Friday, October 21, 2016

21-Oct-16: If a mass-casualty, Arab-on-Israeli plot is thwarted in time, is it still terrorism?

The targeted wedding hall, as it appears on its website
People who have experienced terrorism the hardest way - personally - tend to pay more attention than most others to acts of terror that don't get all the way to fruition. Also: to the way the news reporting industry tends to focus serious attention on stories where there is actual human blood resulting from terror attacks and incomparably less attention where blood is absent and the terrorists are thwarted before their evil plans make the transition from potential to hideous reality.

Unless you follow the Israeli news-reporting media closely, it's unlikely you will have learned that a mass-murder, energetically pursued by a gang of Palestinian Arab terrorists, failed to happen recently. That's because apart from parts of Israeli news channels, there has been almost no news-report attention paid to it. Not enough blood.

Yesterday (Thursday), indictments were filed against several Palestinian Arabs in the same Be'er Sheva district court in southern Israel where the ongoing legal process against a senior World Vision manager is underway. (Other than the charge that terrorism was the goal in both prosecutions, the two seem to be unrelated.)

The allegations against the accused men are that they formed themselves into a terrorist ring, and planned to launch a mass-casualty attack at a strategic Israeli target, with an emphasis on the greatest possible number of Israeli casualties.

As has been the case with most terror assaults on Israelis in the past, the targets, while certainly strategic, were rarely military. Or guarded. Or connected to the government or to the police or to figures of authority. For instance, from a quick random selection:
All these, from a much longer list, are from the pre-1967 period. So the nonsense about Palestinian Arab terror being a response to "occupation" need not unduly trouble us.

In the years since, Palestinian Arab terrorist attacks have been directed at civilian aircraft and their passengers; airports; athletes at the Olympics; guests attending a Bar Mitzvah celebration; guests standing outside a Bar Mitzvah celebration; people strolling in city squares; school buses and the children on-board; pizzerias and their young customers; movie theatres and their patronsrestaurants and their diners; passenger buses and the commuters on board; a discotheque and the people lined up outside before coming inhouses of worship; schools and their school-children; hotels; students in a university cafeteria; bombs placed to exploded inside cafes, outside cafes and on and on.

The notion of strategic targets has a wide and varied meaning in the context of Arab-on-Israeli terror. Here's what Israel National News has reported on this latest chapter in the chronicles of that generations-long savagery.
It has been cleared for publication that a terror ring that had been planning a mass terror attack at an event hall in southern Israel has been arrested... Mahmoud Yusef Hassin Abu Taha of Khan Yunis in Gaza, who was arrested last month for trying to pass into Israel, revealed upon investigation that he stood at the head of an Islamic Jihad-affiliated organization in the Gaza Strip that had planned to carry out a number of attacks... Mahmoud had been drafted by Wael Sufyan Abu Taha, a senior operative of Islamic Jihad living in Gaza, who instructed Mahmoud to set up a terror infrastructure for carrying out attacks. Mahmoud didn’t hesitate, and drafted three more. One of them, a Gaza resident who had been residing in Israel illegally, was employed at the event hall for which the terror attack was planned... [F]or the purposes of preparing the attack, the terror group leader and employee of the hall undertook an initial check of the scene of the planned attack, according to which they were able to consolidate and ensure that a maximum number of people were murdered in the attack...
And the second part of the plan:
The ring had also been planning to capture and murder a soldier so as to use his body as a bargaining chip... Abu Taha planned an attack whereby a soldier would be captured and murdered - and his body used as a bargaining chip. To this end, he received thousands of shekels to rent an Israeli apartment - to where the soldier would be lured and murdered - to bury his body in the area and to transfer his belongings to Gaza - for the purposes of bargaining with Israel.
And this detail:
[T]hey planned to throw grenades into a crowd of dancers celebrating at the... events hall and to use weapons they would hide in trash cans ahead of the attack before fleeing the scene. They also considered detonating pipe bombs concealed under the dining tables.
Israel-based i24news names the other allegedly-terror-minded members of the busted cell:
55-year-old Shafiq Ahmad Hamad Abu Taha, who resided in Israeli illegally, 39-year-old Ahmed Tisir Abdulrahman Abu Taha from Gaza, who also resided in Israel illegally, and 40-year-old Hani Masood Nasir Abu Amra, originally from Deir al-Balah in Gaza, who lived in Israeli with temporary resident status through marriage by way of the "family reunification" law.
The four indicted Abu Taha terror-gang members make an appearance
in Beer Sheva District Court yesterday [Image Source]
Four members' names make clear they are related as members of the notorious Abu Taha clan. Some of the highlights of their activities are mentioned in this article ("Five Killed and Seven Injured in Armed Clan Clashes in Khan Yunis") from 2006.

A report in Haaretz says the one non-Abu Taha in the list, the one whose marriage gave him residency rights, has been living in Tel Sheva, a neighbourhood of Beer Sheva. (We wrote a personal note about it here.) That report goes on to make an astute observation that
The Shin Bet said the affair shows the way terrorist groups exploit entry permits into Israel, which are granted for humanitarian and economic reasons; as well as the danger of the terrorists' use of Palestinians who are residing in Israel illegally.
Things might have changed by the time you look, but when we searched Google for news stories that mention the men charged with terrorism yesterday, the only reports we could see [here] are Israeli or serve a specifically-Jewish readership. Knowing, as Israelis, that there are men, and surely women too, out there conspiring daily to attack our wedding halls and public and private places and to kill as many of us as they can, while the mainstream news-reporting industry politely turns away, is deeply disturbing.

You sometimes hear people dismiss outrage over jihadism and Islamist via the idiotic aphorism "One person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter." A much more meaningful observation might be: "One person's terrorist is another's non-story." That reflects the threat much more accurately.

Apathy, distance and agenda-driven journalistic reporting mean that not enough people are willing to look and see what terror is, and what its practitioners seek to do. That enlarges the danger to all of us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

19-Oct-16: At Tapuah Junction today, a young woman, a knife and a familiar narrative

At the scene [Image Source]
The entire country is on vacation for the week of Sukkot (Tabernacles). But there's no vacation from the threat of terror attacks..

