by Justin Raimondo
July 5, 2002

The news of the shooting at the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport had barely gotten out over the wires before the Israeli government was already characterizing it as a terrorist action – in spite of initial reports that the shooter may have been a disgruntled former employee. This also contradicts the statements of local, state, and federal officials, who say there is no evidence that this was a terrorist operation. At this moment [Thursday, 7:44 p.m.], Matt Drudge is running the following squib:

"Argument between two people that spun out of control; A Mexicana supervisor had overheard the gunman having a heated argument at the El Al counter, apparently involving his documentation. Soon afterward, the shooting started..."

Terrorism? We don't know yet. But that didn't stop Foreign Minister Shimon Peres from vowing that Israel would "track down" the perpetrators. A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said Peres "is certain that Israeli and American security forces will succeed in searching for and capturing the organizers (of the attack)." The Israeli Transport Minister laid responsibility for the attack on "organizations, primarily extremist Islamic organizations," that "are planning to hit Israeli targets outside (the Jewish state). And an airport is a preferred target."

All this before the assailant, who was killed along with two others in the incident, has even been identified.

How do they know it's terrorism?

The Israelis went into spin mode even before the gunman was identified as Hesham Mohamed Hedayet, a 41-year old Egyptian who entered the country in 1992 and has been living in Irvine, California. Yet we still don't have enough information to determine whether this was an isolated shooting, perhaps the result of a personal grudge maybe just the random act of a lone nut or a terrorist operation organized by Islamist radicals. But the Israelis seem to have already made up their minds.

To call this "jumping the gun" is being charitable: wishful thinking is more like it – and it is positively ghoulish.

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