Friday, September 23, 2016

23-Sep-16: At the spot where a vehicle-ramming against Israelis took place last Friday, an attempted stabbing attack this afternoon

Kiryat Arba [Image Source]
There has been a second Arab-on-Israeli terror attack at the exact same spot where another took place exactly a week ago ["16-Sep-16: Vehicle ramming attack on Israelis near Kiryat Arba"]. This one occurred today (Friday) at about 12:30 pm at a bus stop in Kiryat Arba, near Hebron is the tenth attempted ramming/knifing/shooting by Arabs of Jewish targets in less than a week.

One report ["Soldiers foil stabbing at Kiryat Arba bus stop", Times of Israel, September 23, 2016] describes it as an attempted stabbing, and the assailant (according to Arab media reports) as a Palestinian Arab boy of about 14. There are no Israeli injuries but the attacker
was shot and seriously wounded. He received treatment on the scene, before being taken by military ambulance to a Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for further medical care, the army said. The assailant suffered gunshot wounds to the leg and chest, according to a spokesperson for the hospital. Soldiers from the IDF’s Nahal Brigade, who were guarding the area, shot the Palestinian teenager, who has yet to be identified, as he approached the bus stop from an adjacent orchard, according to initial reports.
A photo from the scene appears to show the assailant wounded on the ground near some bushes behind the Elias Junction. There were unconfirmed reports of a second Palestinian suspect who was detained at the scene. An army spokesperson said the details of the incident were still being sorted out.
Israel National News says the intending stabber approached the hitchhiking point at Tzomet Elias (Elias Junction) from the back. 
He managed to pull out his knife, but security forces, who are always present in the area, shot him in the foot... [Israel National News]
Israel Hayom says 
the terrorist was hiding in an orchard near the junction, which leads to Kiryat Arba. Soldiers stationed at a security checkpoint at the junction spotted him approaching civilians waiting at the hitchhiking post with a large knife in hand, and engaged immediately. Security forces also canvassed the area for another suspect.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

21-Sep-16: At the entrance to Alfei Menashe, another story involving a knife

View of Alfei Menashe a decade ago [Image Source]
Another bright, sunny, gorgeous morning in Israel. Another woman - we're guessing she's young but there are no published details yet - who assaulted Israeli security personnel with a knife. Guns were, of course, present and the young woman is now injured and (we're not sure since the facts are scant and fresh) getting the active help of Israeli first-responders and perhaps a hospital emergency room team.

The knifing attack happened at the entrance to the red-tiled-roof suburban community of Alfei Menashe on the eastern edge of the central Israel urban area radiating outwards from Tel Aviv. About seven thousand Israelis call the pleasant town home.

Based on past experience, it's unlikely there will be agreement between the Israeli media reports, which tend to the factual and the dry, and the Palestinian Arab media reports, which tends to highlight what they view as heroism, courage, selflessness. Either way, we can be certain even at this early stage that -
  • She will not be the last knife attacker who launches a hopeless assault on Israelis. Perhaps not even the last one today.
  • If she lives, she may spend years inside an Israeli prison cell. Whatever education she managed to acquire until this point in her life, along with friendships and skills, will be mostly wasted.
  • If she dies, she will appear on posters for a few days and be acclaimed as a Palestinian Arab hero and martyr.
  • Either way, her parents - if she has a husband, then perhaps he too - will be paid by the Mahmoud Abbas regime (which denies that it does this but it certainly does this) a monthly payment that will soon far exceed what senior employees in the essentially-bankrupt Palestinian Authority government are paid. We call this the Palestinian Arab Rewards for Terror scheme and we, along with more serious writers, have described its operation in detail and the way it gets funded. Short version: It's funded by the foreign aid grants made by the European Union, the United States, Sweden and numerous other Western governments to the PA while the politicians of those governments keep one eye completely closed and the other half-open so they can keep saying, as they have preposterously for years, "We know nothing about that."
  • Eventually, whether she lives or dies, a sports-field or a beauty pageant may get named in her honor by the PA, reinforcing the message that she - meaning the knife she wielded and the hatred she expressed for Israelis in flinging herself into something close to suicide - represents exactly what Palestinian Arab society wants its loyal citizens to do. And especially its children.
None of this is meant to minimize the tragedy of a life used up and thrown away by the suited men who set the tone for the Palestinian Authority and the poor wretches whose lives they destroy daily. Despite the headline above, this morning's news is not about a knife. It's about people.

Nor is it meant to minimize the horror faced by thousands of Israelis who are deployed throughout the country to secure our bus stops, schools for the blind, pizzerias, supermarkets and public and private spaces from the lemmings and their heads filled by fantasies of glory, revenge, destruction and paradise. Thank heavens we have competent, fast-thinking, courageous security people who understand what they and we are facing.

Nor are we trying to make the case that things are especially awful here. This is a wonderful country and this is a delightful time of year.

And for readers in the United States, a reminder that while it's certainly distressing to see one terror attack after another and the massive disruptions they bring, we realize things are worrying for you too over there. Your headlines this morning are filled with reports of a man arrested for placing a New York City bomb that went off and another that did not four blocks away along with pipe bombs in Seaside Heights, NJ; plus another that exploded at a train station in Elizabeth NJ. And there's the Somali-American who stabbed nine people in St. Cloud, Minnesota on Saturday until stopped by an off-duty police officer who shot him dead.

These issues are not local. They are thoroughly global, and that's before we start noting here what's happening in Europe and Australia and across the Middle East.

Fifteen-plus years after 9/11 this is our emerging reality, an ongoing war, and we need to figure out how all of us - especially the political figures and the people who report on the news, those of us who worry about children and grandchildren, those of us who value human life and hate hatred, those of us sickened by families who allow and even encourage children to fall victim to the death-cult madness of the preachers and the presidents - are going to deal with it.