From Ynet today:
An attempted stabbing attack took place at Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on Wednesday afternoon. A female attacker approached the Border Police at the junction and attempted to stab them. They responded by firing, and the attacker was neutralized. No Border Police were injured.
Via social media sources, it appears the meaning of "the attacker was neutralized" is that the armed assailant, a young woman estimated to be 19 years old, was shot and killed at the scene. The attack took place around 12:50 pm this afternoon. Tapuah Junction [click] has seen many such attacks.

UPDATE 3:00 pm: Over at Ma'an News Agency, there's the customary spin-filled reporting, with "alleged" being the prevailing sentiment (the word appears five times in a short news report):
Israeli forces shot and killed a young Palestinian woman at the Zaatara military checkpoint in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Wednesday after she allegedly attempted to stab Israeli border police. The slain woman was identified by local sources as 23-year-old Raheeq Shajee Birawi from the village of Asira al-Shamaliya north of Nablus city...
The Arabic version of the Ma'an report [here] calls the girl (named رحيق شجيع بيراوي in Arabic) a "martyr", as do Arabic-language Twitter messages [here]. Ma'an's English version does not. That's the usual approach that this European-funded news packager takes in reports of thwarted Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

18-Oct-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think and feel now?

A Palestinian Arab leader [Image Source]
There are people who try to understand the Palestinian Arabs by watching CNN or reading the New York Times. For us, it makes far more sense to reach for Palestinian Arab sources and and work from there.

Once again, we're looking in this post at what the Palestinian Arabs think, based on what they tell the pre-eminent Palestinian Arab opinion polling organization, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research [website] headed by a respected figure, Prof. Khalil Shikaki.

In a report published three weeks ago, PSR reported these findings (the wording is ours - the PSR's published summary, a 21-page document, is here):
  • Some trends that are mentioned in the last PSR report ninety days earlier (reported in our post: "15-Jun-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?") have gotten stronger. For instance, Palestinian Arab opinion is slightly less inclined to back armed action; the so-called French Initiative is slightly more popular; and the feeling that Mahmoud Abbas - the "moderate" head of the Palestinian Authority - should stop being president one way or another has gotten stronger. 
  • Ismail Haniyeh, the likely Hamas candidate for president, would defeat Abbas if an election had been held in September. 
  • But Marwan Barghouti, a convicted multiple murderer who, before being arrested, tried (in open court) and imprisoned by the Israelis more than a decade ago, was the commander of the Tanzim armed wing of Fatah, would defeat Haniyeh. All those lives murdered by him and his men speak loudly in Palestinian Arab society: in blunt terms, they're a political asset. And don't overlook that Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1984, thinks Jew-killing Barghouti ought to have been given this year's Nobel Peace Prize ["25-Jul-16: More on Tutu, Barghouti, terror, peace and prizes"]. We're fairly sure Barghouti is much more popular than Tutu among the Palestinian Arabs, but in politics, every source of electoral support counts.
  • Palestinian Arab support for what the poll calls "an armed intifada" is currently high, as it has been for a long time. Three months ago, it stood at 54%. In this latest poll, it's down all the way to 48% - which still means every second Palestinian Arab favours the continuation of a shooting/stabbing/ramming campaign against Israeli civilians. Think about that for a moment, and consider what it means for those of us who come into contact with them every day.
  • While it gets their support (55%), the Palestinian Arab public is "highly pessimistic" that the French Initiative has any chance of succeeding.  
  • A Palestinian Authority court recently ordered the postponement of local elections. But if they had been held in late September, the Pal Arab public was certain Hamas would win in the Gaza Strip. They expect Fatah - the party headed by Abbas - to take the West Bank. (Clarification: Presidential and parliamentary elections have not been held anywhere in the two Palestinian Arab statelets for more than a decade. They are not likely to happen soon. The elections in this note are for local representatives. Abbas' four year term as president which started on January 9, 2005, is likely to keep going for the rest of his life. The Fatah–Hamas Gaza Agreement of April 2014 provided for presidential and parliamentary elections by no later than October 2014. It's questionable whether many thought it was going to happen at that time and no such elections are currently in view.) 
  • This past summer saw numerous news reports of water shortages in Palestinian Arab cities and towns. Parts of the activist news reporting media knew whom to blame [for instance "Israel: Water as a tool to dominate Palestinians", Aljazeera, June 23, 2016], because there's rarely any downside in their circles to pointing the finger at Israel. The Israeli view is, not surprisingly, a little different ["Israel blames Palestinians for West Bank water shortage", Jerusalem Post, June 26, 2016]. So what are the Arab consumers of scarce water thinking and whom are they blaming? PSR found that 45% of Palestinian Arabs pin the responsibility for a shortage of water on Israel but a larger percentage (49%) says the Palestinian Arab side is to blame. (When did you last read or hear that in the mainstream news?
  • The Palestinian Arab public are concerned about what the PSR terms "internal security breakdowns" and connects those with three main factors, all of them Arab: The PA security services' "weak and inconsistent performance"; a "weak" justice system, including the courts; and "a surge in family and societal conflicts". It's an issue that is rarely discussed in the world's media.
  • There is very little faith among Palestinian Arabs in their own government. Indication: how many of them believe the PA suffers from corruption? 79%.
  • There is even less faith in the freedom of the news reporting media. On the Fatah/PA side, only 16% of respondents feel there is press freedom. In Gaza where Hamas rules the roost, faith in freedom of the local press is even lower: just 14%.
  • A two-state solution to the Palestinian Arab versus Israel conflict has the support of just 49% of Palestinian Arabs. A different poll conducted in August 2016 found that 59% of Israelis supported a two-state solution - and an additional 26% would agree if a peace agreement were to be made not only with the Palestinian Arabs but with the other hostile Arab states.
  • There's strong support (55%) among Palestinian Arabs for abandoning the Oslo Accords of 1993-1995. (That requires a separate post of its own.)
  • Concerning the Temple Mount, on which UNESCO is going to be voting again today, more than half of all Palestinian Arabs believe (and this is a direct quote from the PSR report) that of "the long-term aspirations or plans of the Israeli government for al Haram al Sharif in Jerusalem", the one considered most likely by most respondents by far is "Destroy Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock Mosques and build a synagogue in their place". That's the view of 52% of all Palestinian Arabs. And while it's a view that only 33% of Gazans hold, in the Abbas-controlled West Bank, 62% believe it to be true.
If all of this were not sufficiently dis-spiriting (and let's be frank - it really is and it mostly has been for at least five generations now), consider what the people on the far side of the fence want to happen after a State of Palestine has been established and after all (repeat: all) the "issues in dispute" (that's a quote) are resolved. 
Will there then be mutual recognition of Israel as the state of "the Jewish people" and Palestine as the state of "the Palestinian people" (those are the terms the poll report uses)?
The answer of 59% of West Bank Palestinian Arabs is "no". And that's what the Arabs of the Gaza Strip also say: 63% of them. 

