When in Doubt, Take a Selfie
Daniel Ben-Shabbat is a young Israeli soldier. Like all young Israeli soldiers, she doesn’t like Sundays. On Sundays, young Israeli soldiers have to wake up early, put on their uniform, and hop a bus back to their base after a weekend at home. This is never pleasant, and even less so when the country is seized by a wave of Palestinian terrorism that puts everyone, but soldiers especially, on edge.
This Sunday, Ben-Shabbat took her seat on Bus 836 from Tiberias to Tel Aviv. She sat by the window, as she always did, and looked forward to leaning her head on the cool glass and catching a few more minutes of sleep before reporting for duty. Then, the bus stopped and a young Arab woman got on.
Her head was covered. She argued with the driver in an accent that left little doubt about her ethnicity. And even though there were other seats available, she walked right up to Ben-Shabbat and sat besides her.
Given the current state of affairs, the young soldier’s heart was racing. Will the young Arab woman do as several young Arab women had done in the last few weeks and pull out a knife? If so, how would Ben-Shabbat respond? Using pepper spray struck her as uncool; she’d have to respond with her bare hands, and played out kung fu scenarios in her mind. She grew scared.
Which is when she decided to do what felt most natural: she texted her mother. Concerned, the mother advised Ben-Shabbat to quietly get up and move to a different seat. The young soldier considered it for a moment. Then she looked at the young woman sitting next to her. They were about the same age. Ben-Shabbat looked at her seat mate’s pale pink lipstick. She knew exactly what she wanted to do.
Without thinking twice, Ben-Shabbat turned to the young Arab woman and told her that she was freaked out for a moment, that she had texted her mother, that her mother told her to switch seats. Then, she asked the young woman if she’d mind taking a selfie together, just so Ben-Shabbat’s mother sees there was nothing to worry about. The young Arab woman laughed and agreed right away. After the shot was snapped, Ben-Shabbat texted it to her family, together with a humorous caption that read “taken just a few moments before the stabbing attack on board bus number 836.”
The two women started talking. Ben-Shabbat learned that her seat-mate was named Saffa, that she was a student in Tel Aviv University, and that she didn’t care much for politics. Later that day, she posted the selfie she took and the story that went with it to Facebook. It went viral, a brief moment of humor and hope in a moment largely devoid of either.
Palestinian stabbers in Beit Shemesh tried to board school bus, police say
The two Palestinian assailants armed with knives who stabbed an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man in Beit Shemesh initially tried to board a bus filled with schoolchildren, police said on Thursday.
A police spokesperson said that authorities received reports of two suspicious individuals who tried to board a transport carrying a group of school kids in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox town.
When a passerby yelled toward the two men asking why they were trying to get on the school bus, they quickly got off, according to police.
Shortly after receiving a description of the two men from concerned citizens, police and Border Police units found the suspects near a bus station on Yehezkel Hanavi Street.
Officers saw the two men while they were stabbing a Jewish passerby at the bus station. The police engaged the assailants, shooting them and wounding them.
The two assailants were rushed to hospital in serious condition. A subsequent search revealed that the two men were wearing undershirts bearing the insignia of the Iz a-Din al-Kassam Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
Police praised the actions of the officers who shot the assailants, saying that “the harming of more innocents was prevented.” (Jerusalem Post)
Five West Bank terrorist attacks leave 7 Israelis wounded
Six soldiers and a policeman were wounded in five West Bank terrorist attacks on Wednesday, as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai appealed to Palestinian leaders to calm the situation.
“It is not too late to stop the deterioration [of the security situation],” Mordechai said at press conference to the foreign media. Mordechai condemned the incitement that is fueling the spate of terrorist attacks, saying that the “word is more harmful than the sword.”
At night five soldiers in their 20s were wounded when they were run down by a terrorist after their vehicle was stoned on Route 60 near the Palestinian village of Beit Umar, just outside the Etzion Bloc.
The soldiers got out in an attempt to halt the stone throwing and were run down by the Palestinian driver. A fifth soldier shot and wounded the driver, who was then taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
One of the four soldiers was seriously wounded and the other three were lightly wounded and one is in moderate condition. The four were admitted to Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
Later in the day, near the settlement of Ofra, a Palestinian driver ran a checkpoint on Route 60, hitting and lightly wounding a police officer who tried to stop him.
Earlier, near the entrance to Ma’aleh Adumim outside of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria police said that officers pulled over a car whose Palestinian occupants aroused suspicion.
A search of the vehicle revealed two improvised explosive devices, but police gave no indication of their size or sophistication.
Police later said that an initial investigation showed that the two men had planned to use the explosive devices against security forces.
“The attack was foiled,” said Judea and Samaria District chief Cmdr. Shlomi Michael.
In the afternoon a Palestinian terrorist stabbed and seriously wounded a 19-year-old female IDF soldier just outside of Jerusalem at Kikar Adam in the West Bank.
MDA paramedic Assaf Ben Artzi, the first on the scene, described finding the woman lying on a dirt path near a road, with civilians attempting to help her. He gave her life-saving initial treatment and she was rushed to Hadassah- University Medical Center in Jerusalem. She remained conscious the whole time, he said.
