A spiral of horror and reckoning emerges from the death of a young American couple in a terrorist bombing in Israel.
By the mid-1990s, suicide bombs detonated by Palestinian terrorists and sponsored by Iran’s jihadist organizations had begun to erode the Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and Palestine—indeed, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin lost his life to a Jewish fundamentalist for even attempting to make peace. In this investigation, journalist Kelly (Fresh Jersey: Stories from an Altered State, 2000, etc.) traces the ramifications from several of those ominous early bombings—e.g., the deaths on targeted Israeli buses of Americans Alisa Flatow, in 1995, and Sara Duker and Matthew Eisenfeld in 1996. Oddly, Flatow and Duker had attended the same high school; their bereft parents became friends and worked together toward landmark lawsuits intended by the Clinton administration to hold the terrorist powers accountable: in this case, Iran. The author fleshes out the victims’ lives as aspiring students and young people full of promise. Sadly, the victims were simply caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, as the assassin explained to the author (also to 60 Minutes), who visited him in prison well after the tragedy: “The target was the Israeli occupation,” he insisted. Kelly looks at the motivations of the suicide bombers, but he narrates mostly from the Israeli point of view. The bulk of the work follows the lawsuits filed by the victims’ families, encouraged by President Bill Clinton’s passage of several anti-terrorism measures; though they won many millions of dollars against Iran, they would see only a fraction of it. The author works the personal and political angles for a deeply intertwined look at the horrendous standoff that comprises today’s Israeli-Palestinian reality.
Solid reporting from a deeply committed journalist.