We're for peaceful relations. And like most of the Israelis that we know, we're open to talk about compromise and to bargain in good faith. But what are people who hold views like ours to do once we internalize the Arab opinion reflected in that last statistic? It's also impossible to ignore the daily incitement to yet more hatred, bigotry, violence and conflict emanating from elite circles in the two Palestinian Arab statelets (the schools, the mosques, the political corridors) that certainly makes the situation steadily worse.


We're convinced that understanding the feelings, expectations and aspirations of the Palestinian Arabs is fundamental to comprehending them and to having a sense of what's ahead. If you agree, you might want to review these earlier posts:

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

12-Oct-16: Fake passports and Iranians again

Welcome back to everyone who has been engaged in the rituals and introspection of Yom Kipur which ended at sundown today (Wednesday).

Israel's Channel 2 News reported tonight that Italian authorities notified their Israeli counterparts on the deportation from Italy of three Iranians who were caught with evidently-forged Israeli passports. In reporting this, Times of Israel says un-named security officials
are looking into possible connections between the three and attempts to carry out terror attacks against Israelis throughout the world.
We wrote about an earlier incident ["20-Sep-14: Iran is not commenting but Kenya may have just thwarted another Iranian terror attack"] in which two Iranians were arrested in Nairobi attempting to enter Kenya using fake Israeli passports. Our post refers to other incidents involving Iranians and false passports, sometimes Israeli, sometimes not. Worth noting who employs them and the general sense of foreboding in the air.

Why would a blog like ours, with a sharp focus on terror, be writing about Italians, Iranians and passports? Perhaps it would be a good idea to click on that 2014 link.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

11-Oct-16: Who will live and who will die: A Hamas plot is thwarted in Jerusalem

In court today: Thwarted before becoming another Islamist
human bomb [Image Source: Ynet]
As Jews throughout the world prepare for Yom Kippur which commences at sundown today, many will be thinking of the momentous words we are going to recite in the Une'taneh Tokef prayer (in Hebrew: ונתנה תוקף). A key moment in the liturgy for Rosh Hashanah as well as for Yom Kippur for centuries, it is sung and chanted while the ark of the Torah remains open and the members of the congregation are standing:
"You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seals, Who counts and Who calculates. You will remember all that was forgotten... All of mankind will pass before You like a flock of sheep. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the destinies of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict. On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severe Decree..."
Our personal experience as parents of a child shockingly murdered at the age of fifteen sensitize us to how everything you assume about life can be violently upended irrevocably in moments. Our daughter Malki and her friend Michal stopped off in a central Jerusalem pizzeria for a quick lunch on a school-vacation afternoon just as a human bomb, despatched by the Islamist savages of Hamas, walked in and made his way to where they were giving their order at the counter.

In triggering the explosives hidden in a guitar case on his back, that young man permanently changed the world for us and for many dozens of others: the victims, their families and friends, the many maimed by the explosives and hurt by the shrapnel and by the vicious little black nails that were stuffed into the bomb. And by the injustices that followed.

(Keep those nails in mind as you read on.)

Prayers on Yom Kippur | Wikimedia Commons
We're reminded today of the terribly fine line between the unthinkable happening, and awful outcomes averted by an intervention.

It was reported in the past hour (it's now Tuesday, 12 noon) that an Arab from East Jerusalem has just been indicted in an Israeli court on charges of planning to carry out an attack by a human-bomb (the man himself) on a Jerusalem bus. Here's the Times of Israel's account:

On September 9, the Shin Bet security service arrested alleged Hamas operative Fuaz Ibrahim Julani [the Jerusalem Post gives his name as Muhammad Fuaz Ibrahim Julani] a resident of the Shuafat refugee camp, a few days before he planned to carry out... a terror attack on behalf of Hamas, the Shin Bet said. [H]e told an accomplice he planned to carry out the suicide bombing as “this is the way of God,” according to the indictment. The Hamas terror group’s operatives in the Gaza Strip had been in contact with Julani through the internet in order to plan the bombing and had also encouraged him to recruit other people to carry out attacks, according to the indictment filed against him Tuesday in the Jerusalem District Court.., Though Julani ultimately decided to carry out a suicide bus bombing in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, according to the Shin Bet, he said in his interrogation he had also considered a shooting attack with an AK-47 assault rifle near the Hizme checkpoint; bombing a store where he had worked in 2011; throwing an improvised explosive device at the checkpoint in Shuafat; and pipe bomb attacks in high-traffic locations of Jerusalem, like the bus station and the Malha shopping mall... [He] decided to carry out a suicide bombing after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which was celebrated from September 12 to 16. By carrying out his attack after the holiday, Julani hoped to prevent Israel from restricting Muslims’ access to the Temple Mount during the holiday, according to the Shin Bet... When Julani was arrested on September 9, he had already purchased the materials necessary to create his bomb, including nails that he planned to pack into the device to maximize the damage... Two members of Julani’s family, Mehmed and Iyad Julani, were also arrested for allegedly helping him hide his illegal weapons.
Over at Ynet, they make an especially chilling observation:
The Shin Bet and Israel Police said that the arrest illustrate the relentless efforts of Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip to carry out serious terrorist attacks inside Israel and the West Bank. Furthermore, both agencies emphasized the use of Arab-Israeli residents by Hamas to gain access to Israeli territory.
There's no getting away from the fact that that last point is poorly understood. It's difficult to take seriously any analysis of how peace can be found and how Islamist terror can be deflected without confronting the realities. What's going on in the minds of the other side? It's a real question, and there are answers.

Our contribution is to point readers to several fact-filled posts that convey information we have found startling: 

Monday, October 10, 2016

10-Oct-16: Does yesterday's Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack say anything about our neighbours?

