Wednesday, May 04, 2016

04-May-16: The PA's Rewards for Terror scheme: Abbas, fobbing off Norwegian criticism, incriminates self

Abbas meets with Norwegian Foreign Minister
Borge Brende in Ramallah, on May 3, 2016 [Image Source: Getty]
Earlier this week, we wrote here ["02-May-16: Norway's polite and cautious funding of Palestinian Arab terror"] about how the Norwegians were in the midst of a very welcome bout of self-criticism, looking critically at the morality and legality of their funding the PA whose appalling Rewards for Terror scheme we have discussed here often.  

There have been developments. 

Here's an update, re-published from Elder of Ziyon's post ["Norway FM tells Abbas to stop paying convicted terrorists"] that went up earlier today. In it, he quotes an article appearing in Dagen, a Norwegian daily:
Foreign Minister Brende is on a new tour of the Middle East. Tuesday afternoon and evening he had talks first with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and then Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The agenda for the meeting with Abbas included the extensive support programs for imprisoned Palestinians. For years, the Palestinian Authority (PA) paid wages to convicted Palestinian terrorists, and the worse their act, the more money they get. Hans Olav Syversen took up this issue in last week's oral question time, and Brende promised then to put further pressure on Abbas at the next opportunity. Brende now confirms that the issue was discussed during the meeting in Ramallah. "In the meeting I emphasized that this funding, where financial payments increased by how long prisoners were sentenced, is unacceptable and should be abolished. I emphasized that with the political and economic challenges that Palestinians now face, it pays to abolish this scheme," said Brende. Abbas responded by repeating assurances that Norwegian funds are not going to finance the scheme.  Last week, Israeli Arnold Roth (whose daughter was murdered in a major terror attack) told Dagen that Norwegian authorities must understand that they indirectly contribute to how the PA gives salaries to imprisoned terrorists, and they are helping to maintain a Palestinian culture that supports terror as a political tool.
Elder of Ziyon adds that, 
if Norwegian funds aren't paying the terrorists, then whose funds are? The PA is dependent on foreign aid and its budget mostly comes from the nations of the world, so any way you slice it, the world is paying for the salaries of terrorists.
(As it usually does, the excellent Palestinian Media Watch has produced excellent, authoritative, quote- and fact-filled backgrounders here and here that cover these issues comprehensively.)

We add this: Abbas and the PA have been engaged in an open fraud for the past two years [overviewed in our recent post "27-Mar-16: The PA's "Rewards for Terror" scheme and the lies that keep the pounds flowing in"] by which they have been pretending that the cash paid to their imprisoned and freed terrorists on an ongoing, continuing basis isn't PA money at all but rather PLO cash received from donors. The PA, they modestly claim, is not involved in any way. This line of reasoning is patent nonsense, of course, and the evidence is not hard to find. Nonetheless it's what Abbas' band of crooks has been saying whenever the issue came up. 

But not yesterday

The Dagen report shows that this time round, Abbas dropped the patent lie that the funds for his Rewards for Terror scheme were being paid by the PLO (from donor funds). Instead he offered just one defence to the Norwegians: it's not your Norwegian krone, Mr Norwegian Foreign Minister; it's some other foreign-aid-giving donor country's. As for your Norwegian gifts, rest assured they are being spent on only the purest of purposes.

Sickening as this duplicity is, it amounts to Abbas incriminating himself

He could have denied that this was a PA program (which it certainly is) but did not. Sadly the Norwegians appear not to have understood this. We hope they soon will. And we hope the other donor countries will soon realize how they all are being used as dupes. And how their taxpayers' money, in the foreign of irresponsibly supervised foreign aid, is in fact financing a murderous campaign of terror.

04-May-16: Begging for spare Arab change at UNRWA

Everyone and his personal struggle: Addressing transport
issues in the UAE [Image Source: Reuters]
In the Middle East, there are two fundamental, but different, realities that influence strongly the shape of the Arab/Israel conflict. One is the passion with which Arab states, especially the richest among them, pledge undying support for the "resistance" "struggle" of the Palestinian Arabs. The other is the financial resources they put behind that "support".
UN Palestinian agency turns to Gulf countries to avoid funding crisis | Established in 1950, UNRWA helps some five million Palestinians living in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and in the Palestinian territories (File photo: AP) | AFP | United Nations (United States) Tuesday, 3 May 2016 | The head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency on Tuesday urged Gulf countries to donate millions to help UNRWA avoid a funding crisis. Last year, the agency was hit by a major funding crisis that threatened to affect the opening of schools. An appeal by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to donors helped resolve the crisis, but the agency still has a funding gap of some $80 million. “We’d be very appreciative to have countries that have come forward last summer to help, and in particular three Gulf states –- Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait -– renew their generosity this year,” said Pierre Krahenbul, UNRWA’s commissioner-general. “If we could have that, we’d be able to avoid another crisis this summer,” he said.
Image Source
To give this a frame of reference, the Gross Domestic Product in 2014 (US dollars), the latest numbers we could find, for the three Arab countries to which UNRWA is turning its beseeching eyes:
  • United Arab Emirates $399.5 Billion
  • Kuwait $172.6 Billion
  • Saudi Arabia $746.3 Billion
To help readers put this pathetic charade into perspective, and understand the decades of deep Arab cynicism about their beloved Palestinian brothers, see "19-Jun-13: We actually do understand why Arab states put almost no money in the Palestinian Arab "refugee" fund pot. We just don't get why the US does."

