The White House condemned the “brutal” attacks in Israel earlier today, which left at least seven dead and more than 40 injured.
A group of militants, believed to have crossed from Egypt to Israel Thursday morning, began their attack by firing on a passenger bus near the border. A military patrol, arriving to investigate the original bus attack, triggered a roadside bomb believed to have been placed by the same militants. Another vehicle was fired upon with an anti-tank missile.
The series of attacks lasted for three hours and appeared coordinated.
Press Secretary Jay Carney released a statement, condemning the attacks and those that perpetrated them “in the strongest terms.”
“The U.S. and Israel stand united against terror and we hope that those behind this attack will be brought to justice swiftly,” Carney said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced her concerns about the situation along the Israeli-Egyptian border, stating that it “only underscores our strong concerns about the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.” Clinton urged the Egyptian government to find a “lasting solution.”
But with all the political and governmental upheaval in Egypt, a lasting solution may be hard to come by. The border is already heavily guarded and Egyptian senior security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, deny that the attackers came from Egypt in the first place. The problem, they say, is not with their border, despite the fact that large sections of the border are not fenced.
It seems to be a “blame the other guy” situation here. No one is willing to take responsibility for either the access that allowed the terrorists to bring weapons into the country, or for the attack that appears too well planned and well-funded to have been a spur of the moment occurrence. It is unlikely that the militants were independent contractors, but who was issuing the orders and footing the bill?
Israel responded with attacks of its own, launching an airstrike on a house in Gaza, killing five militants and a girl. Israeli officials believe that the attackers came from Gaza, after traveling through Sinai.
The Hamas government, who controls Gaza, denies those allegations, claiming they had “nothing to do with these attacks.”
The White House expressed their “deepest” condolences for the victims and their families, wishing “those injured a speedy recovery.”
This kind of statement from the White House is becoming a regular thing. As all sorts of craziness happens around the world, the U.S. is expected to react, even if no action is taken. What is the point in merely expressing the country’s sorrow for another country’s loss?
It’s similar to attending a funeral. Sorrows are shared, common ground is re-established, and people are given the opportunity to remind each other that they are still willing to help. With all the upheaval in the Middle East, publicly standing with Israel is a reminder just where this country’s loyalties lie. At least for the moment.