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What now? Fashion profiling?
February 20, 2002 8:49 AM   Subscribe

What now? Fashion profiling? (NYT) For the third time in 48 hours, an alert Israeli foiled an attempted suicide bombing on Tuesday. Near the West Bank settlement of Mehola in the Jordan Valley, a bus driver, Shalom Drei, thought a man climbing onto the second step of the bus looked suspicious. "He wore an aviator's jacket, zipped all the way up," Mr. Drei told Israeli television. "It looked strange to me." Mr. Drei pushed the stranger back off the bus, then, as the bus pulled away, the man exploded.
posted by semmi (39 comments total)

 
"...then, as the bus pulled away, the man exploded."

I'm sorry, but I find that a very amusing description. It sounds like... Wile E. Coyote. Cartoonish.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:17 AM on February 20, 2002


If people with bad fashion sense might explode on my bus, I'd kick them off, too.
posted by Jonasio at 9:24 AM on February 20, 2002


Incredible how the Israeli's have to deal with this sort of terrorism on a daily basis, I'm wondering if we'll ever be able to increase our vigilance to this level. Does the head-down, no eye contact attitude some of us have here in the US, whether on the bus or in the mall, need to be reconsidered? Or should we begin pushing others off planes or buses based on what they wear or look like for the sake of national security?
posted by Mutha at 9:29 AM on February 20, 2002


Incredible how the Israeli's have to deal with this sort of terrorism on a daily basis
incredible how the palestinians have to put up with israeli incursions on a daily basis.
posted by nylon at 9:45 AM on February 20, 2002


The Israeli bus company is called Egged. Hee.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on February 20, 2002


Incredible how the Palestinans feel like killing Isralis on a daily basis.

Don't hijack the thread, Nylon. No matter what you feel, there's two guilty parties here.
posted by SpecialK at 9:56 AM on February 20, 2002


Nothing like the fashion / terrorism police - look, I'm sorry, you can't ride the bus with us, the Burberry scarf is so last year. Oh, and you, with those Cargo pants, get with the new decade and get off this train.
posted by panopticon at 9:58 AM on February 20, 2002


i wasn't attempting to hijack the thread, specialk - apologies if it appeared so. i have no strong allegiences either way. merely pointing out the flipside to mutha's statement, which seemed to imply that the palestinians are doing this just for kicks.
i'll get my coat.
posted by nylon at 10:02 AM on February 20, 2002


imply that the palestinians are doing this just for kicks
Sputter, sputter...the article is about an attempted bombing in Israel not Palestine. I promise to comment the same way when there's an article about Palestine ok?
posted by Mutha at 10:14 AM on February 20, 2002


Is that a stick of dynamite in your pants, or are you just happy to see...

*boom*

Oh.
posted by ebarker at 10:18 AM on February 20, 2002


*grin* Are we going to issue bomb condoms now?

I can just see the safe bombing ads and hear the the new trojan man radio commercials...
posted by SpecialK at 10:24 AM on February 20, 2002


Actually. mutha, it was an attempted bombing in Palestine, not Israel. The settlement near where the attempt took place was built illegally after the 1967 war, and is located in the area the US and UN have designated as home to a future Palestinian state. Maps are available on IsraelInsider.com
posted by cell divide at 10:24 AM on February 20, 2002


what cell divide said.
posted by terrapin at 10:30 AM on February 20, 2002


Anyone, regardless of grievance, who tries to sneak on a bus with a bomb is a murderous scumbag. Nationality has zip to do with it. Thankfully this one was stupid enough to off himself without taking others along with him. Good riddance.

Just my .02 - please feel free to return to your regularly scheduled Israel vs. Palestine horseshit :P
posted by UncleFes at 10:46 AM on February 20, 2002


It has always seemed more than a little weird that this earns a person the title of "martyr." I mean, they're certainly dying for a cause that they consider fundamentally religious, but... this is really, really different from the traditional Christian image of, say, St. Stephen, tied to a tree and shot full of arrows.
posted by coelecanth at 10:57 AM on February 20, 2002


Also: don't visit the bathroom too often. Especially with a member of your own sex.
posted by adampsyche at 11:01 AM on February 20, 2002


Anyone, regardless of grievance, who tries to sneak on a bus with a bomb is a murderous scumbag.

UncleFes, you have a point. The guy was probably not a very nice person. But how else are they supposed to fight? They don't have a country, they don't have a professional army, they don't have the means to take on the best trained and best funded military in the world in 'conventional' battle. hell, if the bulldozers keep going, many of them won't even have a roof over their head. What else can they do? Suicide bombing is not pretty or sympathetic. Its not considered to be an 'honorable' military tactic. It isn't strategic and it only makes things worse. But remember, these "scumbags" are the same people who somehow find the balls to stare down a tank, with nothing but a rock to defend themselves, before they even reach puberty. Is it really that surprising that they're ready to blow themselves up by the time they get into their twenties?

