On June 9, 2002, the New York Times reported another suicide bombing by Palestinians, this time of an Israeli public bus transporting adults to work and children to school: “The political aftermath was also routine for this, the 70th suicide bombing in the last 21 months. The Palestinian authority condemned the bombing and then various Palestinian officials asserted that it was a result of Israeli occupation.” The Oslo Accords of August 1993 were supposed to have laid the groundwork for a peaceful solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Palestinians considered Israelis occupiers; Israelis considered Palestinians murderers.
By the middle of 2002, the tension in Israel was high. Israel insisted on protecting its interests by occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Palestinians wanted the Israelis out of their territories, and the Israelis wanted to be sure that they would not be attacked by Palestinians. On June 30, 2002, the New York Times advised, “The only hope for Israel is to get out of the territories—any orderly way it can—and minimize its friction with the Arab world as the Arabs go through a wrenching internal adjustment to modernization.” Ten years later, that process is still in the works.
Stein suggests that both the Jews and Palestinians have legitimate claims to the former Trans-Jordan region. And, like the two peoples that call Israel home, the two heads of the turtle will either kill each other fighting over their home, or they will learn to live with each other, if not contentedly, at least peacefully.