Friday, November 17, 2017

17-Nov-17: Ramming/stabbing attack Friday morning at entrance to Efrat

Today's attack vehicle: The driver had a knife
and used it too [Image Source]
There has been an Arab-on-Israel attack in Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem this bright, sunny, late-Autumn morning (Friday). The first reports appeared on social media around 8:15 am.

From Times of Israel:
A Palestinian terrorist rammed his car into two people, seriously injuring one of them, before getting shot while trying to stab soldiers in the central West Bank on Friday morning, the army said. The driver of the vehicle, who has yet to be named, rammed his car into the first victim, a 70-year-old man, who sustained a light head wound, at the Efrat South junction, medics said. He continued down the road to the nearby Gush Etzion Junction where he hit another Israeli man, 35, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service. The second victim was initially said to have been lightly-to-moderately wounded, but the hospital downgraded [sic] his condition to serious, with a brain injury. The army said the driver then got out of his car with a knife and tried to stab soldiers. “The soldiers responded by firing towards the attacker, resulting in his injury,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement. According to the hospital, the terrorist was in critical condition.
Ramming followed by stabbing: it's classic Palestinian Arab textbook jihad. At this stage, the indications - unconfirmed - are that the terrorist is being treated at one of the two Hadassah hospitals in Jerusalem and is alive but in bad condition after being shot.

Israel National News says the older of the two Israeli victims, David Ramati from the nearby community of Kiryat Arba, was run-over by the attacker and his van. He is being treated for his injuries at Shaarei Zedek Medical Center.

The younger victim was struck by the same vehicle but at a different nearby location, and is being treated for serious head injuries at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem hospital.

The same source says (and at this early stage, we will be looking for confirmation) that the terrorist who executed the attack is a seventeen year old Palestinian Arab. This means he is a child in the eyes of the law and will therefore be entitled to the attention and protections of the new Bill proposed to the US Congress by Rep. Betty McCollum
a Democrat representing the families of Minnesota’s Fourth District in the United States House of Representatives. In 2000, Congresswoman McCollum made history as only the second Minnesota woman elected to serve in Congress since statehood in 1858. McCollum represents the residents of Minnesota's capital city, St. Paul, as well as all of Ramsey County and most of Washington County...
From her November 14, 2017 media release:
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) today introduced legislation— the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act, H.R. 4391 — to prevent United States tax dollars from supporting the Israeli military’s ongoing detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children... “This legislation highlights Israel’s system of military detention of Palestinian children and ensures that no American assistance to Israel supports human rights violations,” Congresswoman McCollum said. “Peace can only be achieved by respecting human rights, especially the rights of children. Congress must not turn a blind eye the unjust and ongoing mistreatment of Palestinian children living under Israeli occupation.”
JMs McCollum's co-sponsors are Representatives Mark Pocan, Earl Blumenauer, André Carson, John Conyers, Jr., Danny K. Davis, Peter A. DeFazio, Raul Grijalva, Luis V. Gutiérrez, and Chellie Pingree.

The legislation has the endorsement of
  • American Friends Service Committee
  • Amnesty International USA
  • Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Churches for Middle East Peace - which offered this commentary: "We must ensure we are not supporting the continued trauma inflicted on Palestinian youth entangled in the Israeli Military Detention system...”
  • Defense for Children International - Palestine
  • Friends Committee on National Legislation
  • Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 
  • United Church of Christ
  • Jewish Voice for Peace
  • Mennonite Central Committee
  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights
  • United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)
  • United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.
If any of these groups has ever criticized, let alone condemned, the overt weaponization of children systematically carried out on an ongoing basis by Fatah (through its Palestinian Authority extension) and Hamas, we have seen no signs of it.

We sent her a Tweet on Wednesday which has evidently not yet received her staff's attention:

What a shame if Rep McCollum's misguided initiative [see "The NGOs that Wrote McCollum’s Legislation on Children’s Rights"] were to continue on its way without the author explaining how she rationalizes sanctioning Israel's security policies while she and her law turn a blind eye to the Palestinian Authority's open and explicit child-weaponization.

Vicious Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks like this morning's are the direct result of that kind of silly and dangerous moralistic preening. Maybe someone could ask Rep McCollum where she stands on Arab-on-Israel ramming/stabbing attacks like today's. And whether she sees her Bill stopping them or encouraging even more. And whether any of that matters to her.

UPDATE November 17, 2017 at 11:30 am: The attacker, according to the Arabic edition of Ma'an News Agency's website, is Izz al-Din Ali Abu Rmeishan Karaja. He's from Halhoul, a town close to Efrat which has produced a significant number of terrorist attackers in the past few years (click Halhoul for our posts on previous attackers from there).  And he is 17, so the law sees him as a child. They have a photograph of him (which we will not show) here. It's very likely being circulated right now as he becomes a celebrated hero. Depending on how the recovery process goes, he's headed to becoming either (a) a lifetime recipient of a massive Palestinian Authority financial windfall - what we call the Mahmoud Abbas Rewards for Terror scheme; or (b) a martyr whose life will be honored and celebrated in their circles.

UPDATE November 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm: The younger of the two Israeli victims is Ebenezer Holaring, 35, is still in serious condition at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital according to Israel National News tonight. They say he's a member of Kiryat Arba's Bnei Menashe community of Jews whose origins are traced to India.

17-Nov-17: Preoccupied

As we Tweeted some days ago
and then this
we're both spending serious time in hospital caring for a family member. This makes it hard to keep blogging for the moment. We hope to be able to get back to it soon.