Some people are born waiting for a cause and a bomb and a fanatic's death in flames. But to you really think that the majority of the people who do this kind of thing would have turned out that way had they been born somewhere else? And yeah, it doesn't matter if they were born to kill or of they grew into it. The end result is the same, horrific regardless of what brought the bomber to that point. But can anyone really say that, in the same situation, you wouldn't fight back in whatever way you could? Or would you cower in the corner like a kicked dog?
posted by hipstertrash at 11:39 AM on February 20, 2002


But can anyone really say that, in the same situation, you wouldn't fight back in whatever way you could? Or would you cower in the corner like a kicked dog?

There is something between cowering in the corner like a kicked dog and blowing yourself, or somebody else up. You could get a life, for instance. This option is open to just about anybody, in any situation, not matter how intolerable it seems. These people have access to the tools of self-education, self-improvement, and self-enrichment by legal means. A little humility, personal dignity, decency toward the people around you in your life, and a lot of hard work, and... voila, there you have it. A life. The notion that you have to "fight back" is the beginning of ignorance. The fight is with yourself.
posted by Faze at 12:04 PM on February 20, 2002


what i found funny was what the bomber was thinking before he blew up...

"aw shit, all this for nothi-BOOM!"

or

"hmm... maybe next time. guess i'll head home n-BOOM!"

i want to say he deserved to die such a stupid death, but that'd be trolling. and i don't feel like living under a bridge especially with all the cold weather we've been having lately.
posted by lotsofno at 12:36 PM on February 20, 2002


But how else are they supposed to fight?

I think CNN, the United Nations, most of Europe and nearly ALL of America would take up the Palestinian cause instantly if it weren't for their penchant for showering the sidewalks and bus stations of Tel Aviv with charred and ventilated Israeli corpses.
posted by UncleFes at 12:43 PM on February 20, 2002


But how else are they supposed to fight?

Perhaps like Gandhi. Oh right, he was an infidel polytheist.
posted by scottfree at 12:54 PM on February 20, 2002


Actually. mutha, it was an attempted bombing in Palestine, not Israel. The settlement near where the attempt took place was built illegally after the 1967 war...

The entirety of the West Bank is equitably, if not legally Israel's. Israel captured it in a war it didn't start. The former owner, Jordan, has relinquished claim to it. It may become part of a new country one day, when Israel decides such, but for the moment, it's Israel's. Sorry.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:57 PM on February 20, 2002


I think CNN, the United Nations, most of Europe and nearly ALL of America would take up the Palestinian cause instantly if it weren't for their penchant for showering the sidewalks and bus stations of Tel Aviv with charred and ventilated Israeli corpses.

So would Israel.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:58 PM on February 20, 2002


But can anyone really say that, in the same situation, you wouldn't fight back in whatever way you could? Or would you cower in the corner like a kicked dog?

Well, if the most constructive thing I could come up with is blowing myself and a bunch of people I don't know to bits, all I have to say is pass me the kibble.
posted by groundhog at 1:16 PM on February 20, 2002


Ok, look at it like this ... You are tied to a chair. Standing over you is a person that you don't like very much, and they are holding a big stick. They say "Ok, tell you what. If you stop kicking me in the shins, I'll stop whacking you on the head with this big stick. When I feel that enough time has passed without you kicking me, I'll maybe talk about letting you out of the chair." Where is your incentive to stop? To complicate things even further, imagine that a few thousand other people are tied up with you. Every time one person in a chair gets impatient and kicks a shin, everyone gets whacked and everyone has to start over again. Israel is holding all of the cards and making all of the rules. They demand good faith yet deny that its a two way street. As it stands, the Palestinans are in a lose-lose situation. Its naive and insulting to think that they will abandon the few forms of resistance they have left based on promises made by people they have no reason to trust.
posted by hipstertrash at 1:23 PM on February 20, 2002


Unfortunately, the reason terrorism continues is that it works. It worked for the early Zionist guerrillas, it worked for the IRA, and it worked for the PLO. The reason Israel dealt with Arafat after dismissing him as a criminal for years is that Hamas came along to make him look like a moderate.

Also, somebody give that bus driver a f***ing raise.

off topic:
the traditional Christian image of, say, St. Stephen, tied to a tree and shot full of arrows.

Wasn't that St. Sebastian? Stephen was stoned, in fact I think Stephen is generally considered the first Christian martyr.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:31 PM on February 20, 2002


You're absolutely correct, and I used to know that. Oddly, I found a reference to St. Sebastian in the very next thing I read, at The Breakfast Table on Slate.
posted by coelecanth at 1:38 PM on February 20, 2002


Its naive and insulting to think that they will abandon the few forms of resistance they have left based on promises made by people they have no reason to trust.

The same thing could be heard coming out of any Israeli's mouth re: Arafat. Change the word "resistance" to "defense."