UPDATE Wednesday September 21, 2016 at 9:00 am: Not a bad guess. The "young woman" turns out, according to the Jerusalem Post, to be a fourteen year old Palestinian Arab girl, a child:
An initial investigation shows a 14-year-old Palestinian girl arrive to the Eliyahu checkpoint by foot carrying a bag. Checkpoint security ordered her to stop and fired warning shots in the air. The girl continued and was shot in the leg by security guards in order to stop her when she put her hand into her shirt. The girl was lightly wounded and treated at the scene and no Israeli injuries were initially reported. The checkpoint has been reopened to traffic. [Jerusalem Post, today]
And at 10:00 this morning from Times of Israel:
"Security guards at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank shot a 13-year-old Palestinian girl who did not heed their calls to halt on Wednesday morning, in what appears to have been a suicide attempt, the Defense Ministry said. The incident was initially misreported as an attempted stabbing attack. However, upon searching her possessions, a sapper “did not find anything,” the ministry said in a statement. “The girl approached the vehicle crossing by foot, holding a bag,” arousing the suspicion of the security guards, the statement said. They “ordered her to stop and even fired warning shots into the air,” the ministry said, but when the teenager continued approaching despite the calls to halt, the guards “shot her in the legs in order to stop her.” During an initial investigation of the incident, the teenager said, “I came to die,” according to the ministry. The girl was lightly injured and taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
 She's alive though it appears that's not the outcome this child wished for.

UPDATE Wednesday September 21, 2015 at 4:00 pm: Here's the Wall Street Journal's version - under the stark headline "Palestinian Shot, Wounded at Israeli Checkpoint" - of the extraordinary narrative about this morning's shooting of a child at an IDF security checkpoint:
Israeli security forces shot and wounded a Palestinian teenager on Wednesday after she refused to stop at a checkpoint between the West Bank and Israel, Israel’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry said the 13-year-old Palestinian wasn’t carrying a weapon and didn’t appear intent on attacking Israeli security forces as she neared the Eliyahu checkpoint. After she failed to heed orders to stop and several warning shots were fired, she was hit in the leg by a single bullet, it said. “I came here to die,” the ministry quoted the young woman as saying after she was shot and hospitalized.
What kind of processes, internal and external, could bring a child of that age to do that?

UPDATE Wednesday September 21, 2015 at 4:20 pm: Ma'an News Agency has two versions of what happened. In English [here], it's close to what we wrote above. In Arabic [here] the part about the child admitting she came to the security point "to die" is absent. The Arabic version gives the child's name as Aoasa Ramadan Musa, age 12, from Qalqilya.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

20-Sep-16: Another Pal Arab boy with a knife died today - exactly as the PA intended him to

Another Palestinian Arab child, and the outcome of his Palestinian
Arab education courtesy of an UNRWA school [Background here]
We now know that the man and woman inside the pick-up vehicle that rammed into an Israeli bus stop this past Friday ["16-Sep-16: Vehicle ramming attack on Israelis near Kiryat Arba"] came from the Palestinian Arab village of Bani Na'im.

The hamlet is in the news again today because a child from there, presumably weaponized by the people who have ruled Bani Na'im since the nineties (it's located in Area A under the full control of the Palestinian Authority), was killed by the IDF soldiers he tried to stab to death this morning.

As reported by Times of Israel ["Palestinian teen tries to stab soldier, is shot dead — army"]:
A Palestinian teenager was shot and killed while attempting a stabbing attack on an IDF soldier near Bani Na’im, outside of Hebron, on Tuesday morning, the army said, marking a fifth straight day of attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem. During a search at a checkpoint, the assailant “tried to stab a soldier,” but did not injure him, according to the IDF. “The assailant was shot by the forces and killed,” the army said in a statement. The Palestinian health ministry identified him as Issa Salem Tarayrah, 16. The alleged assault was the ninth such attack in under a week, with the vast majority occurring in Jerusalem and the Hebron area, where Palestinians live in close proximity to settlers and Israeli troops. 
It's not likely we will ever learn much about 16 year-old Issa Salem Tarayrah (or as he's named in the Arabic-language version of the Ma'an story, "Issa Mahmoud Salem Taraarh the martyr") beyond the events of his last day alive. But we can speculate with confidence that the outcome of today's terrible events - the knife attack and its deadly response - are derivatives of a process that is deeply embedded in Palestinian Arab society.

Children and their pure blood: It's a deeply disturbing theme that runs
strongly through the messages PA president Abbas delivers to his people
[Image Source]
Some indicators of what that means when:
high school-age Arab youngsters - not a handful but many - are led to derive meaning from suicidal attacks on Israelis. It's simply their culture, and a matter about which, when the subject comes up, they are proudThe rest of us, at least some of us, can't shake from our minds the thought of a society living among us and right next to us thatliterally weaponizes its children, hijacking their education [see "18-May-16: Does Pal Arab hate-culture education leave room for messages of tolerance and kindness? Let's see."] and wiping thoughts of a better future from their young brains, replacing them with a diabolical vision of the redemptive power of martyrdom. ["24-May-16: Yet another knife-wielding Pal Arab teenage girl and her pointless, terror-driven death"]
And
There are... data-points that keep going unreported or under-reported. One is the number of posters eulogizing the terrorists who are killed in the course of doing these attacks - the so-called martyrs of the Palestinian Arabs. The anecdotal evidence from scanning Facebook, Twitter and other Arabic-speaking parts of the social media is that the rising tide of Palestinian Arab barbarism is happening against a sound track of constant incitement from the highest levels of the Mahmoud Abbas regime in Ramallah. The return on that "investment" is plain for anyone who wants to see. Not enough people do. And two: the substantial portion of the Palestinian Arabs doing the terror who are minors and children... ["24-Feb-16: Incitement and its harvest: What the numbers do and don't tell"]
And
We are witnesses to a massive loss of moral compass in which children - as young as 11 - are encouraged by the instrumentalities of Palestinian Arab society to see stabbings, shootings, car rammings and bombings as acts of redemption, justified by a sense of feverishly-cultivated victimhood and sense of oppression, validated by the most powerful voices in Palestinian Arab society. The lethal incitement comes non-stop from (among others) the prime minister, the president, the religious establishment, the schools. Describing their society as being in the grip of adeath cult seems a fair description to us. ["18-Feb-16: A Palestinian Arab reminder this afternoon of what, in their eyes, children are good for"]
And
Not for the first time, we ask: where is UNICEFOr Save the Children, or Defence for Children Internation­al-Palestine (DCIP) or Terre des Hommes, or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement or even the dishonorable Amnesty International (on whom we have not yet entirely given up hope)? Or the other well-funded, high-profile public interest organizations that purport to care for the welfare of children but that take so little interest in the unfolding tragedy of the children of the Palestinian Arabs and the terror-obsessed jihadists cheating them of their future["20-Oct-15: Children and what a soulless society can do to them"]
And
The moral depravity that brings government officials and ordinary folk to stand with, instead of against, the wielders of kitchen knifes and axes is mirrored by the strategic silence of the world's well-funded children's rights industry -  UNICEFDefence for Children InternationalHuman Rights WatchUNESCOChild Rights International Network, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem FundSave the ChildrenArab Council for Childhood Development to name just a few donor-supported, PR-savvy entities who have seem to have collectively lost their voices, their senses and their moral compasses when it comes to what Palestinian Arab society is doing to their own children. And to ours. (We no longer mention Amnesty International in that list. Amnesty's increasingly explicit identification with the practitioners of the Palestinian Arab brand of terror makes plain their abandonment of principle and betrayal of their supporters' values. There's no longer anything to expect from them.) ["19-Jan-16: Children with knives and what they destroy"]
So many wicked co-conspirators. But just one dead child (his photo is here), at least so far today.

Monday, September 19, 2016

19-Sep-16: Outside Jerusalem's Old City, a Monday morning Arab-on-Israeli terror attack

There continues to be serious violence in the air.

Two officers of the Border Guard service (Mishmar Hagvul in Hebrew) were seriously injured when attacked from behind by a man wielding a knife on the street outside Jerusalem's Old City around 7:00 this (Monday) morning.

Times of Israel says one of the Israeli victims, a female officer of about 38, is in intensive care at Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital with stab wounds to the neck. (We have noted before that attacking the neck is standard Arab-on-Israeli practice in the Palestinian Arab terror manual.) She is unconscious and was placed on a respirator.

A second victim, also a Border Guard officer of about 40, has moderate injuries and is hospitalized at Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem's Ein Karem quarter with multiple stab wounds to the upper body. He is conscious. It was evidently he who fired his weapon at the terrorist, preventing further mayhem.

Their attacker was shot and is now receiving treatment in a Jerusalem hospital where the latest report is that he's in critical condition. The initial reports we have seen say he is in his early 20s and from the Ras al-Amud neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. In a later Times of Israel report, the knifer is identified as Ayman al-Kurd.

An earlier report from the Jerusalem Post says the attack took place on the road outside two of Jerusalem's medieval gates: Damascus Gate and Herod’s (or Flower) Gate. The Israeli victims were on security patrol. The entire area - and many Jerusalem major roads - were immediately cordoned off, causing traffic chaos and delays throughout the city during Monday morning rush hour.

More shortly about the other terrorist activity of today.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

18-Sep-16: This afternoon's thwarted Arab-on-Israeli terror attacker is 12 years old

Children from the UNRWA camp where today's pre-teen attacker was
being educated and raised [Image Source: UN Photo/Stephenie Hollyman]
The day's violence has not yet subsided.

A Palestinian Arab boy was apprehended by a Border Guard patrol this afternoon. In his possession, he had two firebombs (also known as Molotov Cocktails) and a knife. He aroused suspicion when the security people noticed him watching them at a base in the Jordan Valley.

According to Ynet, the Border Guard people believe he was in the process of carrying out an attack against members of their force. He's said to be a a resident of Aqabat Jaber, a small refugee camp for Palestinian Arabs on the outskirts of Jericho, operated by UNRWA. He's currently being interrogated.

In reporting the thwarted attack, Times of Israel notes that the Border Guard base happens to be located adjacent to the Jewish community of Vered Yericho ("Rose of Jericho"), a moshav that is home to 285 residents. The attacker is believed to be just 12 years old, and confessed to the attack he was hoping to carry out.

As we have noted here several times, UNRWA plays an oversize role in preparing Palestinian Arab children for being weaponized and to embrace death. (For instance, see "30-May-16: Listen to the children to understand who is weaponizing them and how [Video]".) It's endlessly astonishing to us that so much harm can be done by an organization whose multi-billion dollar budget is overwhelmingly supplied by unsuspecting taxpayers in European countries, along with Australia and the United States. UNRWA is a decades-long scandal the true price of which is measured in young lives needlessly wasted and lost. How do its leaders sleep at night?

18-Sep-16: Another Palestinian Arab woman intercepted before she can stab someone

Israel National News reports on the arrest of a young Palestinian Arab woman this afternoon (Sunday)
after being seen advancing with a knife toward the town of Itamar in Samaria. There were no injuries in the incident. The woman, a 23-year-old resident of nearby Awarta, was walking along the road near the town armed with a knife. When she spotted the Military Security Coordinator (MSC) of Itamar, she immediately dropped the knife. The MSC arrested and handcuffed the young woman. Additional army and security personnel arrived in the area shortly afterward.
Times of Israel has this video grab (above) of her seated on the ground after being intercepted, with her hands in the air. There's likely to be a back-story as the investigation goes on. But of one thing we can be just about certain: the Arab-language media will be protesting that this is a perfectly innocent girl with absolutely no malign intentions and the knife she was brandishing was not a knife at all, and anyway it wasn't hers.

And so the next attempted stabber prepares himself or herself.

18-Sep-16: Sunday morning terror attack in Efrat: assailant stabs an Israeli and is stopped

A general view of Efrat [Image Source]
There's been terrorist action south of Jerusalem in the thriving community of EfratFrom the Jewish Press website this morning (Sunday):
An IDF officer was wounded inside the Gush Etzion town of Efrat in a terror attack, early Sunday morning, according to the IDF. The town’s security cameras saw a suspicious figure just outside the perimeter of the town at 2 AM. Local security forces and the IDF were called out and searched all night for the terrorist who was hiding in some bushes inside the town. At around 6 AM the terrorist jumped out of his hiding spot and stabbed an IDF officer involved in the search.
The attack happened at the entrance to Tziporen Street, next to Pitom HaKetoret Street, in the Zayit neighborhood.
Hatzalah Judea and Samaria says the officer is in moderate condition, with a wound to the stomach. He was taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.
The terrorist was shot and neutralized, and is currently listed in moderate condition, with a bullet wound to the head, according to Hadassah hospital (the terrorist was originally listed in critical condition, this may be a mistake in the hospital’s report).
The town of Efrat was in lockdown until 7 AM while security teams searched for possible additional terrorists.
The terrorist had 2 knives on him. A more serious attack was foiled.
7:09 AM: The lockdown is over. Schools will starting on time, with additional security.
The Times of Israel adds some details:
The [IDF] officer, a reservist, was said to be in moderate-to-serious condition by Magen David Adom emergency medical personnel, but he was later upgraded to moderate condition at the hospital. The incident occurred near the entrance to the settlement, where the officer’s unit had been carrying out a sweep of the area... He was stabbed “near the armpit,” and has been taken to Jerusalem Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, according to a spokesperson for the medical center. The 22-year-old victim “communicated with us the whole way to the hospital and was in stable condition,” MDA paramedics Issa Dawith and Moshe Benita said.
The attacker was shot immediately after stabbing the victim, the army said. The assailant, approximately 30 years old, was also taken to Hadassah Ein Kerem for treatment, the army said. He was moderately injured, with a gunshot wound to the head, a hospital spokesperson said. The stabbing came approximately four hours after the community’s security system picked up movement some 440 yards (440 meters) from the settlement’s fence, according to the note sent to resident. [As we noted in our blog last night] The IDF deployed an additional infantry battalion to the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday evening, following two days of attacks against soldiers and civilians, the army said.
Little doubt that certain people on the Palestinian Arab side have an elevated interest currently in increasing the levels of tension, threat and danger.

UPDATE September 18, 2016 at 2:00 pm: This morning's attacker in Efrat is identified, according to Times of Israel, as Baha a-Din Muhammad Khalil, about 30 years old. The Bethlehem-based Arab news channel Ma'an News Agency calls him Bahaiddin Muhammad Khalil Odeh, and says he's a 20 year old from the village of Wadi Rahhal, northeast of Efrat.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

17-Sep-16: In a Saturday morning Hebron stabbing attack, another assailant is thwarted

Scrutinizing papers at an IDF security checkpoint in
Hebron [Image Source: UPI]
We're seeing a marked increase in Arab-on-Israeli violence in the past two days.

During the just-ended Shabbat, a Palestinian Arab resident of Hebron aged about 25 approached IDF personnel manning the Tamar security checkpoint in the Tel Rumeida quarter, a Jewish neighbourhood of Hebron. Israel National News reports that on being asked to show identification,
he pulled out a knife and began stabbing the soldier... Reportedly, one of the soldiers initially succeeded in subduing the terrorist without killing him, but when the terrorist tried to continue stabbing, he was shot dead.
The injured soldier, who serves in the IDF Nahal Brigade's 50th Battalion, was treated locally by Magen David Adom teams and then taken by ambulance to Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital for emergency treatment.

The Palestinian Arab news service Ma'an in customary fashion reports this as "an alleged stabbing attack". It quotes the knife-man's brother saying the assailant
was headed to work in the morning like every morning, but when he passed near a checkpoint "Israeli soldiers executed him in cold blood." He said that his brother worked at a factory in Hebron and was shot walking the only way that residents of the neighborhood are allowed to enter Hebron's city center. [Ma'an, September 17, 2016]
(We noticed that the same Ma'an report refers to another stabbing attack, this one from last night - Friday - in which it says "15-year-old Muhammad Thalji Kayid Thalji al-Rajabi was also shot and killed in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City after reportedly stabbing and lightly injuring an Israeli soldier." The Friday night stabbing attack by yet another weaponized Palestinian Arab child seems not to have gotten much attention in the Israeli media and would have slipped past us but for the Ma'an mention and this brief Times of Israel report.)

Over at Times of Israel, they identify the dead assailant as Hatem Abdel-Hafiz al-Shaloudi. A video captured by a security camera shows him approaching the soldiers at the checkpoint during this morning, presenting a piece of paper which is presumed to be ID:
The moment the soldier accepts the paper and glances down at it, Shaloudi is seen pulling out a knife and lunging at him. The soldier manages to duck away in time, and Shaloudi then turns his attention to another soldier. He chases him with the knife and the two are seen scuffling. The soldier wrestles Shaloudi to the ground as three more troops rush to his aid, weapons drawn. It is not clear exactly when the assailant is shot. At the end of the clip the soldiers are seen moving away from the now motionless Shaloudi as he lies on the ground... Some time after Saturday’s attack security forces surrounded Shaloudi’s Hebron home. There was no word on whether they made any arrests or confiscated materials... [Times of Israel, September 17, 2016]
That surveillance camera video is below:


We're no experts at interpreting scene-of-crime evidence but it's apparent the Arab had mayhem on his mind, and a lethal weapon in his pocket, as he drew near to the Israelis. See for yourselves.

That's not how Dr Hanan Ashrawi sees it. There has been a small flurry of interest following a statement she issued today in the wake of the violent Arab-on-Israeli attacks of Friday and today [see "16-Sep-16: Vehicle ramming attack on Israelis near Kiryat Arba" and "16-Sep-16: Arab-on-Israeli stabber thwarted at one of Jerusalem's Old City gates"]. 

Speaking via Palestine News Network [here], this noted scholar of Medieval and Comparative Literature was, as she always is, sharply critical of Israeli actions. She termed the prompt defensive actions of the Israeli service personnel "extra-judicial killings":
Israel is flagrantly employing a systematic and willful policy of summary executions against the Palestinian people. Such provocative acts are in direct violation of international law and conventions... Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing extremist government are creating a culture of violence, intimidation and lawlessness that is destroying the chances for peace; their volatile actions threaten to plunge the entire region into further instability, extremism and chaos. [Ashrawi via PNN, today]
She wrapped it up with a call to "the international community" to "hold Israel accountable with punitive measures before it is too late".

Oddly she entirely overlooked making any mention of the role played by Arab men and women with concealed knives or driving their vehicles at Israelis standing at bus stops. It's not clear at this stage what the "international community" thinks about the ongoing acts of Arab-on-Israeli terror or the recent uptick in their frequency. What is clear, and has been for a long time, is that Ashrawi - for all her peace-maker pretensions - is a skilled apologist and propagandist for Arab thuggery and the sort of violent, death-cult values that have produced lemming-like waves of badly-educated young Palestinian Arabs, heads filled with bogus visions of glory and heroism.

"Peace-maker" Ashrawi [Image Source]
By way of context: Ashrawi is a veteran PLO insider, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee (which Wikipedia calls "the highest executive body... of the government of the State of Palestine") and which, like the rest of the Fatah/PA inner circle of insiders, continues to conduct itself as if it were an elected leadership while pretending to ignore the reality that Palestinian elections have only happened once in the dozen or so years since the Palestinian Authority was brought into existence under the leadership of her close associate, Yasser Arafat - and that was eleven years ago.

Ashrawi herself is on that PLO Executive Committee because she was not elected but appointed to it in 2009 by the Palestinian National Council which is headquartered in the Kingdom of Jordan.

To the chagrin of ordinary Palestinian Arabs, democracy in their world is, for the most part, whatever the clique of Fatah/PA/PLO insiders declare it to be.

Meanwhile it's been announced tonight [Times of Israel] that the Israel Defence Forces has deployed an additional infantry battalion to Hebron to provide additional protection and to preserve the tense peace in this most historic of Jewish communities.

Friday, September 16, 2016

16-Sep-16: Vehicle ramming attack on Israelis near Kiryat Arba

At the scene this afternoon [Image Source]
Via Israel National News today:
Two terrorists, a male and female, tried this afternoon, Friday, to commit a terror attack by running people over with their car at the Elias Junction near Kiryat Arba. The two terrorists were shot by IDF forces, while no victims were injured.
A similar attack occurred at the same location on June 24, 2016.

Times of Israel says the IDF is still investigating today's vehicle ramming which occured at about 1:30 pm today, Friday. It quotes Magen David Adom ambulance personnel saying three Israeli teens were taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center to be treated for panic and light injuries. One of the two Arabs (the male) in the vehicle that did the ramming, a Mitsubishi pick-up, is said to be dead. The female is being treated by Israeli medical personnel for her injuries.

Ma'an News Agency, reliably communicating an Arab-specific viewpoint, devotes its headline to questioning the veracity of the report while focusing on the victimhood of the attackers: "Israeli forces shoot and kill Palestinian in Hebron after alleged car ramming attack". The Arabic-language version [here] refers to the "martyrdom" of both the male Arab and the female, though it's apparent that only one of them is dead.

16-Sep-16: Arab-on-Israeli stabber thwarted at one of Jerusalem's Old City gates

The stabber lies died at the entrance to Damascus Gate [Image Source]
As it does from time to time, Israel relaxed certain of its security practices earlier this month in order to accommodate the needs of Muslims celebrating one of Islam's major festivals, Eid al-Adha.

Some 100,000 Palestinian Arab family visits from their homes in Judea and Samaria into Jerusalem were approved for the holiday including access to the Temple Mount and Gaza Arabs, among others, were given entry via the Allenby Bridge crossing on the Jordan River. [Source: "Liberman allows easing of restrictions for Muslim holiday" | Israel National News, September 5, 2016]

By no coincidence, the Allenby crossing is in today's news.

In the past hour, at about 12:40 pm Friday, security officers of the Israeli Border Guard shot and killed a Jordanian male as he attacked, and sought to stab, a female officer. The attack took place at Jerusalem's busy Damascus Gate.
The area has been closed off, and additional officers were brought to the scene, the spokesperson said... The officer was not injured in the attack. The man arrived at the Damascus Gate from inside the Old City and approached a group of officers with a knife drawn. The officers saw the man coming towards them with the blade and opened fire, police said. The 28-year-old assailant was carrying a Jordanian passport, but police were still investigating if he also held a Palestinian ID card. His name has yet to be released. The man entered Israel through the Allenby border crossing on Thursday afternoon. It was not immediately clear why he was in Israel, though it is possible he was visiting for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which ends on Friday... [Times of Israel, September 16, 2016]
Ynet adds that the assailant was heard shouting "Allahu Akhbar" as he ran at the group of Border Guard police with a knife in each hand. A third knife was found concealed on his dead body. It quotes the police spokesperson saying that security personnel
identified the suspect, and carried out the proper protocols. The terrorist quickly approached the officers with his hand raised and clutching a knife. The officers acted professionally, and identified him as an attacker [and] neutralized him. [Ynet, today]
Needless to say, the English-language version of the Ma'an News Agency website refers in its headline to "alleged stab attack". In the Palestinian Arab narrative, in which the European-funded, Bethlehem-based Ma'an is an active player, terrorism by Arabs against Jews and Israelis is always, but always, alleged. This saves a great deal of soul searching, even while it makes their pretensions at being an objective reporter of the local news a bad joke.

The Arabic-language version of the same report [here] calls him, as usual, "martyr".

Thursday, September 15, 2016

15-Sep-16: Justice, peace, terror, truth - and the World Council of Churches

Like the WCC, these German activists , in their own distinctive way, stood
for 
"democratic, non-violent actions for justice 
and peace" in the'Thirties [Image Source]
We pay more attention in our blog to what the World Council of Churches says and does than many other bloggers. (Click for our earlier WCC posts.)

