Saturday, November 10, 2018

10-Nov-18: In Melbourne, the stabber is called "lone wolf" but with connections to Islamic State

Image Source: Video capture
I am traveling [this is Arnold Roth] and am spending a few days in Melbourne, Australia.

Here's a summary of the terrorist attack that turned the downtown area here into a murder scene during this past Friday afternoon's peak hour.
  • A man drove his utility vehicle - a Holden Rodeo - onto the sidewalk of the central business district's Bourke Street, near the busy corner with Swanston Street where around 4:20 pm Friday it exploded in flames. It later emerged that he had loaded it up with gas cylinders. A large explosion was evidently his plan.
  • A man, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, aged about 30, exited the vehicle armed with a large knife. He attacked several pedestrians in an evidently random way, stabbing 74-year-old Sisto Malaspina. According to one Australian source, the man yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack "but [police] Commissioner Ashton said this had not been confirmed."
  • Malaspina is the well-known co-owner of Pellegrini's Espresso Bar, a Melbourne icon. 
  • Two other men were next: Rodney Patterson, 58, suffered head injuries; a male security guard aged 24 is injured in the neck, evidently from being stabbed. Both of them are in stable condition as of Saturday night as we write this.
  • Transit police arrived at the scene. The attacker punched one of them through the window of their vehicle.Many more police quickly arrived as the two transit police engaged with the attacker. The knifer then lunged at them with his weapon. A bystander tried to assist police by ramming a shopping trolley between them and the suspect.
  • At about this point, a police officer fired at the attacker. He was hit in the chest and fell to the ground. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and later died.
  • In the words of The Age, a Melbourne daily, "Police have said it was a lone-person terror attack, and that the threat has been mitigated."
  • All streets in the vicinity remained closed to traffic and pedestrians until 8 on Saturday morning as police examined the attack scene.
  • The knifer, a child migrant who arrived in Australia with his parents from Somalia and now dead, is widely described tonight as "known to counter terrorism agencies... and 
    known to have radical views
    ... 
    His passport was seized in 2015  when he made plans to travel to Syria". Though he "had links" to ISIS, he was "not actively monitored". 
  • Australia's national broadcaster, ABC, reported that "his family is well known and respected within the Somali community in Melbourne."
  • They attended the Virgin Mary Mosque in Hoppers Crossing, west of Melbourne.
  • His wife, parents and siblings have been questioned by police in the past day and his home raided and combed for evidence.
  • The Age again: "The police have been given the green light for the first time to use preventative detention, where they may detain terror suspects for four days without a court order."
Lots of questions to be answered here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

23-Oct-18: She admits she planned the Sbarro massacre. But for parts of the media, Ahlam Tamimi remains 'an accomplice'

In a piece about FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist Ahlam Tamimi published yesterday, the Washington Post breezily describes our daughter's murderer this way:
For Israelis, the Tamimis are a group of provocateurs intent on manipulating the media to hurt the country’s image. One cousin [of Ahed], Ahlam Tamimi, was an accomplice to a suicide bombing. "
At this point, we know a lot about Ahlam Tamimi. Here's how she herself details the central role she took in the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre:
Interviewer: "Who chose Sbarro [restaurant, as the target of the attack]?"  
Ahlam Tamimi: "I did. For nine days I examined the place very carefully and chose it after seeing the large number of patrons at the Sbarro restaurant. My mission was just to choose the place and to bring the martyrdom-seeker (i.e. the human bomb, a young man called Al-Masri). [I made] the general plan of the operation but carrying it out was entrusted to the martyrdom-seeker."
Ahlam Tamimi: "I told him to enter the restaurant, eat a meal, and then after 15 minutes carry out the martyrdom-seeking operation. My job was to realize, for this martyrdom-seeker, the happy life that he wanted." 
Interviewer: "Didn't you think about the people who were in the restaurant? The children? The families?" 
Ahlam Tamimi: "No."  
Interviewer: "Do you know how many children were killed in the restaurant?" 
Ahlam Tamimi: "Three children were killed in the operation, I think." 
Interviewer: "Eight."
Ahlam Tamimi (smiling): "Eight? Eight!"
[Source]

This is the monster that Jordan's King Abdullah refuses to extradite to the United States despite the US Department of Justice's request under a valid extradition treaty that has existed between those two countries since 1995 and under which multiple Jordanian felons have been extradited to face trial in US courts.

Other than that Ahlam Tamimi is an acclaimed hero among Palestinian Arabs and in Jordanian society in general (which is overwhelmingly composed of Palestinian Arabs); that she has been provided with support, protection, privilege and exposure that arguably no mass murderer in history has enjoyed at the hands of any government; and that the victims of her malevolence were mainly Jewish children (unlike every other Jordanian extradited to the US); and that she has publicly and for the record admitted, indeed boasted, about her central role in the bombing and the resulting deaths... just how different is Ahlam Tamimi from the other Jordanians extradited in past years to the United States?

And no, we're not asking for a friend.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

20-Oct-18: In Har Adar today, a terrorist is stopped in time

Har Adar [Image Source]
No one was killed. No Israeli family was left upended or orphaned*. But a thwarted terror attack in the Jerusalem suburb of Har Adar this morning ["Stabbing attack thwarted in Har Adar", Tzvi Lev in Israel National News, October 20, 2018] could easily have ended tragically:
A stabbing attack was thwarted in Har Adar on Saturday after a Palestinian Arab aroused the suspicions of a security guard. The 20-year-old suspect caught at the town's entrance after he began acting strangely. After being detained by a security guard, the suspect admitted that he was intending to carry out a stabbing attack with a knife he had hidden in the village... In the wake of [a 2017] attack, army officials barred PA workers from entering Har Adar, and pledged to make improvements at the checkpoint workers must pass through at the entrance to Har Adar.
In that earlier Har Adar attack a year ago ["26-Sep-17: At Har Adar's entrance, an Arab-on-Israeli shooter with problems and a solution"] an Arab day laborer with a valid work permit, a history of family violence and no known background in terror, killed three security personnel, opening fire on them when ordered to halt while attempting to enter the gated community.