Based on some numbers we published here four years ago, pretty much the same question should be asked of the European Union, Australia, Sweden, UK, Norway and a list of other Western countries.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

03-May-16: Impossibly painful loss and those who survived: Remembering the Holocaust

Melbourne, Australia, where we lived from soon after we married until August 1988 when we moved in Israel, is frequently said to have one of the largest concentrations of Holocaust survivors per capita of any community outside of Israel.

Jewish Care, the Victorian Jewish community's welfare arm, has created and now begun showing this short film, focusing on the recollections of about a dozen quite elderly Melbourne Jews who survived and rebuilt their lives Down Under, as a tribute to the imperative that we never forget.

Video clip from Jewish Care, Melbourne, Australia - 16 minutes

For viewers who are not made of rock, it may be moving in the extreme to see how, confronted with recollections of the terrible losses they suffered almost eighty years ago, the men and women speaking into the camera relive the reality and the extreme trauma in ways that remind us how such tragic events are never forgotten by those who suffered them.

These people were once young, once had bright futures, once had loving relationships with parents, lovers, siblings, spouses, friends. We don't possess lexicons rich enough to capture what it must have felt like to be part of the uniquely cruel process that forever and in unimaginably cruel ways took all these relationships and experiences away from them forever.

We are left to recite the dry facts: that between 1933 and 1945, the German government led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party carried out the systematic persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews. This genocide is now known as the Holocaust. All we, the survivors and children and grandchildren of the survivors, can and must do, is remember.

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, a date selected because it marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom HaShoah. This year it starts tomorrow evening, Wednesday, May 4 and ends the following evening.

03-May-16: Near Dolev, a vehicle-ramming attack on Israelis tonight

Haparsa Junction as it looked in reports of last year's murder there
of Danny Gonen [Image Source]
Another Arab-on-Israeli car ramming attack took place this evening. The victims are three Israelis serving in the IDF at the checkpoint located at Haparsa Junction near Dolev, a Jewish community in the Binyamin region north of Jerusalem and about 9 km west of Ramallah, an Arab city where the PA has its administrative offices.

According to Times of Israel, the three were struck by a passing car. IDF forces "responded to the imminent threat" and shot the assailant dead at the scene, according to an IDF spokesman. Haparsa has been repeatedly in the news in recent months for Arab-on-Israeli fire-bomb and rock-hurling attacks. [Click for recent Twitter reports.]

One of the soldiers is in serious condition and has been airlifted to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer Hospital near Petach Tikva. The other two have moderately injuries and received emergency care at the scene.

Maan News Agency quoting Arab sources says a Palestinian Arab driving a mid-sized truck (and they have a photo that indeed shows a truck here) on a road between the villages of Beitunia and Ein Arik hit three Israeli soldiers by accident with his vehicle while they were crossing the road:
The driver fled the scene "fearing for his life," witnesses said. Israeli forces chased him and a separate unit erected a barrier further down the road. Israeli forces fired on him repeatedly and he was left bleeding from several bullet wounds inside his car without receiving treatment until he died, before Israeli forces transferred the body to an unknown location, witnesses said. The Palestinian was later identified as Ahmed Riyad Abd al-Aziz Shehada, 36, from the Qalandiya refugee camp in the Ramallah district... [Maan News Agency, tonight]
A terror attack at about the same location near Dolev ten months ago ["16-Jul-15: Abbas' expensive PA reward-for-terror funding scheme pays dividend yet again"] took the life of Danny Gonen, earned explicit admiration from Hamas and turned out to have been done by a salaried employee of the PA. 

At this stage, we know nothing about this evening's perpetrator beyond what we wrote above. But since he died in the attack, it's a certainty that posters celebrating his martyrdom are being prepared at this very moment in some Arab print shop.

03-May-16: On a quiet lane in Jerusalem's Old City, a Monday night terror-by-knifing attack

The Jewish victim of last night's knife in the back attack is treated at
the scene before being taken by ambulance to hospital [Image Source]
There has been another Arab-on-Israeli knife attack, this time in Jerusalem's Old City last night (Monday), 

A Haredi man, a visibly Orthodox Jewish pedestrian aged about 60, was stabbed and suffered injuries to the upper part of the body in a terrorist assault in the Muslim Quarter, close to Sha'ar Harayot, Lions Gate, also known as St Stephen's Gate. (An Arab news report says he was stabbed in the back.) 

An intensive police manhunt led to the capture and arrest of an 18 year old Arab from a village not yet specified, and who, according to a Times of Israel report, confessed to the act. 

The injured victim was rushed to Jerusalem's Shaarei Zedek Medical Center hospital where he was reported to be conscious and in stable condition. Many, perhaps most, of the Arabic-language news reports [click] now covering the attack and the subsequent arrest, call the victim "a settler". 

(The reflexive use of the word is part of a systematic dumb-down-the-facts process in which the Palestinian Arab news media, following the lead of their society's religious and political "elite", negate any suggestion of legitimate ties between Jews and the land and city which have played the central role in Jewish life for two and a half millennia. History, for such people, is whatever they decide it should be. Thus: all Israelis and Jews are settlers; all the Arabs are indigenous and native to the land, and Jerusalem which, unfortunately for them, is mentioned in their holy scripture approximately zero times, is scared because it is where their religion's third most holy place is located. There are, naturally, more intelligent and very different views of all this.)