The cold-blooded murder of Levanah
at a Jerusalem tram
stop yesterday has warmed many
Palestinian Arab hearts
It's hard to think about the explosion of violence ["09-Oct-16: In Jerusalem, first reports of Arab-on-Israeli shootings this morning"] yesterday in this city of great beauty and of peace and spirituality without reflecting on the awful savagery of the past several years. Do yesterday's events add anything to our understanding?

In the aftermath of Sunday's attack by a lethally-armed Palestinian Arab attacker on unarmed Israelis standing at tram-stops in the capital, the New York Times looked at the people behind the attack:
Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza, praised the attack and described the gunman as “one of ours.” Al Quds, the Hamas-affiliated television station, broadcast a video that it said was exclusive to the channel and that it described as the perpetrator’s last words. It was not clear when or where the video had been filmed. In it, the man, wearing a green polo shirt, the color of Islam and of Hamas’s flag, stood before a map of historic Palestine.
Not an outright claim of ownership - though Times of Israel says it is, quoting Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum who characterized the cowardly shooting of randomly-targeted Israelis as “a natural reaction to the crimes and violations of the occupation against our people.”

Hamas are riding the wave of Palestinian Arab support for savagery of Sunday morning's kind. And not to be out-flanked, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also praised that attack, calling it “heroic.”

How widespread is that support?

We offered a view some months ago, in "15-Jun-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?". The picture provided by reputable Arab pollsters is strikingly consistent. The answers are so clear-cut and so extreme that it's astounding they are referred to so little in the news commentary provided by 'experts'.

Here's one of the ways the flames keep being stoked. Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, writes that members of the killer's family
joined the celebrations of his “martyrdom,” handing out candies to all those who passed by their house. Even his young daughter put out a video in which she expressed her joy in her father becoming a “shahid” (martyr)... The terrorist published a “will” in which he called on Muslims to act to protect the [Al-Aqsa] mosque.  ["Does the Jerusalem terror attack signal a new uprising?", Times of Israel, October 9, 2016]
The killer's daughter is Ma'an's principal focus today. The father
earlier posted a statement saying "We sacrifice
our children for Al-Aqsa".
The family's adulation of yesterday's murders, and of the murderer, is a major talking point for the reporters and editors of Ma'an News Agency. The main story on their English-language news site at this moment (Monday October 10, 2016 at 12 noon) is headed "Israeli forces detain slain Palestinian gunman's 14-year-old daughter"
A video of Eiman hailing her father’s actions went viral on social media on Sunday"We deem my father as martyr,” she said in the video. “We hope he will plead for us before God on judgment day… I am proud of what my father did..." 
From the same Arab source, additional hard-to-miss signs of how much support there is currently in Palestinian Arab circles for the murder of innocent Jews:
Hamas said on Sunday afternoon that Abu Sbeih was a member of its Islamic resistance movement. Meanwhile, the Fatah movement in Jerusalem declared a day of mourning for slain Palestinians on Sunday afternoon following Abu Sbeih’s death. Fatah said in a statement it rejected Israeli forces’ killing of Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, and that it would never leave the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Old City “fall prey” to Israeli “extremists and terrorists” Ma'an News Agency, October 10, 2016]
Yosef Kirmah, newly-married, a '
decorated anti-terrorism hero,
now dead
Fatah, to remind those of lose sight of such things, is headed by "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority:
In two separate posts on its official Facebook page, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Movement honored the terrorist murderer... Fatah referred to the murderer as a "Shahid," an Islamic Martyr - someone who died for Allah - a status the Palestinian Authority presents as the highest achievement a Muslim can reach in life. Defining a dead murderer as a Shahid indicates that according to Fatah, the murder of Israelis is sanctioned and even desired in the name of Islam. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that it is PA and Fatah policy to glorify terrorist murderers and turn them into role models for Palestinian society.
Fatah and the Palestinian Authority for quite some time have been defining the conflict with Israel as a religious war, defining all attackers and the murderers of Israelis as heroic defenders of Islam and its symbols. Fatah's Jerusalem branch announced "mourning and a general strike for Palestine's Martyrs" and specifically mentioned today's killer - "this morning's Martyr" and vowed to "defend the honor of the Arab and Islamic nations with our bare chests"... Voice of Palestine Radio likewise reported that the Jerusalem branch of Fatah announced a day of mourning and a general strike in Jerusalem “due to the death of the Shahid Abu Sbeih.” [Palestinian Media Watch, October 9, 2016]
The head of Hamas, Khaled Mashaal, reportedly phoned the parents of the dead terrorist last night from his penthouse suite in Qatar, absurdly telling them his deeds “defended the Palestinian people” who, he said, were “proud” of what he did and who will serve as an “example” to his contemporaries. “Hamas will carry on it its jihad until Palestine and the Al-Aqsa Mosque are liberated from the impurity of the occupation”, said Mashal in a reminder of one of the central truths of the generations-long bloody conflict: it has almost nothing to do with creating another Arab state, and everything to do with destroying the only Jewish one.

In addition to the six wounded, two Israelis were killed in yesterday's murderous attack. 

Yosef Kirmah, an officer in an Israel Police counter-terrorism unit, the Yasam (a Hebrew acronym for Special Patrol Unit), was one of the police motor-cyclists who pursued the gunman after the attack and engaged in a gunfight with him in which the gunman also died. He was 29. Hundreds attended his funeral late yesterday at Jerusalem's Mt Herzl Military Cemetery:
In her eulogy, Noy Kirma, whose husband had been awarded a medal of honor last December for thwarting a Palestinian stabbing attack on kindergarten kids, continued: “How many plans we had — for a home and children. You loved me more than I love myself... You were my shoulder to lean on…” said the young widow, who had been married to the Israeli hero for only six months before his life was cut short. “You were loved by all. You were number one in their eyes. Number one in my eyes. I don’t know how the world will turn without you…You will be in my heart until the day I die.” [Algemeiner, October 9, 2016]
A Facebook page, quickly set up in his memory, served as a magnet for expressions of incitement and hatred during yesterday. Israel National News says:
Facebook users from Israel’s Arab sector bombarded Kirma’s memorial page with abusive taunts, anti-Semitic smears, and explicit incitement to violence and even threats of murder. Some of the offensive posts included images of anti-Semitic caricatures, pictures of bloody drawn knives and vulgar language.
Levanah Malichi, the second victim of yesterday's shooting ramage, died of her injuries at the Hadassah hospital on nearby Mt. Scopus. She left behind a husband, three children and six grandchildren. Many Jerusalemites remember her fondly from the three decades of her work on the administrative and logistics side of the Knesset, Israel's parliament. The Knesset speaker Yuli Edestein is expected to eulogize Malichi at her funeral today.