Criticism of Israel's serious focus on security and the accompanying problems it brings - the expense, the intrusion into the lives of Arabs en route to school or work, the wide deployment of lethal weapons in the hands of security personnel - are legitimate. But while they should never be dismissed out of hand, the imperative of saving lives and taking a realistic view of the neighborhood in which we live mean that security-mindedness is a core element of Israeli life.

As today's successful intercept demonstrates, there's a lot we have to be grateful for when it comes to the alertness of security people.

Har Adar, a pleasant community of about 4,000 people about 10 kilometers outside Jerusalem, gets its name from a British radar installation that used to be where the homes now stand.

---
* So it's highly unlikely this will get any media coverage outside of the Israeli and Jewish media. That's not a light-hearted observation. We Israelis pay a heavy price for this editorial-selectiveness.

Monday, October 15, 2018

15-Oct-18: Monday noon: Another Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack in Samaria

The scene of today's attack [Image Source: Hamodia and Reuters]
In the third terror attack to have taken place in Israel's Samaria District over the past eight days, a Palestinian Arab man armed with a stabbing implement was thwarted in his efforts around noon today (Monday).

He was permanently prevented from completing his terrorist mission.

The attack site is a short distance away from the Israeli city of Ariel on the heavily-traveled Highway 5.

As reported by Times of Israel:
A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces Monday during an attempt to stab a soldier at the Gitai Junction in the northern West Bank, the army said. No Israeli troops were injured in the incident and the Israel Defense Forces said it has opened an investigation. Several hours after the attempted stabbing, the Kan public broadcaster reported that the assailant was a resident of Biddya, the same hometown as a 47-year-old Palestinian mother of eight who was killed late Friday night when a rock was hurled at her car in the northern West Bank.
From Ynet:
A Palestinian would-be terrorist tried to stab a soldier standing at a bus stop at the Gitai Avishar Junction on Highway 5 in the northern West Bank on Monday and was shot dead by soldiers from the Artillery Corps' 55th Battalion, who were on the scene. No Israeli troops hurt. The Gitai Avishar Junction is a busy and central intersection on the highway linking the settlement of Ariel to central Israel. Hundreds of Palestinian workers travel through the junction on their way to Israel to work. The junction was also the site of several attacks in the past, and is constantly guarded by two soldiers, who were the ones to shoot and neutralize the terrorist... An IDF reservist soldier was moderately wounded and a civilian woman was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack Thursday outside the Samaria Territorial Brigade base. The terrorist was able to escape initially, but was captured several days later. Last Sunday, terrorist Ashraf Na'alwa murdered two Israelis—Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and Ziv Hagbi, 35—in a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone. He is still at large.
The usual Arab channels are publicizing the attacker's name and portrait. His face can be seen here. One Arab source [here] names him as Elias Saleh Yassin from Biddya, and says he was 22 years old. It refers to him as "martyr".

Praise from Hamas was not long in coming:
"The martyrdom of Elias was a response to the crime of the settlers against the martyr Aisha Al-Rabi of the same town. It affirms the right of our people to defend themselves and resist the occupation that assaults humans and land with American support and international silence." Hamas tells "the resistance" to "continue this path that the enemy does not understand... the shortest way to liberate from occupation and to acquire the rights and the building of our Palestinian state." [Arabic source]
The propaganda-centric Ma'an News Agency headlines the English-language edition of its report on today's failed stabbing attack with this: "Palestinian shot dead after alleged stabbing attack near Salfit". Its Arabic edition by contrast is more expansive and less shy: "A martyr tried to stab soldiers north of the West Bank".  The use of the word "martyr" in Arabic-language reporting is a core element in the ongoing Arab incitement to more and worse Arab-on-Israeli terrorist violence.

It is unconscionable that Ma'an's work is funded by European governments [see "09-Jul-15: When incitement to murder is financed by foreign aid, where will the accounting come from?"]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

11-Oct-18: In Israel's Samaria district, an Arab-on-Israeli stabbing this afternoon

There's been another Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack today.

Two Israelis are injured, one in serious condition, after an attacker, evidently a Palestinian Arab, standing at an Israeli bus stop near the IDF's Shomron Regional Brigade headquarters close to the community of Itamar, pulled a "huge knife" (according to an Israel National News report) at about 1:30 pm. He stabbed an Israeli reservist of about 30 and then fled from the scene. He has not yet been apprehended.

(We wrote about another stabbing attack at what sounds like the same spot in January 2016 - see this post.)

Times of Israel says IDF soldiers at the scene opened fire in the attacker's direction:
Shrapnel from the shots struck the woman in the leg. The stabber may have fled in a waiting car nearby, Hadashot TV news said.
The woman caught in the cross-fire is reportedly 26 and her leg injuries are not life-threatening. Both victims were taken to Rabin Medical Center/Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for emergency care. (It's the largest ER facility in Israel.)

Many Arab-on-Israeli stabbings over the past two years have involved the knifers aiming for the upper parts of their victims' bodies, and so it was this afternoon. The male victim suffered stab wounds to the face and the upper torso. He was conscious when brought to hospital.

Consistent with the shabby, unprofessional way it reports on Arab-on-Israeli terror, the European-funded Ma'an News Agency 'knows' ["Israeli soldier, settler injured in stabbing attack, suspect flees", today] that the woman victim is a "settler". In fact, her identity and certainly her home address, remain unpublicized. Calling her a settler is a knowing act of incitement to terror; for the practitioners of Maan-style lethal journalism, all Israelis are "settlers".

One report ["Israeli Army Reservist Wounded in West Bank Stabbing Attack", Haaretz, today] says the knifer fled toward Huwara, a Palestinian village near Nablus. It says the IDF has set up dozens of roadblocks around the town and soldiers were carrying out checks, causing "large traffic jams" in the area.

The alleged stabber is taken into custody on Thursday
night [Image Source]
UPDATE 12:05 am Friday October 12, 2018: Times of Israel says the attacker has been apprehended. He is un-named at this stage but reported to be a 19-year-old male from the Muslim village of Jamma’in (population about 7,000), about 16 km south of Nablus in Samaria. He is currently helping the Israeli security authorities with their enquiries. Hamas, according to Wikipedia, is the dominant political force in the town. A Hamas announcement [here in Arabic] says Thursday's stabbing attack at a bus stop is "a slap to the occupation and failure of its security system... the operation comes in the context of our people's response to the arrogance of the occupation and its continuous violations against our people and our holy sites".