We noticed an Arab news report this morning that connected last night's knifing with an earlier Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack in which two Israeli victims were tragically murdered. That article says the scene of last night's assault is identical with the location of that October 2015 terror attack. When we wrote about it at the time ["28-Oct-15: The Pal Arab passion for knife attacks isn't just for social media: they sincerely mean to kill"], we noted that 
the Palestinian Authority controlled by Mahmoud Abbas has just decided to honor Muhannad Halabi by naming a street after him. Halabi is the 19-year-old murderer of two Jews killed close to the Old City's Lion's Gate on October 3, 2015 in a stabbing and shooting "operation" that took the lives of Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Benita and seriously injured Benita’s wife, Adele, and their two-year-old son. The assailant was shot dead by police at the scene. Palestinian Media Watch reported several days ago that the Palestinian Bar Association has already grotesquely bestowed an honorary law degree on the deceased stabber/shooter/attacker. Now the municipality of Surda/Abu Qash, in the suburbs of Ramallah, will name a street for him "to emphasize the national role played by Palestinian municipalities." 
The question with which we closed that October 2015 post is still very much on our minds: Can a society ever be rehabilitated from pathologies as deep and all-pervasive as theirs?

Monday, May 02, 2016

02-May-16: Norway's polite and cautious funding of Palestinian Arab terror

Bergen in cheery, careful Norway [Image Source]
In Norway, they're in the midst of a very welcome bout of self-criticism, looking critically at the morality and legality of their funding the PA whose appalling Rewards for Terror scheme we have discussed here often.  

Here's how it has unfolded so far.
Arnold Roth meets in Oslo with Norwegian parliamentarians from the
Christian Democrats, April 2013. The subject back then was Norway's 
funding of the PA Rewards for Terror scheme - support which continues
until today. Three years, much talk, little progress.
What makes this more than a mere small-town story is that Norway, exceptionally rich because of North Sea oil, has an outsize foreign aid budget amounting to 1.05% of its gross national income in 2015. That's the second-largest percentage among all countries.

Beyond that, Norway takes the leading role among European countries in funding the PA. (Note that Norway is not a member of the EU so its funding of Abbas is over and above what the PA gets from Brussels.) 

The current state of play is that today's Norwegian government is essentially saying: Yes we know there are some bad things, and even terrorism, that are somehow funded by the foreign aid community. But rest assured, it's not our money, no way, because we are so careful and we make absolutely sure that Norwegian krone only go to pay for Lego sets for little Palestinian babies and never for terrorism. [Actual quote: "Foreign Minister Brende refers to assurances he has been given that the Norwegian money is not used to pay the terrorists."]  

The foreign minister is going to meet with Abbas in the next week and says he will impress upon him not to do anything nasty with Norway's gifts.[Actual quote: "Next week Brende scheduled to have a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas. In Wednesday's question time he assured that he will put further pressure on the Palestinian Authority."] 

Further pressure certainly sounds good. And how likely is it to fix things? (How do you say "Who cares?" in Norwegian?)   

That point became clearer to us when, in parliamentary question time this past Wednesday (April 27), the foreign minister, according to a note we received from a Norwegian friend, told a questioner that he plans to yet again ask Abbas to stop the Rewards for Terror scheme salaries. But giving less aid to the PA is something his government will not consider.

For a sense of the unfettered evil being done daily by the Mahmoud Abbas PA regime via foreign aid cash, and the devastation this is causing to their society as well as to ours, there's no better or more updated information source than this report published a week ago by PMW. It chronicles the malevolent deceptions of the child-abusing Palestinian Authority as it pulls the wool over stunningly-uncritical Western donor countries' eyes, claiming falsely to have ceased the practice of paying salaries to terrorist prisoners while reaping more than a billion dollars per year. The executive summary version is here.

It's hard not to see donor countries as operating several steps beyond gullible. To our eyes, there seems to be a considerable degree of self-imposed willful ignorance. (Leaving aside the powerful PMW analysis we referenced above, are the Norwegians completely unaware of what the EU's auditors said about the oversight failures of the EU's funding of the Palestinian Arabs? Here's one of several posts we wrote about it.) 

Would it be unfair of us to suggest that the legendary "I'm shocked" moment scene - embodied by Claude Rains in the Captain Renault role from "Casablanca" (above) - captures official Norway's see-no-evil stance?

Sunday, May 01, 2016

01-May-16: What Yehudit knows

The scene of Thursday night's attack near Beit Horon [Image Source]
Far from the headlines and the public speech-making, the mind-numbing daily violence visited by the Palestinian Arabs on Israelis impacts a broad range of lives: the security personnel, the emergency first-responders, the people living in the communities targeted by the agents of jihad. And the families of everyone we just mentioned.

An email we received this morning from our friend Yehudit brings home some of the back-story - the aspects most people don't get to hear or know about even if they are otherwise well-informed on what the news-reporting industry reveals about daily events in our part of the world.

