It has been a day of mourning and a time for reflection in Israel as victims of Monday’s suicide bombing in Tel Aviv were buried. Ten people, including the Islamic Jihad bomber and two French nationals, were killed in what was the deadliest such attack in Israel in two years. The West has condemned the Hamas-led Palestinian government’s description of the bombing as ‘self-defence’.
Visiting the scene, an EU envoy said the bloc could not support the new administration until certain conditions were met: “One of these conditions of course, is the cessation of violence againstIsrael. If that condition is not met, it will not be possible to have normal political relations with the Palestinian Authority.”
Israel is on high alert but the interim government says there will not be an immediate large-scale retaliation. It is under pressure not to derail US-led efforts to isolate Hamas. President Mahmoud Abbas, representing moderate Palestinian views, did condemn the blast. His spokesman called for international intervention to prevent the conflict escalating.
“What we urge now is that the international community is to begin the preparations for the international conference as called for and specified by the ‘Road Map’ to restart a meaningful status negotiation that leads to ending the Israeli occupation,” Saeb Erekat said. Hamas faces challenges on many fronts, primarily finding fresh aid sources following the West’s decision to withdraw support for the Palestinian Authority. That will remain a problem until the militant group demonstrates a willingness to begin peacemaking with Israel.