A second female soldier from the same battalion shot and killed the terrorist.
The IDF arrested another suspect at the scene on suspicion of being linked to the stabbing.
In the morning, a Palestinian teenage girl, 15, armed with a knife walked toward the settlement of Yitzhar, prompting the IDF to send a patrol to the area.
Soldiers called on her to stop, and fired a warning shot in the air, but she ignored them. A soldier then shot and wounded the woman.
IDF soldiers provided the suspect with medical treatment at the scene before she was evacuated.
Yitzhar residents were asked to stay inside their homes during the incident.
At the press conference, Mordechai referred to the Palestinian teenager at Yitzhar and said, “When she was asked who sent her, she replied: ‘No one.’ Palestinian youths are being fed incitement and are subject to deceitful brainwashing regarding events on the Temple Mount.”
He also accused Hamas of exploiting the violence to undermine the stability of the Palestinian Authority. “There has been no change in the status quo on the Temple Mount, and there will be no change,” he said.
“The IDF is safeguarding daily life in the West Bank” and is “distinguishing between the [Palestinian] people and terrorism.”
In an interview with Channel 2 Wednesday night, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said: “There is no focused, clear solution to this kind of challenge.
There is an integrated, multi-dimensional response. I believe that a solution to this problem will be found, even if it takes time.” (Jerusalem Post)
New website tells you how long ‘Israel has been terror free’
A new website has been launched which vividly illustrates the relentless nature of the ongoing Arab terrorist campaign against Jews in Israel, by charting in real time the amount of time since the last terrorist attack.
The site, http://www.israelhasbeenterrorattackfreefor.com/, went live yesterday (Wednesday). Its creator says his aim is to “demonstrate the impossibility of maintaining a normal life in Israel these days, where terror attacks take place in every city and town, and where Palestinian hatred and incitement are aimed towards Israeli civilians – men, women and children.”
Inspiration for the site was based on the IsraelHasBeenRocketFreeFor site, which similarly charts rockets fired against Israeli civilians from Gaza.
The new site’s creator, Ofer Zelig, a Melbourne-based software developer, grimly noted just how often he has reset the timer in the short period since its launch.
“I’ve created this web site hoping that I will never need to update it with new terror attack reports,” he said. “Woefully, since putting it online it has already been updated with new terror attacks several times.
“I’d like to note that I only update it with terror attacks that end with Israeli casualties. Other attempts, that don’t incur casualties, are usually not even mentioned in the media – there are dozens of them every single day.” (Arutz Sheva)
Rocket fired from Gaza lands in southern Israel
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in open territory in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council near the border fence on Wednesday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the attack.
A red alert siren sounded in the area prior to the falling of the rocket.
Security forces were checking if any additional rockets landed in Israeli territory.
The sirens came a day after the IDF identified and opened fire on a terrorist cell in Gaza which it said has been behind a series of sniping attacks on security forces recently
According to the army, in a combined operation of the IDF, Border Police Counter-Terrorism Unit and Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency, security forces carried out sniper fire on the southern Gaza cell, which had been operating close to the Gaza border fence over the past week.
The cell was “preparing additional sniper attacks,” the army said. The cell was accurately struck.
The IDF said the operation “to eradicate the immediate threat” concluded without injury or damage to the Israeli side.
“The IDF will not tolerate attempts to harm Israeli citizens and soldiers and will continue to operation against every attempted terror attack on the State of Israel,” the military said in a statement.
The army declined to provide details on which organization the cell belonged to.
In light of the potential threat of attacks from the cell, the IDF advised Israeli farmers near the enclave’s border to stay clear of the vicinity.
According to farmers, a notice was sent to abstain from work in their fields due to fears of a large-scale terror attack from Gaza such as a strike using anti-tank missiles.
Israel’s Prime Minister, US Ambassador Refute 10 ‘Deadly Lies About Israel’
Israel went on the defensive Wednesday, pushing back against what officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have called the “10 biggest lies” being spread about the Jewish state and its actions, amid the recent spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
In addition to the prime minister, who declaimed the 10 lies to the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer also laid them out, virtually identically, in a piece appearing on the same day in Politico.
The first two lies address the Temple Mount, a site around which Israel believes the current escalation in Arab attacks against Israeli Jews originated. Those lies are that Israel is either trying to change the agreements set up between Israel, Jordan and Palestinians to administer the site to allow Jews the right to pray there; many Israeli activists and some politicians say Jews should have the right to worship anywhere on the Temple Mount, which is where many Jews believe the Jewish temple once stood.
The second lie was that Israel was trying to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Palestinians have been propagating the ‘al-Aqsa is in danger’ myth since at least 1929, when the Palestinian icon, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, used it to inspire the massacre of Jews in Hebron and elsewhere,” wrote Dermer.
Then, Netanyahu and Dermer tackled the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), obviously a point of contention between Israelis and Palestinians, many of whom want all of the territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war for a future Palestinian state. The “lie,” the two argue, is that Israel has increased construction in those areas. Netanyahu pointed out that the number of units added annually to existing settlements has gone down to about 1,500 under his leadership, compared to 5,000 units under former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
The fourth and fifth “lies” deal with the Israeli response to the surge in terrorist attacks — mostly stabbings, but also shootings and targeted car-rammings — which have become near-daily occurrences since the beginning of October. The first is another refutation of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ accusation of Israeli security forces “executing” a 13-year-old boy while he was in the middle of stabbing innocent Israeli passers-by; Israel has since released footage of the teenager being treated in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.