The police say (according to Haaretz) that the shooter
used a .556-caliber automatic rifle, in contrast to the crude, homemade firearms typically used in past attacks... [P]olice were trying to determine how the shooter had obtained the weapon.
It's unlikely that that particular high-power, automatic weapon is the only one currently in the hands of murder-minded Palestinian Arabs, already well-equipped with what are sometimes called home-made guns. The current tensions are unlikely to abate soon.

The same is true of the open adulation for the dead gunman, as evidenced by doing a Google search on "الشهيد أبو صبيح". Those Arabic words translate to "Martyr Abu Sabih", which is the name more than 60,000 hits give at this hour to the man who mercilessly opened fire with his high-powered rifle on unsuspecting Israeli commuters yesterday in order to "save" a house of prayer. In a string of Facebook posts, the gunman offered such thoughts as "We sacrifice our souls and our blood for you Al-Aqsa" and "We sacrifice our children for Al-Aqsa".

His frame of mind and his actions are likely on the minds of many other Palestinian Arabs today.

We're wide open to being shown Arabic-language condemnations of the pointless killings perpetrated in Jerusalem yesterday. If there are truly angry Arab voices out there, or even just some expressions of Palestinian Arab despair at the open bigotry and the immorality of celebrating murders, people need to hear them and know about them.

We're waiting, as we have been for some time.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

09-Oct-16: In Jerusalem, first reports of Arab-on-Israeli shootings this morning

Medics, police, victims: A Jerusalem tram stop this morning [Image Source]
The wailing sounds of ambulances and police vehicles are in the air this beautiful, early-autumn morning in Jerusalem. And the unmistakable chop-chop of a helicopter near our home. This has been going on for about 25 minutes. That's usually a sign of something worrying. It's now 10:50 am on Sunday.

From Times of Israel:
At least four people were injured in an apparent shooting attack near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem Sunday, according to police and emergency medical officials. One woman, approximately 60 years old, was shot in the upper body and critically wounded in the attack, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service. The attacker had been shot, police said. It was not immediately clear what his condition was, though initial reports indicated that he had been killed. The assailant arrived at police headquarters on Haim Bar-Lev Street and opened fire, hitting a civilian, police said. He sped off towards the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Police officers on motorcycles saw the shooting and gave chase, police said. The assailant then opened fire at the officers, who shot and “neutralized him,” police said. The critically wounded vehicle was taken to the capital’s Hadassah Hospital Mt. Scopus, the hospital said.
As has happened so many times before, the armed attackers sought out innocent public-transport commuters standing at the open-air tram stop. It's what they and their backers call "resistance".

The Palestinian Arab news channel, Ma'an, is reporting that the assailant is dead:
At least six people have been injured in a drive-by shooting near the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Sunday morning, while the gunman has been shot and killed by Israeli police. Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement that shots were fired near Israeli police headquarters in Jerusalem, and that Israeli police responded to the scene and shot the "terrorist" after a brief pursuit. The area, which is also known as Ammunition Hill and is near a light rail station, has since been closed of by Israeli police.
In its Arabic-language edition, though not in the English, the targets of the shooting - presumably all Israelis - are called "settlers". They're uncommonly clever people, these editors at Ma'an, with an astonishing ability to instantly discern between ordinary wounded Israelis and Israelis who have settled something. It's something worth noting when the matter of funding for Ma'an News Agency by its various European donors next comes up. (Ma'an cannot function without European charity.)

Israel National News says there have been two separate attacks, each at a different station on the Jerusalem Light Rail track:
A terrorist opened fire from a passing car at the Ammunition Hill and Shimon Hatzadik train stations. Six reported injured,two critically... Six people were injured at after a terrorist opened fire there Sunday morning, two of them are in critical condition, according to initial reports from MDA and police. The attack took place at two different places. A white car stopped and opened fire at the train station, injuring passengers. The driver then drove to the Shimon Hatzadik station and opened fire, wounding more passersby. He was then reportedly eliminated by a Special Patrol unit of motorized police. Four of the injured are described as in moderate to serious condition.Two of them, a man and woman are described as in critical condition.
Another source has said, with no confirmation at this stage, that shootings took place not at two but at three separate sites.

UPDATE Sunday October 09, 2016 at 12:30 pm
Two of the Israeli victims have died of their injuries. Times of Israel says
At least seven people were shot and two of them killed in a shooting attack near Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem Sunday morning, police and emergency medical officials said. Police described the incident, which saw an East Jerusalem gunman open fire at pedestrians and police over a several hundred meter swath of the capital, as a terror attack. One woman, approximately 60 years old, was shot in the upper body and critically wounded in the attack, according to the Magen David Adom ambulance service. A police officer, approximately 30 years old, was also critically wounded in a shootout with the assailant, police said. Both were later declared dead, after being rushed to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus, a spokesperson said. Three other victims, including a 68-year-old man, were moderately wounded, while another two were lightly injured in the attack, according to MDA. The attacker was shot and killed. He was identified as a 39-year-old resident of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, police said. He possessed an Israeli identification card, according to Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan.
Ma'an News Agency identifies the shooter as Misbah Abu Sbeih, 39 from Silwan, a Jerusalem neighbourhood. No way of knowing for sure whether this is significant but if you Google that name, it produces plenty of hits. And though they don't know him, Israel National News says now that
The Jerusalem terrorist who was eliminated earlier was today supposed to have started a prison sentence of four months for incitement to violence and support of terror.
In our value system, he's a terrorist.

Over on the dark side by contrast, the Palestinian Arab world has rapidly (predictably) embraced him as a hero [Facebook]. Candies are being handed out - there are pictures of it in the social media today. In terms of their culture, the key term is, of course, "martyr". Click on this search link (we created it) and at this hour (2:30 pm) you will see almost two thousand Arabic-language web-links invoking the dead gunman's name and calling him "martyr". How long before they name table-tennis tournaments in his honour? He represents the values they are indoctrinating into every level of their society. In the Palestinian Arab value-system, there is no such thing as an innocent Israeli, All of us are "settlers" and legitimate targets for murder. If this ever changes, we can think about starting to prepare for peace. But not before.