UPDATE 12:30 pm Friday October 12, 2018: A Palestinian Arab source names the arrested suspect as Muaz Qassem Hussein, age 19. They publish his photo here.

UPDATE 11:15 pm Monday October 15, 2018: From Ynet:
The IDF released footage from the security cameras showing the stabbing terror attack at the bus stop outside the Samaria Territorial Brigade base in the West Bank, which last Thursday left an IDF reservist moderately wounded and a civilian woman slightly hurt. In a video released Monday, the reservist, who is reported to be in his thirties, is seen standing on the side of the road next to a civilian, when the terrorist suddenly emerges from behind and proceeds to chase after the soldier with a knife. After a struggle between the two, which lasts several seconds, the civilian at the bust stop is seen escaping the area and two other soldiers arrive at the scene and aim their weapons at the fleeing terrorist.
The video is here.

Thursday, October 04, 2018

04-Oct-18: Entitlement, transparency and foreign aid: Responding to Parents Circle

From this week's Australian Jewish News
We were bothered by some statements that appear in a  recent report ["Fears funding freeze is going too far", Nathan Jeffay - Australian Jewish News, September 20, 2018] that looks at changes in the Trump administration's approach to US support for non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

The parts that jumped out at us had to do with a group on which we have expressed ourselves at intervals over the years: Parents Circle Families Forum. They appear in the article's opening lines
Donald Trump is being accused of taking his squeeze on Palestinian funding too far, by stopping new grants to organisations that promote coexistence with Israelis. “It’s totally heartbreaking,” said Robi Damelin, an Israeli bereaved mother who runs a coexistence group with bereaved Palestinian parents. She was talking to The AJN shortly after hearing that the Trump administration is cutting its last major aid channel to Palestinians, namely $US10 million annual funding to projects like hers which bring together Israeli and Palestinian civilians... 
Then a few paragraphs later:
Damelin said that America is acting dangerously by undermining coexistence work as a strategy to achieve political results. “It can only achieve more violence,” she said. Her son David was killed when a terrorist opened fire at an IDF roadblock in the West Bank in 2002, and she became involved in The Parents Circle Families Forum, a grassroots organisation of Palestinian and Israeli families who have suffered a bereavement due to the conflict. She believes that groups like hers are building connections between populations which will prove vital if there is to be a political agreement. “Can they imagine that there could be peace without contact between Israelis and Palestinians? ” she asked rhetorically. “This will cause fear of the unknown, which leads to hatred and its natural partner, violence.”
Each of us (Frimet and Arnold) has criticized PCFF's work and methods via articles and posts over a period of 15 years. We have not managed to get much of a response from them in all that time. 

Arnold wrote a brief comment for The AJN which they published yesterday in their physical edition. If an online version is published, we will add the details in an update to this post. So far, there's none.
Reflections on the dark side of foreign aid 
Arnold Roth, Jerusalem | Published in the print edition of the Australian Jewish News, October 3, 2018
Nathan Jeffay’s review of US foreign aid cuts ["Fears funding freeze is going too far", September 20, 2018] touches on some of the undoubtedly thorny questions that arise when long-standing funding commitments are suddenly slashed.
I have no role in any organization that benefits from US (or any non-Israeli) government funding. And I surely don’t have the responsibility of either defending or attacking what the Trump Administration chooses to do.
But like many observers of Palestinian Arab and Israeli societies and their universe of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), I strongly favour transparency, along with critical, frequent and active reassessments of who gets funded by foreign governments. In other words, management that has goals and results in mind.
If programs are found to need changing, let the change come.
UNRWA, the startlingly unique “refugee” organization, has sought since the late 1940s to perpetuate – but not to solve – the powerlessness and misery of Palestinian Arabs. Anyone familiar with its operations, especially its schooling, understands how much harm flows from institutionalized hypocrisy, embedded ideology - and inertia.
Right at the outset, Jeffay’s article quotes one of the central figures in Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF). Robi Damelin and I have spoken on the same platforms in the past. My wife and I have written critical opinion pieces about PCFF’s work. In Israel’s large circle of families bereaved by acts of Arab terror, it’s a small, marginal and noisy participant.
Ms Damelin, reacting to an announced change to US funding that will affect PCFF, tells Jeffay it’s “totally heartbreaking… undermining coexistence work as a strategy to achieve political results… It can only achieve more violence.”  
That’s an overblown, self-aggrandizing response. But more than that: as Frimet and I have written in several opinion columns over the years, it reflects an approach we know is offensive to many of Israel’s thousands of terror-affected familiesWe have been one of those since our daughter Malki was murdered in the 2001 Hamas attack on a Jerusalem pizzeria.
PCFF’s fund-raising emphasizes that it brings together the families of terror victims from among Palestinian Arabs and Israelis who “have chosen a path to reconciliation”. 
But its calls for change address just one side. Israelis are the aggressors. Palestinian Arabs are the victims and powerless to change much in their lives and society. The occupation is at the heart of the conflict. And terrorism – is simply missing from the narrative. 
They concede their line is unrepresentative of Israel’s bereaved families. Nonetheless it has stayed dismayingly consistent throughout the 15 years we have observed them. How is this offensive?
PCFF likes to say its work constitutes “an alternative to hatred and revenge”. The realization sank in some years ago that the hatred and revenge for which they have “an alternative” are what they tell the world the rest of us Israelis feel. It’s repugnant and it’s also untrue. Their messages adopt the language of bereavement. But their substance is skewed to the political. In my view, it’s calibrated to meet the political expectations of funders.
(Pointing out the sharp divergence between what claim to do and the reality is beyond the scope of this short comment. The blog Frimet and I write [meaning ThisOngoingWar, which you are probably reading now] has more: click here)
Everyone ought to be free to promote their own political view of the conflict. Though I find it offensive, PCFF are entitled to exploit bereavement to raise funds and to promote specific ideological positions.  
They don’t owe me or anyone else an accounting – except their funders. Funders can embrace or reject that approach. 
Let PCFF do whatever they feel needs to be done. But it’s absurd for them to argue that they are entitled to US government funding. If their work produces an acceptable return on investment, however that’s defined, funders will seek them out. The broader issue though is about how large bodies, often controlled by governments, use sometimes-vast aid funds to influence and even change the political landscape in other countries.
Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor is mentioned in Jeffay’s article. I play a tiny committee-member’s role there that gives me some insight into the distortions and the double standards that are often part of the funding industry. A notorious illustration: the Abbas regime’s rewards-for-terror stipends scheme has produced a devastating harvest of deaths and blighted lives on both sides since Arafat’s time.
The PA has for all practical purposes been insolvent through all those years. Those stipends and that hideous scheme are made possible only by foreign funding. Let it be critically reviewed widely, often, transparently and with vigour.

