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MIRACLES abandoned right away, while others turned back. An IDF helicopter which tried to reach the site was unable to land because of the bullets Ă \LQJ WKURXJK WKH DLU ,W ZDV RQO\ hours later that the IDF forces, with a massive effort, managed to rescue the trapped soldiers. When it was all over, the extent of the tragedy became clear: seven had been killed and eight wounded. The attack on Yosef’s kever in Shechem was one in a series of episodes that occurred throughout the occupied territories. It appeared that a new Intifadah had broken out, and the IDF forces in all sectors suffered serious losses. The violent outbreaks in the territories were, claimed the Palestinians, a reaction to “the insolent Israeli provocation carried out with the encouragement and under the instructions of the Israeli

Prime Minister.â€? That “insolent provocationâ€? was the decision, together with its implementation, to break through an extra opening in the “Western Wall tunnels.â€? Up until that time, this entrance, which is located at the end of the Hasmonean tunnel, had been closed to visitors. Opening up the WXQQHO LQĂ DPHG WKH WHUULWRULHV DQG the Palestinians raised a worldwide clamor. According to them, opening the tunnel was only a part of an overall Israeli plot to bring anarchy to the Arab world and, consequently, to the entire world. Although the Arab claims were EDVHOHVV DQG IDOVH WKH Ă€UH WKDW ZDV kindled throughout the occupied territories had, as noted earlier, LQWHUQDWLRQDO UDPLĂ€FDWLRQV 7KH WRS ranks of the Israeli decision makers,

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headed by then prime minister Binyomin Netanyahu, were given wide, but not necessarily sympathetic, coverage. Only after several days of Ă€JKWLQJ DQG WHQVH LQFLGHQWV GLG WKH episode come to a close. “This is a testing time between us and the Arabs, who are attempting to achieve their ends by pressure. Arafat is responsible for the escalation in the territories. The Kotel tunnels are nothing but a pretext. Utilizing this kind of pressure will not work, and we are ready to plunge ahead in every area.â€? These words were said by Binyomin Netanyahu, who stood at the helm of the government during the outbreak of bloody attacks following the opening of the Hasmonean cave eight years ago. Netanyahu, who called for resistance and coolness, was speaking at a press conference



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