Thursday, August 27, 2015

27-Aug-15: Sometimes a knife attack is more than just a knife attack

President Mahmoud Abbas sharing the triumph of freshly-released Palestinian Arab terrorists, all of them
convicted, unrepentant murderers - and proclaims them heroes. AFP image from August 14, 2013
How people with power deal with terrorism gets our attention to an extent that some might find surprising. It should not be hard to see why. We have learned that being wrong on how to deal with terror has serious life-and-death consequences. Terrorism has become very personal to us.

Something happened here in Jerusalem last night that has again triggered our need to be heard on the subject.

A young Israeli was stabbed. He is in hospital as we write this, getting treated for knife injuries as a result of an attack on Wednesday evening. That's when (according to Ynet)
a Palestinian man attempted to attack a group of border guards near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. The guards managed to overpower the Palestinian, who stabbed one of them in the leg, wounding him lightly. The suspect was arrested. The wounded policeman was taken by ambulance to Hadassah Medical Center. The suspect in the attack is a 56-year-old resident of Hebron, who does not have a permit to enter Israel... [Ynet, today]
No ordinary "Palestinian", this Hebronite has a stunning back-story. Times of Israel says his name is Muammar Ata Mahmoud, and that he
was released in 2013 as part of an ultimately unsuccessful round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority... [Times of Israel, today]
Peace talks? No, not exactly. As The Daily Beast pointed out in August 2013:
The prisoners were freed as an inducement for the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, to participate in the peace talks. Since 2009, Abbas has said he would participate in negotiations only if Israel stopped settlement activity after President Obama imposed the condition on Israel in the first year of his first term. But Abbas has moderated his position at the behest of Secretary of State John Kerry... Some families of victims of prisoners who have been released in the past are now seeking a meeting with Kerry to explain to him what they see as the dangers of pressuring Israel to release to release Palestinians from prison... [The Daily Beast, August 14, 2013]
So was Abbas induced? Again, not exactly. In fact, Abbas himself explained that the freeing of 104 convicted terrorists, absurdly labeled "Pre-Oslo prisoners", all of whom were serving unfinished prison terms for involvement in acts of terrorism-related murder, mostly against Jews and Israelis, actually had nothing to do with that:
...Mahmoud Abbas told a visiting group of (Israeli) Meretz MKs in Ramallah on Thursday… that the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails was unrelated to the launching of the peace talks. ["25-Aug-13: Wake up call for those who thought the terrorists are walking free for peace"]
Don't blame Times of Israel's writers and editors for being wrong on this. Almost everyone was during those dark days of 2013. Over and again, the freeing from Israeli prison cells at the urgent and insistent behest of the US government and Secretary of State John Kerry (though his staff denied this from start to finish) of convicted, unrepentant murderers was said to be for peace - to jump start the peace talks, to show compromise in the name of peace, to trigger a peace eruption.

But not us:
“We don’t see this as a step towards peace,” Arnold Roth, one of the Israelis who helped organize a letter to the secretary of state, told The Daily Beast. “The objection is to the madness of positing the peace process on the prior release of murderers. We support a peace process.” Roth has some experience with the pain of seeing the killer of a loved one go free. His daughter, Malki, was killed in Aug. 9, 2001, in the bombing of a Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. One of the planners of that attack, Ahlam Tamimi, who also broadcast the bombing for Palestinian television from Ramallah, walked free from multiple life sentences in 2011... [The Daily Beast, August 14, 2013]
Two weeks after that, reflecting on how those convicted, unrepentant killers of Jews were received as heroes in Ramallah, their arms held high by Mahmoud Abbas, we wrote here:
Israel's prime minister, in deciding to let the mis-named Pre-Oslo prisoners loose and thereby lifting Abbas's stocks among the Palestinian Arabs, did his calculations the way politicians do. He had a small number of options... The one he chose - freedom for 104 convicted terrorists - must have seemed to him and others in the cabinet as the least bad of several undesirable alternatives. And if this meant the victims of the terrorists would feel betrayed (we can imagine them saying in the cabinet room), so be it. Regretfully, a greater good is served. But speaking as victims of Palestinian Arab terrorists ourselves, we see it this way: justice was trampled, lives and sacrifices were demeaned, public opposition was ignored. In turning a deaf ear to the protests of the victims, our politicians threw down onto the negotiating table the cheapest, most disposable, of the cards in their hand. Not for the first time, we find ourselves saying that decisions like this one will be the cause of much long-term regret. ["27-Aug-13: Justice devalued, lives demeaned, principles cheapened: the high price of freeing murderers"]
It would be nice to think that there are political leaders with backbone, moral fibre and some conscience who might be thinking about regret at this moment. A politician willing to admit to having regrets could be someone worth knowing.

The man who stabbed a young Israeli man last night next to Damascus Gate and the walls of Jerusalem's Old City is the convicted murderer of Professor Menachem Stern.

Prof. Menachem Stern,
murdered in 1989
[Image Source]
Prof. Stern was a renowned historian, a member of Israel's prestigious National Academy of Sciences and Humanities. On the morning of June 22, 1989, he was briskly striding through Jerusalem's Valley of the Cross as he did nearly every day on his way to work at the Jewish National and University Library on the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus. That day, he encountered this same Muammar Ata Mahmoud, equipped - as he was yesterday - with a knife. Mahmoud and an associate stabbed the historian for reasons that probably made great sense in terms of the savage blood lust and the terrorist creed to which the attackers subscribed. Prof Stern died of his injuries.
A group of first-graders, out for a walk with their teacher, found his body alongside one of the paths. The police came to Professor Stern's house on Tchernichovsky Street, and brought his wife, Hava, with them to the Valley of the Cross to identify the body. The police commander told Hava that he had had the privilege of studying with Professor Stern when he was a student at the university. Thousands came to the funeral, held at the Hebrew University... [Blog of Rabbi Carl M. Perkins, August 6, 2013]
One murder by knifing is never enough if you are that kind of human being. Hence the attack last night, made possible by a chain of awful political decisions based on self-serving logic and a fundamental lack of respect for principles of justice. (Yes, we did say justice - now please read what we said on that subject at the time: "25-Jul-13: Justice and morality and struggling to be healed from the bereavement disease"; and "14-Aug-13: Making 'peace' by celebrating the murders of children and of Holocaust survivors" and "27-Aug-13: Justice devalued, lives demeaned, principles cheapened: the high price of freeing murderers".)

