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Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 14:35 GMT
What will stop the suicide bombings?
Israeli missile attacks in Gaza City
Israel has ordered its military to step up what it calls targeted operations against Palestinian militants after a double suicide bombing killed 23 people and two bombers on Sunday.

The attack in Tel Aviv was the first bombing in Israel in six weeks and the deadliest since last March.

According to a close aide to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, the Israeli cabinet also decided to stop senior Palestinian officials from travelling to London for talks on reforming the Palestinian Authority.

However, a proposal by Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to expel the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat is believed to have been rejected by the cabinet.

Meanwhile, Israeli helicopters fired rockets at a large metalworking factory in Gaza City, which Israel said was being used to make weapons.

Israeli tanks also moved into the town of Rafah in Gaza, where they bulldozed the home of a member of the militant group Islamic Jihad and arrested several of his relatives.

What will stop the suicide attacks? And what can be done to restore peace between Israel and the Palestinians?

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

These attacks still occurred when Israel and the PA were negotiating for peace

Yaron, Israel
Some of the previous comments blame Israel's strong hand in the territories as the main cause for the suicide attacks. I would like to remind them that these attacks still occurred when Israel and the PA were negotiating for peace, at which time the PA governed the life of about 95% of the Palestinian population. Not only that the PA under Arafat did nothing to stop the suicide bombings - the terrorists were honoured and their acts were set as examples in the PA education system. On a more personal note - most people have never experienced terror attacks in the magnitude that Israeli residents have suffered from in the last 2 years. It is very convenient to live peacefully in the USA/UK and criticize the Israeli Army's effort to fight terror.
Yaron, Israel

Suicide bombing can only be stopped if Palestinians are given back their land and the US stops backing Israel in killing and destroying the homes of Palestinians. I think suicide bombing is a reaction of killing and destroying homes of Palestinians by Israel. If economic sanctions are imposed on Israel which will force Israel to withdraw its troops from all occupied Palestinians territories and hence in response Palestinians will stop suicide bombing.
Azmat, UK

The recent suicide bombings were the first in 6 weeks. During that time, Israeli attacks on Palestinian targets continued unabated. Those who say the Palestinians must stop their attacks should realise that the main aggressor in this conflict is Israel. As for the Palestinians, half a century has passed since they lost their country to terrorists, and I for one cannot blame them for holding onto the hope that they may one day be free of the invaders.
James, UK

We are often told of the prosperity of Israel in comparison with it's neighbours. Surely if the Palestinian occupants of Israel were allowed to share in this prosperity, rather than being forced to watch it from their bombed out homes during the hours the Israeli government allows them out of them, the hatred would weaken over time.
Ben, UK

Palestinians and Israelis must give up their claim to having exclusive sovereignty of Jerusalem

Dervish, Kazakstan
I agree with Quentin Schneider from Australia (below) that both Palestinians and Israelis must give up their claim to having exclusive sovereignty of Jerusalem or parts thereof, if they can't settle the issue otherwise. It's a city that should belong to the world, not to any other particular nation or ethnic entity then... Move the UN headquarters with its numerous personnel and blue helmets over to Jerusalem and stake out an area of International control around the city. Neither side wins nor loses. This city is so old and so dear to all faiths and unfaiths on earth that it deserves to be treated like that- in a unique, unprecedented manner. Hopefully this will solve this everlasting problem.
Dervish, Kazakstan

The suicide murders will never stop no matter what Israel does to try and satisfy Palestinian wants. The simple fact is that, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hisbolla, Saddam, and the like will never stop attacking the Jews as long at the state of Israel exists. They have stated this quite clearly.

I think basically most Palestinians are not as hardline as the Hamas or Islamic Jihad leaders are, they just want to live in peace and security like anybody else. Once Israel lets ordinary Palestinians live with dignity and security I think there will be a sharp decrease in the support for suicide bombings from the Palestinian side. Dismantle the settlements, dismantle the checkpoints, stop the occupation and accept a two state solution. As long the West Bank and Gaza are war zones, Israel will be one as well.
Oskar, Sweden

Both Palestinians and Israelis must give up their claim to having exclusive sovereignty to Jerusalem or parts thereof. Peace can only come if Jerusalem is an International City State where sovereignty is more with the UN or with an agreed Council of States, than with either of these headstrong and arrogant neighbours alone.
Quentin Schneider, Australia

The first step towards peace has to be taken by America

H K Gadhia, Denmark
Israel has had peace with the Palestinians in the past, when both sides were prepared to sit down and talk. Currently this is not going to happen. The first step towards peace has to be taken by America. Cutting the military funding will force Israel to find a different solution to the problem, who knows, possibly a peaceful one.
H K Gadhia, Denmark