In addressing the fifth accusation, Netanyahu and Dermer — a former close adviser to and speech writer for the prime minister — said Israeli security was delivering the appropriate force in “life-threatening situations,” and asked Americans whether they would not expect the same of domestic law enforcement. The U.S. had suggested — and subsequently back-tracked — that Israel was using “excessive force” in dealing with the spike in Palestinian violence.
The sixth and seventh “lies” are political: that Israel is behind the stagnated peace process, and that Abbas is a moderate voice among Palestinian officials. The prime minister and ambassador said the peace process is unrelated to Palestinian terrorism, which seeks to destroy the Jewish state, regardless. Concerning Abbas, the two noted the P.A. president has not condemned a single one of the many terrorist attacks that have been committed since the beginning of October.
As for the eighth “lie,” Israel rejected getting the international community involved in maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount; this accusation was addressed after six Arab states, including peace partner Egypt, raised a motion at UNESCO to rename the Western Wall a Muslim holy site. The resolution was later amended, removing that statement.
For the ninth “lie,” the Israelis rejected claims that the conflict between Israelis and the Palestinians is because the Palestinians do not have a state, alleging, “The Palestinians have always been more concerned with destroying the Jewish state than with creating a state of their own. The core of the conflict remains the persistent refusal of the Palestinians to recognize the nation-state of the Jewish people in any borders.”
Lastly, Israel said Palestinian terrorism is not an expression of frustration, a claim the prime minister and ambassador labeled a “lie.” Rather, Palestinian terrorism is a “product of incitement,” which Israel has attributed to Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, Gaza and abroad.
“The biggest frustration of the terrorists is that they have failed to destroy Israel. They will continue to be frustrated,” wrote Dermer. (The Algemeiner)
Man thought to be terrorist killed in Jerusalem after assaulting soldiers
Two soldiers shot and killed a man they thought to be a terrorist in Jerusalem Wednesday night, after the man attacked them and tried to grab one of the weapons they were carrying.
According to police, the incident began when two soldiers boarding a bus near the entrance to the capital were asked for identification by an unknown man. When the soldiers, in response, asked the man to identify himself and submit to a search, he began physically assaulting them and tried to seize one of the firearms they were carrying, according to a police account.
The soldiers opened fire on the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The man did not have a knife on him, as previously reported. A search on his body revealed an Israeli ID card, and reports indicated he was Jewish. But police said they were still working to identify him.
The incident occurred on Yirmiyahu street, in the city’s Romema neighborhood, and came after another day of attacks against Israelis.
Earlier, a vehicular assault in the West Bank left five soldiers injured hours after a female soldier was stabbed and critically injured by a Palestinian man in Jerusalem
Earlier in the day, a man rammed his car into a checkpoint near the settlement of Ofra, injuring a policeman.
The incident comes three days after an Eritrean asylum seeker was mistaken for a terrorist during the terror attack at the Beersheba Central Bus Station in Jerusalem on Sunday night, and was shot by security forces before being severely beaten by a mob.
Haftom Zarhum, 29, died of his wounds later that night. Police said they arrested four people in connection with the beating, which was filmed.
Zarhum’s autopsy ruled he died of gunshot wounds, rather than the vicious beating he received from bystanders. (The Times of Israel)
Netanyahu responds to critics: Absurd to ignore mufti’s role in Holocaust
‘I didn’t mean to absolve Hitler of responsibility, but to show that the father of the Palestinian nation wanted to destroy the Jews even without occupation,’ the PM said before leaving to Berlin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded on Wednesday to the uproar he caused a day before when he said that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was the one who planted the idea of the extermination of European Jewry in Adolf Hitler’s mind.
Speaking before taking off for a diplomatic visit in Berlin, Netanyahu said that he didn’t mean to diminish from Hitler’s responsibility for the Holocaust. “He is responsible for the Final Solution, and he made the decision,” he said.
According to Netanyahu, the criticism leveled at him by politicians from the opposition as well as historians is absurd. “It is also absurd to ignore the role played by the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was a war criminal and encouraged Hitler to exterminate European Jewry.”
Netanyahu stressed that there are many testimonies of the mufti’s involvement in the Final Solution. He quoted parts of the testimony given by Adolf Eichmann’s deputy Dieter Wisliceny at the Nuremberg trials. Wisliceny said that “the mufti played an important role in the Final Solution and was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jews.”
According to Netanyahu, there is an attempt by some academic researchers to provide apologetic explanations for the mufti’s role during the Holocaust, but added there are other researchers who reference the testimonies against al-Husseini.
“I didn’t mean to absolve Hitler from responsibility, but to show that the father of the Palestinian nation wanted to destroy the Jews even without territories, without occupation and without settlements,” the prime minister said. “Unfortunately, [al-Husseini] is still a revered figure in Palestinian society and in their books which are filled with incitement.” This incitement, Netanyahu said, “started with him and continues today – not in the same manner, but it’s the root of the problem.”