Meanwhile of the seven specialists on the case, it happens that five are Arabs. This is only noteworthy if the discussion is things people don't know about ordinary Israeli life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

08-Nov-17: Violent non-violence on the road to peace

Outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, Israeli Border Guard officers
check arriving Arabs - June 2017 [Image Source
The man who was America's most senior diplomat between 2013 and 2017 and before that a failed candidate for the highest elected office in the land, has some surprisingly naive views, it turns out, about the Palestinian Arabs.

In a recording broadcast last night by Israel's Channel 10 News, John Kerry is heard telling an unspecified conference in Dubai "in the past year attended by Middle East leaders" including the head of Israel’s Joint (Arab) List (a Knesset/parliamentary party), that he
blamed the Israeli government’s resistance to the establishment of a Palestinian state for harming the prospects of a peace deal
and foresaw a "violent Palestinian uprising if there was no progress in peace talks" ["In recording, John Kerry says Israeli government doesn’t want peace", Times of Israel, November 7, 2017]. We can only guess which peace talks he means. Kerry warned
that frustrations among Palestinians could boil over into violence and that the current status quo cannot last.
This must have been a welcome message for the entirely-Arab audience, as we assume was his summing up of the Palestinian Arab role:
“The Palestinians have done an extraordinary job of remaining committed to nonviolence. And in fact when the [knife] intifada took place they delivered non-violence in the West Bank,” Kerry is heard saying in the recording. “This is overlooked by the general [Israeli] population because it is not a topic of discussion. Why? Because the majority of the cabinet currently in the current Israeli government has publicly declared they are not ever for a Palestinian state”...
He's echoing Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president-for-life who has repeatedly gone public with explicit messages of incitement to violence directed at young Palestinian Arabs while asserting - pretty much at the same time - that the hundreds of stabbing, shooting and vehicle-ramming Arab-on-Israeli attacks of the past two years are representative of an alleged Palestinian Authority devotion to non-violence.

Kerry was a headline speaker ("The path ahead for the Middle East") at
the Credit Suisse Salon in Dubai, May 09, 2017 [Image Source]
As a sort of reality check, some of that "non-violence" was on display today.

Israel National News says a young Arab male was intercepted by Israeli security around 7:30 this this morning (Wednesday) on his way into the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron:
Border Police officers stationed at the entrance to the holy site spotted the suspect attempting to circumvent the security checkpoint and avoid passing through the metal detectors. Officers ordered the suspect to return to the entrance and pass through a metal detector, which indicated that he was carrying metal object he had neglected to remove from his person before passing through the checkpoint. When officers checked the suspect, they found a knife concealed in one of his socks. A Border Police spokesperson identified the suspect as a 17 year old local. The suspect was taken into custody for questioning. [Israel National News today]
In the Hebrew social media, there are images of the would-be attacker's seized knife [here].

It's only the latest in a long string of thwarted attacks by typically-young Arabs making their way to the religious shrine with a knife concealed on their bodies or in their clothing. A very quick scan of 2017 media reports just now shows similar intercepts at more-or-less the same location on September 12, 2017; September 8, 2017; July 22, 2017June 13, 2017; May 17, 2017May 13, 2017; March 4, 2017. A good thing we have alert security.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

05-Nov-17: "Watching the Moon at Night", the documentary film Swedish TV has suppressed, is being screened in Israel

Video grab from "Watching the Moon at Night"
We have written about Watching the Moon at Night several times (the links are listed at the foot of this post) in the last two years.

It's a fine, made-for-TV documentary film the leading US Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum described as an intellectually informative, visually compelling, emotionally moving and highly disturbing exploration of the phenomena of terrorism in our time

The film's co-director, the acclaimed Swedish film-maker Bo Persson, will be the special guest at two Israeli screenings during November. 
Tel Aviv CinemathequeWednesday November 8, 2017 - screening at 9:00 pm in Cinema 4 | The Tel Aviv Cinematheque is at Shprinzak 2, Tel Aviv | Purchasing tickets online via the Tel Aviv Cinematheque online booking screen is not the simplest process (and seems not to be working at all right now). Call the box office on 03-606-0800 or email them at
Jerusalem CinemathequeMonday November 13, 2017 - screening at 7:00 pm | The Jerusalem Cinematheque is at Derech Hevron 11, Jerusalem | To purchase tickets online, click here | Tickets can also be bought by phone on 02-565-4333, or dial *9377 | They offer this email address:
The film was shown last year in the European Parliament and the Swedish parliament, at many international film festivals and in front of audiences in the United States and Europe. But it won't be shown to Swedish television viewers because of some outrageous politically-motivated manipulation.

Marianne Ahrne, a prominent writer, film director and observer of Sweden´s cultural life, wrote last month ["Television, terror and Swedish funding"] about the deeply disturbing fate of Persson’s film:
“I approved the funding of their film while working as a commissioner at the Swedish Film Institute. Since then, I have followed its destiny, seeing it praised at festivals and by several of the foremost global experts in the fields that it tackles - terrorism and anti-Semitism. But Sveriges Television (SVT), our country’s national public TV broadcaster, has, for some obscure reason and despite the fact it originally signed on to co-produce it, refused to screen it. And continues to refuse.”
It doesn't take much effort (we wrote a while back) for people with a deep respect for the open sharing and discussion of important ideas to share her fury.

“What's at work here is a brazen betrayal of principlesSveriges Television, Sweden's dominant television network, is thwarting - silencing is a better word - the screening of an important, thoughtful film that happens to have been created by some of the most admirable minds at work in that country. The scandal is hardly a secret but it has gotten scant media attention.”

The film-makers [Image Source]
Filmed in six countries, "Watching the Moon at Night" juxtaposes contemporary terrorism, anti-Semitism and the experiences of their victims with the articulate – and often very moving – views of noted experts in these fields. Its exam­in­at­ion of these powerful themes goes far beyond the stereotypes. 

