- "Netanya suicide attack" redirects here. For the suicide attack in the Netanya market, see Netanya Market bombing.
|Park Hotel Passover attack|
|Part of the Second Intifada militancy campaign|
|Date||27 March 2002
19:30 pm (GMT+2)
|Attack type||suicide bomber|
|Deaths||30 civilians (+ 1 suicide bomber)|
|Injured (non-fatal)||140 civilians|
|Perpetrators||Hamas claimed responsibility|
The Passover massacre was a suicide bombing carried out by Hamas at the Park Hotel in Netanya, Israel on 27 March 2002, during a Passover seder. Thirty civilians were killed in the attack and 140 were injured. It was the deadliest attack against Israelis during the Second Intifada.
The attack 
During the Jewish holiday of Passover in 2002, Park Hotel in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya held its traditional annual Passover seder (festive religious meal) for its 250 guests, in the hotel dining room located at the ground floor of the hotel. During this holiday many hotel guests were elderly Jews who didn't have family and relatives in Israel.
In the evening of 27 March 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber disguised as a woman approached the hotel carrying a suitcase which contained powerful explosives. The suicide bomber managed to pass the security guard at the entrance to a hotel, then he walked through the lobby passing the reception desk and entered the hotel's crowded dining room. At 19:30 pm (GMT+2) the suicide bomber detonated the explosive device he was carrying. The force of the explosion instantly killed 28 civilians and injured about 140 people, of whom 20 were injured severely. Two of the injured later died from their wounds. Some of the victims were Holocaust survivors. Most of the victims were senior citizens (70 and over). The oldest victim was 90 and the youngest was 20 years old. A number of married couples were killed, as well as a father together with his daughter. One of the victims was a Jewish tourist from Sweden who was visiting Israel for Passover.
Tarak Zidan had been recruited to Hamas, and during 1997 he researched the use of chlorine and other nerve agents to be used in terror attacks. In 2002, 4 kg of chlorine had been bought and packed for the attack. For an unknown reason it was not used and passed to Abbas al-Sayyid instead.
The perpetrators 
Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. The bomber was identified as Abdel-Basset Odeh, a 25-year-old from the nearby West Bank city of Tulkarm. Hamas claimed that the attack was specifically designed to derail momentum from a recently announced peace initiative of the Saudi Arabian government at the Beirut Summit.
Official reactions 
- Involved parties
- Israeli government spokesman Gideon Meir related to the attack saying "what we had tonight was a Passover massacre" and added "There is no limit to Palestinian barbarism."
- Palestinian National Authority: Palestinian Authority officials "strongly condemned" the attack.
- During a television broadcast on the Palestinian TV channel, the Palestinians leader Yasser Arafat praised the Palestinian people for the current popular uprising against Israel, but stressed that "We are against killing civilians on both sides".
- United Nations: Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary General stated that he condemned suicide bombings against Israeli civilians as morally repugnant.
- United States: President of the United States George W. Bush condemned the attack and called on Yasser Arafat to do everything in his power to stop what he called "terrorist killing".
In his response to the Saudi initiative adopted at the Beirut Summit, Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel Shimon Peres noted that "… the details of every peace plan must be discussed directly between Israel and the Palestinians, and to make this possible, the Palestinian Authority must put an end to terror, the horrifying expression of which we witnessed just last night in Netanya."
Israeli retaliation 
The attack was perceived in Israel as the high point of a bloody month in which more than 135 Israelis were killed in terror attacks.
Following the passover massacre attack the Israeli government declared a state of emergency, ordered the immediate recruitment of 20,000 reservists in an emergency call-up, and in the following day launched the large-scale counter-terrorism operation Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank which took place between 29 March and 10 May.
Qeis Adwan, head of the suicide bombing network responsible for the massacre, was killed by IDF forces on 5 April 2002 during Operation Defensive Shield, after the IDF and the Yamam caught him in Tubas, some 70 kilometers north of Jerusalem. An armored IDF Caterpillar D9 bulldozer toppled the house where he was hiding, after he was given a chance to surrender and refused.
Muhannad Taher, who was the maker of the explosive device, was killed in clashes with Shayetet 13 fighters in June 2003.
In May 2002, Israeli forces arrested the mastermind behind the attack, Abbas al-Sayed. On 22 September 2005, al-Sayed was convicted of the Passover attack and also of ordering the May 2001 bombing of a Netanya mall. He received 35 life sentences for each murder victim and additional time for those who were wounded.
In September 2009, Muhammad Harwish, a senior Hamas militant and one of the planners of the bombing, was arrested by the Border Police's elite Yamam counter-terror squad in his home village along with his personal aide, Adnan Samara.
Palestinian glorification of the bomber 
In 2003, the Palestinian Authority sponsored a soccer tournament named the "Tulkarm Shahids Memorial soccer championship tournament of the Shahid Abd Al-Baset Odeh" describing the perpetrator as a "shahid" (Martyr).
