Attack on Convoy Reflects Racist Ideology, Israeli Lawmaker Says

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:14 PM EDT

Jerusalem ( - The bomb attack on an American convoy in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday reflects an ideology in the Middle East that says that carrying out terror attacks against Jews and Christians in the region is perfectly acceptable, a senior Israeli official charged on Wednesday.

Three Americans were killed and fourth seriously wounded in an apparent roadside bomb attack on Wednesday morning that ripped to shreds a heavily armored American vehicle traveling in a convoy on official American embassy business in the northern Gaza Strip.

Dr. Yuval Steinitz, chairman of the Israeli Knesset (parliament''s) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, charged that the attack was indicative of an idea in this region that killing foreigners is permitted.

"It symbolizes that there is a prevalent ideology that there is no place for foreigners, Jews or Christians, in the Middle East," Steinitz told

The ideology says it is legitimate to target Israelis, Jews in Israel and Americans, whether they''re in Iraq, Saudi Arabia or elsewhere, Steinitz said. "It is considered legitimate to target foreigners, those who are not Arab Muslims."

"It''s a very racist attitude," he said.

During the last few years there have been hundreds of reports of Muslim preachers calling for the destruction of Jews, Israel, America, Britain or the West in sermons in mosques throughout the Islamic world.

Steinitz said it was difficult to estimate just how widespread the phenomenon is, but, he said, it must be acknowledged.

"It should be acknowledged [that this] is not just a conflict about borders," Steinitz said of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Steinitz said it was "most likely" that the explosives for the attack against the Americans had been smuggled into Gaza through tunnels originating in Egypt.

He charged that Egypt was doing virtually nothing and "turning a blind eye" to the weapons smuggling.

"Egypt tacitly supports the terrorist if [the Egyptians] don''t stop it," he said.

Recently the speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Reuven Rivlin, thanked the Egyptian charges d''affairs for Egypt''s help in uncovering one tunnel.

But military officers have in the past said that Egypt could do more to stop the weapons smuggling from its side of the border.

Israel has uncovered three tunnels in the last week in an ongoing military operation in Rafah on the Israeli-Egyptian border.