Persson and his creative partner Joanna Helander co-directed the film which was produced by Kino Koszyk HB with support from Sweden’s Film i Väst and the Swedish Film Institute.

The late French writer and philosopher André Glucksmann, the late historian of anti-Semitism, Robert S. Wistrich, and the eminent historian Walter Laqueur, who left his native Breslau for Palestine on the day before Kristallnacht 1938 and is one of the inspirations behind the production, are among the film’s pre-eminent on-screen commentators. Arnold Roth, whose daughter was murdered in the Hamas attack on the Jerusalem Sbarro in 2001, and Dan Alon, one of the surviving Israeli athletes from the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, are important voices in the film.

It also incorporates personal experiences of terror victims from Algeria, Spain, France, Moscow, Israel, New York, Colombia, Munich, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

Creative camerawork, inspiring music and Polish Nobel laureate Wislawa Szymborska, who reads her own poetry in the film all add to the “personal and emotional” perspective, as Agnieszka Holland, chair of the European Film Academy, described it. She called it
a production that “shows the common ground shared by victims the world over and the similarities between the perpetrators. In the film, there is no simplifying thesis, no ‘political correctness’… The film truly makes you think.”

Following the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem film screenings, Bo Persson will lead a discussion (in English) on the issues raised by the production and its audience.
You can see the film's trailer here. There is additional info and several reviews at the film's official website. For past posts of ours, see

Friday, November 03, 2017

03-Nov-17: Jihad-minded vehicle rammers and what's expected of them

Tuesday's weapon [Image Source]
What can the people living in the cross-hairs of ruthless murder-minded terrorists (that includes every single person reading this post) learn from the vehicle-ramming attack executed by an Islamist terrorist in New York City this past Tuesday?

An article by Rukmini Maria Callimachi in yesterday's New York Times ["What New York Attack Suspect’s Words May Say About ISIS Ties"] offers some answers. She's a staff reporter at the Times, focusing on Islamic extremism.

Her analysis is based on detailed guidance published in the English-language ISIS online magazine, November 2016 edition. [There's a useful summary here: "New Islamic State Rumiyah Magazine Details Tactics for Jihadis in the US" Terror Trends Bulletin, November 12, 2016]

It provides a kind of Deadly Dummy's Guide for aspiring terrorists preparing to use a vehicle to wreak havoc on innocent people - referred as to "enemies of Allah" in the not-so-subtle language of this widely-distributed and easily-accessible journal. There are four principal stages to the carnage they advocate:
  1. Keep driving the car or truck for as long as possible. "To ensure the most carnage", it advises, don't exit the vehicle during the attack. Stay inside, "driving over the already harvested kuffar". (That  word means infidels, unbelievers and refers to almost everyone on earth.) "Continue crushing their remains until it becomes physically impossible to continue by vehicle.”
  2. When the vehicle has been used to the full, move on to other weapons. Guns and knives are top of the list.
  3. Ensure the public understands that the killing comes from the perpetrator's fealty to ISIS. The article tells the murder-minded attacker to write a note on paper, including the specific message that “The Islamic State will remain”. It's a slogan with roots in the Islamic doctrine of "baqiya". Then to throw the paper sheets out of the vehicle so they can be found and read after the murders have been done.
  4. Record an oath of allegiance - either audio or video - addressed to an individual along the lines of how "early Muslims pledged fealty to the Prophet Muhammad, and later to the caliphs that succeeded him". Murderers inspired by ISIS are told to pledge to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurayshi. He's the figure described by the NYTimes ["U.S. Actions in Iraq Fueled Rise of a Rebel", August 10, 2014] as "a street thug" when American forces first apprehended him in 2004 and who has gone on to become "the self-appointed caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the architect of its violent campaign to redraw the map of the Middle East."
From the ISIS website: A user's manual for mass-murderers [Image Source]
In Tuesday's murderous rampage, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, a 29-year-old citizen of Uzbekistan living in New Jersey after scoring in a diversity immigrant visa lottery program, crushed pedestrians to death in a bike lane of Lower Manhattan. He stopped driving only after crashing into a school bus. Eight people were killed right away. Many more are terribly injured.

As the guidelines say, he was ready to move on to knives - a bag in his possession contained three of them. He flung pages from the window of his rented truck which claimed an affiliation with ISIS (who returned the compliment last night, saying the killings were theirs). And many photos of Abu Bakr were on his phone. An oath of allegiance will probably show up soon.

There's no book of guidelines for victims. We're all left to rely on common sense. The problem in the case of lethal rammings - as we have learned to our sorrow in Israel where we don't lack terrorists and victims - is that their vehicles rarely come with signs on them saying "I look innocent enough but I am planning to murder you and anyone else I can."

Trying to figure out what life-affirming, cultured and non-racist societies ought to do to safeguard innocent people from the lunacy of the rammers (and shooters and stabbers) is never going to be easy or elegant, and will require a much deeper understanding of what brings Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipovs into our midst than almost every society on earth is willing to try to achieve.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

22-Oct-17: The mass-murdering savage, an FBI fugitive, sends her apologies

Happy "pioneers of Jerusalem" in Istanbul yesterday. The
jihadist savage Tamimi is missing from the photo - the explanation
is below in her own words [Image Source]
An Arabic-language report on a government-controlled Kuwaiti news site informs us that a conference under the headline "Fourth Pioneers of Jerusalem Forum" took place in Istanbul, Turkey, this weekend. (If there was Turkish media coverage, we haven't found it yet.)

This caught our eye because one of the speakers was our daughter's murderer, the on-the-run savage Ahlam Tamimi, now relatively well-known as the youngest fugitive Most Wanted Terrorist on the FBI's list . She currently lives in Jordan (the place she was born and raised) and is the subject of an unsatisfied extradition request by the United States government.

Tamimi interviewed in Kuwait's Al-Rai TV studio in July 2012,
gloating over dead Jewish children and how she killed them
As we have written before, the circumstances in which Jordan is refusing to comply with its treaty obligations make clear to us and to experts we have consulted that Tamimi is being special protection by the monarch of Jordan, King Abdullah II. [See the background at "23-Mar-17: Looking for justice in Jordan, Jerusalem and Washington"]

The Kuwaiti report, published by an arm of Kuwait's Ministry of Information, says this of the female jihadist (machine-translated from the original Arabic which explains the jerkiness):
Released prisoner Ahlam al-Tamimi said in a recorded speech that she was unable to attend the forum because she was listed on the wanted list of the International Police (Interpol), that Palestinian women played the main and most important role during the popular uprisings, viewing many of the old and modern jihadist roles of women. Al-Tamimi called on Arab women to break the silence and support Palestinian women by organizing weekly demonstrations and supporting their steadfastness in various ways. Women's organizations and human rights organizations also demanded that Palestinian women in general and women prisoners in particular be allowed to take their rights... The International Women's Coalition for Jerusalem and Palestine [evidently the organizer of the event] was founded in 2014 on the sidelines of a forum for pioneers in the Islamic world to support the steadfastness of Palestinian women and expose the Zionist violations that are being inflicted on Al-Aqsa Mosque in addition to activating projects and activities aimed at supporting Jerusalem and Palestine in all countries and resisting normalization with the occupation in all its forms.
The Arabic version of the FBI Tamimi
Wanted poster [Online original here]
Machine translations often have problems with expressions that possess special and distinct meanings in their original languages. When the Kuwaiti editors put words like "steadfast", "pioneers" and "take their rights" into the mouth of a self-confessed and boastful murderer of fifteen innocent people, most of them children, it's entirely possible that in Arabic she was saying things far more blood-curdling and hate-filled than the bland English that comes out at the end.

The Kuwaiti site does have an English-language edition. But for reasons only its editors and the commissars to whom they report know, the Tamimi quote and the report of those happy pioneers in Turkey are an Arabic-language exclusive. They go unreported in the English-language edition. (The editors and government officials know what their markets want.)

We already knew that in Kuwait, they admire Tamimi and the murders she engineered: she was an honored and highly publicized visitor there, including being interviewed at length on one of their television stations, first in July 2012 (on Iqraa TV - transcript here and reported by us here) and then again in March 2014.

As for Tamimi's mention of Interpol, here's what we think she means:

Jordan's absolute ruler
So long as she stays within the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, she's safe. That's provided King Abdullah II, the ruler of the kingdom who single-handedly appoints every last one of its judges and exercises total control over its lawmakers by dissolving the country's parliament roughly once every fifteen months (that's according to the US Congressional Research Service), keeps blocking US extradition efforts. As long as he does, and keeps ignoring the plain language of a 1995 extradition treaty his father signed with the Clinton administration 22 years ago, the boastful murderer will be safe.

But the minute she gets on a plane to travel - and she has done lots of travel since her freedom was extorted by Hamas in the Shalit Deal of 2011 - then she is at risk of being taken into custody.

That's the result of an arrest order announced in March 2017 ["14-Mar-17: Sbarro massacre mastermind is now formally charged and extradition is sought"] and made by a Federal judge four years earlier in Washington DC. In Istanbul, Turkey, she's a steadfast pioneer. In Amman, Jordan, she's a national hero and symbol of the resistance. In Washington, and via the eyes of the US Justice Department and the FBI, she's one of its most wanted fugitives.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

21-Oct-17: Early-morning rocket fire deep into northern Israel today and IDF believes the Syrians meant it this time

Damascus today: Iranians on the left, Syrians on the right, Iran's Maj. Gen.
Mohammad Bagheri in the middle shaking hands with Syria's top military
officer Gen. Ali Ayoub. The military agreement they signed is described
below [Image Source]

Israel's Syria border has been relatively quiet for decades. But the recent and ongoing geo-strategic changes in the Middle East (think: Iran) mean the likelihood of substantial changes there - for the worse - is on the minds of everyone in the Israeli security establishment.

Here's what we know about the events of today (Saturday).

Times of Israel, in a report entitled "Israel believes rocket fire from Syria may have been deliberate" says five rockets were fired across its border from Syria early this morning (Saturday). While earlier incoming rockets (there have been many this year already - most recently this past Thursday) have been called incidental to the ferocious blood-letting in Syria, today's
"may have been deliberately launched at Israel, rather than constituting errant spillover from clashes in Syria, military sources said late Saturday. Israel fired back into Syria, hitting three rocket launchers, in response to the rocket fire, and warned that further fire would prompt a more intensive response... Channel 2 news reported that although the IDF officially referred to “spillover” fire in its statements Saturday, there was “a growing sense” in the army that the Syrian fire was deliberate..." [Times of Israel, today]
Today's rockets were all fired into Israel around 5 am. Four fell relatively deeply inside Israeli territory and according to Times of Israel set off Code Red (Tzeva Adom) alarms in several locations. It's still believed at this stage that all crashed onto open ground without causing injury or damage, though one "landed close to an Israeli residential area."

Israeli suspicions start with the assessment that  no fighting was going on in any relevant part of Syria at the time of the fire. The Syrian army fully controls the specific area from which they were fired. And they landed far from the Syrian frontier.  And this:
Concluding a visit to Syria on Saturday, the commander of Iran’s armed forces signed a memorandum of understanding with Syrian officials in which the two allies announced plans for tighter military cooperation and coordination — notably against Israel. [Times of Israel, today]
More about that below.