Yehudit, a veteran resident of one of the flourishing post-1967 communities around Jerusalem's northern edge, as well as being a mother and wife and home-maker, volunteers as an emergency medic. She and her fellow medics are called out at all hours to meet the urgent needs of unforeseen events, and especially in these difficult times of injuries arising from Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks.

Here's what she wrote to us this morning:
This past Thursday night after nightfall, the evening of the seventh day of Passover, we found ourselves called away from the festive meal for yet another security/medical emergency. This time, the location was one where, at least six times before, a terror attack had been launched. This time, B"H, our brave defenders were unharmed. One of the terrorists was shot when she came at them with two really large knives and a syringe with the goal of carrying out a murder. 
Sadly, another attack in which the assailant is a "she". Actually, two of them.
Our team provided the monstrous young female terrorist with emergency medical treatment and she was rushed to hospital. The second terrorist, also a female, was placed under arrest and removed from the scene to be interrogated. Seeing these two girls and realizing what brought them there, what plans they had, what their motivations might have been, is something I can never ever get used to. It's striking to me how we are all - the soldiers on security duty along with their officers and the members of the emergency team - only too well acquainted with the emergency routines. Sometimes, we look one another in the eye for a brief moment even as we are busy with giving the best possible medical care, often life-saving treatment, to someone who is getting that treatment only because he or she wanted to murder one of us. Or more than one. Words don't do justice to the difficulty of that reality. That look in the eye, it's like saying to one another "Can you believe we're here, doing this, now?"
We asked Yehudit how old the two Thursday night would-be murderers were.
Of course I know their ages. 15 and 16, I believe. It's unreal. And don't forget this is happening again and again at a location on one of the busiest highways connecting the capital with Tel Aviv, right next to the busy city of Modi'in and a spot which sees thousands of motorists pass by every day. 
We looked for news coverage of the Thursday night attack. We could find only this:
Israeli authorities arrested on Thursday two Palestinians who tried to stab IDF soldiers in Samaria, the army said, adding that one of them was shot and wounded. The suspects carrying knives approached Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint near Ramallah, in an apparent bid to attack them. The soldiers opened fire in self defense and one of the Palestinians was wounded, an army spokeswoman added... [Israel National News, April 30, 2016]
And this
The incident took place on Thursday evening at the Bell checkpoint, near the community of Beit Horon, in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, when the two Palestinian women, armed with knives, arrived at the checkpoint. The two asked the soldiers for water and then tried to stab those seeking to help them. The soldiers, who were unharmed, opened fire, wounding one of the terrorists. The other terrorist fled and was found moments later, hiding in nearby bushes. The injured terrorist was treated on site and then taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. According to the military, one of the women was also found to be carrying a syringe full of liquid whose nature has yet to be determined, as well as a suicide note. [Israel Hayom, May 1, 2016]
Yehudit's account throws light on one small, barely-reported aspect of life in the shadow of a neighbour gripped by a death cult; a neighbour who daily fills the heads of his people's children (though never his own children) with thoughts of the glories of killing and being killed in the name of a centuries-old hatred, all the while brazenly pretending this is some version of "resistance" to something termed "occupation". Pretending to the civilized outside world, of course, but not to their own society.

More sickening still is the way this Palestinian Arab worship at the altar of jihad and "blood purity" has entranced Western onlookers living safely remote from the violence and from the challenges of living side-by-side with blood-lusting neighbours. We doubt their delicate, human-rights-obsessed minds can quite grasp what it must mean to not only share trains, roads, hospital wards with people for whom institutionalized government-promoted martyrdom is a life-defining reality but also to choose to leave your family in the middle of the night and go out to tend to the wounds of the Palestinian Arab children who are the principal (but not only) victims of that death-cult worship.

In her gentle, wise and humane way, Yehudit can probably explain it to them.

01-May-16: Hatred of the Jews - and the Leftist Problem

A thinking person is likely to learn a great deal from understanding
the impact made on various populations, some of them Arab (as in this 2001
news image of celebrations in Lebanon) and others Americana or British,
by the massacre at the Sbarro pizzeria
National Review currently features a useful and well-framed short essay ["Israel and the Jewish diaspora make progressive pieties look silly", April 29, 2016] by Kevin D. Williamson. The journal's roving correspondent, he covers "the intersection of economics, culture, and politics". His bio says he also serves as director of the William F. Buckley Jr. Fellowship in Political Journalism at the National Review Institute.

The subtitle of this highly recommended piece gets right down to the question Williamson addresses: "Why does the Left hate the Jews?"

Hatred of that sort is, of course, hardly news. But we seem to be at one of those moments (again) where, as it periodically does, it's making waves. 

Williamson is writing against a background in which a recent Lord Mayor of London, a man with his own pungent record of public antisemitic statements, has been suspended by his party for things he said (that involved bracketing Zionism and Hitler) while speaking up for a British Labor MP who had suggested the conflict in the Middle East could be solved by liquidating Israel and getting the Jews to re-settle, voluntarily or not, in the United States. The party leader, playing the role of disciplinarian, is himself a controversial figure who has famously called the blood-lusting Jew-hating jihadists of Hamas and Hezbollah his "friends". There's not much sign he especially wants to call these Israel-bashers to order.