If you care to review (and of course to respond to) the critiques we have offered of PCFF and its approach, here are some:

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

19-Sep-18: Kol Nidrei night stabbing attack at entrance to Jerusalem's Old City

A Palestinian Arab launched a stabbing attack on a Jewish pedestrian outside Jerusalem’s Old City walls on Tuesday evening, the night of Yom Kippur. Times of Israel quotes an Israeli police statement reporting “an attempted stabbing attack” near Damascus Gate, saying “a police unit at the spot neutralized the suspect.

The Palestinian Authority’s health ministry said the attacker was shot dead by Israeli police.

The thwarted attacker is said to be a 26-year-old male from Qalandiya on Jerusalem's north side. Haaretz names him as Mohammed Yusuf Sha'aban Alian and says he was in Israel illegally. It refers to a screwdriver as the attack weapon and the location as Jerusalem's Hanevi'im (Prophets) Street which leads to the square outside Damascus Gate. Israel National News has post-attack police camera footage here.

The reliably-despicable Ma'an News Agency ["Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian for alleged attack"] spells the knifer's name Muhammad Youssef Shaaban Elayyan and reveals that
"Israeli authorities sealed off the street in the al-Musrara neighborhood surrounding the scene for several hours, preventing local residents from accessing it. The Israeli authorities then transferred Elayyan's body to an unknown location after holding his body at the scene for about three hours."
This may seem like a parody but it's representative of how the European-financed Ma'an routinely reports Arab-on-Israeli terror.

We're searching for announcements in the Arab media of the attacker being formally elevated to martyrdom.
UPDATE Thursday September 20, 2018 12:05 am - We didn't have to wait long. The Arabic version, but not the English of course, of the Ma'an news report is headlined "Video and photos - A martyr shot by the occupation in Jerusalem". Other Arabic reports praising the thwarted stabber as "martyr" are all over the web - see http://archive.is/nCaKJ . An Arabic tweet from Palestine Information Center announces that in the Kafr Aqab and Qalandia "refugee camps" they were going to hold strikes Wednesday to mourn "the martyr".]
For reasons related to the time of year and pressures at home, we have not yet written about the shocking murder-by-stabbing this past Sunday of Ari Fuld Hy"d by a Palestinian Arab eleventh-grader in the Gush Etzion Mall. But iy"H we will.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

13-Sep-18: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?

The Oslo Accords are signed at the White House exactly 25 years ago today, on September 13, 1993 | Shimon Peres, Israel's foreign minister, signs  as Israel's prime minister Yitzhak Rabin; President Bill Clinton and the PLO's Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas look on. [Image Credit: J David AKE/AFP]
One of the most interesting things we do here is look at what the Palestinian Arabs think. As we explained in our most recent attempt to do this ["16-Jul-18: What do the Palestinian Arabs want? What do they believe? What do they think?"], looking at accurate, well-collected and intelligently analyzed opinion poll data is
invariably more valuable by far than media guesses about what the Palestinian Arabs think and want. Claims are made freely and often about Palestinian Arab aspirations. Very often, though, the data tell a story that's at total variance from what's being claimed about them... [source
Bluntly, much of what the mainstream media claim about Palestinian Arab public opinion is just plain wrong. We make that statement on the basis of carefully reviewing the work of a Palestinian Arab organization called The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR). It's headed by a respected professional, Dr. Khalil Shikaki. We have no personal connection with him or his work. His reputation for objectivity is why we pay attention. Here are some of our previous analyses:
Here are some insights we found PSR Public Opinion Poll Number 69, published yesterday (Wednesday September 12, 2018). It's based on survey data collected face-to-face in the previous week from a total sample size of 1,270 Palestinian Arab adults.

Political leaders?

From our perspective and with Arab-on-Israeli terrorism very much on our minds, the most clear-cut insights have to do with Mahmoud Abbas, the fading president-for-life of the Palestinian Authority:
  • More than six out of ten Palestinian Arabs want him to resign. This is very slightly higher than the last poll showed. Broken down, the rejection stands at 52% in the West Bank; 78% in the Gaza Strip.
  • An overwhelming majority disagree with his most important domestic policies. Overall about half of the Palestinian Arabs now see Abbas' PA as a burden rather than an asset.
  • So where do they want power to reside? Well, fully two-thirds are against his decision (incapable at this stage of being implemented) to disarm the terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
  • Furthermore, most reject his demand that Hamas hand control over the Gaza Strip to the so-called reconciliation government controlled by his PA. 
  • Related to this, most Palestinian Arabs say they support Hamas’ efforts to reach a long-term Tahdia agreement with Israel even if the reconciliation government cannot be created. (Tahdia or Tahdiya is an Arabic word that is usually translated cease-fire or calming-down. It does not mean truce or peace.)
  • These data points show that Hamas gets more overall trust and backing now than Abbas and his Fatah/PA/PLO factions. But both get less support than they had when the last survey was published three months ago.
  • In party-political terms, if elections (which were last held since 2006) took place for the Palestinian Legislative Council and its 132 seats, 27% say they would support Hamas (down on the summer poll results); 36% would vote for Fatah (also down on the summer results); all the other parties combined would get 10%. The 28% who say they are undecided would be more numerous than Hamas' voters. By comparison, Hamas defeated the long-dominant Fatah in those 2006 elections, ending up with 76 seats out of the 132. Chaos ensued, followed, in June 2007, by the eruption of open fighting between the armed forces of Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The winners of the blood-bath (the physical one, not the electoral one) were Hamas who have held on tightly to control until today. No parliamentary elections have happened in the ensuing 12 years, and none are realistically in prospect.
  • But leaving aside the factions and focusing on the personalities, the picture gets confusing. If a two-horse election race had been held last week: 
    • If it were Mahmoud Abbas up against Ismail Haniyeh (of Hamas), Abbas wins 47% to 45%. 
    • If instead of Abbas, the Fatah candidate were the imprisoned murderer Marwan Barghouti, he would steamroller Haniyeh by the substantial margin of 58% against 37%.
The role of the United States?

