamas + Islamic Jihad on the other, are reluctant to see peace in the region. "Dogs of war", tearing each other's apart.
The situation could have been different if Yitzak Rabin had survived the bullets. The only hope for observable peace attempt is if President Bush steps in and say 'enough is enough'. Otherwise, there seems to be no hope for a people linked by common heritage and deep seated hatred for one another. May God help us all!
Maurizio Ochen-Otto, USA

Sharon instigated this cycle of violence and now the people of Israel will pay for it

Dallia Abdel-Moniem, Egypt
Sharon instigated this cycle of violence and now the people of Israel will pay for it. How can anyone expect the Palestinians to remain complacent when day in and day out, they are being killed and repressed? If nothing is done from the Israeli governments side to put a halt to their violent actions, then they should be prepared for more suicide attacks.
Dallia Abdel-Moniem, Egypt

I lived in Jerusalem for 6 months 12 yrs ago, and often went about my business in the very area the bomb went off today. The Palestinian terrorists are targeting Israeli civilians, which is clearly wrong, but they must feel that since so many Palestinian civilians have been killed, it is their only answer. The Israeli response in all this has been nothing but provocative and incendiary. Sharon has no interest in making peace, never has had and never will have.
Andrew Stroud, UK

The Palestinians must realise that the world doesn't look kindly on terrorist attacks on innocent civilians. If the Palestinians really want to win concessions, they should protest peacefully in front of the TV cameras. Then, when the Israeli army does what it does best and murders unarmed Palestinians, the tide of opinion may swing back their way.
Ian Bailey, UK

Israel can't expect to oppress and find no resistance

Faraj Al Mahdi, UK
Israel has been oppressing the Palestinians for more than 50 years. They can't expect to oppress and find no resistance. When the Israelis voted for Sharon they simply voted for more of such bombings.
Faraj Al Mahdi, UK

See also:

09 Aug 01 | Middle East
Suicide bomb causes carnage in Jerusalem
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