See also 
- List of massacres in Israel
- List of terrorist incidents, 2002
- List of Hamas suicide attacks
- Battle of Jenin 2002
- Israeli casualties of war
- Palestinian political violence
- Sources describing the incident as the "Passover massacre":
- "Alleged Passover massacre plotter arrested", CNN, 26 March 2008.
- Ohad Gozani, "Hotel blast survivors relive the Passover massacre", The Daily Telegraph, 29 March 2002.
- "This reached a peak following the Passover massacre in the seaside resort of Netanya..." David Newman, "The consequence or the cause? Impact on the Israel-Palestine Peace Process", in Mary E. A. Buckley, Mary Buckley, Rick Fawn. Global Responses to Terrorism: 9/11, the War in Afghanistan, and Beyond, Rouledge, 2003, ISBN 0-415-31429-1, p. 158.
- "They faced stiff resistance from Palestinian gunmen who began preparing the camp's defenses as early as the Passover massacre in Netanya..." Todd C. Helmus, Russell W. Glenn. Steeling the Mind: Combat Stress Reactions and Their Implications for Urban Warfare Rand Corporation, 2005, ISBN 0-8330-3702-1, p. 58.
- "It can therefore be asked whether the 'human bomb' offensive starting with the Passover massacre on 27 March 2002..." Brigitte L. Nacos, "The Terrorist Calculus Behind 9–11: A Model for Future Terrorism?" in Gus Martin. The New Era of Terrorism: Selected Readings, Sage Publications Inc, 2004, ISBN 0-7619-8873-4, p. 176.
- Israel seals off territories for Passover, BBC News, 16 April 2003.
- Patience, Martin. "Israelis wary of Arab peace plan." BBC News. 31 March 2007. 28 May 2008.
- Ruth Morris and Laura King. "Bombing in Israeli City Injures 56", Los Angeles Times, 31 March 2003.
- Linda Grant. "Defenders of the faith", The Guardian, 6 July 2002.
- Massacre during Passover Seder in the Park Hotel, Netanya Organization of Israel's Terror Victims
- facts_vs_fiction (2002-03-27). "10 years to Arab-Islamic Palestinians’ infamous ‘Passover Massacre,’ (30 killed, 140 injured), the attempted cyanide gas attack". My Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Shula Abramovitch
- David Anichovitch
- Alter Britvich
- Frieda Britvich
- Andre Fried
- Idit Fried
- Dvora Karim
- Michael Karim
- Eliezer Korman
- Yehudit Korman
- St-Sgt Sivan Vider
- Ze-ev Vider
- Ernest Weiss
- Eva Weiss
- Anna Yakobovitch
- George Yakobovitch
- Sgt-Maj Avraham Beckerman
- Shimon Ben-Aroya
- Miriam Gutenzgan
- Amiram Hamami
- Perla Hermele
- Marianne Myriam Lehmann Zaoui
- Lola Levkovitch
- Sarah Levy-Hoffman
- Furuk Na-imi
- Eliahu Nakash
- Chanah Rogan
- Irit Rashel
- Clara Rosenberger
- Yulia Talmi
- Hussein Dakroub, "Militant Palestinian Groups Reject Arab Peace Overture to Israel," Associated Press, 28 March 2002
- Passover bombing leaves 120 in Israel hurt – New York Daily News
- Arab states agree peace plan – Telegraph
- MIDEAST TURMOIL: MIDEAST; BOMB KILLS AT LEAST 19 IN ISRAEL AS ARABS MEET OVER PEACE PLAN – New York Times
- Secretary-General Says Yesterday’S Mideast Bombing ‘Greatly Damages Palestinian Cause’
- BBC News | MIDDLE EAST | Bush condemns 'callous' killing
- Response of FM Peres to the decisions of the Arab Summit in Beirut (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- "Keis Adwan, the hub of the northern Samaria network, had also lost a number of close associates in Israeli security forces operations (Rubin 2002)." Pedahzur, Ami. Perliger, Arie. "The Changing Nature of Suicide Attacks – A Social Network Perspective", Social Forces – Volume 84, Number 4, University of North Carolina Press, June 2006, pp. 1987–2008.
- "The Most Wanted Palestinian". The New York Times. 30 June 2002. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- "Israel Passover bomb suspect held". BBC News. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
- Police capture Park Hotel massacre terrorist | Israel | Jerusalem Post
- Itamar Marcus. "Football tournament honors suicide terrorists". Palestinian media watch. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- Cole, Leonard A (2007). Terror: How Israel has Coped and What America Can Learn. Indiana University Press. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-253-34918-7
- Passover suicide bombing at Park Hotel in Netanya – 27 March 2002 – published at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- "Alleged Passover massacre plotter arrested", CNN, 26 March 2008.
- "Hotel blast survivors relive the Passover massacre" The Daily Telegraph 29 March 2002
- US President George W Bush "This cold blooded killing must stop", 27 March 2002
- Israeli Government spokesman Gideon Meir "Palestinian violence knows no boundaries", 27 March 2002