Friday, October 07, 2016

07-Oct-16: Haaretz: British foreign aid to the Palestinian Arabs is being delayed while the return on funding is investigated

From today's The Sun revelations [Source]
This might turn out to be a big deal. We're hoping. As Haaretz reports this afternoon ["U.K. suspends aid to Palestinians over concern it reaches terrorists"]:
British government freezes transfer of 25 million pounds to the PA following complaints that money ends up with assailants who carried out attacks against Israel. | By Barak Ravid | Oct. 7, 2016 | 2:33 PM
The British government has decided to freeze a transfer of 25 million pounds – about a third of the annual aid money it grants the Palestinian Authority – due to concerns that such money had been passed to pay allowances to terrorists or their families.
According to the Sun newspaper [which we tweeted a few hours ago here], the recently appointed international development secretary, Priti Patel, has announced that the transfer of funds will be suspended until the conclusion of an investigation that was opened into the matter. Earlier this year, a number of right-wing parliament members complained to the British Foreign Ministry and International Development Department that British tax payers' money was transferred as aid to the PA's budget, and from there onwards as allowances to assailants who carried out attacks against Israel. Sources in the British Foreign Ministry told the Sun that aid to the Palestinian Authority will not stop, but that part of it will be suspended until the end of an investigation into the matter. According to the sources, chances are that the suspended aid will be delivered in 2017. “We are not stopping for the Palestinian Authority overall, just delaying it to a date when we know our money won’t be going to people who do nothing in return for it.”
In reality, as we have been writing here for years (for instance, "27-Mar-16: The PA's "Rewards for Terror" scheme and the lies that keep the pounds flowing in"; and from five years earlier "1-Mar-11: Finally, some sanity on European funding of Palestinian Arab terror") , it's simply untrue that Palestinian Arabs engaged in, convicted of, and serving time for, terrorism have done "nothing in return for it". They have done terror.

And in doing that, they have produced a meaningful return on the PA's investment in a scheme we have repeatedly called Rewards for Terror. That scheme may be the single most impactful of the Palestinian Authority's various initiatives.

Let's hope the British investigation doesn't get hijacked along the way.

07-Oct-16: In the aftermath of an Arab-on-Israeli knifing

The young Arab who carried out the stabbing attack holds Israeli
identification papers [Image Source]
Some two and a half weeks ago, we wrote here about one of those fairly ordinary terror attacks that keep getting brief mentions in the Israeli news media and - usually - no coverage or very little in the non-Israeli media.
There continues to be serious violence in the air. Two officers of the Border Guard service (Mishmar Hagvul in Hebrew) were seriously injured when attacked from behind by a man wielding a knife on the street outside Jerusalem's Old City around 7:00 this (Monday) morning. Times of Israel says one of the Israeli victims, a female officer of about 38, is in intensive care at Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital with stab wounds to the neck. (We have noted before that attacking the neck is standard Arab-on-Israeli practice in the Palestinian Arab terror manual.) She is unconscious and was placed on a respirator... Their attacker was shot and is now receiving treatment in a Jerusalem hospital where the latest report is that he's in critical condition. The initial reports we have seen say he is in his early 20s and from the Ras al-Amud neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. In a later Times of Israel report, the knifer is identified as Ayman al-Kurd... [T]he attack took place on the road outside two of Jerusalem's medieval gates: Damascus Gate and Herod’s (or Flower) Gate. The Israeli victims were on security patrol... ["19-Sep-16: Outside Jerusalem's Old City, a Monday morning Arab-on-Israeli terror attack"]
We ourselves are familiar with how news reporting interest waxes sharply (if at all) and then wanes as the broken glass is swept away, the victims are assumed to be in the care of their families or doctors or emergency room teams, and the perpetrators spend the rest of their lives behind bars. 

We're also familiar with how unfactual summaries like that often are.

Here's today's update on the Border Guard officer - still un-named in Israeli news reports - who was attacked by a knife-wielding Palestinian Arab while she was on foot patrol securing the busy streets outside Jerusalem's Old City precinct:
A female police officer who was severely injured in a terror attack in September has shown promising signs of improvement. The 38-year old officer was stabbed by an Arab terrorist near Herod’s Gate of the Old City of Jerusalem on September 19th. Her patrol partner was also stabbed, but managed to draw his weapon and shoot and neutralize the attacker. On Thursday, Shaarei Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem released a statement detailing the terror victim’s improvements, noting that she was now breathing unassisted and is able to communicate with those around her. But, hospital officials added, the victim is still suffering from neurological damage caused by injuries to her spinal cord suffered during the stabbing. She remains in the intensive care unit... [Israel National News, October 6, 2016]
There's much more to be found on-line about the Arab attacker.
An Israeli magistrate court extended on Thursday the detention of a Palestinian who was critically injured while carrying out a stabbing attack on Israeli security forces in occupied East Jerusalem earlier this month. Ayman al-Kurd, a 20-year-old resident of the Ras al-Amoud neighborhood of East Jerusalem, stabbed and wounded two Israeli police officers on Sept. 19 just north of the Old City. His detention has been extended to Oct. 5, according to Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud, who recently met with al-Kurd. One of the officers shot and critically injured al-Kurd on the scene, causing hemiparesis -- weakness on one side of the body -- Mahmoud said, adding that al-Kurd was still being treated at the Hadassa Ein Karem hospital in Jerusalem... [Ma'an News Agency: "Israel extends detention of Palestinian critically injured after carrying out Jerusalem stabbing", September 29, 2016]
(Click here for more reports of a similar, "resistance"-centric nature about the same knife-man and what he did. Reports on the horrific injuries suffered by the Israeli woman are nowhere to be found, other than in what we quoted above.)

Being treated in one of the best hospitals in the Middle East will undoubtedly improve the young stabber's chances of making a full recovery from those gun shots that slowed down and then stopped his cowardly attack-from-behind.