This is absolutely not because we subscribe to their dogma. By dogma, of course, we don't mean theology. Actually, theology appears to be one of the least distinctive aspects of the WCC. We mean their political viewpoints as espoused for decades by the WCC's leadership. (From experience, we know those viewpoints are rarely shared by their church-going members.) Politics far more than religion in the conventional sense is what serves as the raison d'etre of the World Council of Churches

We pay them attention because of our annoyance at the mild halo effect that unjustifiably accompanies a religious-sounding global alliance's frequent pronouncements. As we have noted here in the past, the WCC (with annual income in 2014 of 29.4 million Swiss Francs, about USD $30 million) is not just any religious-sounding alliance but 
a roof body that purports to speak for the world's major protestant churches. Here's where they list their members. In Australia, they include the Anglican, Churches of Christ and Uniting Church in Australia. In the UK, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Church in Wales, the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church of Wales and others. In the United States, they include the Quakers, the United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others. That's a lot of worshipers. Do they know how their religious faith is being exploited by a small coterie of self-perpetuating, Geneva-based bureaucrats? ["17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?"]
And
the broadest and most inclusive among the many organized expressions of the modern ecumenical movement, a movement whose goal is Christian unity... breaking down barriers between people, seeking justice and peace ["About us: What is the World Council of Churches?", on the WCC website]
The WCC's Geneva-based secretary-general [Image Source]
(If you're not sure whether they presume to speak on behalf of your house of worship, we posted the names and websites of all the WCC member churches at the time in this blog post: "23-May-14: On the dignity of murderers and their victims: An appeal to Christian friends".)    

In a public call datelined September 15, 2016 (today), the WCC bureaucracy has just launched once more into a full-throated assault on Israel and Israelis, calling in the name of Christianity for more terror, more "Kauft-nicht-bei-Juden"-style boycotts of Jewish businesses and more disregard for justice and the rights of Jews and Israelis. 

Some direct-quote World Council of Churches excerpts:
  1. They... called for the US to end what they described as a "wave of legislative efforts" to penalise the use of non-violent economic measures to influence policy in Israel, noting that churches have used such strategies to "advance the rights of people and further the cause of justice both domestically and internationally for many years"...
  2. [They] noted that the unresolved conflict in Israel and Palestine is "primarily about justice, and until the requirement of justice is met, peace cannot be established"...
  3. "Too often the structural and permanent violence against a whole people is ignored. But keeping an entire population under occupation and even in a closed area, such as Gaza, in prison-like conditions is a grave and unsustainable situation. 
  4. We are also well aware that Israel is the occupying force and has commanding power over the people of Palestine and, thus, bears special responsibility for taking the initiative."
  5. They called for an end to the "occupation and to settlements on occupied land, with all its grave and deteriorating dimensions for the Palestinian people, but also for Israel and the whole region beyond".
  6. "We ask for full respect and protection of human rights defenders, for the rights to tell the truth, to express concern, and to take democratic, non-violent actions for justice and peace... 
  7. "We are deeply concerned by Israeli legislative and other measures to curtail the work of Palestinian and Israeli development and human rights organisations, as well as the lack of transparency concerning investigations into international humanitarian (including faith-based) organisations in the Gaza Strip and the possible negative consequences to delivering critically needed aid to this besieged area."
That's a lot of euphemisms and irresponsible double-talk.
  1. When they advocate "non-violent economic measures", they mean the bigotry-rich program of boycotts, divestment and sanctions or BDS, in which the World Council of Churches takes a lead advocacy role. It's an aggressive campaign initiated by a cluster of Palestinian Arab groups 11 years ago that "disincentivizes the Palestinian leadership from negotiating with Israel at present, is antisemitic [and] promotes the delegitimization of Israel" [Wikipedia]
  2. Don't expect the conflict "in Israel and Palestine" (a narrow way of looking at the state of war declared by the Arab states in 1948 and in large measure still continuing) to get resolved or the terrorism conducted by the two Palestinian "states" to end so long as "the requirement of justice" for the Arabs, not for the Israelis, not for the Roths, continues to be unmet. In other words, the Arabs alone are the side to whom injustice is being served. Resolving this doesn't depend on them.
  3. Gaza is prison-like, suffering "structural and permanent violence". Those tens of thousands of Hamas rockets fired at Israeli homes? The enforcement of Arab poverty by an Islamist leadership residing luxuriously in Qatar and Dubai? The ongoing misappropriation of foreign aid to ensure endless Gazan misery? All totally absent - as if they never existed. If there is a wicked person in this Bible lesson, the WCC leaders know he's not an Arab.
  4. Only the Israelis as "the occupying force", the "commanding power", have the responsibility to do something peaceful. In the pseudo-redemptive theology of the WCC's preachers, the Palestinian Arabs get a permanent free pass. Though not Christians, the insiders in the two Palestinian Arab regimes understand this parable to mean: "Don't change, don't cease fire, don't consider being flexible. Just keep going while we provide protection". 
  5. This exceedingly strange thing - "occupation" - is said to be not only at the heart of the Arab/Israel conflict but also the "grave and deteriorating" state of "the region beyond". Serious-minded Christians might be thinking of today's Iraq, Libya, Syria and Lebanon. Like us, are they wondering what the Christian leadership in its Geneva office complex, witness to the rapid and violent end of two thousand years of Christian life at the hands of Islamists, along with savagery on a scale that challenges the worst nightmares, are smoking?
  6. Rights, justice, peace. Are both sides entitled to these? The answer is obvious.
  7. This refers to Israel's recently-announced arrest and prosecution of a Hamas agent inside World Vision, and reports that additional charities active in the Palestinian Arab domains have been similarly penetrated and pillaged. The WCC has said not one word about the allegations of massive abuse of Christian charity by the bigoted, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish Islamist forces. Nor about the Gazan housing construction budgets misappropriated to the construction of attack tunnels and rockets and mortars.
We believe in dialogue. We know a person cannot be completely well-informed without hearing the opposing side's case. In April 2014, when the World Council of Churches came out with an earlier public call that involved actual praying for the freedom and dignity of Palestinian Arab prisoners, almost all of them were and are behind bars because of the anti-Jewish terrorism in which they engaged, we blogged these two posts: "17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?and "22-Apr-14: Attention World Council of Churches: Will you now follow your own advice and speak up for the Arabs tortured and imprisoned by the PA?"