He added that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas aggrandizes the mufti’s name.
“It’s important to recognize historical facts and not to ignore them – not then and not now,” he said.
He emphasized that he plans to demand John Kerry pressure Abbas to stop the incitements when he meets the Secretary of State in Berlin on Thursday. That incitement, Netanyahu said, was the source of the violence. (Ha’aretz)
Israel’s “Knock on the Keyboard” campaign spies on and subverts terrorist social networks
The newest type of Israeli intelligence officer does not require expertise in hand-to-hand combat, shooting or the ability to survive in enemy territory, but rather a keyboard, screen, internet connection and a complete command of Arabic, including idioms, jargon and expressions. The officer goes online under a false name and uses social networks to connect with those about to stab, run down or shoot Israelis. Along with the undercover agents in the field, there is a new generation of Israeli “digital HUMINT” officers who are updated on the latest trends among the Arab youth and spread out in the same digital space as the users in the back alleys of Palestinian refugee camps. Posing as terrorists, they use their fluent Arabic on Facebook or Twitter to request instructions, assistance, information and direction to “carry out attacks.”
Israeli policymakers and security chiefs have different views on the existence of a central figure or group at the head of the current wave of terror that began with the murder of Na’ama and Itam Henkin on October 1. and for which no end is in sight. But they all agree on the means used to disseminate and scale up the knife attacks, stone throwing, gunfire and hit-and-run attacks, which have killed 11 Israelis and wounded dozens until now.
Those means consist largely of Facebook and Twitter and instant messaging services such as Skype and Whatsapp, which communicate instructions to the terror operatives.
They also serve as mass media for publicizing and glorifying acts of terror, relaying training methods, spreading propaganda, marking targets and post mortems on operations performed.
The social media and instant messaging provide the masters of terror with endless services, such as the transfer of private data, video and images and even chitchat between “friends.” Encrypted information carried thereby can’t be decoded.
The causes of Palestinian terror have not changed fundamentally over the years from one outbreak to the next. The “soldiers of terror” have the same motivations today as yesterday. The only difference is the mode of communication between the rank-and-file terrorists and their handlers.
Land-line and cellular communication, which until a few years ago served security organizations as their primary tools for forestalling terror, are now old hat. Almost extinct too are the costly technological engineering and SIGINT (signal intelligence) equipment and information systems, once used for disrupting and thwarting terror.
The contemporary emphasis on OSINT (open source intelligence), which monitors the mass media, such as television and radio stations, internet sites and newspapers, has given birth to a new branch of intelligence, which harvests critical operational and tactical data from the social networks. ,
The present-day Israeli intelligence officer is not trained in hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship or methods of surviving in enemy territory. He is armed with a keyboard, screen, internet connection and a complete command of Arabic, including idioms, jargon and expressions. This officer goes online using a false name and accesses the right social networks to connect with those about to stab, run down or shoot Israelis.
HUMINT (human intelligence), classic field intelligence, is taking on a new form. Besides the field commanders and the undercover agents, there is a new generation of Israeli “digital HUMINT” officers, who are updated on the latest trends among young Arabs by invading their digital space. Posing as terrorists, they use their fluent Arabic on Facebook or Twitter to request instructions, assistance, information and direction to “carry out attacks”,
It is an established fact that social networks are a key operational medium in the service fo terrorists for transferring orders and instructions. Israeli intelligence is well prepared to move in on this chink in the terrorists’ defenses, better than their Western counterparts.
Hundreds of male and female soldiers with fluent Arabic, using false names to mingle among Arab web surfers, were first used to good purpose at the outset of the Arab Spring. The project picked up steam as the trend of terror in the Arab and Muslim world grew.
For terrorists, the social networks have both advantages and disadvantages. A young man in Beit Hanina or Issawiyeh, who uploads to Facebook a video praising a Palestinian driver who ran down Jewish pedestrians, or offering guidance on where to thrust a knife to kill a Jew, also gives away his IP address, his e-mail address, and the visitors who post comments and likes.
The vast amount of data garnered from social networks is a gold mine for analysts to draw conclusions, delineate the web of ties among terrorists and home in on orders and instructions passed out to fuel the current wave of terror.
With this fuel constantly on tap to keep the flames high, diplomatic efforts underway to calm the conflict, such as visits by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon or US Secretary of State John Kerry, are no more effective than a small glass of water. The best hope of curbing the violence rests with the new modes of operation which Israeli intelligence has switched into high gear.
Even in the midst of serial terror, these cyber warriors are busily sifting through an ocean of information from open sources and making headway towards identifying the chains of command orchestrating the wave of violence, as well as individuals, pairs or groups responsible for carrying out the attacks.
Equally important, they are using the social networks to sow panic and confusion among the terrorists, thus rendering them almost useless as means of furthering terror.
Not an uprising against occupation. An uprising against Israel
In bloody, unmistakable capital letters, the perpetrators of this new round of evil mayhem proclaim to Israelis: We don’t want to live alongside you. We want to kill you
by David Horovitz The Times of Israel
They say this is not “organized” or “orchestrated” terrorism, but it is. In fact it is more widely “orchestrated” than the suicide bombings of the Second Intifada.