It's no secret that the Palestinian Arab leadership is having a hard time with the Trump Administration. How have such moves by the US as ending most of its cash aid to the PA, cancelling its contributions to UNRWA, moving its Tel Aviv embassy to Jerusalem affected Palestinian Arab opinion?
  • An overwhelming 90% now view the US as biased towards Israel.
  • Half want their leaders to absolutely reject what the pollsters call the US “Deal of the Century” - the terms of which no one has actually seen yet - because "it will certainly be bad for Palestinians"
  • Moreover, most oppose the resumption of any dialogue with the US.
  • Most also are against going back to negotiations with Israel. 
How bad are things?

The poll looks at how ordinary people feell about the overall condition of where they live. The results are bleak. What proportion think their conditions are "positive"?
  • In the Gaza Strip, a whopping 5%
  • In the West Bank, just 19%.
  • Overall, 77% worry that reductions in foreign aid from the US and others will generate more unemployment growth, more poverty and still further deterioration in daily living conditions.
  • Who's to blame for all this awfulness? 43% say it's the PA and its head, Mahmoud Abbas - and note that Gazans are twice as likely to say this as West Bankers. 24% blame Hamas. 8% say it's Egypt that caused the problems. 17% say it's "others". 
  • Presumably making matters even worse, 59% of Palestinian Arabs - not surprisingly, given the nature of the two regimes in question - say they cannot criticize the Palestinian Authority (except to the pollsters) without fear. And 77% say there is corruption in the PA's organs 
  • A third of all Palestinian Arabs say they want to emigrate if they can. This trend is much stronger in Gaza (about 50%) than in the West Bank (22%). 
Violence?
  • Two-thirds - and this holds equally true in Gaza and in the West Bank - favour allowing the "armed battalions", meaning terrorist factions and their weapons, where they currently are.
  • 68% support (and 25% oppose) the PA decision to cease security coordination with Israel. At the same time, 69% think the Palestinian Arab leadership will never actually implement that decision.
Peace?

Has life gotten better or worse since the Oslo Accords were signed between Arafat's PA and the government of Israel in 1993? And how will peace look when it arrives?
  • 73% say "conditions today are worse" than before Oslo.
  • 36% blame this on Israel for "refusing to end its occupation"
  • 35% say its the failure of the "international community" to press Israel harder
  • 65% believe the Oslo Accords "damaged the national interest".
  • Support for the two-state solution has risen slightly compared with three months ago: 47%.
  • When asked to choose among (a) the two-state solution, (b) the one-state solution and (c) any other third solution, the two-state solution wins with 53%.
  • At the same time, 56% say the two-state solution is no longer practical because of Israeli settlement. 
  • Do they agree that the chances for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state side-by-side with the State of Israel in the next five years are slim or nonexistent? Yes, say 72% of Palestinian Arabs.
  • And for 30%, the preferred next stage entails waging armed struggle against "the Israeli occupation”. 39% say "negotiation is the most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel".
  • Don't expect or look for coherence or consistency.
  • 80% think the Arab world doesn't see Palestine as "its primary cause", which sounds right to us.
  • Depressingly, 57% "believe that Israel’s long-term aspiration is to expand the state of Israel to stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and to expel the Palestinian population". 
The biggest challenge?

What do Palestinian Arabs see as the most serious problem facing their society today? They're facing in numerous different directions.
  • 27% say poverty and unemployment 
  • 25% say the "occupation" and "settlement" activities (they mean by Israel)
  • 22% say corruption in Palestinian Arab public institutions
  • 20% say the "siege" (they mean by Israel) of the Gaza Strip
  • 3% say the absence of national unity.
All in all, it's hard not to feel a sense of despair when confronted with views like those on which the PSR reports each 90 days. So much effort, so much news-reporting, so much foreign aid, so much waste... so little of anything constructive to show for it - except that a plurality of them now agrees that it's poverty that tops their list of challenges. 

But they're hopelessly divided on that too. 

And catastrophically ill-served by venal political operatives and self-serving insiders who have never shown the smallest interest or ability in addressing that vital issue among the many on their people's agenda.

This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Co myślą palestyńscy Arabowie?") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.

Friday, August 31, 2018

31-Aug-18: Lessons learned from the world's moral-arbiter-in-chief

Prince Zeid in his official "exit" speech [Video grab from this source]
Owing to specific circumstances in our personal lives, we have a larger-than-usual sensitivity to the double-talk of self-important public officials.

Still, we try to stay polite, considerate and respectful. We sometimes keep silent even when we feel the overwhelming urge to speak rudely and try to take those figures down a notch.

We're suspending the silence today to speak out about the man, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, who has just ended a term as "the world's moral-arbiter-in-chief" (according to this US report at the time of his appointment) and one of the most powerful operators in the United Nations civil service.

Mr al-Hussein's previous roles have included being Jordan's ambassador to the UN for seven years, and then Jordan's ambassador to the US and Jordan's ambassador to Mexico. And by the way, he's a cousin of Jordan's current ruler, King Abdullah II.
(It might be surprising to know he's also the next in line to the throne of Iraq - which currently doesn't have a king and probably never will again. The Hashemite clan of which Zeid is a member were granted royal domain over what we know today as Syria, Jordan and Iraq by the British in the 1920's. The last ruling Hashemite king of Iraq, Faisal II, was executed in 1958
USAToday commentary pointed out "the prince's lifelong ties to the Jordanian regime headed by his cousin... Zeid has not commented on Jordan's abuses, and some have questioned his suitability for the human-rights post". 
Is all of this relevant? Judge for yourself.)
Looking back at his four-year term as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Jordanian prince went on the record a few weeks ago saying he will give his UNCHR successor the same advice his own predecessor, Navi Pillay, gave him — “be fair and don’t discriminate against any country” and “just come out swinging”.

Here's the encounter we had with him. We're not sure he's quite the swinger he thinks he is.