All sides - Syria, Israel, Iran - have been making statements.

The Syrian defense ministry says Israel arranged for the rocket attack on its territory:
"The terrorists, acting at the behest of Israel, shelled empty ground to provide a pretext for this aggression..." [Turkish news site Daily Sabah, today]
The IDF doesn't think it attacked itself and issued this blunt warning:
“The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the security of its residents, and considers the Syrian regime responsible for what is happening in its territory... Even if this is just spillover, this is an exceptional incident and the continuance of such events will be met with a more fierce Israeli response... ” [IDF statement quoted by Times of Israel, today]
And Bagheri, the Iranian, said just three days ago from Damascus [source] where he arrived a day earlier that he was there to coordinate
in order to fight our common enemies — whether they are the Zionists or the terrorists. We discussed ways to strengthen relations in the future and outlined the basic principles of this cooperation... We cannot accept a situation where the Zionist entity attacks Syria from the ground and the air”.
Associated Press today added to what we know about the unusual Syrian junket by Iran's most senior military officer:
The Chief of Staff of Iran's armed forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, is on an official visit to Syria. He toured the front lines in the northern province of Aleppo and discussed military cooperation with President Bashar Assad... Syria and its strong backer Iran signed a joint memorandum of understanding for developing cooperation and coordination between the two countries' armies... [The] memo was signed between the two countries' chiefs of staffs [and] provides for exchanging military expertise and intelligence and technology information in a way that can boost the two countries' capability for fight terrorism, according to [Syria's] state news agency SANA. Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's strongest supporters since the country's crisis began in 2011 and has sent thousands of Iranian-backed militiamen to boost his troops against opponents.
Meanwhile, Israel National News says the IDF fire in the hours after the Syrian rocketry "destroyed three Syrian artillery cannons".

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

18-Oct-17: The luckiest Arab in the entire Gush

This photo of the scene accompanies the Ma'an Arabic report quoted here
Ynet reports this afternoon (Wednesday)
IDF force stops attempted terrorist attack | Palestinian armed with knife runs towards IDF force near Gush Etzion; force incapacitates him by shooting at his legs, arrests him.
Elisha Ben Kimon Published:  18.10.17 , 13:46
An IDF force carried out a suspect arrest protocol at a knife-wielding would-be Palestinian terrorist near the Gush Etzion junction Wednesday. A soldier from the Nahal's 50 Battalion was stationed in a pillbox at the junction's security checkpoint. The terrorist was running north, going against traffic. The soldier noticed he was carrying a suspicious object, which later turned out to be a knife, and called out to him, ordering him to stop. When the terrorist kept running, the soldier initiated a suspect arrest protocol, during which he shot the would-be terrorist in the stomach, incapacitating him. The suspect was taken to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem in moderate condition. There were no Israeli casualties.
Times of Israel says the attacker
ran at them with a knife at the Gush Etzion Junction... The soldiers called for the man to stop. When he didn’t, they opened fire, the army said... According to the hospital, the man is in moderate to serious condition, with a gunshot wound to the stomach. He is approximately 20 years old.
Then there's the version provided by Ma'an, a European-funded Palestinian Arab news source, with its customary spin on the facts:
A Palestinian youth was shot and injured by Israeli forces on Wednesday at the Gush Etzion junction south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack. Israeli media reported that the youth disembarked from a bus at the Etzion bus station carrying a knife and was immediately shot by Israeli soldiers in the area... Witnesses told Ma’an that the youth, who remained unidentified, was crossing the street running to catch another bus that was departing when Israeli soldiers opened fire at him... Though Israeli forces have claimed that Palestinians were allegedly attempting to carry out attacks in a majority of instances when Palestinians were killed, rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in a number of cases, and argued that many alleged attackers could have been subdued in a non-lethal manner.
(There's little doubt in our minds that Ma'an's disingenuous spinning of terror-attack reports encourages more of them. Their Arabic language edition is even more pernicious. We wonder how much their European government funders are aware of the nature of Ma'an's work-product. Or care.)

Readers might be interested to know that the Arabic version of the same Ma'an news organization has the same surreal accounting - innocent fellow, minding his own business, rushing to catch a bus and shot down in cold-blood by "occupation forces" - adding the not-so-inconsequential detail that the Arab was killed. No other report says he was, and it's fairly clear he wasn't.

This would-be killer is someone's son. If we were his parents, we would be busy this moment composing a heart-felt thank you note to the commanding officer of the young, cool-headed Nahal soldier doing guard duty at the Gush Etzion Junction where innumerable Arab-on-Israeli knifing attacks have resulted in deaths on both sides during the past two years. We would be saying thank you for sparing the life of our misguided, brain-washed, irresponsible and undeserving son who will now have the opportunity to either regret or to relive today's events.

That soldier, in the space of the handful of seconds available to him, had the power and the equipment to stop the knife attacker permanently. Instead he stuck to instructions and incapacitated him, leaving the medical professionals to bring the Pal Arab terrorist back to health - and a future.

A future which will now - as of this afternoon - include a guaranteed monthly salary from the terror-fixated Abbas regime and its appalling Rewards for Terror scheme. He's unlikely to ever be able to otherwise earn anything close to what the PA - thanks to unwitting or merely apathetic European and North American taxpayers - is about to start paying him for what he did in the Gush this afternoon.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

15-Oct-17: Rockets strike southern Israel from Sinai

Incoming hostile rockets were detected at about 10:15 tonight (Sunday) in southern Israel, and as a result the Tzeva Adom (Color Red) warning system was activated in multiple communities.

The IDF says there were two rockets and unlike the recent spate of inbound missiles from Gaza where Hamas runs everything, these originated in Sinai. The last time we saw Sinai rockets here was during the inaugural Trump visit five months ago: "23-May-17: In the midst of US presidential visit, ISIS plays its hand".

