Thursday, December 03, 2015

03-Dec-15: Thursday morning north Jerusalem shooting attack - gunman is a PA officer

The PA shooter and his current-model Hyundai sedan from
which he launched this morning's attack [Source]
While we have been away from our desks and busy with life, the lethal Arab-on-Israeli violence has continued along lines similar to those of the past two months.

This morning (Thursday) around 11:00, at the Hizme security checkpoint on Jerusalem's north side, two Israeli men were injured in a shooting attack, each suffering moderate wounds. One was a male of 47, the other a uniformed IDF soldier.

Both were hit when a Palestinian Arab opened fire on them; according to Ynet's account, the shooting was done from a moving vehicle near the checkpoint, while Times of Israel, quoting IDF sources, says the gunman stopped his car at Hizme, got out and only then, standing on firm ground and presumably with his unsuspecting victims in his sights, opened fire. Both news sources agree that alert Israeli service personnel at the checkpoint shot back at him, and he was killed on the spot.

The more seriously injured of the two Israelis was rushed to the emergency room of Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Karem hospital for treatment.

There has been considerable media attention here around the identity of the dead gunman. Haaretz, quoting Palestinian Arab sources, says
the assailant behind the attack is Mazan Hasan Ariva, an intelligence officer in the Palestinian Authority. Palestinian Authority and Palestinian security forces have yet to respond to the report.
Ma'an News Agency, an Arab press service based in Bethlehem, transliterating his name differently, says
The Palestinian liaison department identified the Palestinian as Mazin Hasan Ureiba from Abu Dis. Ureiba was an officer in the Palestinian Authority general intelligence service and a father of four, sources told Ma'an.
The headline of that report, in accordance with Palestinian Arab journalistic conventions ("Never own up to anything") calls this an "alleged shooting attack". And on Channel 2's 8:00 pm Thursday night evening news, a cousin of the shooter is interviewed, disputing that Ariva/Ureiba did any of the things that the Israelis have charged.

"Alleged" attack: For Ma'an, headlines are an integral
part of the war [Source]
Ma'an's Arabic edition gives his name as Oraiba Mazen Hassan [مازن حسن عريبة]. Searching the Arabic media via that search term, we learned [here] that Fatah - whose head is Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president - has declared three days of mourning and mass strike in Abu Dis, the gunman's home-town as well as asking for community support to help the widow and her children.

For anyone paying attention, initiatives like this make a mockery of Mahmoud Abbas' very public claims that his "Palestinian people adhere to the renouncement of violence and rejection and condemning of terrorism in all its forms" [mentioned in yesterday's post: "01-Dec-15: PA president: When the subject is terror, double-talk and blatant hypocrisy work"]. It's hard to blame the 80 year-old kleptocrat, who has devoted a lifetime to the dark science of speaking out of both sides of his very political mouth at the same time, for trying. After all, most of the time, it works. But why he is taken at face value by clever news reporting people - that, to our way of thinking, remains a real puzzle.

How unusual is it to find that salaried members of the PA armed forces are engaged in acts of terrorism like this morning's?

The answer, as the facts considered in a landmark ruling, Sokolow v PLO, in February 2015 show, is "not very". In that long-running litigation, started in 2004, the jury in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, found the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization liable for damages suffered by American families whose relatives were injured or killed in attacks in Israel:
The plaintiffs argued that the two organizations supported the attacks—whether through direct involvement or assistance in the form of material support or training. They also allegedly paid those who carried out the attacks and continue to compensate perpetrators who were imprisoned, as well as the families of those who died. Since the plaintiffs are all U.S. citizens, the case was tried in this country under the Antiterrorism Act signed into law by then president Bill Clinton in 1996, which gives American courts jurisdiction over acts of terrorism that harm U.S. citizens abroad...  ["U.S. Jury Finds Palestinian Organizations Liable in Terrorism Case", Newsweek, February 23, 2015]
In the spirit of thinking about how badly the Palestinian Arabs have been served for decades by their own ruling class, it's worth noting that the gunman's bosses' bosses' boss, the head of the PA's general intelligence service, Majid Faraj, was charged in a January 2015 complaint to the International Criminal Court, with torture and crimes against humanity in violation of the Rome Statute. Naturally enough, his victims are not Israelis but fellow Palestinian Arabs.

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