But first a word about us. We are the parents of Malki, a child murdered at 15 in an especially savage Hamas terror attack on a pizzeria filled with children. For close to seven years and counting, we have been campaigning to have the mastermind of the massacre arrested where she now lives as a free citizen - in Jordan - and extradited to the United States. Why the US? Because our daughter held American citizenship and under American law the perpetrator of an act of terror in which a US citizen is killed can be brought to justice in a US federal court. The mastermind's name is Ahlam Tamimi; she has been on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list since March 2017.

Jordan, whose citizenship Tamimi (a close blood relative in multiple ways to the current Palestinian Arab "icon" Ahed Tamimi) holds, though she calls herself a Palestinian, refuses to extradite her even though it signed an extradition agreement with the US in 1995. The US says the treaty is in full force and effect and there's no real doubt that's true.

On April 4, 2017, we emailed a personal letter to Mr Zeid in New York via three senior staffers each of whom who acts as his spokesperson and each of whom was separately addressed.
Re: Extraditing Ahlam Tamimi 
We were pleased to see the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, speak forthrightly [link] four days ago about how states must (a) honor their treaty obligations, (b) act on legitimate arrest warrants and (c) respect the great importance of the global struggle for justice and against impunity.  
Prince Zeid was addressing the failure of his own homeland, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in relation to a notorious fugitive from justice, the president of Sudan, who ought to have been arrested when he came to Jordan. 
We are the parents of Malki Roth who was murdered in 2001 in the horrific Hamas attack on women and children in a pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem. Malki was 15. Fourteen other people were killed and 130 terribly injured. 
The mastermind of the attack is a Jordanian woman. She was eventually arrested and confessed to all the charges. She was convicted on 15 counts of murder and was sentenced to multiple life terms. Her sentence was drastically commuted eight years later in the 2011 deal Israel made with the Hamas terrorist organization to secure the release of an Israeli captive. She has lived free in Jordan since then, proudly taking "credit" for the murders and basking in the status of celebrity. 
Our daughter was a US citizen. Under US law relating to acts of terror, her killer must face justice in the US. The US formally requested some time ago that she be extradited by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. But Jordan has refused. The woman, Ahlam Tamimi, is subject to a US arrest warrant and appears on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list
We are respectfully asking that the High Commissioner speak as clearly and forcefully to the King and government of his homeland, Jordan, about Tamimi as he did four days ago in that other matter. We ask him to tell Jordan that, in relation to Tamimi, it must (a) honor its treaty obligations, (b) act on legitimate arrest warrants and (c) respect the great importance of the global struggle for justice and against impunity.  
We appreciate you conveying this to the High Commissioner.  
Sincerely
Frimet and Arnold Roth
Jerusalem, Israel
We expected the silent treatment from the spokespersons (yes, the irony of their job-titles versus their actual performance is not lost on us). And that's what we got. Instead an OHCHR staffer responded to one of our follow-up notes with these kind sentiments:
Thank you for your message and sorry for the delay in acknowledgement - I can assure you that all messages received by this office are taken seriously, with only one problem being that there are too many of them from across the world, with many serious crisis and violations still ongoing, and too few people and resources to handle all of them. Your message is of course well received, including by the Executive Office of the High Commissioner (where I belong) and the MENA section of the Office. It will be given proper attention - I can assure in this - and you will receive a response upon due consideration. With full understanding and sincere sympathy for your loss. 
We wrote again briefly, several more times with little to show for it. When our wait had stretched to three months, we sent this:
UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

July 17, 2017
Sir,

The chain of correspondence below, initiated by my wife and me on April 4, 2017 and addressed to your office ended in silence.

Not silence from us, since we are vociferous in attempting to fight the apathy of international bodies who by their passivity and passive resistance contribute to injustice.

Silence from your High Commission.

Today being International Criminal Justice Day and having just read some lofty and inspiring words [here] issued on the occasion by your office, I am making this additional attempt at trying to penetrate the barrier.

I am not optimistic that this time, more than three months after our first letter, you will respond. But I feel the need to try once again. As the parents of a child murdered by a Jordanian woman who is, and is treated as, a national Jordanian hero and given safe harbor by the Jordanian government despite its valid 1995 extradition treaty with the United States, we are outraged by the injustice and even more by the silence of those who ought to be speaking out and joining with us.

Sincerely,
Arnold Roth
Jerusalem

cc Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli
President, United Nations Human Rights Council
InfoDesk@ohchr.org
Eventually, on August 30, 2017, we got this response to our request for a small dose of human rights and justice from the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. It came from Prince Zeid's Chief of Office - Executive Direction and Management, in Geneva.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Roth,

I wish to acknowledge receipt of your various communications below to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Most of all we wish to express our most sincere condolences on the death of your beloved daughter Malki Roth in a terrorist attack in Jerusalem in 2001.

Please accept our apologies for the time it has taken to respond to your request that the High Commissioner take action regarding extraditing Ahlam Tamimi to the United States. The Office’s legal department has reviewed this matter in detail. While we understand and appreciate your request for assistance, please be advised that the United Nations High Commissioner’s Office nor the High Commissioner himself do not have the mandate or jurisdiction to address the complex legal issues involving extradition between States and the extra-territorial application of US criminal statutes involved in your request. As such, the Office is most regrettably not in a position to intervene in the matter as requested.

It is our sincere hope that your persistent advocacy and commitment to the cause of justice, accountability and human rights will lead to a successful fight against impunity globally, and specifically in memory of your beloved daughter.
But we hadn't asked him to intervene. What we did request was that he "speak as clearly and forcefully to the King and government of his homeland, Jordan, about Tamimi" as he had done just a few days before our first letter. We understood that we were flogging a dead horse.

We then had time to reflect. How, we asked ourselves, does a seasoned diplomat who declines to get involved in international treaty matters that happen to put his own cousin in an unpleasant light use his exalted platform? What kind of apparently non-complex legal issues is he ready to address?

