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Palestinian Terror Tag

Israelis have endured yet another week of nonstop terrorism. As we’ve noted in a number of prior posts, the ongoing attacks are a consequence of a “systematic Palestinian incitement to violence”. Really it’s nothing new. But in recent weeks it’s involved much of the Palestinian political and spiritual leadership preaching a visceral hatred of Jews and the Jewish state. In recent posts (see here and here), we also highlighted how virulently anti-Israel, and even anti-Semitic, views permeate Palestinian civil society. As noted in a report published this week by The Tower, which describes nearly a dozen “outrageous” types of incitement, the reality is that both Palestinian leaders and the public support brutal terror attacks against Israelis, routinely lionize murders, and view Israel as fundamentally illegitimate.

The Knife Intifada has demonstrated, once again, that the core conflict between Israel and Palestinians is not over final borders or "the occupation" of Judea and Samaria by Israel. As Prof. Miriam Elman has pointed out at Legal Insurrection, What Do Palestinians Really Want? New Study Reveals Disturbing Answers, Palestinians hold deeply anti-Jewish views and do not accept the legitimacy of any Jewish national entity. Those findings are consistent with some inconvenient history: The Grand Mufti, Hitler and the “Knife Intifada.” [caption id="attachment_146826" align="alignnone" width="600"][Haj Amin al-Husseini meeting with Adolf Hitler (December 1941)] Der Führer empfing in Gegenwart des Reichsministers des Auswärtigen von Ribbentrop den Grossmufti von Palästina, Sayid Amin al Husseini, zu einer herzlichen und für die Zukunft der arabischen Länder bedeutungsvollen Unterredung. 9.12.41  Presse Hoffmann [Haj Amin al-Husseini meeting with Adolf Hitler (December 1941)][/caption]So it was of great interest for me to read An interview with Benny Morris by Prof. Gabriel Noah Brahm at Fathom Journal.  Morris is the "controversial" Israeli historian who first pissed off the "right wing" by questioning some of the foundational beliefs as to how Israel came into being, and then equally pissing off the left by focusing on the role of anti-Jewish hate in the Arab opposition to the creation of Israel. Morris' views were explaind in the Middle East Forum in this interview in 2010 Benny Morris: "The 1948 War Was an Islamic Holy War" (emphasis added):

Unfortunately, Palestinian propaganda promises those "martyred" while killing or attempting to kill Jews an after-life of glory and paradise. This, of course, perpetuates the conflict and death on all sides. In a twist on that theme, two Palestinians shot and killed while carrying out knifing attacks were posthumously married at a funeral of one of them in Hebron. The video was posted on Facebook by the Palestinian Information Center which also tweeted the link. The Times of Israel provides more details:

Tuesday was another bloody day of Palestinian knifings, shootings, car rammings, and rock throwing. Bret Stephens in The Wall Street Journal summed up the current knifings in Israel quite well, Palestine: The Psychotic Stage:
Today in Israel, Palestinians are in the midst of a campaign to knife Jews to death, one at a time. This is psychotic. It is evil. To call it anything less is to serve as an apologist, and an accomplice.
But its psychotic for a reason -- generations of lies about Jews fed to Palestinians in schools, media, social media and mosques. Yaacov Lozowick, Israel's State Archivist, explains at this personal website, This is what long-term education to hatred will do :
Palestinian society sends itself into spasms of bloody and murderous irrationality from time to time; at the moment the present case doesn't seem the worst of them. Yet what's striking about this time is the age of the culprits. If in the second Intifada there were hundreds of suicide muderers and would-be-murderers, most of them were young adults, and they mostly had some sort of organization behind them. Someone had to give them an explosive belt and drive them to their target inside Israel. This time many of the attackers are teenagers, some even young teenagers; and since they're using kitchen knives, all they need is access to their mothers' kitchens.