The Williamson piece is short and well-crafted. We hope it gets plenty of pass-along attention. Here are two brief extracts:
The Israeli Jews commit the double crime of insisting upon being Jews and refusing to be sacrificial victims. They were okay, in the Left’s estimate, for about five minutes, back when Israel’s future was assumed to be one of low-impact kibbutz socialism. History went in a different direction, and today Israel has one of the world’s most sophisticated economies. For the Jew-hater, this is maddening: Throw the Jews out of Spain, and they thrive abroad. Send them to the poorest slums in New York, and those slums stop being slums. Keep them out of the Ivy League and watch NYU become a world-class institution inspired by men such as Jonas Salk, son of largely uneducated Polish immigrants. Put the Jewish state in a desert wasteland and watch it bloom, first with produce and then with technology. Israel today has more companies listed on NASDAQ than any other country except the United States and China. The economy under Palestinian management? Olives and handicrafts, and a GDP per capita that barely exceeds that of Sudan.
Mangled baby carriages removed from the scene of the Sbarro
human-bomb attack, August 9, 2001
And this, which touches on an aspect where we have an uncommon degree of familiarity: 
The Arab–Israeli conflict is a bitter and ugly one. My own view of it is that the Palestinian Arabs have some legitimate grievances, and that I stopped caring about them when they started blowing up children in pizza shops. You can thank the courageous heroes of the Battle of Sbarro for that. Israel isn’t my country, but it is my country’s ally, and it is impossible for a liberty-loving American to fail to admire what the Jewish state has done. And that, of course, is why the Left wants to see the Jewish state exterminated.
It's an uncomfortably toxic image he conjures up, of courageous Islamist resistance fighters launching a middle-of-the-day school-holidays armed attack on a pizzeria filled with Zionistic children and young mothers with Jewish babies. 

But while invoking the Battle of Sbarro will sound to some like a cynical, perhaps over the top, slap at the murderous bigotry of Hamas and its friends (who, by his own admission, include Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK's second-largest political party), there are prominent individuals who actually believe in it with genteel sincerity and religious conviction, and they don't all live in the Islamic world.

An example, from among numerous candidates, and one that especially sticks in our craw, is a man counted among the most influential figures in the world of American Christian public affairs, James M. Wall. An ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and a laureate of the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, he served for decades as editor, president and a senior contributor to Christian Century magazine, "the flagship magazine of U.S. mainline Protestantism" [source]. He's evidently still contributing there. The reverend Mr Wall got our attention ["23-Aug-12: Theology and sociopaths" and "16-Dec-14: Anti-semites, lone-wolves, killers of school-children, and the people who appreciate and understand them"] with an essay romanticizing the principal engineer of the Sbarro massacre, the killer of our daughter Malki

In focusing his Christian charity on the notorious 2011 Shalit Deal in which 1,027 terrorists, most of them convicted of homicide, were released in a massive Israeli capitulation to Hamas extortion, Mr Wall was moved to address the sad way in which
The Western public saw and read virtually nothing about the 477 Palestinians who were released from Israeli prisons [in phase 1 of the deal], except for those stories that reminded the public that many of the prisoners, to use the term so popular among Israeli politicians, had “blood on their hands”. This bias against Palestinians was so blatant that Jewish activist Noam Chomsky was moved to accuse the media of treating the released Palestinian prisoners as “unpeople”. It is time to tell their stories, and to do so without apology. [The Rev. Mr. Wall's blog, October 29, 2011]
To understand why people with James M. Wall's mindset, or for that matter the political views of certain British public figures now in the news, find apologies superfluous, we suggest to go back and read once again the subtitle of Kevin D. Williamson's short National Review essay.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

28-Apr-16: Terror-by-knifing attack foiled at Qalandiya; assailant, again, is a child

The attackers came equipped with these stabbing
implements - two identical kitchen knives
and a switchblade found on the body of the young male
[Image Source: Israel Police]
A violent attack at the Qalandiya security checkpoint yesterday (Wednesday) on Jerusalem's north side has cost a pair of Palestinian Arabs, a young married woman and her teenage brother, their lives.

Times of Israel reports that, while no Israelis from among the security personnel attacked suffered any injuries, the two assailants, armed with knives, were killed after attempting to attack the heavily-armed Israelis.

The attackers are identified as Maram Salih Hassan Abu Ismail, a woman of 23, and her brother Ibrahim Saleh Taha, 16. Both are said to be from Surif, an Arab community located south of Jerusalem and north of Hebron. Ma'an News Agency says the woman is the mother of two children and pregnant with a third.

Surif is familiar to Israelis with a sense of history. It is home to most of the Arab mob who carried out a total massacre of the convoy of Jews (among them Frimet Roth's cousin Eliyahu Herskowitz ז"ל) known as the Lamed Heh. Its 35 members had set out on foot in January 1948 with the goal of relieving the Arab siege on the Gush Etzion communities. Those beleagured communities, numerically overwhelmed by the surrounding enemies, eventually fell to the invading the Arab Legion, the military arm of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on Friday May 14, 1948, some hours before Israel’s independence was declared in Tel Aviv. They remained, judenrein, under Jordanian military occupation for the next 19 years. The massacre and then capture of the Gush was "one of the major episodes of the State of Israel-in-the-making", playing a significant role in Israeli collective memory. Wikipedia reminds us that the post-1967 revival and massive flourishing of the Gush Etzion communities is regarded as deeply symbolic, linked in the Israeli psyche to the massive loss of life in Israel's War of Independence.