No indication yet of whether there has been any damage to property or worse. Israel National News says explosions were heard in the Eshkol region. Times of Israel quotes the IDF:
A military spokesperson said they were still looking for the rockets, indicating that they likely struck an open field, rather than a populated area. The army did not immediately identify who launched the rockets, but it was likely a Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State terrorist group.
Some background via Ynet:
Earlier in the day [Sunday], suspected Islamic State militants attacked six checkpoints in the turbulent north of the Sinai Peninsula, killing six [Egyptian] soldiers and wounding 37, according to [Egyptian] security and hospital officials. The officials said the near-simultaneous attacks took place at and around the town of Sheikh Zweid, with dozens of militants using heavy machine guns and mortars... Egyptian security forces have for years battled militants in northern Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip and Israel. But the insurgency there has gained momentum after the Egyptian military ousted an elected Islamist president [Morsi] in 2013.
Sheikh Zuweid (using the more common spelling) is a Sinai town of some 60,000 Bedouin that has been under the control of ISIS since 2015. Reuters adds this evening to what we know from Ynet when it says
At least 24 militants and six soldiers were killed on Sunday in attacks on military outposts in North Sinai, the Egyptian military said in a statement. The statement did not give details, but security and medical sources said about 20 members of the security forces had also been injured when more than 100 militants repeatedly attacked security outposts south of the border town of Sheikh Zuweid. The attackers used car bombs and rocket propelled grenades (RPG), the sources said.
Egypt's Sinai has been in a state of almost complete chaos for the past six years. This Jerusalem Post
backgrounder ["Lawlessness and terror: The Beduin kingdom of Sinai"] from March 2012 traces the spiraling downwards.

Monday, October 09, 2017

09-Oct-17: Behind those incoming rocket alerts

We originally published this November 2012 Cameron Cardow cartoon here 3 years ago [Image Source: The Cagle Post]
It's a rainy, sweet-smelling Monday morning here in Jerusalem.

But last night and the night before, both of them balmy and conducive to relaxation during a holiday week (Tabernacles, or Sukkot in Hebrew), in-bound missile alerts (emanating from Israel's advanced Tzeva Adom or Color Red warning system) were sounded across large swathes of southern Israel what we call here the Gaza Envelope. These were barely reported outside Israel.

The Saturday night alarm was soon explained by the IDF as a technical error. So, for a while, was Sunday night's. But about an hour after families rushed to their shelters with sleeping children in their arms, the IDF provided a fuller explanation. Here's how Times of Israel conveyed it:
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip failed to reach Israeli territory, the IDF said Sunday night, upending its earlier statement on the incident and confirming retaliatory Israeli artillery fire on a border post... [The] rocket aimed at the Jewish state exploded inside the Gaza Strip. Earlier on Sunday night, the military had said a rocket fell in an open area in the Eshkol region of southern Israel... The would-be rocket strike was the first projectile fired from the coastal enclave in two months. While no group immediately claimed Sunday’s rocket attempt, Israel holds Hamas responsible for all fire emanating from the Strip...  Earlier Saturday, Hamas said it had arrested four senior Islamic State members, including the group’s leader in the coastal enclave. The attempted rocket fire comes as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority are engaged in reconciliation negotiations to see the PA resume civil control of the Gaza Strip... ["Backpedaling, IDF says rocket from Gaza failed to hit Israel", Times of Israel, October 8, 2017]
A Gazan terrorist rocket fired at Israelis but which crash-lands in Gazan territory is a "fell short". They fall short often, though this is rarely reported either by the Hamas regime which rules Gaza or by the major news agencies [see "18-Nov-12: Fell short? Not just the Hamas rockets but the ethics of the journalists covering them"].

Click here to see other past posts of ours where "Fell Short" is one of the index terms: there are currently nearly 80 of them.

What's especially interesting and bothersome about Fell Shorts is that these often crash not just onto Gaza's territory but onto Gazan heads and homes. On a visit we made a couple of years ago to an IDF installation close to Gaza, we learned about serious injuries caused to hapless Gazans just a few days earlier. These had been reported nowhere - because political considerations cause Gaza rulers to hush up the Arab-on-Arab fall-out resulting from self-inflicted Fell Short explosions.

Living under the Hamas jackboot has never been easy.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

08-Oct-17: Why kill religious Jewish children? Because, says Hamas celebrity-jihadist, this is a religious struggle

We're posting this here and now because the Arabic-speaking world is currently in the grip of a spate of Arab media articles defending, supporting and celebrating the murders done by Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who masterminded the murder of our child. In fact, they're protesting the very notion that Tamimi is now wanted by the FBI. (Here's one of many examples from the past three days.)

The self-confessed murdering jihadist, interviewed by the ever-eager media (take a bow Associated Press and Al Jazeera) has lately been responding to their questions by saying she's innocent, she did nothing wrong, she's shocked that the American authorities, the Department of Justice, the FBI are going after her "for no obvious reasons". Those are all direct quotes.

There's an unusually large body of readily-accessible video material in which Ahlam Tamimi, the sociopathic Hamas terrorist, boasts of the murders she executed, reinforcing again and again that she has no regrets and why should she.

Here are some screen shots from just one: it's available via YouTube [here] for anyone wanting to see the whole clip.

"And from here [in Ramallah, on August 9, 2001 in the middle of the day] we started the operation..." [that led a couple of hours later to the murder of 15 innocent people, most of them children, all of them Jewish]

"Izzedine al-Masri [the human bomb whom she personally brought to the central Jerusalem site she had chosen to destroy] asked me just one question..."

"I had been to the area before [she had scouted central Jerusalem during the previous week for target-rich sites]..."

[And so] "I knew there  was a Jewish religious school near there..." [making it an ideal target for a bombing]

"That was his question and I said yes, there are religious Jews there, and also other people..."

"[Why did he ask?] Because the base of the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is a religious struggle..."

The video from which these images were extracted is "For the Sake of Allah", produced by the Center for Near East Policy Research headed by investigative journalist David Bedein. 

For the past 16 years, Tamimi has not denied any of the mass-murder charges against her. In fact, they're what have made her famous, given her a great, well-funded life, the status of a pan-Arab celebrity.

To suggest that terrorism like the murderous kind she so proudly practices and encourages is all about "occupation" and "territories" and "national rights of the Palestinians" is to ignore what this hatred-driven woman says to anyone who will listen. 

When she says to Al Jazeera [here. March 23, 2017] that "We only wanted freedom for our country, not to kill Israelis or others for the sake of killing," it's all for effect. Consider some of her better-known public statements, like this one that was broadcast on Al-Aqsa TV (operated by Hamas, whom she has served since 2001) on July 12, 2012
"While I was sitting on the bus, the driver turned on the radio. But first, let me tell you about the gradual rise in the number of casualties. While I was on the bus and everybody was congratulating one another, they said on the radio that there had been a martyrdom attack at the Sbarro restaurant, and that three people were killed. I admit that I was a bit disappointed, because I had hoped for a larger toll. Yet when they said 'three dead,' I said: 'Allah be praised.' ...Two minutes later, they said on the radio that the number had increased to five. I wanted to hide my smile, but I just couldn't. Allah be praised, it was great. As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding. They didn't even know that I was among them. On the way back [to Ramallah where she was due to read the news on the Istklal TV station that evening], we passed a Palestinian police checkpoint, and the policemen were laughing. One of them stuck his head in and said: 'Congratulations to us all.' Everybody was happy."
Only wanted "freedom"? Didn't want to kill Israelis? What actually drives this woman is not so hard to figure out.

In reality, Ahlam Tamimi is as guilty as sin.

08-Oct-17: Terrorists and justice for their victims

Over on the Ynet site they publish a valuable opinion piece today ["A life sentence should be for life"] by Shlomo Puterkovsky:
Op-ed: We owe the victims of terrorist attacks and their families to make sure that their killers remain in prison until the last day of their sentence. In fact, we owe this to all those affected by gruesome murders cases.
He focuses attention on the issues that are at the heart of our recent post ["03-Oct-17: Released in Shalit Deal, a pious Pal Arab murderer is going back (too late) to life in an Israeli prison"] about the murderer of Baruch Mizrahi. The victim's widow Hadas has been speaking to the media here about the desirability of Israel activating the death penalty. 

Puterkovsky, an influential columnist who contributes Hebrew-language commentary to Yedioth Aharanot, a major Israeli newspaper, says
we cannot ignore the real problem here. We cannot honestly tell ourselves that yes, the murderer has been appropriately punished, when we know that too many times murderers are freed after unreasonably short periods of incarceration. We cannot stand by as widows and orphans yell for justice, and turn away from their pain.
His comments are worth reading and he's right that the problem ought not to be ignored as it has been. But he doesn't mention what we think is the most important aspect of all. We posted the following comment under his article today:
Any analysis of this highly consequential issue has to start with recognizing that Israeli politicians simply don't acknowledge the moral and common sense obligation of consulting with the families of the terrorists' victims. 
In the six years leading up to the freeing of the mastermind of the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre and of my daughter Malki's murder, no political figure ever responded to the numerous calls my wife and I made for the killer to be left in prison to serve her 16 life terms. None of them ever responded to our serious criticisms afterwards. And none of them has ever acknowledged the colossal harm to all Israelis, but particularly the victim families, of dealing with life-and-death issues like this one in such a high-handed and unjust way. 
Unjust? Yes, it's a word that's connected to "justice". At heart, this debate is about justice. *Real* justice - and not the bogus justice that sloganeering politicians chronically claim to be serving.
Arnold Roth, Jerusalem 
Justice is very much on our minds at this point in our lives. We continue to work for the extradition and criminal prosecution under US Federal law of the mastermind we mentioned above. We mean Ahlam Tamimi. The FBI has declared her a fugitive from justice  ["01-Apr-17: Ahlam Tamimi, Most Wanted Terrorist - now in Arabic"] even as she lives freely and in the open in nearby Jordan where she enjoys the little-publicized support of the Royal Courts and of Jordan's king and his family.

Justice: It's a word that is thrown about by too many people with too little regard for its actual meaning. It's a message we have tried to advance a lot in recent years, here in our blog and on whatever public platforms we have managed to get. It's not enough. We have to do better.

A small selection of our previous posts on the subject:
A reminder that we have created an email list (contact us at thisongoingwar -at- to be added to it) for people who are ready to give a hand in our efforts to bring Ahlam Tamimi back in front of a court of justice.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

07-Oct-17: A quiet evening

London's museum precinct this afternoon: The driver
is pinned down by police [Image Source]
It's an ordinary Saturday night here in  Jerusalem.

Alright, not so ordinary since the whole country is in the midst of the Jewish religious festival of Sukkot which runs for a week and whose central motif is the temporary and generally-flimsy dwellings that are built by hundreds of thousands of families all over the country, and wherever in the world Jews live. It's the tail end of summer, the days are still sunny and warm and the evenings - Jerusalem's summer evenings are like this - are breezy and pleasant. A relaxing time.

All of which has gotten us thinking about the range and volume of news reports about terror in tonight's bulletins. A selection:
  • Authorities in New York City revealed last night (Friday) that they have arrested three ISIS sympathizers who planned terror attacks on various New York locations including the MTA subway, music concerts and targets in the Times Square area. NBC News says the FBI arrested Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, 19, a Canadian citizen, who [source] has been in US custody since May 2016 when he was arrested in New Jersey and who pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in October 2016; Talha Haroon, 19, an American citizen living in Pakistan and arrested there; and Russell Salic, 37, a Filipino who is being sent to the US for trial. It quotes Federal prosecutors saying the three men’s goal "was to kill and injure as many people as possible"  and that El Bahnasawy had already acquired bomb-making materials and secured a cabin to build them. They also planned - shades of last week's Las Vegas massacre - to shoot civilians "at specific concert venues". Reuters says "documents unsealed in federal court in Manhattan on Friday [showed] El Bahnasawy and Mr Haroon planned to carry out attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ran from early June to early July."
  • In Switzerland, a man wielding two knives rushed at police and two refugees inside a refugee center in the southern Italian-speaking region of Ticino at 2:00 am, local time, today. Police fired at the attacker as a result of which he is now dead. The French news agency AFP says the assailant was a 38 year old Sri Lankan "asylum seeker". Police were called to break up a fight in Brissago, on the shores of Lake Maggiore and were in the building when the man with the knives attacked the other people. 
  • French police yesterday (Friday) charged three men in Paris with launching an explosive attack on a residential building in the city's upscale 16th Arrondissment. The plot failed when the gas canisters they rigged up failed to ignite. According to Times of Israel, two of the suspects were already on a police terror-watch list. The three, identified as Amine A, his cousin Sami B, and Aymen B., are now charged with multiple crimes and in detention. Police found four gas cylinders after being called to the scene: two in the hallway attached to a mobile phone which evidently served as a detonator and two more on the sidewalk outside the building. Associated Press says the charges against the three are attempted murder linked to a terrorist enterprise, transporting explosives and participating in a terrorist association aimed at preparing attacks. All three have prior French criminal convictions; we are not yet able to learn the details.
  • In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a little-reported shootout today between police and terrorists, according to an RT news story, resulted in the deaths of a "gunman and two guards... as the Saudi Arabian security forces prevented a terrorist attack near the royal Al Salam Palace... There has so far been no confirmation of the attack from Saudi authorities. The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia has issued a security warning to American citizens in Jeddah over the reported attack." This is bound to get more coverage but there's almost none tonight. 
  • Another little-reported terror attack though on a much larger scale in the huge (but almost invisible to Western eyes) West African state of Niger. CNN says "three US Green Berets were killed and two others were wounded... near the Mali-Niger border when a joint US-Nigerien patrol was attacked Wednesday... Initial indications are the Green Berets were ambushed by up to 50 fighters who are thought to be affiliated with ISIS... The Green Berets were part of a team advising and assisting local forces when they were attacked." A sizable French and US military presence is seeking to stem the incursion of ISIS forces into Niger: some 800 US troops are currently based there; some are called advisers but that's likely to be mere foreign policy camouflage. CNN: "The US military has maintained a presence in the northwest African country for five years, with small groups of US Special Operations Forces advising local troops as they battle two terrorist groups, ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram and al Qaeda's North African branch, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb." 
  • In Malaysia, where the authorities have been on high alert for human bombs and shooters since "Islamic State launched multiple attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighboring Indonesia, in January 2016", Reuters says 8 people, four foreigners and four Malaysians, were taken into custody today "for suspected involvement in terrorist activities linked to Abu Sayyaf, the Islamic State and Jemaah Islamiah". Those arrested are said to include three Filipinos, one Albanian (a law lecturer at a local university) and two people convicted in 2016 of participating in terrorist activities (so people might be asking why are they free now).
  • And here in Israel, the death of Reuven Shmerling, a Jewish Israeli in his 70s who lived with his family in Elkana and whose body was found on Wednesday at a location on the outskirts of Kafr Qassem, an Israeli town whose residents are overwhelmingly Arab, now appears (after the police expressed initial doubt) to have been the result of terrorism. Haaretz says "Shmerling left his home on Wednesday morning and went to a warehouse in Kafr Qasem, which belonged to his son. When his wife Hanna noticed he did not return home and is not answering his phone, his son was called to the warehouse, where he discovered his father's body. Paramedics pronounced Shmerling dead. In a statement, Shmerling's family stressed they have no doubt he was killed in a terror attack."
Two additional alarming reports turn out (so far at least) to be unrelated to terror:
  • An incoming-missile alert was sounded in the Israeli communities closest to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip around the time we started writing this report. As of now (10:30 pm Saturday), the alert appears to be without basis and there were no actual rockets. This happens.
  • In London, a car drove onto the sidewalk outside a popular museum at 2:20 pm London time today. According to Financial Times, this happened "at the junction of Exhibition Road and Cromwell Road, between the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum — is part of a shared space experiment and the pavement is at the same level as the road." The response from security services was rapid and large: "dozens of armed officers flooded the area and a 200 metre cordon was created around the scene. Witnesses fled in panic as police told them to "keep running" and put businesses around the area in lockdown." [Telegraph UK]
    The BBC quotes the Metropolitan Police saying one person was arrested. But earlier concerns that this was a terror attack were now being set aside, and "the incident was being treated as "a road traffic collision". London Ambulance said the people it treated - including the detained man - had mostly sustained head and leg injuries. Nine were taken to hospital." Meanwhile the driver "is being held in custody at a north London police station." The British are uncommonly tense over the prospects of more terror in their lives; as BBC notes tonight: "The current terror threat in the UK is at "severe" - the second highest level - meaning an attack is highly likely."
Life is so much more relaxed when you ignore what terrorists are planning and doing. But the difficult reality is that ignoring them doesn't make them go away.