At the start of the 2000s, Hamas and Fatah terrorists were training, arming and dispatching suicide bombers to target our buses, malls, restaurants and more killing 10 and 20 and 30 people at a time. Our defense minister assures us that there is no terrorist “infrastructure” in the West Bank these days capable of replicating those waves of bombers. Time will tell if he’s right about that.
But what we face now is unknown numbers of potential attackers, who ha’ve been stirred to murderous fervor by a thoroughly organized campaign of hatred against us.
The message that “the Jews are plotting against Al-Aqsa” has been pushed for months by Palestinian political chiefs, spiritual leaders, mainstream and social media: Mahmoud Abbas in speeches to his people (he finally lost the Israeli middle ground with his false accusation last week that Israel executed the teen Pisgat Zeev stabber); Fatah in leaflets and Facebook posts; Hamas in videos; the Islamic Movement agitating inside Israel; Arab Knesset members all these and others have been throwing fuel onto the fire.
As was the case 11-15 years ago, the result is that we set out each day knowing that people around us want to kill us. For now, they are generally using less devastating methods than back then. But potentially, there are more of them. And they are right here among us on the “good” side of the barrier we built to stop those Second Intifada bombers. They are men, women and even children. And the brainwashing has been so effective that they come at us ready and willing to die in the act of killing the Jew the evil Jew, they have been so effectively persuaded, who has no right to be here, who has no connection to Jerusalem and to this land.
They say that relations between Jewish and Muslim citizens of Israel will never be the same after this, whenever “after this” may be. But black though this October has become, that dire conclusion seems premature, at least as of this writing.
Israeli Arabs were barely involved in the Second Intifada; their involvement in the current terror frenzy has been relatively marginal despite the best efforts of some of their Knesset representatives and may not signal the collapse of all bridges. The Nazareth woman who pulled a knife in Afula bus station on October 9 and was shot in the lower body, apparently had mental issues. The terrorist who stabbed four near Hadera on October 11 was living in Umm al-Fahm, but was not an Israeli Arab; he was born in the West Bank, and was in Israel under a family reunification arrangement. The mother of the Bedouin terrorist who killed a soldier and opened fire in Beersheba bus station on Sunday night was born in Gaza; the Bedouin community and the killer’s relatives rushed to condemn and dissociate themselves from his actions.
Israel’s relationship with its Arab community is complex, to put it mildly. They are (overwhelmingly) not Zionists; they are (overwhelmingly) law-abiding citizens. They want to see the conflict with the Palestinians resolved; the Islamic Movement uses that conflict to foment hatred and violence; the most successful of their political parties, Hadash, seeks co-existence. There’s a danger of self-fulfilling prophecy in writing off Jewish-Muslim ties inside Israel.
They say that Israel is putting up walls and dividing Jerusalem again. But the placing of six slabs of concrete in Armon Hanatziv planned before the current wave of stabbings, to block petrol bombs and stones in a particularly hard-hit area does not constitute the redivision of the city.
Still, the roadblocks at the entrances to Arab neighborhoods underline that Jerusalem has never truly been united since 1967; its Arab neighborhoods were never integrated. The folly of expanding the city’s borders to include Arab areas without seeking to govern them equitably has never been more clearly exposed than it is today, when Israel must protect its citizens from residents it chose to include in its capital city. This was fertile ground for the haters to exploit.
They say that this is the latest uprising against the occupation. It isn’’t. It’s the latest uprising against Israel.
Most Israelis don’t want to rule over the Palestinians. Most Israelis want to separate from the Palestinians. If the Palestinians want a state based on the 1967 lines, they have to convince a majority of Israelis that their independence would not threaten our existence. You’d think this would be obvious. Evidently it isn’t.
This latest phase of terrorism and violence like the conventional wars, and the suicide bomber onslaught, and the relentless campaign of misrepresentation and demonization and denial of Jewish history in the holy land sends the opposite message to Israel. Much of the rest of the world so short-sighted in viewing Israel as the Goliath when it’s a tiny, loathed sliver in a region seething with Islamist extremism refuses to see it. But in bloody, unmistakable capital letters, the perpetrators of this new round of evil mayhem proclaim to Israelis: We don’t want to live alongside you. We want to kill you and force you out of here.
Cutthroats of the Holy Land
A spate of Palestinian knife attacks shows why peace remains elusive
By Clifford D. May -The Washington Times
Over the years, Israelis have had to defend themselves from foreign armies, suicide bombers and missiles. Over recent weeks, they’ve been confronting a new threat: young Palestinians wielding butcher knives.
Unlike the cutthroats of the Islamic State and al Qaeda, these fanatics aren’t able to bind their victims and behead them. But videos on social media teach would-be assassins how to use sharp instruments to inflict maximum damage on unsuspecting Israelis. An imam in Gaza has been recorded on the pulpit brandishing a six-inch knife, urging his “brothers” to go out in the streets, find a Jew and “stab!”
Attacks have been occurring almost daily since the beginning of the month, claiming — at last count — eight Israeli lives, with more than 70 injured. Also last week, some 100 Palestinian youths set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank. Add that to the growing list of religious sites — from Afghanistan to Syria to Mali — targeted by self-proclaimed jihadis.
