Jerusalem Seminary Killings Shake Peace Process

March 07, 2008 12:51 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Hamas claims responsibility for the killing of eight students at a Jerusalem seminary. But an Israeli official expressed a commitment to the peace process.

30-Second Summary

A Palestinian gunman entered the Mercaz Harav Jerusalem rabbinical seminary library with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a pistol last night, and fired upon the 80 students participating in a study session. Eight Israelis were killed and at least six were badly injured.

The Guardian reports that "the number of Israeli casualties had dropped in recent months to its lowest level since the start of the second intifada, more than seven years ago." The U.K. paper writes that the seminary shooting marks a “dramatic escalation” in the conflict.

Hamas took responsibility for and praised the attack. “We bless the operation. It will not be the last," said Hamas, according to USA Today.

However, an anonymous Israeli official told the same newspaper that Israel will continue with the peace process "so as not to punish moderate Palestinians for actions by people who are not just our enemies but theirs as well.”

The UN Security Council did not condemn the attack, which was denounced by leaders around the world, including UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon. A Libyan delegate argued that the council should not condemn the Jerusalem shooting while remaining silent on Gaza’s plight.

The killings accompany a recent spike in the conflict between the Israelis and Hamas in Gaza, which had resulted in the death of around 120 Palestinians and three Israelis before the shooting.

About half of the Palestinians were militants, reports The Guardian. On Thursday, U.K. humanitarian organizations also released a report declaring the situation in Gaza the worst it has been in 40 years, and placing most of the blame on Israel’s blockade of the region.

Headline Links: Hamas claims killings, peace process should continue

Background: Recent violence, a report on Gaza, and the peace process

Recent escalation in violence
Report portrays serious situation in Gaza
The peace process

Opinion & Analysis: The possibility of peace

Rice’s efforts show promise
‘Take back Gaza’
'No such thing as "entirely"'

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