Ynet's report of yesterday's terrorist attack says the Arab couple
attempted to walk through a passage intended for vehicle entry and began speeding up in the direction of Border policemen stationed at the scene. The female assailant had her hand in her bag in which there was a knife. The male assailant's hand was held behind his back which aroused the security forces suspicion. The police called upon them to stop several times. However they continued to quickly approach in their direction. The police continued to call upon them to stop and throw down the bag the woman was holding. The woman stopped close to the Border policemen, both of them took several steps backwards and then suddenly they turned towards the forces, the woman took out a knife and threw it straight at the policeman closest to her. The policeman was not injured. The security forces acted quickly and shot them dead. A search of the area revealed that in addition to the woman's knife, the male had a similar knife in his belt, as well as a pocket knife.
As always, there's an air of Rashomon ("alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident" embodying "multiple eye-witness testimonies of an event contain conflicting information") already evident in parts of the media.

Arabic-language audiences are getting a sadly-familiar-sounding narrative at considerable odds with the Israel Police and media accounts. An Iranian news source calls yesterday's thwarted terror attack a "massacre". A Gazan source refers to a "child martyr", and martyr-posters are, not surprisingly, online [here] already. Al Safir, a Palestinian Arab news outlet, calls what happened an "execution". So does this Gulf news source. For Aljazeera, it's about the woman's orphaned children, and the death of a younger brother. As far as we can tell, none of those Arabic reports shows the knives that were removed from the clutches of the attackers.

As usual, the events we see as terrorism are described by the Arab and Muslim media to Arab news consumers context-free form, devoid of connection to the ongoing wave of knifings, rammings, shootings, bombings. Forgotten for the moment are the multiple public acts of glorification of women, sub-teen and teenage children enjoying the acclaim of Arabs and Moslems from across the spectrum - and at the highest levels of Palestinian Arab power - for the violence of their usually-pointless murderous assaults on Jews. It's an ongoing tragedy for all concerned.

Haaretz says
Hassan Tahah, another sibling, told Haaretz that he doesn't believe his sister was planning to carry out an attack. "We have no details about what transpired and no one briefed us, but I don't believe this whole terrorist attack story," he said. According to him, his sister was on her way to a doctor's appointment, accompanied by his brother. "She was probably lost, or didn't understand what was going on at the roadblock, and the soldiers shot her and my brother," he said.
We wrote about another terror-minded sixteen year-old from Surif with a knife in the wake of an earlier attack ["23-Oct-15: Scenes from a stabbing/ramming/shooting war of terror"] some months ago. And for a sense of some of the numerous recent Arab-on-Israeli attacks at Qalandiya, click here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

26-Apr-16: A terror attack about which few people are likely to hear

Israeli security personnel at work in Jabel Mukaber after previous terror
attacks emanating from the neighbourhood, October 2015 [Image Source]
No victims were injured or killed. So a terror attack directed at civilians in the Israeli capital, Jerusalem, during one of its two busiest weeks for visitors in the year, is almost certain to go lightly reported if it has any impact at all on the global news cycle.

That's because it was stopped in time. And take a look (below) at who's involved.

The Times of Israel reported the developments in the past hour this way:
Three Palestinians from Nablus suspected of plotting a terrorist attack against Israelis were arrested overnight in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, the Shin Bet said Tuesday. The joint police and Shin Bet sting operation nabbed the three, who were allegedly planning a terror attack in Jerusalem over the Passover holiday. The Shin Bet said that the three had no weapons on their person at the time of their arrest, but “expressed the intention to carry out a terror attack in the immediate future.” The three were all residents of the West Bank city of Nablus, but were located in an East Jerusalem apartment at the time of their arrest. It was not immediately clear if they were simply passing through the Jabel Mukaber neighborhood or had been illegally living there for some time. “The three were arrested and handed over to security forces for questioning,” the Shin Bet said in a statement. The suspects reportedly did not have an arrest record nor were they known members of a terrorist organization... Police have beefed up security around Jerusalem’s Old City and on the Temple Mount in a bid to prevent disturbances at the flashpoint sites during Passover, when thousands of Jewish and foreign tourists visit.
(For more on the malign influence of the Jabel Mukaber neighbourhood in south-eastern Jerusalem, see our post from two days ago focusing on one small aspect of the lethal evil emanating from there: "24-Apr-16: Weaponizing children: Here's one way it's done in Jerusalem").

The Jerusalem Post adds several chilling details:
The three detainees have been transferred to the custody of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) for further questioning... Two of the suspects are minors – age 15 and 16 – and the other is a 23-year-old man. The three Palestinians were detained after the security forces obtained a tip indicating that an attack was imminent. The authorities say that the Palestinians planned on committing a combined assault against civilians involving an explosive device as well as gunfire. The attack was said to have been planned for the Passover holiday and was to be executed in a crowded area. The explosive device was slated to be provided by an unidentified co-conspirator and the weapon to be used for firing at civilians was an improvised assault rifle built in one of the Palestinian makeshift factories. After their arrest, the three Palestinians confessed to the plot, according to security services. The suspects said that they were inspired by last week’s bombing of a bus in Jerusalem which left 19 people wounded and one person – the bomber – dead.
(About that "inspirational" bombing, we posted this: "21-Apr-16: The Hamas jihadists claim the Jerusalem bus bombing as one of their own".)

