William Pfaff

The terrorist shootings in Toulouse and Montauban in France last week were, among other things, another episode in the war that for nearly a half century has been going on between Zionism and the Palestinians, in which Western Europe and the United States have suffered much collateral damage. The night before he was killed in a police raid, Mohammed Merah—the radicalized French-Algerian who shot and killed three French soldiers and grievously wounded a fourth, and then killed three children and a teacher at a Jewish school—told police that his murder of the children and the father of two of them (a rabbi who taught religion at the school) was a spontaneous decision; he was actually setting out to kill more soldiers. But Merah said he felt shooting them was justified as revenge for the killing of Palestine children by the March 24 Israeli airstrike on Gaza—a strike that was retaliation for previous rocket attacks on southern Israel from Gaza, which themselves were claimed as retaliation for an Israeli “targeted killing” of March 14 in reprisal for previous rocketing from Gaza. To borrow a phrase, so it goes.