Lies and libels spread via social media have incited the current spate of bloodletting. The three most responsible parties: the Islamic Movement in Israel, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate; Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood branch that rules Gaza; and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.
The most far-fetched lie: Israelis plan to destroy the al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, which was built atop the more ancient Temple Mount, Judaism’s most sacred ground. Also baseless: Mr. Abbas’ charge that Israel intends to change the “religious status quo.”
What that means in plain English: Currently, Israelis protect the right of Muslims to pray at al Aqsa; non-Muslims may not, though they are permitted to visit the site. Over the past year, according to Israeli figures, nearly 4 million Muslims came to worship. By comparison, 200,000 Christians and 12,000 Jews visited the Temple Mount.
Mr. Abbas has decided that’s unacceptable. “Al Aqsa Mosque is ours,” he recently said. “[Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.” He encouraged aspiring terrorists, saying: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. Every shahid [martyr] will be in heaven and every wounded person will be rewarded by Allah’s will.”
In the past, Mr. Abbas has at least appeared to believe that terrorism does not serve Palestinian interests. But it has been years since he has been willing to conduct direct negotiations with Israelis. And, at the United Nations recently, he said he’d no longer abide by the Oslo Accords, agreements reached in the 1990s aimed at providing a road map toward a two-state solution.
You may wonder how it came about that the Jewish state grants more religious freedom to Muslims than to Jews. The story is told vividly in “Jerusalem: The Biography,” a brilliant history by the British writer Simon Sebag Montefiore.
In 1967, Arab states went to war with Israel. Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nassar proclaimed the war’s objective: “the destruction of Israel.” Iraq’s leader said, the “goal is to wipe Israel off the face of the map.”
At the time, Jordan ruled east Jerusalem, as well as Judea and Samaria, territories it had renamed “the West Bank.” For centuries, these had been possessions of the Ottoman sultan in Istanbul. Following World War I and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, they passed to British control under a mandate from the League of Nations.
After World War II, Britain granted eastern Palestine independence under a monarch from the royal Hashemite clan, which had been displaced from Arabia by its Saudi rivals. In 1948, as Jews were fighting the armies of five Arab nations to establish a state of their own in their ancient homeland, the kingdom of Jordan occupied east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
Jews who had been living in these places were either killed or driven out. Jewish worship was forbidden and Jewish holy sites were desecrated or destroyed.
Nevertheless, Israel very much wanted Jordan to sit out what would become known as the Six-Day War. Mr. Montefiore recounts: “Three times, Israel warned King Hussein, through the U.S. State Department, the U.N. in Jerusalem and the British Foreign Office, that ‘Israel will not, repeat not, attack Jordan if Jordan maintains the quiet. But if Jordan opens hostilities, Israel will respond with all its might.’ ”
In the end, the king did order an attack and Israel did respond with all its might, expelling Jordanian forces. Mr. Montefiore describes Israeli Gen. Moshe Dayan approaching the Temple Mount and spotting an Israeli flag atop the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine adjacent to al Aqsa. “I ordered it removed immediately,” the general said.
He then issued a statement guaranteeing Muslims “full freedom of worship. We’ve not come to conquer the holy place of others but to live with others in harmony.” Ten days later, he returned to the site, sat down with Muslim religious leaders, and “explained that Jerusalem now belonged to Israel but the [Jordanian-based authority] would control the Temple Mount.” And, considering Islamic sensitivities, he decided that Jews should not pray there.
It was a major concession — one that has never been reciprocated. Israelis officials have been adamant: They have no intention of revoking it now. But ask yourself: While it may be inadvisable to open this sacred site to non-Muslim worshippers, should it really be unthinkable?
How can there be progress toward peaceful coexistence if Palestinian leaders believe the very idea of Jews and Muslims praying side by side justifies the slaughter of innocent women and children? More broadly: If tolerance becomes a one-way street, is it still tolerance? Is there not a point at which it becomes more akin to submission?
The differences between the current wave of violence and past Palestinian uprisings
by Yaacov Amidror The Jerusalem Post
Contrary to what some media reports would have the public believe, the current unrest, troubling as it may be, does not echo past Palestinian uprisings. Israel must opt for restraint whenever possible, to avoid playing into Palestinian propaganda.
The recent security escalation is difficult and frustrating. The violent riots, especially those in which protesters clash with Israeli security forces, cast serious doubt on the possibility of peaceful coexistence. Inflammatory headlines and fervent media reports seem to exacerbate the situation by blowing it out of proportion.
Israel is currently facing five different types of security incidents: Terrorist attacks involving firearms, stabbing attacks, violent riots, the stoning and firebombing of vehicles, and attempts to breach the Israel – Gaza Strip border.
Attacks by terrorist cells using firearms have been few, with the brutal murder of a Jewish couple traveling on a Samaria road, and the shooting of passengers on a bus in Jerusalem representing the height of this effort so far.
There has been an increase in the number of lone terrorists carrying out stabbing attacks, as dozens of them have been recorded over the past few weeks. The main cluster of these attacks has taken place in Jerusalem, but the past week has proven that nowhere in Israel, from Afula in the north to Kiryat Gat in the south, is immune.