But that's not what Arabic-reading news consumers are being told. In their way of telling things, the victims, naturally enough, are the Arabs including - especially - the knife-man who, says the Fatah mouthpiece, was unarmed when shot by the Israelis:
"The Jerusalem branch of the Fatah Movement emphasized in its statement today, Monday [Sept. 19, 2016], that the occupation forces are targeting the blood of the Palestinians and doing as they please with it in an intentional and direct manner, which is something that will have serious consequences. The statement comes after the summary executions and daily killing that the [Israeli] security forces have carried out against unarmed Palestinians (i.e., terrorists attacking with knives or in car ramming attacks), as seven citizens were executed within a week on pretexts and empty excuses, the last of which was the targeting of young Ayman Al-Kurd (i.e., terrorist, who wounded 2) this morning. Fatah Movement Secretary in Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith said that our Palestinian people has turned into a direct target for summary executions and cold-blooded murder for the occupation forces, who carry out crimes before the eyes and ears of the entire world, without anyone acting to stop these racist crimes." [As reported by WAFA, the PA's official news agency, on the day of the attack, September 19, 2016, cited by Palestinian Media Watch]
What chance that Palestinian Arab society will ever engage in the introspection needed to comprehend, and then end, attacks like the one executed by Al-Kurd, when everyone in his circle is told he was an unarmed, innocent victim of systematic Israeli blood-letting?

Ah, but that is precisely the outcome desired by the Palestinian Authority and its ruling clique.

A Facebook page headlined "I am a Palestinian. I am not a terrorist" provides a sympathetic English-language portrait of the terrorist, and includes a photograph of the Israeli-government-issued ID card [here] we posted at the top of the page. As an Israeli, it's likely he will continue to be entitled to Israeli Social Security (Bituach Leumi) benefits as he continues to recover from being shot by police.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

05-Oct-16: A Gazan rocket crashes into a residential street in southern Israel

The scene in Sderot earlier today [Image Source]
There has been another rocket attack on southern Israel today with damage to property and cars but thankfully no physical harm to people.

Being the day after Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year), the explosive device is a reminder that the insatiable appetites of the Palestinian Arab terrorist ranks for more mayhem and more Jewish victims produce largely unpredictable outbursts of violence directed at generally unpredictable targets and with unknowable outcomes.

What we can say with confidence is that ordinary people living peaceful lives on our side of the fence are again being terrorized.

Times of Israel published this at 10:40 am today (Wednesday):
A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip struck a street in the city of Sderot in southern Israel on Wednesday morning, police said. Two people who suffered anxiety attacks were treated by medical teams, but no one was physically hurt by the attack, according to the Magen David Adom medical service. The two — a 15-year-old girl and 60-year-old man — were taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center for further care, MDA paramedic Oren Benita said. Israel Defense Forces tanks responded to the rocket attack with strikes against Hamas sites in the northern Gaza Strip, the army said. The rocket alert siren was activated at approximately 10:20 a.m. and was heard in Sderot, Nir Am, Ivim and Gevim. A few minutes later, Israel Police officers located the rocket in Sderot. The road was slightly damaged in the attack, as were several nearby cars and homes. Police sappers were called to the scene, and the area was closed off to pedestrians and traffic, police said...
No physical injuries to Israelis but that, emphatically, was not the intention of the people doing the firing.

The terrorists of Gaza have a deep arsenal of rockets - thousands of them (this source estimates at least 12,000). The rocket men and their backers can pick their time, and they can afford to miss and then try again. Life, as measured by their own out-in-the-open value system, is extraordinarily cheap. Rockets are even cheaper. During the seven weeks of battle between Hamas terrorist forces and the IDF during the summer of 2014, Hamas managed to fire some 4,500 rockets and mortars in the general direction of Israel's cities and towns [source]. Israel's defensive Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted 735 rockets. The system first ascertains that the inbound missiles are headed toward densely-populated areas and strategic facilities before launching against them. Thus Hamas fired many more rockets than Israel fired against.

The terrorists of Gaza evidently chose to fire today rather than, say, yesterday or the day before because, on those other days, all the Israeli schools and all the Israeli kindergartens were closed. In fact, the whole country was on holiday to mark Jewish New Year.

So they fired today and during the morning hours when those schools and those kindergartens are filled with children. That's one of the reasons they are terrorists.

The photo at the top of this post does a better job than the text above of explaining how just how maddeningly random the outcomes of these terror eruptions are and how miraculous that the losses were not catastrophic.

How far from the homes of ordinary Sderot civilians did today's rocket crash? It's not hard to see; take a look. The answer is: mere meters. (A video clip on the Israel National News site [here] makes this reality even clearer.)

Did the rocket-men care? Of course they cared; they sought, as they always seek, to inflict the maximum possible pain and fear that their life-threatening efforts could produce.

Here's a security-camera view (via Times of Israel and YouTube) of what the in-bound rocket looked like and felt like to the people on Sderot's streets. Those are city employees who stopped their truck on hearing the Tzeva Adom siren and then scattered as the explosion took place just meters from where they parked:

From experience, it's likely to be suggested now in parts of the media that those firing the rockets are not actually Hamas - the Islamist terrorists who rule the tiny Gaza enclave with an iron fist - but this or that so-called splinter group. And that by implication Hamas is against these random outbursts of violence and would prefer quiet and peaceful relations with their Israeli cousins.

We think that's unfounded wishful thinking and fails to take account of the ruthlessness with which terror regimes operate.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

02-Oct-16: ISIS has a foothold among Jerusalem Arabs, Israel Police tell court

Jerusalem's Teddy Kollek Stadium: One of the intended targets of
the terrorists [Image Source]
If you have been watching news reports over the past two weeks of Israel Police activity in the eastern and northern neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, you will be aware that there has been speculation about what's behind it. Turns out there was a focused investigation the details of which were embargoed.

The matter came before a court this morning, the eve of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year),and is now public knowledge.

