|Elon Moreh, a village in Samaria, with Mt Gerizim |
and the city of Nablus, called Shechem in Hebrew,
off in the distance
This morning, the focus - for the relative few who know about such matters or care to know - of that confrontation was Elon Moreh. It's a community that was established in the mid-1970s over the opposition of critics who claimed that allowing Jews to set down homes near Nablus, in the heartland of Biblical Jewish history, was going to antagonize the Kingdom of Jordan who had controlled the area previously. The Jordanians barely managed to defeat Yasser Arafat's Palestinian forces seeking to overthrow the monarchy in 1970. In 1988 they permanently relinquished their claims to the West Bank [source] and are now long gone from the neighbourhood. Their claims in any event had no foundation in international law or history. A thriving Jewish village of some 1,200 people today, Elon Moreh is in the vicinity of Itamar, Har Bracha and Yitzhar.
On the other hand, for at least two millenia, Jews have traditionally reckoned Elon Moreh to be the place where Abraham had been told by the Almghty: “To your descendants will I give this land” (Genesis 12:6) and where Abraham's grandson Jacob later purchased land (Genesis 33:19). Skeptics will question whether Jacob and Abraham heard this or even whether they existed. But it's far more difficult for them to deny that Jews have held this belief about their historical forebears as part of Judaism's written tradition stretching back far longer than most of today's cultures have had a written tradition.
This morning, two knife-wielding Arab terrorists tried to infiltrate the village [source]. They were spotted around 8:45 a.m. from the community's watch position, approaching the fence that surrounds Elon Moreh. Aware that they were seen, they fled to a nearby village, Azmut. The Elon Moreh security coordinator promptly called in the army who entered the village in battalion-sized strength. An interesting note appears in Ynet's report: that the two would-be terrorists were refused shelter by several of the Azmut residents and eventually the headmaster of the local school turned them over to the IDF who apprehended and disarmed them.
They turn out to be residents of Balata, sometimes called a refugee camp but actually a town established more than sixty years ago near Nablus and with a population today of some 30,000. Balata was in the news in November 2007 when Palestinian Authority "police" got into a firefight with terrorists from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (they owe allegiance to Fatah) who, in the words of Wikipedia, had turned it into "a military stronghold".
If only all terror attacks ended as neatly and successfully as today's.