When Professor Jacobson asked if I wanted to write a post describing how we Israelis are feeling under the current onslaught of terror and vicious incitement, I thought to myself "How do I expand "furious, angry, frightened and frustrated" into a few hundred words? It is rather hard to put these harsh emotions into words and explain how they affect our lives, but I shall try. Having taken not one single survey, so my apologies for generalizing and extrapolating from my own emotions, I think the dominant feeling amongst the Israeli populace is not fear or terror (though there is that too) but anger, accompanied by a good deal of frustration.

Frustration with Our Leadership

We are angry at the government, particularly at Binyamin Netanyahu who urges us not to let the terror affect our lives. Mr. Netanyahu, it IS affecting our lives! How could it not? And yet, we are also frustrated because we know that Bibi is right. We were more frustrated a few days ago because we felt the government wasn't being forceful enough in confronting the wave of terror, and concentrating on defensive rather than offensive steps. But they seem to be on the right path now, with the new open-fire legislation and easing the rules of engagement for the police and IDF.

The bloodshed continues in Israel today, with additional stabbings by Palestinians, including by a 13-year old of an Israeli teenager in Jerusalem. This is a very personal bloodletting inspired by incitement at home and abroad, and it even is tearing at the fabric of Israeli Arab society. The Muslim mayor of Nazareth lambasted Arab Knesset (parliament) members for inciting riots and ruining chances of peaceful coexistence. But the story to emerge today will be how a terrorist stabbed a soldier and tried to steal his weapon. The terrorist was stopped by Yair Ben-Shabat, an Israeli Seniors martial arts expert ... with his nunchucks.

Sometimes anti-Israel media bias is blatant, like the NY Times disgusting attempt to deny that Jewish Temples stood on the Temple Mount. A serious backlash forced the Times to issue a correction -- but why did it even attempt to feed into the incitement that denies the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount? Other times it is more subtle, like the the headline from The Independent in Britain about the shooting of a 16 year old Palestinian boy in Jerusalem. The headline, which is what most people read and sets the theme of an article, portrays the boy as the victim, and only obliquely references some connection to stabbings in Jerusalem. In fact, the 16 year old had just stabbed two elderly religious Jews on their way home from Shabbat prayers at the Western Wall. They survived, but one is in serious condition. Here's that 16 year old as he went on his stabbing spree, and then attacked a policeman. At that point he was shot dead. (Images via @IdoDaniel Twitter)

A few days ago we wondered whether the rise of Palestinian knife and rock attacks was the start of a Third Intifada. Despite cheerleading from Western anti-Israel activists hoping for more violence, and incitement by Palestinian politicians and religious leaders (like the Gaza preacher in the Featured Image), it's not clear whether this is something that will last. The Second Intifada lasted years and in its early stages -- before Israel built the security barrier and launched Operation Defensive Shield -- killed 452 Israelis in 2002 alone, plus hundreds more before it was quashed. But the scale of attacks is not letting up. ] Many of the attacks are by women, like this one in Afula who stabbed a security guard at the bus station and was shot in the lower body to disable her: Israeli undercover police have started infiltrating crowds of rock throwers. This image (video here) shows the moment the undercover police draw their weapons:

It's far from clear that there is a "Third Intifada" in Israel. But there are multiple attacks daily by Palestinians, usually involving rock throwing and knives. It's a very personal type of attack fueled by incitement in Palestinian and some western social media over the Temple Mount / Al Aqsa Mosque. Many of the rock attacks on the roads are attempted lynchings, hoping to stop the vehicle in order to kill the driver, such as this incident:
Lev Ohayon was on her way to work in Jerusalem from her home in Tekoa, when she was ambushed by a group of rock-wielding Palestinians, who shattered her car’s windows. One of them began to beat her, while trying to pull her out of the vehicle.

The First and Second Intifadas were bloody, with thousands killed. The Second Intifada was particularly gruesome, with Palestinian suicide bombers blowing up restaurants, buses and just about every other civilian target they could reach. Israel reacted by constructing the security barrier and launching Operation Defensive Shield. In the past couple of weeks in particular, there has been a surge in Palestinian violence with stabbings, firebombing and rock throwing. The uptick has been fed by deliberate incitement by Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian authority: Some Arab Israeli members of the Knesset also are involved in fanning the flames, like this Knesset member screaming at Jews to leave the Temple Mount:

This Thursday Israel’s 10-member security cabinet unanimously voted to approve a series of tougher measures against Palestinian rock and firebomb throwers. The new measures are being adopted following a heated debate this past week over what the government and police can and can’t legally do (shoot them with live fire? lock them in jail for longer periods? penalize the parents?) to crack down on Palestinian youth who hurl stone and petrol bombs onto highways and city streets with increasing impunity. There are no easy answers here, or simple solutions. According to experts familiar with these cases, rock-throwing is mostly being perpetrated by unorganized and leaderless young men, making it hard for Israel’s security and intelligence forces to prevent impending attacks. These angry Palestinian kids probably aren’t usually receiving direct orders to terrorize Jews. But they’re acting within an ideological environment that encourages and condones these attacks. In addition to incitement by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, Israeli Arab leaders incite violence by spreading falsehoods about the Al Aqsa Mosque:

All of Israel is reeling with shock at the news of the firebombing of the Dawabshe family's home in the Palestinian village of Duma, in which 1 year old baby Ali Saad was killed and his parents and siblings very severely injured. Prof. Jacobson covered the story in his post which also covered the 2011 stabbing death of Hadas Fogel in her crib by Palestinian terrorists. [caption id="attachment_136619" align="alignnone" width="550"][Ali Dawabsheh and Hadas Fogel] [Ali Dawabsheh and Hadas Fogel][/caption]I covered baby Ali's story, the stabbing attack by an ultra-Orthodox man on the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade (in which one Israeli girl was killed and 5 others injured) and the reaction in Israel to these terrible attacks in my post on my own blog. The reality is that firebomb (Molotov cocktail) attacks are frequent, and almost always by Palestinians against Israelis. In fact, barely a day goes by without such firebombings.

On a windswept hillside terrace in the massive Har HaMenuchot Cemetery on the western edge of Jerusalem, 1969 terror victims Edward Joffe and Leon ("Arie") Kanner are buried together, next to Edward's parents Roslyn and Hyman Joffe. The cemetery itself reflects the history of the conflict. Har HaMenuchot was opened in 1951, after Jordanian troops seized "East" Jerusalem after Israel declared Independence in 1948. Jordan's conquest included not only the Jewish Quarter of the Old City but also the Mount of Olives Cemetery, the traditional Jewish burial ground. The Jewish Quarter was ethnically cleansed of Jews and its Jewish landmarks, while Mount of Olives Cemetery was ransacked, its tombstones used for building projects and many of its graves paved over for roads. Har HaMenuchot was built in response. [caption id="attachment_130311" align="alignnone" width="600"]Har HaMenuchot Cemetery Jerusalem [Har HaMenuchot Cemetery, Jerusalem][/caption]  My wife and I visited the Joffe and Kanner graves at Har HaMenuchot on June 1, 2015. [Featured Image] The cemetery is so huge, so seemingly discombobulated, so logistically impenetrable even when armed with plot and section numbers, that it took us almost an hour to find the graves.  We were accompanied by a local Rabbi who helped us say prayers. We placed small stones on the graves, in the Jewish tradition. And we were overcome with emotion. The inscriptions on the graves are simple, and nearly identical. Edward's brother Harold provided the translation: [caption id="attachment_130324" align="alignnone" width="600"][Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner Headstones] [Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner Headstones][/caption]

My wife and I are back, after an intense two weeks in Israel. From the Lebanese to Gaza borders, from the Mediterranean Sea to Judea and Samaria, from the cool evenings of Jerusalem to the heat of the Negev Desert, from an apartment in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem to Bedouin villages in the north and south, from university campuses to military bases, from faculty to students, from Jews to Muslims ... I can't say we saw it all, but we saw a lot. I've documented most of our big events in daily posts, with the exception of our emotional meetings with the families of Edward Joffe and Leon Kanner, students killed in the 1969 Supersol supermarket bombing by Rasmea Odeh; that post is coming, but I still have new photos, documents and information I have to work through. Here are my 5 Big Takeaways from the trip:

1. Our Revenge Is That "We Are Still Here"

Near the start of our trip, we visited Moshav Avivim on the Lebanese border, where we met Shimon Biton, a survivor of the 1970 bazooka attack on a school bus by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Biton, who was six and one-half years old, lost his father in the attack, and himself was shot point blank range by the terrorists when they realized he survived the bazooka attack.  Ten days before we met Biton, he was reunited for the first time in 45 years with the nurse who helped save him.  (Featured Image)

Our journey off the usual tourist trail through Israel continued today with a visit to border areas near Gaza. Sderot is famous for being the closest Israeli town to Gaza, and the first and most frequent target. The Sderot Media Center has a wealth of information. Sderot Satellite Map North Gaza Because Sderot is so close, the town has only 15 seconds warning once a launch is detected. This video is from 2008: There are bomb shelters everywhere, including on the street (see Featured Image - "Shalom" painted on a bomb shelter) and in the playground, where the bomb shelter is in the form of a large caterpillar so as to make it more welcoming to children.

On Tuesday, May 25, 2015, we continued our tour of northern Israel along the Lebanese border, stopping at Moshav Avivim. While our discovery of a memorial to the victims of the Haifa Bus 37 suicide bombing and our visit to Ziv Hospital in Safed, and its Syrian patients, were unexpected, our visit to the Moshav was even more emotional and full of surprises - Revenge and Reunion. We met with Shimon Biton, the Secretary of the Moshav.  (Our excellent guide, Udi Guberman, provided translation, as Shimon does not speak English.) [caption id="attachment_128643" align="alignnone" width="550"][Shimon Biton, Moshav Avivim, Israel] [Shimon Biton, Moshav Avivim, Israel][/caption]A Moshav is a type of collective farming community where homes are owned individually and owners are allotted separate plots of land, but the community shares in certain expenses and resources. (Unlike a classic kibbutz, where all the property is communal.) There currently are 120 families in the Moshav, 480 people. There are plans to expand to add at least another 50 families, and the demand outpaces available spots. Moshav Avivim sits along the Lebanese border, just south of Bint Jbeil and Maroun Al-Ras.

In Israel, you are never far away from terror or the memory of terror. I learned that by chance tonight. We arrived in Israel late afternoon yesterday, May 23, 2015.  Today was planned as a rest day to try to adjust to the 7-hour time difference. From the airport we headed directly for Haifa, the northernmost big city in Israel, with a population just under 300,000.  It is a very mixed city, both ethnically and religiously. Haifa Country Satellite Map We started the day with the classic Israeli Shakshuka breakfast at the Villa Carmel, where we are staying:

On March 21, 1997, a Hamas suicide bomber detonated his bomb at the Café Apropo on Ben Gurion Boulevard in Tel Aviv. CNN reported at the time:
A suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded Tel Aviv outdoor cafe Friday, killing at least three other people and injuring more than 40 others. Many patrons were dressed in costumes to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim. The militant Islamic group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. Israel immediately sealed the West Bank and Gaza Strip, barring all Palestinians from entering Israel. The death toll rose to four after an injured woman died at Tel Aviv's Ichilov hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said. Two other Israeli women died at the scene.... The bomb was studded with nails for more deadliness.... "The peace process is threatened not by the periodic disagreements, but by the mentality that says that if we have a disagreement we can go and blow them up," [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu said. "It is threatened by the idea that violence is sanctioned despite negotiations, that you can kill women and kids in a cafe. All the attempts to explain this away, they are a threat to the peace process," he said. "So I would advise the international community to do the right thing, and that is for them to understand nothing justifies terrorism." ...
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