Though armed attacks were thwarted this time, no one in this part of the world is under any illusions about the ongoing threats being blunted or even slowed down. We also don't yet know who else is involved - and there are always plenty of additional people involved when complex plots of this nature get uncovered and, thankfully, stopped before serious violence is done.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

24-Apr-16: What the fate of a pre-teen Arab girl says about the grip terror has on her society

Dima Al-Wawi: Tried and failed to kill Jews and now doomed to life
as a jihadist role-model [Image Source]
Many hundreds, maybe more, of news reports and Tweets today celebrate the release today of a twelve year-old girl, arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli authorities to a term of four and a half months. 

When she was arrested on February 9, 2016, all the news reports we saw agreed [for instance Al Araby and Times of Israel] that the child was 16. That was shocking enough for us to include her in a post here on our blog ["09-Feb-16: The unthinkable things Palestinian Arab society wants for and from its children"] in which numerous other children of about that age had been intercepted trying to murder Jews. 

This girl child is free again today. The relevant authorities here in Israel agreed to shorten her sentence by six weeks for reasons no one is talking about

The general flavor of today's reports and Tweets is captured by headlines like these:
We have written before about the exceptionally ugly process underway in which children are encouraged and incited to get involved in acts of terror against Israelis by the PA, Hamas and Palestinian Arab society. Not for nothing, we see these people as being in the grip of a death cult. 

There's no Arabic-language messsage today (as far as we can tell after searching around) that fails to sound a note of triumph. This rather sad-faced twelve year old girl is going to be paraded around as a hero whether she wants it or not. 

It does not have to be that way. After all, this child is more than just a prisoner who was freed. She pulled a knife on a couple of Israelis and tried to kill them. That's not a legal statement but a straight-forward observation of what happened. It's captured on video. She formed the intention, to the extent a child can, to murder.

To be clear about this, it's not only Palestinian Arab children who kill or try to kill. Sometimes - though not so often - it's because they really, really want to. Sometimes it's because people older and more powerful than them require that they do it. Civilized society has views on what that means and what we ought to do about it. 

For instance, the phenomenally-well-funded Human Rights Watch have this on their"Children's rights" page:
A symbol whether she wants to be or not [Reuters]
Millions of children... are forced to serve as soldiers in armed conflict... Young and immature, they are often easily exploited. In many cases, they are abused by the very individuals responsible for their care. We are working to help protect children around the world, so they can grow into adults.
And even when forced in the most violent way into joining the ranks of the jihadist terrorists, child victims - like thousands of Nigerian children [see "Boko Haram escapees find life at home can be filled with distrust, rejection", AP, today] - arouse mixed feelings, unjustifiably most of us would say, in their own community. 

But that's not how Palestinian Arab society views children and terrorism. 

We have noted before that, since they use the term "easily exploited", the people who run HRW are surely enraged by what's being done to Palestinian Arab children by the religious, educational and political leaders of their communities. But if they are, and if they know what has been done by her own society to this Al-Wawi girl and to hordes of others as young as she, we're surely not seeing any sign of it. Again we ask: If anyone knows of HRW condemnation of the fostering among Palestinian Arab children of martyrdom/murder as supreme values, please click here to enlighten us.

Some months ago, we quoted here [20-Oct-15: Children and what a soulless society can do to them] the words of an acclaimed leader of oppressed people:

 "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." - Nelson Mandela 1918-2013, addressing the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Pretoria, South Africa, May 8, 1995 [source]
In the hands of her father today: a future foretold [Telegraph UK]
The question needs to be asked: where is UNICEFOr Save the Childrenor Terre des Hommes, or the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement or even the dishonorable Amnesty International (on whom we have not yet entirely given up hope)? Or the other well-funded, high-profile public interest organizations that purport to care for the welfare of children but that take so little interest in the unfolding tragedy of the children of the Palestinian Arabs and the terror-obsessed jihadists cheating them of their future?

24-Apr-16: Weaponizing children: Here's one way it's done in Jerusalem

Honored guests at the Jebel Mukaber school in March: the man in the center
is the very proud father of a murderer whose victims we name here
[From the Facebook page of the Jabel Mukaber school]
In understanding what happened about two weeks ago in an elementary school in an Arab neighbourhood of East Jerusalem, it will help to know that an incredible proportion of Palestinian Arabs profess to be opposed to terrorism while at the same time saying (as we pointed out in "03-Nov-15: What do they mean when the Palestinian Arabs say they oppose terror?") that massacres of innocent civilians, and especially of Jews, aren't even terrorist acts to begin with.

Keep the mental gymnastics in mind as we take a look at what happened there about a month ago - but has only just now been reported.

The Jabel Mukaber elementary school [Facebook] is located in a part of Jerusalem that has that same name, immediately adjacent to the flourishing neighborhood of East Talpiot/Armon Hanatziv.

Family members of the honored jihadists at a Jerusalem elementary
school ceremony  [From the Facebook page of the Jabel Mukaber school]
For centuries, this was part of Turkey's Ottoman Empire holdings. It fell within the British Mandate from the early twenties until 1948. The name Armon Hanatziv is Hebrew for Governor's Palace, where the reference is to the head of the British occupation which took power after the Turks were defeated in World War One and chased away. Then it fell under Jordanian military occupation from 1948, when Jordanian forces invaded the infant state of Israel. The Jordanians ruled until June 1967 when the Jordanian monarch's military was repelled after launching another unsuccessful shot at conquering the Jewish state, Israel has been in charge since 1967.