Israel National News reported at about 10:00 am:
Six Jerusalem Arabs have been indicted for allegedly working to establish a cell of the ISIS terror organization inside Israel. The six were charged in a Jerusalem court of security offenses, assisting an enemy in war-time, and association with a terror group. The suspects are residents of the Shuafat and Anata neighborhoods. According to the indictment, from 2015 until August 2016, the suspects made efforts to enlist in ISIS and establish an ISIS cell inside Israel. Among other activities, the six organized study sessions to spread the terror group’s radical ideology. [They] reportedly planned terror attacks against Jews in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Haaretz initially (also around 10:00 am today) said
The Jerusalem District Prosecution, which filed the indictments, claims that the some of the suspects attempted to leave Israel to join Islamic State in Syria, and also planned to carry out attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The six suspects also established a study group to memorize ISIS' ideology, according to the prosecution. In August, five Israeli Arab men from the north were sentenced to prison terms ranging from two-and-a-half to six years for attempting to join ISIS.
Now (12 noon, Sunday) that same Haaretz story is substantially expanded with more details:
The Jerusalem District Prosecution filed two indictments, one to the local district court and another to the magistrate's court, against the six suspects from the Shoafat refugee camp and the neighborhood of Anata. The suspects, who were detained during an arrest operation some 10 days ago, stand accused of establishing an ISIS cell, attempting to reach Egypt or Syria to join forces with ISIS fighters and of planning to carry out attacks in Israel on behalf of the terror group.
According to the indictment, 29-year-old Ahmad Shweiky set up the network in 2015. He allegedly established a study group that met once a week to study ISIS' ideology. The group's members allegedly cut their hair, grew their beards and folded the hem of their pants, as is customary among ISIS members. About six months ago, two of the suspects – Amer Al-Baiyeh and Mohammed Hamid – are said to have traveled to the Egyptian border near Eilat to examine the possibility of crossing it to Sinai to join ISIS-affiliated fighters. They then attempted to obtain visas to Egypt but failed.
In June 2016, two of the suspects allegedly traveled to Turkey via Jordan in order to cross the border into Syria. They reached the city of Gaziantep but were caught by Turkish police, detained and expelled back to Jordan, before returning to Israel.
Once back in Israel, they began planning to carry out an attack, according to the indictment. They first considered purchasing weapons to carry out a shooting attack at a Tel Aviv beach, and later planned to make explosives. They considered carrying out, among other things, an attack near the Teddy Stadium in southwest Jerusalem or government buildings in the capital. They had managed to save up some 1,000 shekels in order to finance the attack until they were detained. After one of the suspects was arrested, two others planned to kidnap a soldier...  
We will update this during the day.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

01-Oct-16: At Qalandiya Crossing on Jerusalem's northern edge, a thwarted stabbing attack leaves the assailant dead

With the end of the Sabbath, we're starting to catch up on the news of the past 28 hours. Not so surprisingly, one of the key reports concerns a Palestinian Arab man with a knife in his hand and mayhem on his mind.

This is how Times of Israel reports it:
An Israeli soldier was moderately wounded in a stabbing attack in the West Bank’s Qalandiya area north of Jerusalem on Friday, a police spokeswoman said. She said the Palestinian attacker was shot dead by surrounding forces. The 24-year-old IDF soldier was stabbed by a 28-year-old assailant who approached the Israeli checkpoint at Qalandiya on foot, officials said. The attacker was shot by both a soldier from the Military Police and a civilian security guard, and was killed. The soldier suffered stab wounds to his upper body. He was treated at the scene by paramedics who then took him to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. The attacker was a Jerusalem native, according to AFP. Some 200 Palestinians were rioting at the Qalandia checkpoint an hour after the stabbing. Police said security forces at the checkpoint were using riot-dispersal means. The Qalandiya checkpoint is the main crossing into the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israel National News reports that the IDF serviceman is in fact a 20-year-old. His injuries were said to be moderate-to-serious when initially treated by an IDF medical team and Magen David Adom paramedics. He was quickly evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. A later report, also from Israel National News, this evening (Saturday) says he is now in moderate and stable condition and fully conscious.

Ma'an News Agency, the self-described independent Palestinian Arab news source, uncharacteristically fails to include the word "alleged" from its headline ["Palestinian shot dead after stabbing soldier at Qalandiya checkpoint"]. It says the attacker is a
28-year-old Palestinian was from the nearby village of Kafr Aqab in the Jerusalem district of the occupied West Bank. He was later identified on Palestinian media sites as Naseem Abu Meizar.
The young dead man from Kafr Aqab is already being turned into a "martyr" as the poster in tonight's Tweet [here] shows. And other parts of the Palestinian Arab media [here, for instance] haven't given up on the use of the word "alleged" in describing the last moments of the knifer's life.

Friday, September 30, 2016

30-Sep-16: South of Hebron this afternoon, a stabbing attack on a senior IDF commanding officer is thwarted

To Negohot [Image Source]
The initial reports are sketchy but it appears there has been a terrorism incident in the Hebron area this afternoon in which a senior officer almost became the victim.

From Ynet:
IDF forces arrested a young Palestinian Friday afternoon after discovering a knife on him during a check which took place after he approached the vehicle of Col. Itzik Cohen, commander of the Nahal Brigade and special forces, during a patrol of south Mount Hebron. The Palestinian knocked on the window prompting the soldiers to alight and conduct a search and arrest.
Via Hebrew social media sources, we see this happened around 2:30 pm this afternoon (Friday). That source also shows a snapshot of the would-be assailant's knife.

Israel National News has now named the senior officer as Colonel Itzik Cohen, an IDF brigade commander with top-level field operations responsibility in the Hebron zone. The attack took place near Negohot, in the region known as the South Hebron Hills (meaning Area C and therefore under full Israeli control):
The terrorist, who was armed with a knife, approached the soldiers who were standing near Negohot in the western Hevron Hills. He attempted to stab the brigade commander Colonel Itzik Cohen. The soldiers who were present managed to stop him in time. Initial investigations show that the soldier who was securing the area spotted the terrorist approaching the senior commander's vehicle. When the soldier stopped the terrorist for questioning, he found that the suspect was holding a knife behind his back. Additional soldiers who were in the area gained control over the terrorist. No one was hurt.
Negahot has the dubious distinction of currently being one of Israel's four most-vulnerable communities. A report just two weeks ago [here] said the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset - whose work covers the foreign affairs of the state, its armed forces and its security, was told that the IDF Homefront Command considers four Yehuda and Shomron communities to be under especially significant security threat. They are Elon Moreh, Otniel, Karmei Tzur and Negahot. The IDF urged the government to enhance the defenses of those places immediately, which may explain the presence of a senior officer there this afternoon.