March 24, 2003: This site is getting a lot of google hits from people looking for information on Al-Jazeera, presumably because of its infamous broadcast of the dead and captured American soldiers. A page with more information, including a link to some of Al-Jazeera's screen shots is here.
Today I live in San Francisco. Years ago I was a Jerusalem high school student who rode the bus to school. One of my favorite classes at the time was Arabic. I haven't used my Arabic in years. Tonight I stayed up with my old dictionary and a news page from Al Jazeera to see if I could still read the language well enough to understand how they reported this tragedy.
I'm quite rusty, but I think the translation is about right. I welcome any corrections. My comments in italics
14 Israelis were killed and others wounded in a strong explosion on an Israeli passenger bus south of occupied Jerusalem a short time ago.
The attack occurred in a Jewish neighborhood within the city.
Al-Jazeera's correspondent in Palestine ...
Those Israelis are magnanimous to allow Arab journalists into their country. Aren't you grateful that there is one country in the region that offers more freedom to journalists than any other?
... said that the explosion occured as a result of a martyrdom operation,
actually, most decent people would call it a depraved crime of mass murder, not "martyrdom", and not an "operation"
carried out by a Palestinian who got on the bus at a stop outside the Jewish settlement of Gilo, between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Gilo is a proper neighborhood of Jerusalem, it is not a "settlement" any more than Greenwich Village is a "settlement" of New York City.
The bus was on its way to West Jerusalem.
There is only one Jerusalem
A number of Israeli soldiers were believed to be on board.
Actually, most of the victims were high school students.
The explosion occurred despite the fact that the occupation authorities adopted strict security measure to prevent operations of this type, particularly since they announced that they knew of specific Palestinians intending to launch martrydom operations.
Then maybe they should impose even stricter security measures, such as building a massive fence and killing more terrorists.
The Al-Jazeera correspondent reported that Israeli ambulances were rushing to the site of the blast to evacuate the injured to hospitals.
As of yet, no Palestinian has declared responsibility for this operation.
Yes, but we know that Yassir Arafat is the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people", so no matter how hard he pretends to condemn this sort of thing, he is ultimately responsible. He claims that he had nothing to do with this. So let's assume that he's not lying this time. If the people who commit the violence don't listen to him, why should anybody believe that he has the authority to negotiate a peace agreement on any body else's behalf?