Jews Blow Up Bus in Syria


Issam Hamza, Syrian paper accuses Israel of planning bombings

Reuters, 01-06-1997.

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DAMASCUS, Jan 6 (Reuter) – An official Syrian newspaper charged on Monday that Israel was preparing for more attacks against Syria and Lebanon and said a new round of violence would not exclude the Jewish state. Syrian Vice-President Abdel-Halim Khaddam, in remarks published on Monday, also reiterated Damascus’s accusation that Israel was behind a bus blast in Damascus on New Year’s Eve which killed 11 people and wounded 42. Israel has denounced the bombing and described the accusation as “an outright lie.” The official daily Tishreen said the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was planning more bombings in Syria and Lebanon after the Damascus bus blast and an attack on Syrian workers in Lebanon that killed one person last month. “The Netanyahu government would be mistaken if it thinks that it is able to preserve its security by threatening the security and stability of others through committing massacres against innocent civilians,” Mohammed Khair al-Wadi, director-general of Tishreen, wrote. Syria has accused agents of the Israeli intelligence service Mossad of being responsible for the attack with the aim of sabotaging the Middle East peace process. The United States has warned Damascus against making “wild and irresponsible” statements without evidence. “In order to close the door on the peace process completely, the Netanyahu government resorted to ugly crimes against Syrian buses in Syria and Lebanon,” Wadi said. “It has become clear to all that Israel had committed these crimes and is planning to commit new terrorist operations… “With this the Netanyahu government would drag the region into a new cycle of violence, terrorism, tension and the danger of war…This cycle will not exclude Israel,” he said. Khaddam said in remarks published by Kuwait’s Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper that Damascus was “convinced that Israel is behind that” bombing. Asked if the accusations were based on results of investigations or if they stemmed from “the general Israeli position towards Damascus, ” Khaddam said: “As a matter of fact the matter is based on both aspects. The main target of the bombing is the Syrian policy. The policy of Syria towards the Arab-Israeli conflict. “It is a political bombing. It is not merely a group of people committing a regular crime. This is a political crime in the full sense of the word,” Khaddam said. Khaddam said he did not wish to reveal the findings of the investigation in the bombing. But “when the investigations end they will be published, ” he said. “It (Israel) has carried out similar acts in Lebanon and outside Lebanon and there will be a day when facts will be published in full, ” said Khaddam. Last month there was a machinegun attack against a bus carrying Syrian workers in Lebanon. The Lebanese government said Israeli agents were behind the attack that killed the driver. Syria is the main foreign power broker in Lebanon where it has some 35,000 troops. Israel occupies part of south Lebanon. Ties between Syria and Israel, who have held sporadic peace talks since 1991, deteriorated severely after Netanyahu took office in June last year. Syria has said it will not resume the talks, suspended in March by Israel’s previous government, until Netanyahu changes his policy of refusing to swap occupied Arab land for peace. top of page

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