Isolation Play

In a land where he's seen as the enemy, Khalid El-Amin just keeps playing his game.

Updated: April 15, 2003, 2:26 PM ET
By By Ze'ev B. Avrahmi with Chad Millman
He did not just say that, did he? The roly-poly Muslim guy. The one sitting in a jammed ice cream shop on Tel Aviv's busiest street. He did not just say the B-word. Come on. He's gotta know better, right? He didn't just say "bomb!" in this place, at this time, when unattended bags are eyed like, well, bombs; when guards stand at the doorway of every shop and screen customers with handheld metal detectors, the outlines of their guns visible underneath thin windbreakers. Twenty-four hours earlier, a Palestinian leader of Hamas was gunned down by Israeli soldiers. The retaliation will come, the guards think. Someone from Hamas is dead. Someone in Israel will be dead. That's how this game is played.