The majority of incidents left their victims wounded, but the Jerusalem attacks have so far claimed six lives.
The past few weeks have seen mass protests in Judea and Samaria and in other parts of Israel, where hundreds of rioters clashed with security forces while throwing stones and firebombs at them, chanting anti-Israel slogans and burning Israeli flags.
The Palestinian Authority seems to be trying to curb these events in Palestinian cities and across Judea and Samaria.
There has also been an increase in the number of stoning and firebombing incidents targeting vehicles traveling on Judea and Samaria roads, and in smaller numbers on roads adjacent to Arab towns in Israel. The majority of perpetrators in these cases are minors.
Since the recent wave of unrest has begun, there has also been an uptick in attempts by both individuals and groups of Palestinians to breach the Israel – Gaza security fence. These incidents are contained, for the most part, by Hamas. One cannot point to one specific reason as the catalyst that sparked the current unrest, which is most likely the culmination of several unforeseeable factors.
Signs that tensions were reaching a boiling point were evident for a while, most notably over the surge in stoning and firebombing incidents in Jerusalem, which developed into actual attempted murder only over the past few weeks.
The familiar Palestinian theme of “Al-Aqsa is in danger” played a key role in provoking the recent rampage, as did the incessant incitement by the Islamic Movement’s northern branch and by Hamas, which is echoed by the Palestinian Authority.
Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to view the recent wave of terrorism as the successful result of well-spun incitement. We must review these events with respect to the overall tensions in the Middle East, agitated by radical Sunni groups, and especially the Islamic State group, whose increasing grip on parts of the region has captured the imagination of Palestinian youth.
The growing friction with settlers across Judea and Samaria, the horrific arson attack in Duma whose perpetrators have yet to face justice, and statements by Israeli politicians advocating a change in the status quo on the Temple Mount all affect the Palestinians’ sense of frustration.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ “end of the Oslo Accords era” speech at the UN General Assembly last month has most likely fueled this frustration as well, as has the overall sense of lawlessness on the Palestinian street, now dominated by violence – craving mobs, devoid of any ideology or forethought.
This atmosphere is most prevalent in east Jerusalem, perhaps because the Palestinians living there have no sense of the Palestinian Authority’s rule on the one hand, while on the other hand, Israel’s rule has been eroded and rendered ineffective.
This complexity makes it difficult to predict what tomorrow will bring, but keeping things in perspective is important nonetheless. Firstly, the current situation is clearly very different from the Second Intifada, when, at one point, 122 Israelis were murdered in the span of a single month. Two weeks into the current wave of terrorism Israel mourns seven victims, and while each person is a world unto itself, the difference in the number of victims cannot be ignored.
Secondly, while the Palestinian uprising of the early 2000s was marked by suicide bombers and shooting attacks, the majority of the recent attacks have been lone terrorist incidents and mostly stabbing attacks. This proves that the Shin Bet security agency has got a solid hold on the situation on the ground, which enables it to thwart terrorist plots before they are realized.
The nature of the protests is also different than it was 15 years ago. At the time, Israeli security forces were fending off thousands of Palestinians in each demonstration, while this time the biggest protest so far numbered about 500 people. The same can be said of the Arab protests in Israel.
What sets this wave of terrorism apart from the Second Intifada is that it comprises 95% cold – weapon attacks, and 90% of the perpetrators reside in and around east Jerusalem.
It is important that the current escalation wanes without a Palestinian achievement, especially when it comes to the Temple Mount. We must avoid fueling tensions on the already volatile site, so the government and the police are doing the right thing by limiting access to it. However, once order is restored, the status quo should be resolutely enforced. Israel’s strategy has to make it clear that violence reaps no rewards.
Unlike the Second Intifada, the current wave of violence does not warrant a military operation. We must spare no effort to minimize casualties among innocent Palestinians. A high number of civilian casualties who, while being incited or promoting incitement do not take an active part in acts of terror, will do Israel more harm than good and may even cause the situation to spiral out of control.
As hard as it may be, the delicate balance between exercising force and exercising restraint must tip in favor of restraint. Having said that, counterterrorism measures should be applied unequivocally, and the elimination of terrorists, even those wielding knives instead of firearms, must be unanimously backed by all echelons.
This wave of violence is complex because it involves lone terrorists, who operate independently and without direction, and are driven by social media and the Gaza – based media.
This is a stressful situation that requires patience, endurance and nerves of steel, so to avoid taking the wrong action. We have to make sure to avoid steps that could make tensions boil over. Fanning the flames is not only unnecessary, it is very dangerous.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror is the Greg and Anne Rosshandler Senior Fellow at the Begin – Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, and former national security advisor to the Prime Minister.
Jerusalem Post Editorial: The UNESCO bid
No amount of historical negationism and manipulation of the facts will erase Jews’ ties to the Land of Israel.
Manipulation of history to achieve political goals is a common practice. Turks denied the Armenian genocide in order to construct an idyllic nationalist narrative and allay Armenian separatism. Japanese whitewashed the atrocities of imperial Japan before and during World War II in school textbooks in order to present a more pacifist face of their national identity.