Well, how about these human rights issues for instance? Each of them is a case from the past few weeks and months where Prince Zeid did find it possible to speak out:
  • Reminding "all states" to "abide by their treaty obligationsor else face "weakening the global struggle against impunity, and for justice" [source] - almost exactly what he refused to do for  our cause.
  • Warning Israel not to use "excessive force, following the many deaths and injuries sustained by Palestinians, including children, in Gaza";  over the past month. For the record, the prince and his office have consistently ignored the central and critical role of Hamas in whipping up the rioters and their violence, physically bringing them to the Israeli border, encouraging women, children and infants to serve as human shields, using live weapons including incendiary devices and guns and bombs. 
  • Sharing his deep concern over proposed Israeli legislation that would "violate international law" and "have far-reaching consequences" that would "seriously damage the reputation of Israel around the world” [source]. Nothing too complex there, right?
  • Calling [here] for an "independent investigation" into the death, allegedly at the hands of Israeli forces of a Gazan Islamist amputee, Ibrahim Abu Thuraya. On any fair-minded view, the role of the terrorists in Thuraya's demise - as outlined in this CAMERA report - raises questions that ought to have been reflected in the UN official's efforts to seek justice but were not.
  • Sending out a warning letter on his office's letterhead advising some 130 global and 60 Israels companies that they are "in breach of international law" because of their activities in Israel and liable to be added to a blacklist. The companies include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline, Airbnb, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, Israel Aircraft Industries and Ahava among many others. It's been called "the latest incarnation of the decades-long Arab boycott and yet another singling out of Israel by the UN... The intent and impact is anti-Semitic,” according to an expert in UN matters and legal advisor for NGO Monitor [here].
This depressing logo decorated the rejection letter
we received months after we made our request
Israel, as others have noted, takes a prominent role in his organization's activities. And not in a good way.

We noticed that the OHCHR letter to us must have been sent in the midst of one of its many self-promotion campaigns; a cheerful-looking logo (on the right) adorned the page.

Seeing it there reinforced the painful reality that, for the global human rights industry, many human rights are clearly worth standing up for. But the human rights of a beautiful Jerusalem girl of 15 to be alive, to live free of the crushing assault of Islamist terrorists like Tamimi and the vicious, nail-enhanced bombs that serve as their sound track, are not among them.

Getting ignored or being fed insulting, offensive and nonsensical responses by public officials is an experience we have come to know from up-close and intimate encounters in the course of our efforts to get Ahlam Tamimi sent to face justice in an American court.

We're not ready to go into details yet (there are efforts underway right now beneath the surface) but we have been exposed to exceedingly shabby treatment by several top-level US diplomats and by multiple officials in the US State Department including the head of an important and highly-relevant unit. On the other hand, we are grateful for the good support we are currently getting from certain other administration officials and offices.

We wish people, including Prince Zeid himself, would ask themselves whether his deliberate silence about Jordan's refusal to extradite Tamimi to the US improve the chances that wall-to-wall support for lethal terrorism in Jordan will diminish? Or has it contributed to terrorism's steady growth in that hotbed of Islamist passions?

We were reluctant to go public with our thoughts on Prince Zeid's politicized non-response. But then he chose to launch a public relations offensive in the last moments of his time in office: 
  • He said earlier this month, for instance, that "When we feel we need to speak, we will speak". For us, however, he did not. 
  • His exit speech video on the UN WebTV site starts out with some dramatic music and sober-sounding words from Zeid: "If you don't sometimes speak out, if you don't threaten to speak out, you don't grab their attention. I would rather err on the speaking out part than staying silent... Our job is to defend the individual victims..." But we can observe that it's not all the victims.
  • A Gulf State paper wrote yesterday that bitter criticism directed against the prince from some states was something he wished "to wear with pride, convinced that there is no honour to be found in silence". We agree: none at all.
  • He declared [here] to wide media coverage that the silence of Myanmar's leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi over the oppression of Burma's Rohingya Muslim minority was "deeply regrettable". But so is his unwillingness to pick up the phone and remind his cousin in Jordan's royal capital that sending the mass murder of Jewish children to face trial is not a political issue but a straightforward moral and legal imperative. And in the case of the cousin, it's a decision he can take with the snap of a finger. But doesn't and hasn't.
We regret Prince Zeid doesn't see matters that way and that's why we are writing this today.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

29-Aug-18: Hamas and its women take center-stage again in Hevron

Image Source
The uncovering of a significant Hamas terror cell based in the Hevron area, and the central role in it taken by females, was cleared for publication in a Shin Bet announcement yesterday (Tuesday). Ynet says initial indictments have been filed in the Judea Military Court.

Some of the key disclosures:
  • A special focus on women - dozens of them from the Hevron area are reported to have been recruited into Hamas via this initiative.
  • Cell leaders received "money, messages, and instructions" from Hamas terror leaders based outside Israel - including (according to Haaretz) Haroun Nasser Adin, another of several Shalit Deal beneficiaries now operating from Turkey. (See "29-Jan-18: Freeing unrepentant terrorists and the horrors it has brought" for some commentary on the scale of the ongoing Shalit Deal catastrophe.)
  • The cell, made up of dozens of Palestinian Arabs, "promoted" Hamas activity in the area including recruiting new members for its work; coordinating via mosques; gathering intelligence; engaging in incitement via sermons and the social media; giving support to prisoners' families; transferring messages and instructions; moving funds around to finance terror.
  • An attempt, in the words of an Israel National News report, "to take control of the Hevron municipality and various charities in the city".
  • The establishment of a local committee to be the Hevron operational arm of Hamas' headquarters. 
That committee is said to be headed by a woman named Dina al-Karmi. Who is she?

Ynet gives her name as Dina al-Said. An Arab source calls her Donya Sa'id and fleshes out the description in this nauseatingly disingenuous way: "the wife a Palestinian man who was killed by the army several years ago". An unfortunate accident?

In fact, her late and not-lamented husband Nashat al-Karmi was a terrorist who (in the rather laconic words of last night's Jerusalem Post report - which to be fair may merely be echoing what the Shin Bet said) "carried out an attack in 2010 in which four Israeli civilians were killed". 

