TEL AVIV – The death least week of some 45 Israeli citizens was at least in part due to Sharon’s provocative steps on the eve of the visit of Bush’s envoys, Anthony Zinni and William Burns, and Sharon’s Dec. 2 meeting with Bush at the White House.

Sharon had helped provoke attacks by the Hamas fundamentalist militia with the escalated killings of Palestinians the week before. The extremist attacks culminated in the suicide bomb attacks in the West Jerusalem pedestrian mall and on a public bus in Haifa 12 hours later.

The Hamas leadership announced that these acts had been in retaliation for the murder of many Palestinians by the Israeli occupation forces during the week before in general, and in particular for the execution of one of its leaders, Mahmoud Abu-Hanoud, by rockets fired on his car by an Israeli helicopter.

The West Jerusalem pedestrian mall was, as usual, humming with mainly youth when two Palestinian suicide bombers simultaneously set their charges ablaze and a third bomb exploded nearby. Ten people, all under 21, were killed instantly. Precisely 12 hours later, another suicide bomber set off his charge in a crowded No. 16 bus in Haifa. Thirteen passengers and two pedestrians were killed.

At two other suicidical bomb attacks during the preceding days in the Jezre’el valley town Afuleh and near Pardess-Hanna in Central Israel, six Israelis were killed and many injured. All the Palestinian perpetrators of these attacks died too, either by their own charges or by Israeli security forces.

In some shooting incidences in the occupied Palestinian Gaza Strip and West Bank, four Israelis were killed over weekend. At the same time, 12 Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in these areas.

Sharon made major efforts to “welcome” the U.S. envoys with a new wave of murderous provocations, obviously in the hope that the Palestinian Hamas and Jihad extremists, with or without the consent of Arafat, would make another suicide bomb attacks within Israeli proper. This was meant to show the guests that the “Palestinian terror” should be integrated into the Bush administration’s “war against terror,” that all Palestinian groups could be lumped together as one, all headed by Arafat who could then could be equated with Osama bin Laden.

This was obviously the tactic that led to no less than 20 killed Palestinians during the last few days leading to welcome the Zinni and Burns team. This includes the accidental death of five school children of one family in the Gaza Strip.

True, the murderous mine that exploded and killed the children on their way to school was not intended for them, but was planted by an Israeli special army unit to “liquidate Palestinian terrorists,” as Israeli spokespersons alleged. But the question remains, why had they been planted on a road taken daily by lots of pupils on their way to the nearby school?

The majority of the Israeli public seems for now to be influenced Sharon’s brainwashing about the source of “terrorism.” But no doubt, the Israelis will learn the hard lesson that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has developed into a war, can no longer remain only to the occupied territories, but will also be fought on their own doorsteps.

What happens if, as Hamas and Jihad spokespersons have threatened, the policy of “liquidating” national figures – without charges or a trial – becomes a two-way street?

(It’s no joke, but Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein actually declared last week that the term “liquidation” sounded too “immoral” and the assassinations should now be referred to as “targeted killings.”)

The Palestinian leadership, headed by Arafat, has declared a state of emergency throughout the Palestinian Territory. Any group that does not adhere to its decisions, especially those that, objectively, serve the goals of the extremist forces in Israel, will be outlawed, particularly those who claim responsibility for attacks against civilians in Israel.

The Palestinians have also called upon the international community to take an urgent steps to protect the peace process and immediately dispatch international monitors to the Palestinian Territory.