The whole place is a cesspool of religion-soaked violence, blood, hate and murder. The best thing we could do is airlift out everyone under age 18, then put up a big fence surrounded by a cobalt track, and then studiously ignore everyone/everything within for a thousand years or so.

The world's had enough martyrs.
posted by UncleFes at 1:44 PM on February 20, 2002


As it stands, the Palestinans are in a lose-lose situation. Its naive and insulting to think that they will abandon the few forms of resistance they have left based on promises made by people they have no reason to trust.

A totally false polemic. If the Palestinian Arabs would stop bombing Israel, they would have the support of the US, and all those who matter (as opposed to the lack of US support and nominal support of Europe [notice how pseudo-indignant Europe has not imposed trade sanctions on Israel, or lend military support to the Palestinans, or much aid, or done anything which would constitute real support], and even the nominal support of the Arab world, which is more interested in attacking Israel than helping the Palestinians). Then, Israel would be "forced" to cooperate in the creation of a Palestinian state.

Israel, at least a majority of it's voting population, wants to give the West Bank and Gaza to the Palestinan Arabs. But not the PA, and not a wackos blowing themselves up.

I think the Sharon government's current policy is to, piece by piece, to see to the disappearence of that sham political entity known as the Palestinan Authority. And then what? Either sensible Palestinians will replace it (perhaps like that guy who was slapped by Arafat--not really sure who he is); or Hamas will take over. Even Hamas would be better than the present, because at least the 1/2 fig leaf of civilized leadership wouldn't be there to deceive the naive. Or the finks in Europe who would never let principles stand in the way of trade with the rest of the Arab world.

Bravo George Bush for NEVER meeting with YA!
posted by ParisParamus at 1:58 PM on February 20, 2002


but for the moment, it's Israel's. Sorry.

For the moment, yes 'it is Israel's'. It is not Israel, it is Israel's. That is the distinction I was trying to make. Settlers do not live 'in Israel,' they live somewhere else. Israel calls it "disputed territory," the rest of the world calls it "occupied territory." Since Roman times it's been known as Palestine.
posted by cell divide at 2:55 PM on February 20, 2002


cell, I guess you're right. I'm not sure Israel shouldn't have annexed it, but they chose not to, and thus you are right (as opposed to the Golan). In any case, the bottom line is that it's in Israel's interest to have a Palestinian State; that' been obvious to most people for a long time. It's just a question of when it's safe for Israel for it to happen. And unfortunately, we ain't close. At least not his week.
posted by ParisParamus at 3:04 PM on February 20, 2002


You could extend that chair analogy some more. There's a bunch of people around the chair, not just one, some enthusiastic with their sticks, some reluctant, and some trying to take the sticks away. (Not to mention arguing about the proper size, colour and shape for a stick... ) None of them know anything about the Prisoner's Dilemma.

There isn't a monolithic Israeli view any more than there is a Palestinian one.

And they're in the chair because a bunch of their buddies from neighbouring rooms said "we'll help you take over the whole living room", and were beaten off by the other living room inhabitants with sticks. But perhaps that's taking the analogy too far.

They demand good faith yet deny that its a two way street...

When was either side able to demonstrate good faith? After the Oslo accords, when it looked like things might just come right, the right in Israel wouldn't play nice, and neither would Hamas. Again, there is no "they". On both sides there are people with a lot invested in continual conflict, or who cannot accept any compromise (other than strategic ones that can be unrolled later).

The reason Israel dealt with Arafat after dismissing him as a criminal for years is that Hamas came along to make him look like a moderate.

And I'm thinking that the reason Arafat's successors will deal with Sharon is that believe it or not, there are hardline Israelis who make him look moderate too.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:25 PM on February 20, 2002


Mutha: "Incredible how the Israeli's have to deal with this sort of terrorism on a daily basis"
Nylon: "incredible how the palestinians have to put up with israeli incursions on a daily basis."


Incredible how the Hatfields had to deal with the McCoys on a daily basis.

UncleFes: "The whole place is a cesspool of religion-soaked violence, blood, hate and murder. The best thing we could do is airlift out everyone under age 18, then put up a big fence surrounded by a cobalt track, and then studiously ignore everyone/everything within for a thousand years or so."

"Is it apathy? Ignorance? I don't know and I don't care."
posted by ZachsMind at 3:28 PM on February 20, 2002


Is it apathy? Ignorance?

Neither. It's disgust.
posted by UncleFes at 3:29 PM on February 20, 2002


Turn away in disgust, you embrace apathy and ignorance.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:44 PM on February 20, 2002


Richard said, "Withdrawal in disgust is not the same as apathy"...
posted by skoosh at 6:41 PM on February 20, 2002


I wasn't withdrawing, I was proposing a solution.
posted by UncleFes at 8:31 PM on February 20, 2002


I told israel to pull out before this problem got born.
posted by Settle at 8:49 PM on February 20, 2002


I was reading fark.com the other day. One of the posters was actualy on that bus
posted by delmoi at 1:12 AM on February 21, 2002


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