Naturally that's not how it's going to be reported in the news. But it's the truth.

We noted at the top of this post how being wrong on terror has consequences. In that spirit, here is a reminder of an opinion piece Frimet Roth wrote for Times of Israel who published it on December 26, 2013. Less than a week later, yesterday's knife man - the murder of the famous historian - walked out of his Israeli prison cell, free, along with more than two dozen other sociopaths .

Some extracts from "Mr Netanyahu, how’s that working for you?":
Here we go again. The next tranche of terrorist murderer releases is five days away. Most Israelis will pay it no attention. True, polls show that 91% oppose it in principle but it takes more than principles to nudge Israelis off their couches...
We expect that when a prime minister experiments with a new “strategy” – which is what Netanyahu has labeled the releases – he will assess its efficacy at some point.  A drastic move like this – discarding judicial verdicts in favor of a Prime Minister’s preference – demands that. In short, the question that begs asking is: “How’s that working for you, Mr. Netanyahu?” Or, to be more precise: “How’s that working for your people?" ...Have they won Obama’s support against Iran? The releases may even have doomed Netanyahu’s campaign to galvanize the West behind his tough stand on Iran. Netanyahu committed a travesty of justice that those states would never in their wildest dreams entertain. World powers would have rallied around a firm Israeli prime minister. But a spineless leader who crosses his very own red line against releasing terrorist murderers demonstrates that all his ultimatums are shams.
Has it endangered Israelis? Do released terrorists return to terror?
Reports abound of terrorism’s resurgence in the West Bank. Much of it is orchestrated by Hamas – until now considered exclusively Gaza-based...
Bereaved parents grieve until the day they die. Bereaved parents who watch their children’s murderers walk free, grieve and seethe until the day they die.
But we will protest this upcoming release with no illusions.  Netanyahu, who has refused to meet with, speak to or even write to us, is impervious to reason.  He is a junkie of European and American kudos.  And for that coveted pat on the back from Kerry, Merkel, Hollande and co., Netanyahu is emasculating our justice system and destroying our democracy... [Frimet Roth writing in Times of IsraelDecember 26, 2013 - the article appeared less than a week before the release of the convicted murder who carried out yesterday's knifing attack]
Has it endangered Israelis? Do released terrorists return to terror? We have more questions like those. Getting political figures to address just these two could be a constructive start towards stemming the ongoing damage.

1 comment:

Dan Livni said...

Ben Ari is totally correct. You don't free Arab mass murderers.
You give them the death penalty.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/200029#.VeHHvvlViko
'Bibi and Bennett Released the Terrorist, He Attacked Again'
Ex-MK slams govt. and ISA for release of murderer of Israel Prize laureate, who was feted by Abbas and returned to terror this week.
By Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 8/28/2015

It was revealed that the Arab terrorist who stabbed a Border Patrol officer on Wednesday evening at the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City was released in late 2013 as part of peace talk "gestures," at which former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari responded with harsh condemnation on Thursday night.

The attacker was identified as Ibrahim Khalil Salah, a 56-year-old resident of Hevron who had entered Jerusalem illegally after buying an ax and a knife. He shouted "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is greater) and stabbed the officer before being subdued. Fortunately the officer only suffered light wounds.

Back in 1992, Salah was convicted of murdering Prof. Menachem Stern at the Valley of the Cross in central Jerusalem, just several minutes from the Knesset. Stern was an Israel Prize laureate in history and specialized in researching the Second Temple period.

But during the peace talks that collapsed in April 2014, Salah was released in the third batch of releases that were conducted as a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to keep it in the talks. A full 78 terrorists were released before the PA signed a unity deal with Hamas and torpedoed the fourth and final batch of terrorist releases.

Ben-Ari, head of the Otzma Yehudit party, responded to the revelations on Facebook, blaming the last coalition government for conducting the releases as well as the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shabak).

"The Shabak: 'he won't return to terror.' That was the promise of the Shabak before the release of the lowly murderer who slaughtered Prof. Menachem Stern in the Valley of the Cross," wrote Ben-Ari.

"Ibrahim Khalil - may his name be erased - was released by the government of (Binyamin) Netanyahu, (Naftali) Bennett, and (Yair) Lapid. The partner of Netanyahu and (Yitzhak) Herzog gave him a hero's welcome," added the ex-MK, noting on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's celebratory welcome of Salah together with the rest of the freed terrorists.

"Yesterday he bought an ax and a knife and returned to slaughter. He didn't succeed. And unfortunately there are no orders to open fire, and he's on his way back to the 'club med' (prison - ed.) until the next 'batch.' In the meantime the government of Bibi (Netanyahu) and Boogie (Moshe Ya'alon) shows 'firmness' and arrests Jews without trial."

Ben-Ari concluded by including a picture of Abbas celebrating with Salah after the latter's release, and wrote that Salah returned to terror on the orders of Abbas, the "arch-terrorist."