I’ll never forget riding home on a crowded Egged bus on 9/11, just a few hours after watching the Twin Towers collapse.
The radio was turned up all the way. Every passenger — working men, babushkas, students — shoulders hunched in heightened state of awareness, occasionally casting concerned skyward glances out the window. Nobody knew how many planes were hijacked. Israel had closed off its airspace.
Might a 175,400 lb passenger jet actually fall on Bus 20 as we passed the Mahane Yehuda shuk?
And now Osama Bin Laden is dead. Killed by US forces, no less. A fitting end.
As far as I’m concerned, there are only two things you need to know about Osam bin Laden and Israel.
1. Osama bin Laden hated the West more than he hated Israel.
Those who suggested — and still do — that 9/11 was a response to American support for Israel oversimplify what drives Al-Qaida and global jihad, or are looking for an excuse to drive wedge between two allies.
As Deborah Saunders best put it shortly after 9/11, Don’t Feed Israel to the Beast:
If the United States were to walk away from Israel, would Osama bin Laden and terrorist networks back off, as some Chronicle readers apparently believe?
Big No . . .
Or take the word of bin Laden himself: “The call to wage war against America was made because America has spearheaded the crusade against the Islamic nation, sending tens of thousands of troops to the land of the two Holy Mosques,” he told Time Magazine in 1999, referring to the Persian Gulf War deployment.
2. Osama Bin Laden didn’t appreciate conspiracy theories blaming the Mossad for Al-Qaida’s terror attacks.
In a 2004 interview flagged by Memri, Bin-Laden’s former bodyguard, Nasser Ahmad Nasser Al-Bahri said:
The allegations that the Mossad was responsible [for the attack on the Cole] are nonsense and are an attempt to cast doubt on the ability of the Muslims to do something of this sort. Those who carried out the operation were well-known young men from among the ranks of our brothers the Mujahideen – may Allah have mercy on them . . .
Bin Laden’s bodyguard is inner-circle enough for me.
The world’s a better place without Bin Laden. All the rest is commentary.