The Jabel Mukaber school, for Arab children between kindergarten and grade 9, is funded, according to Ynet, by what it terms "Islamic officials". On the school's Facebook site, a series of photographs posted March 22 and March 24, 2016 [here and here - but we think both were removed within an hour of our uploading this post] mark a ceremonial visit to the school and its children by various family members of two young men, Baha Aliyan and Mohammed Ali.

A practical illustration of how the weaponization of children is
done: Jabel Mukaber school yard, March 2016, as children are taught
to pay homage to two dead jihadists, one who murdered 3 Jews and
one who was stopped in time [From the Facebook
page of the Jabel Mukaber school
Who were they? Aliyan was a central player in the murderous attack on Israelis traveling on a Jerusalem city bus six months ago ["13-Oct-15: A bloody day and the malevolence behind it"]. He and an accomplice boarded the crowded Egged 78 line bus in Armon Hanaziv, wildly shooting and stabbing passengers.

They murdered Haviv Haim, 78; Alon Govberg, 51; and Richard Lakin, a 76-year-old former American school principal and civil rights activist, who was shot in the head and stabbed in the chest and died after a two-week struggle with his critical injuries.

Mr Lakin's son Micha Avni was later quoted referring to the hideous Palestinian Arab incitement that is found on the Facebook platform, saying of his father that “He died as a result of the same incitement and hatred he fought against his entire life.” Some days after the murders, Micha Avni was among 20,000 other plaintiffs who brought
a class-action lawsuit... in New York State Supreme Court...  against Facebook accusing the social media platform of ignoring widespread Palestinian posts calling for violence against Jews, which was filed Monday [and claiming] that Facebook posts have inspired many recent terror attacks and that “Facebook’s algorithms and platform connects inciters to terrorists who are further encouraged to perpetrate stabbings and other violence attacks against Israelis [Times of Israel, October 27, 2015]
The Islamic school in Jabel Mukaber
honors the life of the thug who murdered
the author of this book [Image Source]
Mr Lakin, one of Aliyan's innocent victims, was the author of a book titled “Teaching as an Act of Love”? Subtitled "Thoughts and Recollections of a Former Teacher, Principal and Kid", it's still available from Amazon.

Did the Jabel Mukaber ceremony note this, and the tragic irony of the circumstances in which Mr Lakin met death? Not exactly. According to Ynet ["Families of Palestinian terrorists visit East Jerusalem school", April 24, 2016],
After his son's attack, Mohammad Aliyan launched a commemoration campaign in honor of his son, which included among other things encouraging children to read. During an event held in memory of the terrorist at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, Aliyan explained that "if the nation isn't educated, it won't be able to confront the occupation. Baha is an idea, and an idea will never die. Today, I have more than 1,000 Bahas. The students will carry out his legacy."
If Aliyan senior condemned the vicious orgy of violence which was his son's final act in life, or suggested the late Mr Lakin's book as something work reading, there's not a word of that in the Arabic text on the school's Facebook or in any of the several reports we have seen online about the ceremonial visit to the school. 

Aliyan's son was a killer, and the father - at a ceremony for elementary school children honoring him - speaks of his life as an idea that will never die. Idea? Of course: the Jabel Mukaber school's Facebook page praises the terrorists and their families, and thanks the families for their visit. The idea is clear.

Another jihadist was honored in the same event. Family members of Mohammed Ali, shot by Israeli forces after he carried out a knifing attack at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City, also took part. (We think he's the 19 year-old stabber in the video and photos here.) We don't know if anyone call Ali's life or death an idea. But we do know he was killed while carrying out an attempted murder.

Last and certainly not least, several representatives of the Palestinian Ministry of Education took part in the homage to a pair of terrorist thugs.

There's no rush among Israeli authorities to address the naked incitement-to-murder that's being drilled into the heads of many thousands of Palestinian Arab children in the suburbs of Jerusalem. Ynet asked the authorities what they were planning to about what we have just described:
The Jerusalem municipality responded by saying that the event took place at a private school that isn't regulated by the municipality or the Israeli Ministry of Education. Therefore, they don't have the ability to interfere with what is being taught there. There are many private schools in East Jerusalem which are not under the purview of the Israeli Ministry of Education, and they receive no funding from the ministry or from the municipality... School officials refused to comment. "Families of Palestinian terrorists visit East Jerusalem school", Ynet, April 24, 2016]
Sorry to have to point it out but that head-in-the-stand attitude is deadly, indefensible, and costs lives. Here, from a very brief scan of our own blog, are some recent acts of terrorist Arab-on-Israel murders in which the perpetrators were all residents of Jabel Mukaber - perhaps even graduates of the same school (we don't know):
For those with a mind for remembering such things, the vile killers of several rabbis in a synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof section came from Jabel Mukaber, a massacre of unarmed men at prayer that caused an eruption of celebration there in its immediate aftermath ["26-Dec-14: The ongoing search for Arabic-language outrage at the men with the meat-cleavers and knives"]. 

And zero condemnation.