Many people lack a factual understanding of events in our region because the media report them inadequately. We blog here because our daughter Malki, murdered at the age of 15 in a restaurant massacre in Jerusalem, was a victim of jihadist hatred and barbarism. For jihadism and terrorism to end in Israel, New York, Madrid, London and everywhere else, people first need to understand the scale on which it is happening and why. This ongoing war is killing us.
Monday, April 02, 2012
2-Apr-12: When you march for the rights of prisoners, what does it mean for the rights of their past and future victims?
We want those who march for them and against
administrative detention and imprisonment to ask themselves and the organizers some tough and perhaps unpleasant
questions - about these prisoners, about what brought them there - before they turn to good, liberal-minded people for support.
When they march, are they marching for the young cousins Amjad
and Hakim Awad?
These boys are mere teenagers. And in the world in which
most Europeans and Americans live, we know that boys in their teenage years are
prone to getting into mischief. As an enlightened society, we treat them a
little more gently so that we can encourage them to grow to mature manhood and
become constructive members of our societies.
But this is not Europe or America. Yes, the Awad cousins are
young. Amjad Mahmad Awad is 19, and was a student at Al-Quds Open University. Hakim
Mazen Awad is 18. The Awad clan makes up about half of the population of
Awarta, the village to which they fled after they carried out the crime for
which they were convicted in an Israeli court. Last year, when they were
arrested, Hakim Mazen Awad was a high school student whose father, Mazen, is
active in the PFLP terrorist organization and had served a five-year prison
sentence, imposed by the Palestinian National Authority,for murdering his
female cousin and cremating her body.
It’s a family with some history. The boys had an uncle
Jibril, also a PFLP terrorist. This Awad uncle participated in an earlier attack
on the neighbouring community of Itamar back in 2002. A mother called Rachel
Shabo and three of her children, Neria (16), Zvi (13), and Avishai (5) were
shot to death inside their home, and the head of the neighborhood preparedness
team, Yosef Twito (31), was also shot to death. Uncle Jibril’s career in
terrorism came to a premature and fatal end in a 2003 clash with Israeli forces.
It is perhaps not surprising that the Awad clan had
elaborate and quite complete arguments why their beautiful young sons had
nothing to do with the horrible crime of which they were convicted last year. (Note
also that several
early media reports said the perpetrator might have been a Thai
agricultural worker, though their services are generally not used in that part
of Israel.) The crime was cold-blooded and horrifying even to observers who are
hardened by the difficult acts of terror that happen in Israel with sickening
frequency. Wikipedia’s report [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itamar_attack] says:
After crossing the fence, Amjad
and Hakim walked 400 meters into the settlement. The perpetrators first broke
into a house of the Chai family who were on vacation, searching all the rooms.
They stole an M-16 assault rifle, ammunition, a helmet, and a kevlar vest. They
waited an hour and entered the Fogels' house at around 10:30 pm. According to
the indictment, the two entered the children's room, told eleven year old
Yoav, who had been awakened by their entry, not to be afraid, then took him
to a nearby room, slashed his throat, and stabbed him in the chest.
Hakim Awad then strangled four-year-old Elad with Amjad Awad stabbing
him twice in the chest. The two next entered the parents' room, and turned
on the light, waking them up. The parents then struggled with the attackers. Ehud
Fogel was repeatedly stabbed in the neck, and Ruth Fogel was stabbed in
the neck and back and then shot when the suspects saw that she was not
dead. The suspects then left the house… The two then argued over whether to
withdraw or carry out attacks in other homes, with Hakim insisting that they
return immediately to Awarta, and Amjad arguing that they should return to the
home and steal another weapon. Amjad then re-entered the Fogel home. When 3-month
old Hadas began crying, Amjad stabbed her… According to several
accounts, the infant was decapitated, though one source says that
although her throat was deeply slit, she was only "nearly
decapitated". The attackers did not notice two other children asleep
in the house at the time. In their confessions they said that they would not
have hesitated to kill them if they had noticed them.
Hakim Awad's mother, Nawef, claimed that her son was at home
the night of the murder and never left the house, claiming that "five
months ago Hakim underwent a surgery in his stomach and I'm sure he was
tortured and forced into confessing." Amjad's family also claimed that he was in the
village at the time of the event. One relative said that Hakim and Amjad did
not know each other, as "one went to university, the other is in high
school". He also claimed that if they had been guilty, they would have
been captured within days, as "the whole world knows about Israel's
advanced investigation abilities and its use of sophisticated means".
Here is where the story becomes decidedly un-American and
non-European. We Israelis are confronted with an enemy that believes its very highest
values are served by encouraging its young men to become heroes in the very
specific sense of slicing the throats of sleeping Jewish children because “that
is what the homeland asked” of them.
One of the most notorious of the killers created by the
terrorism-adoring Islamist Arab society is Ahlam Tamimi. She planned the 2001
massacre in which fifteen Israelis, most of them children, were blown apart in
a pizza restaurant. She planted the bomb – who happens to have been a human
being – and then fled for her own safety. Later that day, she personally,
herself, read the evening news report on PA Television about the successful
killings in central Jerusalem without so much as a cynical smile to acknowledge
that this horrifying crime was in fact hers. (Is there a historical precedent
for this? Could Hollywood invent a credible scenario that includes such a
Tamimi, speaking to an Islamist rally in Amman a month ago
[Arabic source here], revealed that hunger strikes by
Palestinian Arabs in Israeli prisons are what she called a “tactical move”
that will continue for at least the next two months. And on April 17th, which
is termed "Palestinian Prisoners' Day," something is going to happen.
As the most well-known spokesperson for the claims of the imprisoned Islamists,
she – perhaps more than anyone else on earth – exemplifies the cynical
manipulation by the Islamists of liberal sympathy for the victims of alleged
human rights offences. And more than anyone else’s actions, hers exemplify
where that manipulation leads.
To those planning to take to the streets tomorrow in Paris
and elsewhere, we ask: Are you for Tamimi or against the lethal hatred and the
pathological racism which she embodies. Are you for the teenage
perpetrators of last year’s Itamar massacre, or do you insist that
something even worse is done when we hold them behind bars.
It may seem to you that getting this right or wrong does not
matter so much because the killers are far away and not threatening your
children. But what if you are wrong about that?