Right after that, we sent a letter to the then (and still) WCC secretary general, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, on April 24, 2014. We were ignored. So we sent the same again, along with copies to a number of WCC insiders, a few days later. Still ignored. Then we had a tiny flurry of exchanges with the WCC's Director of Communications. He seemed willing to engage, but then changed tacks complete. Here's the full text of his letter to us dated June 5, 2014:
Dear Mr. Roth, Yes, I believe we would have nothing further to say.  Best wishes to you and your family. Mark Beach, WCC Director of Communication
The context and additional detail are in our post: "6-Jun-14: Fear and loathing at the World Council of Churches". Here's how we summed it up: 
So take it from this non-Christian, non-Moslem couple: there's something seriously wrong with a major global-facing church roof-body that wishes freedom, justice and dignity for convicted murderers but rolls down the shutters when a family devastated by the actions of those very murderers engages them in serious, albeit critical, discussion.
We are in the midst of the Jewish season for thinking hard about sin and about the truly redemptive value of forgiveness and repentance. In that spirit, here'a a repeat of a World Council of Churches thought we expressed here in the past
We'll sign off with a word to the WCC management team sitting there in Geneva: it's never too late to do sincere repentance and to come back and openly discuss these very serious life-and-death issues - even with people as marginal as we are to your mission. ["11-Jun-14: Where does this strategic deafness and moral blindness at World Council of Churches lead?"]
And this epilogue:
We know from experience that the world has many, many Christian believers whose abhorrence of terrorism, rejection of cries for the murder of innocent children, and belief in the central role of justice and morality in 21st century life differ hugely from the messages being advanced by the WCC. We don't share their theological outlook but we feel we have a great deal of common ground with their humanity. But finding common ground with church leaders for whom calls to prayer and "acts of solidarity" that "restore" to the convicted, unrepentant murderers of innocent children "their freedom with justice and dignity” - that truly feels like mission impossible. ["6-Jun-14: Fear and loathing at the World Council of Churches"] 
UPDATE Sunday September 18, 2016: Please check out "Five Things You Need to Know About World Council of Churches" by Dexter Van Zile. Brief and highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

13-Sep-16: Could Israel be about to release convicted terrorists in another deal?

Convicted of multiple callous acts of terrorist murder, this 
unrepentant Palestinian Arab was sentenced to 135 years in prison. 
How likely is it that he will end his days behind bars? 
[Details of his background here]
Barter trades involving Palestinian Arab terrorists are sadly in the news again. From a report this afternoon (Tuesday) via Times of Israel:
Lior Lotan, the chief negotiator on Israeli hostages, says the Hamas terror group has turned down an Israeli offer to exchange “the organization’s captives and bodies [of terrorists] from Operation Protective Edge” for the remains of two slain Israeli soldiers held by the terror group, Channel 2 reports. According to the TV report, Lotan also says Israel has offered to release Gazans who crossed the border into Israel and were subsequently arrested, in exchange for the release of Israelis who entered the Gaza Strip and are believed to be held by Hamas. The bodies of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, killed in the 2014 Gaza war, are in Hamas custody. The terror group has also admitted that 29-year-old Avraham Mengistu, and a Bedouin Israeli citizen whose name has not been released for publication, are imprisoned in Gaza.
Over at Israel National News, they offer this additional bit of detail:
Speaking at a conference of the International Institute for Counter Terrorism, Lotan said Hamas refused the additional offer of returning dozens of Gazans who crossed into Israel in return for Israelis who crossed into Gaza.
The Hamas terrorists can be counted on, we think, to try to escalate the stakes now by engineering prisoner problems in Israeli jails over the coming days. Getting their terrorist brothers out of Israeli prisons is, and always has been, one of their highest-priority missions.

We have been vocal for years in angrily criticizing exchange transactions by which Israel has released live, convicted, unrepentant terrorists in order to achieve various goals - the freedom of the Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit in particular (but not only). 

In this 2011 video with the now-dormant JewishNewsOne network, we expressed how we felt and feel about the logic of such transactions. (The clip originally appeared in our blog as an embedded video in this post: "25-Oct-11: This is a stunning victory for Hamas".)



Since we recorded that 2011 interview, additional innocent lives have been unforgivably destroyed in acts of Arab-on-Israeli murder executed by Shalit Deal terrorists who, but for the transaction, would have been behind bars and unable to kill. Some (only some) of those acts of lethal terror are documented in this article: "Palestinians freed in Shalit deal killed 6 Israelis since 2014" [Times of Israel, July 20, 2015].

Some 14 months ago, we touched on some of the same issues in "20-Jul-15: Pausing for a moment to reflect on when we lost our collective senses". There, we looked back bitterly on what we still think of as an Israel-wide craziness that brought our government to a transaction "steeped in yet-to-be-shed blood with murderers already mired in evil and hatred". And prior to that, we summed up some of what we felt ought to have been learned from the massive 2011 prisoner release deal with Hamas: "11-Aug-14: Shalit Transaction revisited: At what point does facing up to the cost of a disastrous decision become unavoidable?" Earlier still, we wrote "27-Jul-13: To defeat the terrorists, what one thing must a government never do?"

Let's pray we are not being led down the wrong path again.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

11-Sep-16: Fixing a plaque to a Jerusalem wall

Frimet Roth delivers a speech at the unveiling of the plaque
outside the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria, September 23, 2003
It's September 11, the fifteenth anniversary of an event so evocative of hatred, bigotry and senseless carnage that it has become a by-word for the increasingly terror-infested era in which we live.

Fifteen years ago to the day, on September 11, 2001, a thousand or so residents of the Jerusalem neighbourhood where we live gathered in a public park at nightfall to remember two girls - one sixteen, one fifteen - who were among the victims of another massacre, brazenly carried out in the very center of Jerusalem, the nation's capital, a month earlier. The site of that attack was the local Sbarro pizzeria. Those two victims, among the 15 murdered and 130 maimed and injured on August 9, 2001, were our next-door neighbour's daughter Michal and our own daughter, Malki. The lovely girls had been the closest of friends.

In the year that followed, we fought an unpleasant and mean-spirited battle with the leadership of the Jerusalem municipality. The mayor at the time was Ehud Olmert. His career later brought him to the highest political position in the country and then after that to prison. He's there now.

What we sought to achieve was something simple: a plaque on the outside wall of the pizzeria, memorializing what had happened there at 2 o'clock on a hot summer's afternoon, with the names of the innocents killed in that Hamas massacre.

As with most of the battles we have felt obliged to conduct in Israel over the years, we saw this as a moral issue with deep resonance in Jewish tradition. We also saw it in personal terms; we sought no one's help in taking the fight to the authorities, and we got none. This battle, like most of the others, ended up providing us with mostly-unwanted insights into how power can be used and abused by the people who have their hands on the steering wheel of the city or the country.

At the end of this particular fight, we achieved a sort of pale victory.

One one hand, the mayor's office decided that a plaque would be placed on the outside wall of Sbarro, and a ceremony was scheduled.

But on a closely related matter - we had also requested that Jerusalem, which had already announced it was going to erect a monument to the memory of the 9/11 victims, should put up a memorial to Jerusalem's own, many victims of Arab-on-Israeli terror - we were given a run-around. That run-around actually never came to an end.

In the course of the following year, several bogus announcements were made by the municipality about plans to designate a site for a terror victims memorial. A public committee for making decisions about a Jerusalem memorial was announced. If it ever met, we never heard about it. Another announcement said a site in the Camp Allenby plot near the corner of Hevron Road and Yanovsky Street on Jerusalem's south side had been designated for a memorial to Jerusalem's terror victims and work was underway. Of course, nothing came of that.

Frimet Roth eventually published an angry complaint in a daily newspaper ["No memorial, not even a plaque", Jerusalem Post, July 30, 2003] in which she mentioned some of the evasions we had heard from city officials. The main argument: that Jerusalem was faced with having to put up some 30 terror memorial plaques, and that doing so would "interfere with the city's character and appeal" and chase away the tourists. No reason for us to comment on the stupidity of what we heard. Also - that the building owner objected, which seemed strange to us.

The simple plaque bears the names of
the fifteen people murdered inside
the Sbarro pizzeria and the
word "
To remember"
A few weeks after her article appeared, we were notified that a Sbarro plaque had finally been allowed, and a mid-afternoon ceremony was scheduled. Frimet was invited to be one of the speakers and accepted.

The text below is a translation of what she said in Hebrew. The date was September 23, 2003. The plaque is still there today though Sbarro is long gone.

And the need to remember and not forget continues to be axiomatic - and disputed.
Why We Need This Plaque 
By Frimet Roth
(First published in an article we posted on the Malki Foundation website thirteen years ago)
The path leading to the erection of this memorial plaque was neither short nor smooth. When we faced the obstacles, we asked ourselves whether it was really necessary at all.
There were times when the municipality made clear their feeling that a plaque would actually be detrimental - that it was bound to alter the character of the city of Jerusalem, even chase away tourists.
But we persevered - we, the bereaved families, along with the staff of the Municipality's Protocol Department - and we overcame those obstacles, even managing to have the plaque erected in time for the second "yahrzeit".
But the question, a legitimate one, remains What is the purpose of this memorial? It's safe to presume that we, the relatives of the victims, will not visit it and undoubtedly our pain will not abate, now that it is there. Our intense longing will continue - every day, every hour.
As I see it, the plaque's real significance is for others for those who never knew the victims personally, who never heard of their deaths, who heard but may have already forgotten. When these people pass by and chance upon the names of these martyrs, the collective memory of this horrendous war will be deepened.
And I believe this nation badly needs to work on its capacity to remember. To contend with constant fear, this nation has found it necessary to forget each terror attack and its victims as quickly as it can. Demolished business premises are speedily rebuilt; they're filled with customers looking for a fun time out.
I heard a television correspondent not long ago reporting from the site of a suicide bombing that had claimed six lives. He was speaking early on the following morning. He pointed to the heavy traffic and commented "Apparently the urge for routine is more powerful that everything else."
If he was correct, then the Jewish nation is paying too high a price for its normalcy. Remembering our victims a little more would not indicate weakness. Nor would it empower the enemy, or hinder our ability to cope. Remembering the outrages done to us is simply a normal, sensitive and positive reaction.
Jewish tradition encourages this approach. With the holiday of Rosh Hashana, also known as "Remembrance Day", drawing close, this is a most appropriate moment to emphasize the need to remember these victims. The men, the women and the many children who perished here were righteous, every one of them. Both in life, as we their loved ones can affirm, and in death, having died as martyrs - in sanctifying G-d's name.
Our Sages teach us that the righteous are considered alive even in death. For us, their parents, children, brothers and sisters, they truly live on in our hearts and memories. My hope is that they will now also live on in the thoughts of others, thanks to this plaque. Even if only briefly. And the promise of our Sages be fulfilled, as it says "Just as Yom Kippur atones, so too do the deaths of the righteous."
Earlier today, the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, we saw a featured op ed in the Financial Times which included this striking claim:
The real tragedy of terror is what it makes us do to each other. We start fearing people just because of how they look: the colour of their skin, the way they dress. 
We Tweeted this response:
If terror's "real tragedy" is fear of the other, do the dead, injured and survivors count?
Astoundingly, depressingly, that question still needs to be asked, and for many the answer is likely to be: "Well, it sort of depends."

It's not only in Jerusalem, but also in Jerusalem, that people need constantly to be reminded of the sanctity of human life, of the imperative of remembering and never forgetting the innocent victims, and of fighting the terrorists with total determination in order to defeat them.