Stopping senior Palestinian officials coming to the UK is a wrong step. All it underlines is that Israel has no interest in constructive dialogue, or in a just peace and is happy to let the blame be placed on the Palestinian authority, ignoring its own mismanagement, suppression and lack of ideas, while cynically attempting to exploit the situation to its own ends. While the US dallies with what at times seems an Israeli inspired war against Iraq rather than tackle the Palestinian/Israel conflict, the chances of peace are very slim, but it seems that suits Israel.
Barry B, UK

The suicide bombings will stop when the people who hold the entrenched views that make this situation so hard to resolve are gone. Sadly, this will probably not come soon enough.
Simon Richardson, UK

These attacks are a reaction to what are the totally unjustified antics of Israel. The equation is simple: stop throwing stones at others' homes, and you'll feel safe in yours.
Asif Mehdi, New Zealand

Perhaps if Palestine can band together and instead of an Arafat move forward with a Gandhi or a Martin L. King, the world would more readily support their efforts. As it is, how can one say either side has the moral advantage?
Matt Michie, USA

The law must be applied equally to all

Jason, Canada
At this stage, neither side can realistically be expected to deal with the other. The UN, and more importantly the US, needs to enforce ALL UN resolutions, including those that deal with Israel and Palestine. The law must be applied equally to all. Only then will there be justice and only then will there be peace. Is this not blatantly obvious to everyone?
Jason, Canada

In the same way as the Spanish government do not negotiate with ETA and do not trust their political wing, and the UK didn't negotiate with the IRA until a proper ceasefire was called and still are cautious with Sinn Fein, Israel can't be expected to give any concessions to terrorists or their "respectable" face in the shape of Arafat. Show a real willingness and ability to make and maintain peace, and Israel will reciprocate - right-wing leaders made peace with Egypt, and started the Madrid process.
Mike F, Scotland

The only solution will be for a Palestinian state. However, this can only occur once Arafat and the rest of the Arab world recognises Israel's right to exist and takes measures to stop these bombings. As long as they occur, Israel has no choice but to react harshly to them and place restrictions on the Palestinians. Bombs will not bring a state. The quicker the Palestinians realise this, the quicker their state will come.
Nick, UK

Historical and religious baggage prevents a rational solution to this human problem

Uccai Siravas, USA
I think the key word in solving any conflict is "justice". If Israel stops its injustice towards the Palestinians, then the conditions generating the suicide bombers will cease and the blood-letting will stop. Unfortunately, historical and religious baggage prevents a rational solution to this human problem.
Uccai Siravas, USA

The late Abba Eban said that people in conflict begin to behave rationally only after they have exhausted all other options. So far it's just tragic to note how both sides in this tragic conflict appear (with great success) to do their best to bring out the worst in each other.
Uri Cogan, Canada

Force never made anyone happy and only seems to escalate destruction and hatred. Why can't we go back to the 10 Commandments and see where we have gone wrong?
S. Frick, Greece

We must root out every terrorist

Allen Shapiro, USA
The only way to stop terror attacks is to stop terrorists. We must root out every terrorist and destroy them. In order to restore peace in the Middle East Arafat must stop all the terrorists and start negotiating in good faith without the threat of violence.
Allen Shapiro, USA

Israel should take a lesson from Sri Lanka - start to treat the underdogs as humans and the bombs will stop. They bring it all on themselves.
Sam Smith, Sri Lanka

Palestinians must realise that non-violence is the only way to achieve sovereignty and independence. Suicide bombings are shattering their case, spoiling their image, and making Israel more radical and unwilling to negotiate.
Joyce, USA

Very simple - give the Palestinians back their land.
Said, USA

Israel and Palestine are cancer to each other. Like a failed marriage, divorce with mutual compromise is the only solution. Palestinians want their share. They have nothing to lose and those who have nothing to lose can be, as we see, extremely dangerous.
Geraldo Petteca, New Zealand

A large UN peacekeeping force should partition Israel and Palestine. All Israeli settlements on disputed territory should be removed and the equivalent of the Berlin wall erected, if necessary, to force both Palestine and Israel to abide by the rule of law rather than the law of terror and reprisal.
Jonathan Rice PhD, USA

It is not up to suicide bombers to try to influence political decisions. The Palestinians must group together, end the bombings, and create a new, strong leadership to deal with Israel and the world or else the present situation will just get worse.
Ollie, UK

The suicide attacks will stop when the world would realize that Palestinian terrorism is not in any way different from Chechen hostage-takers and Bin Laden's thugs.
Alexandr Bilianskey, USA

Every one knows why there are suicide attacks. It is not a question of what will stop but when will they stop. They need a home, a country.
Nasser Shargy, Oman

Israel should stop sending settlers to Palestinian territories and stop demolishing Palestinian homes.
Linda Valenzona, Philippines

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05 Jan 03 | Middle East
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