Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Destroyed bus is displayed at Duke to protest pro-Palestinian meetings

A Jerusalem city bus left gutted and burned by a suicide bombing is being displayed this week at Duke University in protest of a pro-Palestinian group's annual conference on the Durham campus.

The National Student Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement is planned Friday through Sunday. The group is an umbrella for organizations that want an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their original land.

The conference has drawn heated opposition from many in the Jewish community, who plan a simultaneous series of pro-Israel events at Duke's Jewish center.

Duke officials have said they do not endorse the Palestinian group's mission but are allowing the conference in the interest of educational dialogue and free speech.

Organizers of the bus-display protest say they want to achieve the same things.

The bus was carrying morning commuters through Jerusalem on Jan. 29 when a passenger, a Palestinian police officer, detonated explosives strapped to his body.

The explosion, about 50 feet from the home of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, killed 11 people and wounded 50. It blew out the back and roof of the green city bus, sending body parts flying into nearby buildings.

The wrecked bus is to be displayed today and Wednesday near Duke Chapel, sponsored by the lo-cal chapter of Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish educational group affiliated with Chabad-Lubavitch, an international Jewish organization.