|Body of a victim of the Har Nof savagery is taken|
from the scene, November 18, 2014 [Image Source]
This is not because the Har Nof Synagogue attack exacted an unusually large number of innocent victims: tragically, there have been many Arab terrorist attacks that killed and injured more people at a single time.
For many, the idea of an attack by men brandishing butcher knives, axes and a gun on unarmed individuals wrapped in prayer shawls, quietly swaying in their daily worship, will make concrete a horror that will have seemed incomprehensible. That horror is magnified by the evident clarity that accompanies the published Palestinian Arab reactions. If there is some ongoing process of moral doubt and profound soul-searching in their ranks, it's impossibly hard to find.
This past Wednesday evening, the bodies of the perpetrators, two cousins from an Arab clan called Abu Jamal, were buried in a graveyard on the fringes of Jerusalem. [Photos here.] An English-language report from the Palestinian Arab (and European-funded) news agency Ma'an says
Israeli authorities on Wednesday evening returned the bodies of two Palestinian attackers who killed five Israelis at a Jerusalem synagogue in November. Israel notified the families of Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal that their bodies must by buried within 90 minutes of being returned at the cemetery of al-Sawahira al-Sharqiyya, lawyer Muhammad Mahmoud told Ma'an. Only 40 relatives were to be allowed at the funeral, he added. [Ma'an]
Attackers is what Ma'an calls them in English. Regular readers of Ma'an and of our blog will not be terribly surprised to note that the Arabic version of the same Ma'an story [here] calls them "martyrs".
If readers are looking for Arab expressions of revulsion, rejection, even humiliation at the idea that Arab nationalistic yearnings produce such savagery, this is not the news event to be scouring. The messages broadcast to the Arabic-speaking world focus on the 'victimhood' of the two Arab men with meat cleavers, and their 'heroism':
- Video footage of Wednesday night's funeral [here and here] shows men shouting calls for more Abu Jamal action amid the familiar cries of "Alahu Akbar" ("Allah is greater"). Palestine News Network says "Despite the conditions and restrictions, about 300 mourners joined the funeral procession, raising Palestinian flags and chanting patriotic slogans."
- The mother of one of the murderers (who is also the aunt of the second one), is captured [here on video. with English sub-titles thanks to the diligent work of Palestinian Media Watch] chanting 48 hours after the Har Nof synagogue barbarism: "Blessed be the womb that bore you, blessed be the breasts that nurtured you... The Martyrs' blood was not spilled in vain... I am wearing the embroidered gown. How beautiful is your Martyrdom. You have placed a crown [upon my head] and a star upon my shoulders."
- Gazan Palestinian Arabs holding knives and axes paraded for news photographers in Rafah in the hours after the killings as they celebrated the attack on the Jerusalem worshipers. Said Khatib, taking photographs for AFP, caught the action here. Candies were handed out in the streets [photo].
- The immediate post-killings response of the terrorism-addicted Hamas organization, via its spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri: praise for the attack, and via a Facebook post, calls for more such savagery against Israelis. The theme was echoed by another Hamas shill, Mushir al-Masri, also a spokesman for Hamas, who not-so-surprisingly called it a “heroic action”. Husam Badran, who speaks for Hamas’ foreign relations, called the Har Nof massacre at the time a “quality action”. He wrote: “A message to all members of [Palestinian Arab] national security in the West Bank. You are trained and you have the weapons and the ability to act... Some of you can make a significant change in the resistance. Turn your weapons against your enemies and ours. Write your names in the true list of honor.”
- As for the killer's clan-members and neighbours, the praise and honour were just as we had learned to expect: "Residents of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukaber, the hometown of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s synagogue attack, celebrated the attack and expressed pride in the actions of their native sons... “We are proud of what they did,” said one family member of the terrorists. “They are heroic martyrs.” The celebrations in Jabel Mukaber quickly turned into violent disturbances, with rioters throwing stones and other objects at police stationed in the area." [Terrorists’ Hometown Celebrates Jerusalem Synagogue Massacre, Algemeiner, November 19, 2014]
- "Israel is refusing to return the bodies of the perpetrators of Tuesday's Jerusalem terror attack to their families, a move that may be without precedent even in the long history of Israeli-Palestinian hostility." [Ben Mathis-Lilley writing in Salon, November 20, 2014. He was formerly with New York magazine and BuzzFeed]
We made a similar point here seven months ago. After the ceremonial funeral, rich in Palestinian Arab pomp and circumstance, of the human bomb who attacked the Sbarro Jerusalem pizzeria, killing 15, most of them children and one of them our daughter, we wrote ["6-May-14: In search of appalled, sickened Palestinian Arabs"]:
We received some feedback suggesting this characterization was unfair. They said there are voices in the Palestinian Arab world that are as sickened as people like us are by the unconcealed blood-lust of Hamas, of Islamic Jihad, of Fatah, of the Palestinian Authority and of Mahmoud Abbas. We're doubtful. But we're willing to investigate. So here's an invitation for anyone who has such evidence to send us public, published statements in Arabic - statements in which Palestinian Arab voices condemn what sickens the rest of the world: the process of turning psychopaths like the human bomb who murdered our daughter into martyrs, heroes, figures to be emulated. Over to you. Send what you have to firstname.lastname@example.org or add them to the comments below. We'll publish what we receive here. (Remember - in Arabic. We'll take care of the translating into English.)We had thought to hear clear words of Christian denunciation of the lethal passion that leads to children and worshipers being murdered by men who are acclaimed as heroes in their own camp. But they never arrived.
Nor have they been heard in the wake of Wednesday night's Abu Jamal funeral.
As for the World Council of Churches, busy with seasonal celebrations of brotherly love and goodwill to all men or at least most of them, the furious comments we directed at them earlier this year ["17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?"] remain, in our view at least, sadly appropriate.
So is this other comment of ours:
"A peace process in which committed murderers are deliberately and repeatedly turned by one of the parties in the conflict into heroes whose homicidal exploits are celebrated as examples for others to follow, is no peace process at all but a march towards victory. ["22-Apr-14: Attention World Council of Churches: Will you now follow your own advice and speak up for the Arabs tortured and imprisoned by the PA?"]For the record, the only substantive reaction we have ever gotten from the World Council of Churches came in the form of a personal email from its Director of Communication, Mark Beach, in an email from Geneva dated June 5, 2014, in which he wrote:
Yes, I believe we would have nothing further to say.The background is here ["6-Jun-14: Fear and loathing at the World Council of Churches"]. It's quite something when the person paid to speak for a global organization claiming hundreds of millions of affiliated members says his employer has nothing more to say.
And please don't think the otherwise silent (to us at least) World Council of Churches lacks a viewpoint on such matters. It's on display in Geneva at this very moment:
"Experiences of death and expulsion faced by some 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 are the subject of an exhibition titled 'The Nakba' and hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC) at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The Arabic word Nakba means 'catastrophe'... “Nakba marks a brutal reality that most of the world ignored as Palestinians languished in crowded camps throughout the Middle East over the years,” said the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, WCC General Secretary, in his written message for the conference... Tveit called the exhibition a remembrance of the history and reality of the Palestinians under occupation. He said sharing of such historical facts is an “attempt to say the truth in love, so that the world will find real solutions that lead to peace and justice.” ["Palestinian dispossession is focus of WCC exhibition and conference", yesterday]Meanwhile our search for Arabic-language voices of outrage against what is being done in their names goes on.