Carried out an attack? As it happens, we wrote at the time about that specific savagery:
Reuters reports today that the Hamas terrorist organization has claimed full reponsibility for yesterday's ambush and execution of four Israeli civilians. It quotes a Hamas statement saying it "announces its full responsibility for the heroic operation in Hebron". This, in Hamas terms, was indeed a heroic operation, a classic of its kind. It was directed at a carload of two men, two women. No Israeli soldiers in the vicinity. No strategic goal other than terrorism for its own sake. The shooters, dressed in civilian clothing, fled into the night. Heroism, pure and simple. Heroism of the kind  that the world has come to know and expect from exponents of Islamicism in its various jihadist flavours. A little reported aspect of the Hamas heroism: one of the rescue service volunteers who arrived on the scene (according to the Jerusalem Post) broke down in tears on viewing the bodies. His colleagues were surprised - this is not a new experience in their line of work. Then they heard him crying out: "That's my wife!' That's my wife!' and indeed his wife is one of the four victims. Their names again (because these are human beings): Yitzhak and Tali Ames (who leave six orphans), Cochava Even Haim, and Avishai Schindler... ["1-Sep-10: Real people, real terror"]
Nashat al-Karmi's career in barbarism came to an abrupt end a couple of weeks after the murders he committed eight years ago. Here's one account of the circumstances:
Israeli forces in the West Bank have shot dead two Hamas militants they say were responsible for the killings of four Israelis last month, according to a senior Palestinian security official... Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement that the operation was "a quick response to the murder of the four Israelis"... The senior Palestinian security official said Nashat al-Karmi and Mamoun al-Natshi were killed in an early morning raid and had been identified by family members. Hamas media later confirmed the killings. The official said the two belonged to Islamist Hamas and were behind the killing of four Israelis on the eve of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that began last month. Hamas, which controls the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, opposes the talks. ["Two shot dead in Hebron", The Irish Times, October 8, 2010]
Image Source
So is this clear? Four innocent Israelis were murdered on an Israeli highway because Hamas opposes peace talks that were getting underway the following day.

The names of the leaders of this newly-uncovered 2018 Hevron cell - the one where the loathsome al-Karmi's widow is a dominant figure - are given as Nizar Shehadeh and Faras Abu Sharh.

It's troubling, and frankly hard to understand, why almost no background details about the two men are given in any of the published reports.

The Shin Bet report rather laconically calls them "senior and well-known Hamas terrorists who had served prison terms several times in the past for their terrorist activity."

We went looking for background. We found that someone with Shehadeh's name was a figure in this 2004 BBC report:
"Israeli radio said troops in Hebron killed two men in a gun battle which broke out after they surrounded a militant hideout and dynamited it... Correspondents identified the two dead in Hebron as members of the Hamas militant organisation. Witnesses said one of them was a local Hamas chief called Murad Qawasmeh. The two-storey house they were hiding in belonged to Nizar Shehadeh, witnesses said, who was jailed by Israel six months ago for having links to a local charity that supported Hamas." ["Israelis kill three Palestinians", BBC News, November 25, 2004]
From the Sheikh Firas Abu Sharkh sermon video [here]
As for Faras Abu Sharh, that name didn't produce much so we cast our net a little wider than that specific Shin Bet spelling. (English isn't their first language.)

A "Firas Abu Sharkh", described as director of the Hebron municipality's library at the time, is named in a Hamas website report from February 2008, more than a decade ago. Turns out he had been taken into custody by the Israeli military - for no reason at all, naturally.

Then he was back as the director of the Hevron municipal library when this (Arabic) March 2017 report appeared.

He turns up in a new Palestinow report (in English) from August 6, 2018 where he is the only one of 14 Palestinian Arabs arrestees to be labeled "former political prisoner" and said to be from Hevron. We think he's the ring-leader mentioned by the Shin Bet.

A Google search of the Arabic version of his name leads to many hits including this Arabic news report from February 2009 where he's said to be a Hevron-area preacher known to many as Abu Wael and who "has been in the cells of the gangs of the security services for six months" - again, for no reason at all.

There's also a YouTube clip of Sheikh Abu Sharkh delivering a sermon in a Hevron mosque on June 13, 2014. [We have asked an Arabic-speaking friend to say what this angry-sounding man is addressing. Stand by.]

Hevron is nominally under the control of the Palestinian Authority which is essentially at war with Hamas. Tayseer Abu Sneineh, a convicted murderer and a member of Fatah (the largest faction in the PA) became mayor of Hebron in the elections of May 2017 ["Palestinian terrorist in killing of 6 Jews elected Hebron mayor | Tayseer Abu Shneineh to head biggest West Bank city", Times of Israel, May 14, 2017]. Fatah took 7 of the city's 15 seats but that was enough. 

Despite this, as the New York Times already pointed out in 2009 ["In Fatah-Governed West Bank, Solidarity With Hamas"], a complicated internal struggle goes on there:
Fatah leaders are growing deeply worried over popular reaction and support for its rival, Hamas, to the point of crushing recent demonstrations...  In a series of interviews, people here said they were enraged by the photographs and television images of the Palestinian dead in Hamas-controlled Gaza, which they consider part of themselves. They said that support for Hamas would grow as this conflict went on, and that they were intimidated by the Palestinian security forces of Mr. Abbas..."
In a formal statement, the Shin Bet said yesterday: 
"The exposure of the infrastructure proves once again that the Hamas headquarters in the Gaza Strip and abroad are directing Hamas activities in Judea and Samaria, through any means at their disposal, including through the use of women..."
The first woman terrorist in the service of Hamas was Ahlam Tamimi who murdered our daughter Malki and many other innocents in the bombing attack on the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria in 2001. The mutual embrace - females and Islamist savagery - has grown broader and tighter since then:
Women make good terrorists. They offer a strategic advantage in conducting terrorist attacks; as women do not conform to traditional security profiles, they typically arouse less suspicion, and their actions often garner more international media attention... [W]omen have traditionally been seen as the victims of violence, whether domestic or political. However, the historical record makes it clear that women have not just been the passive victims of terrorism, but also have played an active role. In Muslim history, although women took part in battles at the time of the Prophet Mohammed, their participation was gradually restricted, as women's roles became consigned to the private sphere... This wave of violence has not only seen women as active participants, but as proactive participants in terrorism. As the terrorist attacks continue, women will continue to play an active role in carrying out attacks, as well as mobilizing public support for further violence. ["Women’s Liberation: Violence and Palestinian Women in the Third Intifada", Haaretz, October 27, 2015]
Those calls (here for instance, and here and here and here and all over the social media) from widely-varied Arab sources, and not only Arab, for Israel to free the females being held in its prisons for terror offences come from a deep and cynical appreciation of the strategic value of women's roles in jihad. It's a fatal mistake for us to fall victim to their blandishments.

As for the gang, we think there are some more disclosures not yet made.