And Palestinians, aided by a number of Arab and Muslim nations and their anti-Zionist fellow travelers, systematically deny Jewish ties to the Land of Israel in order to construct their own national narrative that leaves the Jews out of the story.
As part of this ongoing campaign of historical negationism, a group of Arab countries working in the name of the Palestinians is calling on a United Nations cultural institution to erase Jewish history from Jerusalem. On Wednesday, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are slated to present a six-page draft resolution to the UNESCO Executive Board that calls to rename the Western Wall – the Kotel in Hebrew – as the Buraq Plaza.
In the Palestinian narrative, put forward by the Palestinian Authority in its official media outlets, in textbooks used in PA schools and in speeches and sermons by politicians and officials employed by the PA , the Jewish people’s ties to the Land of Israel are systematically erased, ignored and denied. Rachel’s Tomb is presented as the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, the Kotel is described simply as Al-Buraq Wall, supposedly the place where Muhammad’s winged horse al-Buraq was tied after his night-flight from Mecca.
But it was not always this way. Back in 1925, the Supreme Muslim Council, in a booklet published in English for tourists visiting the Temple Mount, stated, “The fact that Haram el-Sharif stands where in the past Solomon’s temple stood is unimpeachable. This is also the place where, according to tradition, David built an altar to God.”
In the wake of the 1929 Palestinian pogroms orchestrated against the Jews living in Palestine by the rabid Jew-hater and admirer of Nazism Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, Palestinians changed their narrative. Jewish ties to the Temple Mount were written out of Palestinian history.
Attempts to deny or obscure the Jews’ deep historical and religious ties to the Land of Israel can be found elsewhere as well. In a recent New York Times article titled, “Historical certainty proves elusive at Jerusalem’s holiest place,” the writer made the ridiculous and attention-grabbing claim that there was controversy among archeologists regarding whether the Temple ever existed where Jews say it did. The Times later corrected the article to reflect the hardly newsworthy truth: The First and Second Temples stood on the Temple Mount; there is some dissent regarding the exact spot, with estimates deviating a few meters to left or to the right.
In his 2009 Cairo speech, US President Barack Obama, in a probably unintentional omission, ignored the Jews’ wondrous, unbroken and spiritual relationship to the Land of Israel that continued for nearly two millennia of exile, and focused instead on the Jews’ “tragic history” and the Holocaust as the causes for the creation of the State of Israel.
Intended or not, Obama’s words reinforced the lethal belief that Israel is an alien, transplanted construction and that Arabs and Palestinians are being forced to pay for the sins of European violence against Jews.
The perpetuation of this Palestinian narrative is worryingly ubiquitous. In his 2010 memoir Hitch 22, the British- American journalist Christopher Hitchens approvingly quotes a metaphor suggested to him by Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg: A man (the Zionist Jew), to save himself, leaps from a burning building (anti-Semitic and Holocaust Europe) and lands on an innocent bystander (the Palestinians), squashing him.
In this telling, Jews’ arrival in the Land of Israel was purely chance, like a man jumping from a burning building who happens to land on a bystander. Zionist Jews’ rejection of Joseph Chamberlain’s Uganda Scheme is incomprehensible.
Their choice of Israel is unfathomable. Jews living in Israel know why they are here. Their ties to this land are unassailable, affirmed in archeological evidence and in historical works such as Josephus Flavius’s The Jewish War, in the Bible and in Muslim documents such as the Supreme Muslim Council’s English booklet dating from 1925. No amount of historical negationism and manipulation of the facts will erase Jews’ ties to the Land of Israel. No resolution by UNESCO will either.
Media Bias in Reporting on Terror Attacks in Israel
Yair Lapid (Jewish News-UK)
In the past two weeks terrorists have been chasing Israeli civilians across the country armed with knives, axes and guns. Jihadists are murdering and maiming, stabbing and burning. They no longer pretend this is about foreign policy, or even about settlements. It is religious fanaticism which knows no limits. In their own words, they want to murder Jews because they are Jews.
Those in the media covering this wave of violence have created the impression that the victim is the aggressor, that the ones protecting themselves are the murderers, that Israel has no right to defend itself. Here are a few examples:
BBC headline – “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two”
The Palestinian who was shot wasn’t a passerby; he was a terrorist who stabbed two Jews who walked past him.
CNN headline – “Joseph’s Tomb Catches Fire”
The tomb, a Jewish holy site under Palestinian Authority jurisdiction, didn’t “catch fire.” It was set on fire, it was arson.
Los Angeles Times headline – “4 Palestinian teens killed in Israeli violence”
There is no mention that the four Palestinians were on a murder spree when they were killed.
NBC headline – “Man shot after rushing past police”
The man tried to stab a police officer in the neck at Lion’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Before I was a politician I worked in the media for 31 years. I covered wars, international conflicts and countless clashes. I can say, with total responsibility, that this is an incomprehensible number of incorrect reports, misleading headlines, distortions of fact and total falsifications of the truth.
It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world where democratic countries fight Islamic fundamentalism. When Israel isn’t involved, the world understands that murderers can’t wander free on the streets with guns and knives.
The writer, a former Israeli finance minister, is the leader of the Yesh Atid party.
This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW