Thursday, December 13, 2018

13-Dec-18: Another lethal Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack Thursday

The scene of today's Givat Asaf  shooting [Hadas Parush/Flash90]
There has been another shooting attack today (Thursday): reports say two Israelis were killed - both of them IDF soldiers according to Israel National News - and two others were severely injured, one critically.

The attack happened near the Palestinian Arab town of Silwad, on Route 60 near the Givat Asaf community, about two kilometers from Ofra, the site of the Sunday night shooting.

The shooters escaped after the attack and a large-scale IDF manhunt is currently underway.

Times of Israel, quoting the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson, says one gunman exited a vehicle along the Route 60 highway and opened fire at a group of soldiers and civilian Israelis before fleeing. It seems likely that the soldiers were there doing security work - probably standing guard to protect the civilians.

It also quotes Palestinian Arab media saying the attack vehicle was quickly abandoned nearby and two suspects — the driver and the shooter — got away on foot in the direction of Ramallah.
Two of the victims were declared dead at the scene. One of the injured, a 21-year-old male, is in critical life-threatening condition with a bullet wound to the head. He is receiving emergency care at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.

A female civilian is seriously injured and is getting emergency care at the trauma center of Shaare Zedek Medical Center.

The army has closed off the entrances to Ramallah and set up roadblocks throughout the area. Additional infantry battalions were sent into the West Bank both to defend roads and settlements and to conduct additional searches and arrests, the army said.

UPDATE Thursday December 13, 2018 at 9:00 pm: As reported this evening, the soldiers shot to death are Staff Sgt. Yovel Mor Yosef, 20, and Sgt. Yosef Cohen, 19.
Mor Yosef was from the southern city of Ashkelon. Cohen was a resident of Beit Shemesh. Both were members of the Kfir Brigade’s Netzah Yehuda infantry battalion, a unit for religious soldiers... Mor Yosef’s funeral will be held in Ashkelon and Cohen’s in Jerusalem on Friday morning. A third soldier was critically injured in the shooting and underwent surgery for a gunshot wound to the head at Hadassah Hospital Ein Karem in Jerusalem on Thursday. A civilian woman was also seriously wounded... [Times of Israel]

13-Dec-18: On Jerusalem's Hagai Street in the Old City, another Arab-on-Israeli knifing attack this morning

Image Source: Haaretz
A little before a chilly dawn in Jerusalem's Old City today, a 26 year-old Palestinian Arab is caught by a security camera pushing a recognizably ultra-Orthodox man to the ground in Hagai Street, one of the pedestrian lanes running down the hill from the Damascus Gate (in Hebrew, Sha'ar Shechem).

That location is the favored entry point for observant Jews on their way to early morning prayers at the Kotel.

It has also become a popular site for recent Arab-on-Israeli knifings and is heavily patrolled. (Clich here for past Hagai Street attack reports.)

Times of Israel describes how the surveillance footage from the scene shows the attacker using a  knife to try to stab the worshiper. This does not work out, and an instant later [as the video shows] the assailant's attention is directed at two nearby Border Guard police. 

The male officer is (in the favored manner of Palestinian Arab knifing attacks) stabbed in the face, near his eye. The female border guard is stabbed in the leg. Ynet says she is 19, the male 21. The attacker was shot dead by the officers. His weapon was recovered at the scene.

Haaretz, quoting Arab sources, says the knifer's name is Majd Matir. He was a resident of the Qalandiya neighborhood on Jerusalem's north side.

The Arabic edition of the European-financed Ma'an News Agency (but not the English) names him as Majed Jamal Mutair, 25, and in traditional terror-incitement fashion calls him a martyr.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

11-Dec-18: Near Hevron, another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli vehicle ramming

Idhna [Wikipedia]
The hunt for the drive-by shooters in the attack we reported on Sunday ["09-Dec-18: A shooter in a passing vehicle seriously injures several Israelis tonight near Ofra, north of Jerusalem"] goes on. Meanwhile there are fresh reports today of similar Arab-on-Israel violence.

In the less dramatic of two Tuesday reports, a Palestinian Arab driver in a village called al-Jiftlik, 33 km north of Jericho in Israel's northern Jordan Valley, drive directly at officers of the Border Guards who were securing the work of Civil Administration personnel engaged in demolishing illegally-constructed buildings. The village is part of Area C, meaning it is subject to full Israeli military and civil administration. The driver, a 30-year-old male from the village
allegedly accelerated his car toward a group of Border Police officers. The troops fired warning shots into the air, and the suspect stopped and was arrested, police said... He was handed over to the Shin Bet security service for further questioning [source]
In a separate incident, Times of Israel says a Palestinian Arab driver was shot dead by Border Police mid-morning today (Tuesday) in Idhna, an Arab town of about 20,000 people, located 13 km west of Hevron with an out-of-the-ordinary background.

The circumstances point to a failed vehicle-ramming attack:
The Border Police officers... were standing guard as members of the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration, which oversees day-to-day activities in the West Bank, were taking part in an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage. According to police, the Palestinian suspect drove through a checkpoint the border guards had set up, hit a security vehicle with his car and then “accelerated toward a Border Police officer.” The border guards opened fire at the vehicle, fatally wounding the suspect... No Israeli troops were injured.
The driver was later identified by the Palestinian Arab Red Crescent authorities as Omar Hassan al-Awawdeh, 27.

An Iranian news source frames today's events in ways that will be familiar to consumers of Israel-bashing reports:
The Israeli military regularly opens fatal fire on Palestinians, accusing them of seeking to attack its personnel. Human rights groups have repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv (sic) regime for its shoot-to-kill policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed at the scene of attacks did not pose any serious threat to Israelis.
A December 2017 Aljazeera report from Idhna where today's
thwarted attack took place [Source]
In the wake of the thwarted vehicle-ramming, we have yet to see any Arab media attention on what Times of Israel noted - that what brought the Israeli police into the town today was "an effort to crack down on the illegal burning of garbage".

Sounds prosaic. But it turns out to be a classic instance of the Israeli authorities trying to prevent the Palestinian Arabs from doing even more harm to themselves and their own backyards.

Idhna was once a thriving agricultural town. Today, it's notorious for being one of the most polluted places in the region. The environmental damage the residents have done to their land is massive and lethal, much of it resulting from the illegal burning - in order to extract resalable components, especially metals - of televisions, fridges, computers, air-conditioners and other appliances. The result is massively large and damaging levels of heavy metals, especially cadmium and lead, damaging crops and aquifers and making life hazardous

Almost exactly a year ago, Aljazeera gave it some attention in a video report: "Palestine's Idhna struggles with e-waste". Though the word 'dumping' is used, it's evidently the town's people who go out looking for the dangerous and the toxic because that's where the money is.

A quick survey of Arabic-language news media shows that the shot driver is invariably called a "martyr", with zero mentions of why the Israeli police where there, of the thwarted ramming [Al-Madinah; Al-Fajr; Ad-Dustour (Jordan); Safa; Panorama] or of the crushing pollution.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

09-Dec-18: A shooter in a passing vehicle seriously injures several Israelis tonight near Ofra, north of Jerusalem

The facts are still somewhat unclear though enraging and upsetting. Here is what we understand.

People (not yet identified - apparently two individuals) inside a moving white sedan directed gunfire at a small group of Israeli standing at the roadside near Ofra, a community of about 4,000 Israelis located in the Binyamin region about 20 km north of the Israeli capital Jerusalem. The attack occurred around 9:00 pm Sunday night.

Times of Israel says seven people are shot (we have seen other credible reports that there are 9 - we will wait for the fog to clear). At least one, a pregnant woman, is said to be in critical condition.

Of the other injured people, two are reported to be moderately wounded and four are somewhat less seriously hurt. Israel National News says two of them are 16 year old girls. Aljazeera's mind-reading field reporters already "know" that the shooting victims are "settlers". (Obviously they have absolutely no idea at this stage but it's a well-established practice designed to demean and dehumanize the innocent victims of Arab shooting frenzies down through the ages.)

After first responder care at the scene by Magen David Adom ambulance crews, all are now in hospitals - Shaarei Zedek Medical Center and Hadassah Mt Scopus - receiving emergency treatment.

Security camera video of the shooting, posted to multiple social media sites in the past half hour, shows the white car slowing down near what appears to be a bus-stop or hitch-hiking post. Bullets are seen striking the victims who rush to escape the point-blank fire. The car stops for a few moments, then leaves the scene at high speed. Heroes.

A major manhunt is now underway.

UPDATE Monday December 10, 2018 at 6:00 am: Via Israel National News, the pregnant shooting victim is a young woman of 21, with the Hebrew name (for prayer purposes) Shira Yael bat Liora. Her baby was delivered, premature, by caesarean section and then placed in the NICU for emergency care. The mother is "suffering from gunshot wounds in the pelvic area and abdomen. The woman arrived in critical condition, she lost a lot of blood, received blood transfusions, was stabilized and was taken to the operating room for urgent emergency surgery."

UPDATE Wednesday December 12, 2018 at 7:00 pm: Sadly, "Baby dies after emergency delivery following Ofra terror attack"
“With great sorrow we announce the death of Shira and Amichai’s newborn four days after the attack despite the efforts of doctors at the neonatal intensive care unit to save him,” a spokesperson for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem said, referring to the baby’s parents. A funeral for the baby will be held at 9:45 p.m. (tonight - Wednesday) at the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

09-Dec-18: More on that Jordanian conference to "defend" Jerusalem

Jordan's Minister of Endowment (Awqaf), of Islamic Affairs
and of and Holy Sites
 Abdel Nasser Abul Basal [Image Source]
Expanding on what we reported yesterday ["08-Dec-18: How closely aligned are Jordan and Hamas?"], we offer some additional information from an Arabic-language source (via machine translation), :
The [Jordanian] Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Dr. Abdel Nasser Abul Basal, stressed that the increasing frequency of incursions and violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque was the main objective of holding the second international conference of the road to Al-Aqsa.

Abu al-Basal said that the most important challenges facing Al-Aqsa Mosque are the daily and hourly closures and the establishment of Jewish prayers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque which diminish the value of this great place and condemn it. He added that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is not negotiable, sharing, sharing or in any way, and that it is necessary to protect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the first of the Qibla and the third of the two Holy Mosques.

He pointed out that this conference is not a research conference to present research and articles, but its main purpose is to discuss solutions and ways to support the cause of Al Aqsa Mosque and the participation of Jerusalemites in their efforts and their struggle to defend Al Aqsa Mosque...

He... has received responses and turnout where the number of participants at the moment [is] a thousand, 500 participants from within the country and 500 from outside. He said that this conference came to remind all the Islamic, Arab and international countries that their internal concerns do not relieve us of the obligation to preserve and defend Jerusalem... It is the duty of all institutions to stand by the Jerusalemites and not leave them alone in defending her.
Muslim faithful outside Al Aqsa [Image Source]
Consistent with the congratulations (mentioned in yesterday's post) passed along by Hamas, the Iran-aligned Taghrib News Agency website adds [here] that
The conference will be held under the patronage of King Abdullah II and is titled “A Call from the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque”.
It's a significant bit of information. It would be a pity if we publicized it and then found out it was not accurate. Though we have been searching, we have not yet found confirmation in Jordan's government-controlled media that the anti-Israel gathering has the imprimatur of the monarchy or that King Abdullah II will be its patron.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

08-Dec-18: How closely aligned are Jordan and Hamas?

Al-Rishq of Hamas  [Image Source]
As you read this brief news report from a respected Arab source, keep in mind that the US Department of State, in the most recent edition (published in September 2018) of its annual "Country Reports on Terrorism" calls the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan "a committed partner on counterterrorism and countering violent extremism".
Hamas welcomes Jordan’s decision to host Al-Aqsa conference
Member of Hamas’ political bureau Izzat Al-Rishq welcomed Jordan’s decision to host an international conference on the dangers facing Al-Aqsa Mosque under the patronage of King Abdullah II. “Jordan’s official announcement of hosting an international conference to support Al-Aqsa Mosque is a step in the right direction to stop the Judaisation programme,” he said. Al-Rishq said King Abdullah II’s patronage of the conference is an important message that highlights the dangers facing Muslim sanctities. The Jordanian Minister of Endowment Abdel Nasser Abul Basal announced this week that his ministry is to host a conference titled “A Call from the Blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque” under the patronage of King Abdullah II on 20 December. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend the event which will highlight the dangers faced by both Christian and Muslim sites in occupied Jerusalem. [Middle East Monitor, December 6, 2018]
Jordan's British-led military imposed a massively destructive occupation (Wikipedia) on what is today called East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967 in the course of which historic Jewish synagogues and holy sites in the Jewish people's most sacred place on earth were systematically pulverized and incinerated.

This week's praise from Hamas comes a day after Jordan joined 56 other states in voting down a US-sponsored resolution at the United Nations ["In Blow to Haley, U.N. Rejects Measure Condemning Hamas", New York Times, December 6, 2018]:
In remarks before the vote, Ms. Haley characterized the resolution as an opportunity for the 193 member states of the General Assembly to put themselves on the side of “truth and balance.” Though the body has voted many times to condemn Israel, never once has it passed a resolution critical of Hamas, an organization Ms. Haley described as one of the “most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world.”
Of the 177 countries who voted, 87 gave their support to condemning Hamas. Under normal circumstances that would have been enough for the vote to be carried since only 57 opposed. But because 33 abstained, the resolution - which needed a super-majority of two-thirds because of some last minute chicanery from several Arab entities led by Kuwait - was defeated.

Jordan, as we noted, cast its vote in favor of the jihadists. What this means in terms of what the US State Department calls its "counterterrorism and countering violent extremism" strategy is a subject we plan to revisit in the next day or two.

UPDATE December 9, 2018 at 8:30 am: We have some additional information about this act of Jordanian grotesquery. See "09-Dec-18: More on that Jordanian conference to "defend" Jerusalem"

Saturday, December 01, 2018

01-Dec-18: Suspected Eilat terror attack: Jordanian wielding hammer seriously injures two Israeli dock-workers

After crossing the border from Jordan into Israel, Jordanian workers wait
for their transport to pick them up, outside the Yitzhak Rabin Border Terminal
in Eilat, southern Israel, on March 15, 2018 [Image Source: David Vaknin]
There were reports Friday morning that two people had been injured in Israel's southern port city of Eilat after they were attacked by a Jordanian national. The details we have seen so far seem incomplete and raise additional questions.

From Israel National News, we understand that an attack happened at about 8:30 Friday morning on board a vessel docked in Eilat's port. It quotes the Magen David Adom ambulance service as a source for a police assessment that "the incident appeared to have been a brawl between the workers" and that "all possible motives were being examined". It says the attacker "has been identified as a Jordanian national who is employed as a dock worker in the port, while the victims are also believed to be dock workers." One of the victims, described as a 24-year-old male, is reported to be in moderate condition with contusions to his upper torso and hospitalized in Eilat's Yoseftal Medical Center. A second person is said to be in "light condition.” A JTA report says both were then transferred to Beer Sheba's Soroka Medical Center.

Arab News however says both victims were hospitalized with serious injuries and adds the detail that the Jordanian "beat them with a hammer". From Haaretz:
Tamir Gross, one of the two victims, said he had been among the workers conducting drilling from the deck of a ship. "Out of nowhere, I suddenly got three blows of a hammer on my head," he said. "I fell into the water and immediately the guy jumped in after me and began swimming toward me." Gross said he swam away and managed to ascend a ladder to a dock. "One of the Jordanian workers helped me," he said.
the Jordanian, who was employed as a repairman at the port, used a heavy-duty hammer weighing over 2 pounds to hit both Israelis in the head, fracturing their skulls.
From Times of Israel, we learn that Israel Police suspect the attack is a terrorist incident; that the attacker was, as of Friday, going to be interrogated by the Shin Bet; that a second Jordanian male was injured, lightly, trying to restrain the attacker. And this: the suspected attacker, who is not yet named, began working in Israel on Thursday after being issued a daily work permit from the Population and Immigration Authority.

About Jordanians and work permits: While Palestinian Arabs with Israeli work permits are generally barred from entering Eilat, Israel, in June 2014, started issuing permits for up to 1,500 Jordanian citizens to work in Eilat hotels. Jordan and Israel would be jointly monitoring the implementation of the plan, it was said at the time. [See "In a first, Israel lets Jordanian workers cross border for jobs", Washington Post, May 16, 2016: Quote - "So far, nothing bad has happened. “The Jordanians need work, and we need workers,” said the head of the Eilat Hotel Association, Shabtai Shay."] A Tourism Ministry press release said the Jordanians would be performing cleaning, dish-washing and room service jobs. Conditions included that they would return each night to Jordan at the end of the day. It appears the program was then extended to cover labor in the port.

None of the Jordanian media sites we regularly scan have reported any of this so far. We will check again on Sunday morning.

Monday, November 26, 2018

26-Nov-18: An Arab-on-Israeli vehicle ramming attack this afternoon - the driver is dead, the injured are recovering

Image Source
A little after noon today, three IDF servicemen doing construction work along the side of the road were struck by a car driven by a Palestinian Arab male.

This happened on Route 60 as that highway passes Karmei Tzur, an Israeli community of about 1,100, located 22 km south of Jerusalem, just south of Gush Etzion Junction.

The IDF says one has moderate injuries to all four limbs while the others are injured lightly - scrapes and bruises. All were treated at the scene by ambulance crews and then taken to hospitals in Jerusalem for treatment.

This is believed by the military to have been a deliberate vehicle-ramming attack. A fourth soldier, an Army reservist, fired at the driver and killed him. In the Arab media, the suspected attacker is named as Ramzi Abu Yabes, 32, a resident of Dheisheh refugee camp.

UPDATE November 27, 2018: In its customary way, the European-funded-and-backed Palestinian Arab news channel, Ma'an News Agency, casts doubt ["Palestinian shot, killed for alleged attack near Gush Etzion"] on the version of events reported from Israel. That's in its English-language edition. But in its Arabic version, the driver of the attack vehicle is called 'martyr'. And overnight, according to a reliable source [here], Hamas, which is less interested in vagueness and more in  open incitement, released a statement
"calling Ramzi Abu Yabes a hero for using his vehicle to strike three #IDF soldiers along a central West Bank highway today. His home is currently adorned with Hamas flags and visitors."
Another Arabic source [here], quoting a spokesperson for the ambulance that attended the scene, says Abu Yabes
"was on a mission to treat a burn patient in Beit Ummar [and] had undergone a cardiac catheterization for almost two months which made him unable to control the driving of the car, which deviated towards Israeli soldiers... and it is not true that he carried out the operation in favor of any Palestinian faction."

Saturday, November 24, 2018

24-Nov-18: How Jordan's mainstream media showcase a couple of role-model jihadist murderers [Video]

From a family snapshot taken a few weeks before
our daughter Malki's life ended in the massive
explosion at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria
[This is the first part of a three-post look at the little-known and deeply troubling way the Kingdom of Jordan deals with a Hamas murderer/terrorist living unhindered and free in its midst. In the next two parts, we ask what this means in the context of current US efforts to see our daughter's killer extradited from there to face trial on US federal charges.]

Being the parents of a child murdered by a proud and pleased woman who doesn't stop boasting about what she did was never going to be easy.

Regular readers know that Malki, our sweet, vivacious fifteen year-old eldest daughter was one of the victims of the Hamas bombing of the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria on August 9, 2001. The mastermind of the attack, convicted for her role in scoping out the target site because of the attractive number of Jewish children who frequented it and planting the human bomb there before fleeing, was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment. She was the first-ever Hamas female jihadist. Her name is Ahlam Tamimi.

Tamimi walked free, along with 1,026 other Arab terrorists - most of them killers - in the catastrophic deal Israel made with the Hamas terrorists to secure the freedom of an Israeli hostage, Gilad Shalit, in October 2011. She has been living free-as-a-bird in Jordan, not under cover, not in hiding, ever since.

She married another convicted Arab terrorist/murderer, Nizar Tamimi, in the summer of 2012. He is her cousin. (Another cousin is Ahed Tamimi, the 17 year old blondish "icon" of Palestinian "resistance" recently released from an Israeli prison.)

The United States Department of Justice unsealed terrorist charges against Ahlam Tamimi on March 14, 2017. That same day, her name was added to the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list and the US let it be known it was asking Jordan to extradite her to face charges in a Washington courtroom. The two countries have had an active extradition treaty since 1995.
Al-Tamimi was returned to Jordan upon her release from incarceration. Jordan’s courts, however, have ruled that their constitution forbids the extradition of Jordanian nationals. The U.S. has worked and will continue to work with its foreign partners to obtain custody of Al-Tamimi so she can be held accountable for her role in the terrorist bombing. The FBI also announced today that Al-Tamimi has been placed on its list of Most Wanted Terrorists. [DOJ media release, March 14, 2017]
A few days after the announcement, Jordan announced that its courts had ruled that the 18 year old treaty was, under Jordanian law, of no legal effect. Consequently, Jordan said, it would not be handing Tamimi over to the Americans.

It was announced some months later, on January 30, 2018, that a $5 million reward is now offered by the US State Department for information leading to Tamimi's arrest and conviction. The reward is nominally still in effect. But we have come to realize there are serious, unpublicized and troubling problems connected with how the reward actually works in Tamimi's case. All our efforts (and we have tried hard) to get answers to our questions from the Rewards for Justice unit at the State Department and from other State Department officials have been unsuccessful. We'll come back to that later.

Between February 2012 and September 2016, Ahlam Tamimi hosted her own television program called “نسيم الأحرار” - “Nassem al-Ahrar”, or in English: “Breezes of the Free”. This was produced and distributed Alquds TV, one of Hamas' two global satellite channels, from a studio in Amman, Jordan where it is inconceivable the Hashemite government didn't know and couldn't have stopped it. It served as an-Islamist inflected voice for and by Palestinian terrorists behind Israeli bars - an invaluable, strategically important two-way channel of communication, encouragement and incitement to terror.

Tamimi, already a celebrity by that time across large parts of the Arab world from her frequent appearances in the news and in front of live audiences, leveraged it as a platform to further cement her status among Arab-speaking audiences wherever the Alquds TV content can be seen - literally everywhere. (In addition to being broadcast over the air, the weekly program was distributed to global audiences via dozens, perhaps hundreds, of little-known websites specializing in streaming video content - meaning a viewer need only have a smartphone or laptop with Internet connection; no TV, no satellite dish, no impediment to achieving the widest imaginable influence.

Screen shot: Jordan's Ro'yaTV promo for their Caravan "youth show"
She dropped out of the program without warning in September 2016 when, as we learned much later, she was very briefly taken into police custody in Jordan on an Interpol warrant (never reported outside the Arab world as far as we know). She subsequently lowered her profile (we explained the circumstances here) for a time as the efforts to have her extradited and brought to trial in the US worked their way through Jordan's channels of power. 

Throughout her years back in her homeland Jordan, she has appeared widely and often in the darker and more extreme corners of the Arabic media, always encouraging terrorism, always basking the glory of having defeated the Zionists by being released back into freedom despite the many Jews she murdered.

Needless to say, she has never shown the slightest remorse for her savagery.

Followers of Frimet Roth's blog already learned exactly a month ago ["Our daughter's murderer - live on Jordanian TV yesterday"] that Ahlam Tamimi, seated beside her husband, recently took a central role in a totally-mainstream Jordanian TV program.

Caravan is a weekly TV show on Jordan’s privately-owned Ro'ya TV channel, evidently the most watched of Jordan’s TV channels. Caravan doesn't appear to have anything political to say. It aims explicitly at a young audience - not children - and gives the impression of trying hard to seem hip in a vaguely Western way.

In its October 23, 2018 edition, the show's attention was entirely given over to Ahlam and Nizar Tamimi, Jordan's best-known husband-and-wife team of convicted, unrepentant Palestinian Arab murderers. And as becomes painfully clear, a pair of well-loved Jordanian heroes whom 'everyone' knows and respects.

We asked some Arabic-speaking friends to review it and give us their impressions. Here's what one told us:
The Tamimis were on for 45 minutes. There wasn’t anything especially headline-worthy of anything they said. They never talked about their terrorist act, just their life in prison. You would think they had been sentenced to jail for parking tickets. The host of the show was fawning all over them, calling them special guests over and over again. The husband said “we are living the best life possible now”. The details of their so called heroic imprisonment were quite banal. How they smuggled letters to each other, how they got hope from programs such as the one they were on that talked about prisoners in Israeli jails. How they survived mentally by “challenging” the prison system... At one point, asked what her ambitions were at the age she became a terrorist, she rambled on but ended up praising Jordan and King Abdullah... Watching the show, I was literally cursing into my phone... 
Ro'yaTV tweet: The obsequious Tamimi tribute received
heavy promotion on social media [Twitter]
From our friend's report, it appears no mention was made in the entire hour-long program of the atrocities carried out by the Tamimi couple. No indication of the acts of savagery that earned them their conviction before Israeli courts. Not a word about Ahlam Tamimi's constant incitement to terrorism. No hint of her repeated public endorsement of how murdering Israeli children serves the interests of the Palestinian Arab resistance.

There was also no reference to how she claims now to be innocent of all the charges brought against her by the Department of Justice; or of how she believes the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jews, far from being about occupied territories and national self-determination is actually a "religious struggle".

We asked for the Arabic-to-English translation help of our friends at Palestinian Media Watch (thanks very nuch, guys). Here are a few extracts:
  • Presenter (Aya Al-Khayyat): [01:22] "There are many heroes behind bars. They have many stories and wars and a great struggle against the enemy and the occupier. Today in Caravan we are honored to be able to host a number of released prisoners to get to know their great story...
  • Welcome Nizar Tamimi and Ahlam Tamimi... It is a great honor for us to host you in the Caravan studio. The first question is: How did you get to know one other and how did you get married?”  [laughs]
  • Nizar Tamimi says they met after he was already imprisoned in 1993. [Imprisoned? Why? Viewers are left to assume it may have been for a traffic offence; there's no hint given of the brutal murder of an Israeli man of which he and several other Tamimi cousins were convicted in 1993]. Ahlam, he says, was a Jordanian citizen who came to study in Palestine. At that time, visits by relatives, both second and third degree, to the prison were permitted. They were related (he doesn't say how - in reality they are related in several different ways since the Tamimis are deeply involved in marrying within their clan) and she came to visit him. They stayed in touch.
  • Nizar Tamimi: [03:54] "Then in 2001, Ahlam was arrested because of her involvement in the struggle and jihad activity [Notice that the fifteen people she murdered, the sixteenth person who remains unconscious to this day - these are not important enough to be mentioned even once in this program] In prison, we were in contact... It was difficult to be in contact, it was not permitted, and the security conditions became more stringent after the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Praise to Allah, in 2005 we managed to make a marriage pact while we were in prison... Praise God, we are now living well."
  • Presenter asks Ahlam Tamimi how she felt when sentenced to multiple terms of life imprisonment.  
  • Ahlam Tamimi: "...A life sentence is not a logical thing. But the security establishment of the Zionists aims to compare [Translator: seeks to balance] the state of fear generated by the Palestinians via the struggle activities [Translator: operations] that we have been waging over the years – with life imprisonment. They consider that every dead Israeli should be answered with a life imprisonment sentence and in this way placate the anger of the Zionist families of those killed in the various operations... Nizar was arrested in 1993 and remained in prison for about 20 years [sic – in reality 18 years]. I was arrested in 2001 and I remained ten and a half years [sic – just barely ten years] in prison. Nizar got a life sentence, I received 16 life sentences! And that’s to be expected. When we choose to go on the path of struggle, we or any Palestinian, there are known scenarios [ahead]. Either you are arrested or you die as a shahid [martyr] or you get injured or you become a fugitive. When we choose to go on that path, we are ready for any possible scenario..."
  • Presenter: [15:26] "This is admirable! You, the people of the struggle, elevate the name of Jordan!"
Abdullah Barghouti's mother sheds tears over her son's
sad fate - being locked away by the Zionists. No mention at all
of the 70 Israelis his terrorist bombs blew to pieces.
  • There's a break next - some coverage of a current art exhibition focusing, like the program, on prisoners. This includes an interview with Abdullah Barghouti's mother. She says he wants to be released, that he is optimistic and hopes to be released "in the next deal". [How did Barghouti get locked away in an Israeli cell? The answer isn't given; Barghouti built the exploding guitar that destroyed Sbarro along with other bombs that in total took erased 70 Israeli lives. He has boasted on American TV that, when eventually released, he will kill more Israelis.]
  • Video grab (on the right): On display in the art exhibition, a portrait of Kuwaiti mass murderer Abdullah Barghouti, the Hamas master bomb-maker. His worried mother, speaking with considerable emotion, is interviewed live on the program and with maximum sympathy. She says she is optimistic he will be out of prison soon.
  • Ahlam Tamimi [this segment of the interview is at the art exhibition]: [18:47] When we were in prisons of the occupation and we heard that one of the artists was painting us or writing us a poem or a story, it encouraged us a lot - that there are people who remember us.  …
  • [Back in the Caravan studio]
  • Presenter: [20:23] Were you aware of [the Shalit deal] while you were still in prison?
  • Ahlam relates that the Shalit Deal had been under discussion from the time Shalit was abducted in 2006 until the mass prisoner release in 2011. She notes that in this transaction, out of thousands of prisoners, only 1,450 prisoners were released [sic – in fact the number is 1,027]. And the others expected their names to be included in the list but unfortunately they did not leave. But, thank God, there is always hope, and the proof is that there will be another deal, inshallah. And with the help of Allah, all prisons will be emptied. 
  • PresenterInshallah.
  • A member of the audience congratulates the program’s guests and asks whether the Jordanian government stays on top of the issue of Jordanian prisoners [in Israeli prisons]. Ahlam Tamimi answers that the embassy [in Israel] does take an interest in the prisoners, but it does so only to a minor degree, and it is to be hoped that this degree of interest [by Jordan] will grow.
  • Presenter asks if they feel the support of the [Arab] street for them and for the Palestinian cause. Did they feel this support when they were in prison? Nizar Tamimi answers that there is radio and television in prison. This has happened thanks to the efforts of the prisoners, their protests and strikes. There are programs focusing on peace demands and so on for the prisoners. These strengthen and encourage the prisoners.
  • Presenter asks Ahlam Tamimi what her aspirations in life are or were. The enemy's media [Israel of course] disseminates the message that those who join the Palestinian resistance lack aspiration, lack a love of life apart from the desire to succeed in injuring their enemies.
  • Ahlam Tamimi: [40:00] I was a student at Bir Zeit... This was one of the main universities in Palestine that produced most of the demonstrations and martyrs (shahids)... It set in motion a strong situation of struggle. Once the school day came to an end, the lecturers and the university administration would organize themselves according to the students' wishes. Once school was over, we would organize the Palestinian street according to our desires. Our aspiration in Palestine, from when we were youths right up until now, is to liberate our land. This is not just the aspiration of the Palestinians but of every Arab citizen. It’s an issue of the whole world - in every land where there is an occupation, it is unacceptable from a human standpoint... Palestine is an issue of the world, mainly of the Arab citizen, whenever he is found, especially when we’re speaking of the place of the Prophet's journey [refers to Jerusalem] who is the prophet of all Muslims. So it is very important that we try constantly to raise  the problem of Palestine in the education of our children. How can we raise a generation of liberation if we do not educate our children about the Palestinian problem in the educational curriculum, in life, in the family and so on? How else will they know there is an occupied Palestine, and that they have to turn [their attention] to it? You in the universities [she turns her attention to the students in the audience] - it is highly important that you turn to actions – as students, in your clubs, and wherever you are found, actions in which you revitalize the Palestinian problem... Jordan is in the first line in this subject: our geography is one, our concern is one. His Majesty and the Hashemite monarchy never ever abandoned the Palestinian problem… 
  • Thus we hope there will be  more activities by young people to support the issue of Jordanian prisoners and Palestinian prisoners. So that we can direct our words towards the Zionist Entity [Israel of course] saying: "No! To the matter of the prisoners there are consequences not only within Palestine but also extending out to Jordan, to Tunisia, to the entire Arab world.
When Ahlam Tamimi urges "more such activity", it needs to be absolutely clear that she is not referring to knitting classes.

Smiling faces, unconcealed admiration: The murdering Tamimis
It's evident the Tamimis, who in April 2017 began maintaining a relatively low profile, have now been given a signal to emerge and to take their place in Jordan's public spaces. At the same time, they have taken care, or been carefully instructed, not to sound violent or directly threatening, though the female clearly does engage in incitement to terror and violence directed at the young audience that Caravan seeks.

It's worth underscoring the central point here: not a single word of the entire program addresses why the Tamimis were in prison, or the length of their sentences (multiple life terms). This is not “reality” programming but rather soft-focus, inspirational television, in some ways like certain religion-centric shows familiar to us in the West. But the people getting the adulation. the respect and the platform are not mere eccentrics or Bible thumpers. They're coldly enthusiastic murderers. Utterly unrepentant and embraced as role-models and heroes by mainstream Jordanians - and their mass media - because of that.

The full video of the Jordanian tribute to the Tamimis which originally went to air on October 23, 2018 is online here. As far as we can tell, no one in the mainstream media has given this any attention at all. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

10-Nov-18: In Melbourne, the stabber is called "lone wolf" but with connections to Islamic State

Image Source: Video capture
I am traveling [this is Arnold Roth] and am spending a few days in Melbourne, Australia.

Here's a summary of the terrorist attack that turned the downtown area here into a murder scene during this past Friday afternoon's peak hour.
  • A man drove his utility vehicle - a Holden Rodeo - onto the sidewalk of the central business district's Bourke Street, near the busy corner with Swanston Street where around 4:20 pm Friday it exploded in flames. It later emerged that he had loaded it up with gas cylinders. A large explosion was evidently his plan.
  • A man, Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, aged about 30, exited the vehicle armed with a large knife. He attacked several pedestrians in an evidently random way, stabbing 74-year-old Sisto Malaspina. According to one Australian source, the man yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack "but [police] Commissioner Ashton said this had not been confirmed."
  • Malaspina is the well-known co-owner of Pellegrini's Espresso Bar, a Melbourne icon. 
  • Two other men were next: Rodney Patterson, 58, suffered head injuries; a male security guard aged 24 is injured in the neck, evidently from being stabbed. Both of them are in stable condition as of Saturday night as we write this.
  • Transit police arrived at the scene. The attacker punched one of them through the window of their vehicle.Many more police quickly arrived as the two transit police engaged with the attacker. The knifer then lunged at them with his weapon. A bystander tried to assist police by ramming a shopping trolley between them and the suspect.
  • At about this point, a police officer fired at the attacker. He was hit in the chest and fell to the ground. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and later died.
  • In the words of The Age, a Melbourne daily, "Police have said it was a lone-person terror attack, and that the threat has been mitigated."
  • All streets in the vicinity remained closed to traffic and pedestrians until 8 on Saturday morning as police examined the attack scene.
  • The knifer, a child migrant who arrived in Australia with his parents from Somalia and now dead, is widely described tonight as "known to counter terrorism agencies... and 
    known to have radical views
    ... 
    His passport was seized in 2015  when he made plans to travel to Syria". Though he "had links" to ISIS, he was "not actively monitored". 
  • Australia's national broadcaster, ABC, reported that "his family is well known and respected within the Somali community in Melbourne."
  • They attended the Virgin Mary Mosque in Hoppers Crossing, west of Melbourne.
  • His wife, parents and siblings have been questioned by police in the past day and his home raided and combed for evidence.
  • The Age again: "The police have been given the green light for the first time to use preventative detention, where they may detain terror suspects for four days without a court order."
Lots of questions to be answered here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

23-Oct-18: She admits she planned the Sbarro massacre. But for parts of the media, Ahlam Tamimi remains 'an accomplice'

In a piece about FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist Ahlam Tamimi published yesterday, the Washington Post breezily describes our daughter's murderer this way:
For Israelis, the Tamimis are a group of provocateurs intent on manipulating the media to hurt the country’s image. One cousin [of Ahed], Ahlam Tamimi, was an accomplice to a suicide bombing. "
At this point, we know a lot about Ahlam Tamimi. Here's how she herself details the central role she took in the 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre:
Interviewer: "Who chose Sbarro [restaurant, as the target of the attack]?"  
Ahlam Tamimi: "I did. For nine days I examined the place very carefully and chose it after seeing the large number of patrons at the Sbarro restaurant. My mission was just to choose the place and to bring the martyrdom-seeker (i.e. the human bomb, a young man called Al-Masri). [I made] the general plan of the operation but carrying it out was entrusted to the martyrdom-seeker."
Ahlam Tamimi: "I told him to enter the restaurant, eat a meal, and then after 15 minutes carry out the martyrdom-seeking operation. My job was to realize, for this martyrdom-seeker, the happy life that he wanted." 
Interviewer: "Didn't you think about the people who were in the restaurant? The children? The families?" 
Ahlam Tamimi: "No."  
Interviewer: "Do you know how many children were killed in the restaurant?" 
Ahlam Tamimi: "Three children were killed in the operation, I think." 
Interviewer: "Eight."
Ahlam Tamimi (smiling): "Eight? Eight!"
[Source]

This is the monster that Jordan's King Abdullah refuses to extradite to the United States despite the US Department of Justice's request under a valid extradition treaty that has existed between those two countries since 1995 and under which multiple Jordanian felons have been extradited to face trial in US courts.

Other than that Ahlam Tamimi is an acclaimed hero among Palestinian Arabs and in Jordanian society in general (which is overwhelmingly composed of Palestinian Arabs); that she has been provided with support, protection, privilege and exposure that arguably no mass murderer in history has enjoyed at the hands of any government; and that the victims of her malevolence were mainly Jewish children (unlike every other Jordanian extradited to the US); and that she has publicly and for the record admitted, indeed boasted, about her central role in the bombing and the resulting deaths... just how different is Ahlam Tamimi from the other Jordanians extradited in past years to the United States?

And no, we're not asking for a friend.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

20-Oct-18: In Har Adar today, a terrorist is stopped in time

Har Adar [Image Source]
No one was killed. No Israeli family was left upended or orphaned*. But a thwarted terror attack in the Jerusalem suburb of Har Adar this morning ["Stabbing attack thwarted in Har Adar", Tzvi Lev in Israel National News, October 20, 2018] could easily have ended tragically:
A stabbing attack was thwarted in Har Adar on Saturday after a Palestinian Arab aroused the suspicions of a security guard. The 20-year-old suspect caught at the town's entrance after he began acting strangely. After being detained by a security guard, the suspect admitted that he was intending to carry out a stabbing attack with a knife he had hidden in the village... In the wake of [a 2017] attack, army officials barred PA workers from entering Har Adar, and pledged to make improvements at the checkpoint workers must pass through at the entrance to Har Adar.
In that earlier Har Adar attack a year ago ["26-Sep-17: At Har Adar's entrance, an Arab-on-Israeli shooter with problems and a solution"] an Arab day laborer with a valid work permit, a history of family violence and no known background in terror, killed three security personnel, opening fire on them when ordered to halt while attempting to enter the gated community.

Criticism of Israel's serious focus on security and the accompanying problems it brings - the expense, the intrusion into the lives of Arabs en route to school or work, the wide deployment of lethal weapons in the hands of security personnel - are legitimate. But while they should never be dismissed out of hand, the imperative of saving lives and taking a realistic view of the neighborhood in which we live mean that security-mindedness is a core element of Israeli life.

As today's successful intercept demonstrates, there's a lot we have to be grateful for when it comes to the alertness of security people.

Har Adar, a pleasant community of about 4,000 people about 10 kilometers outside Jerusalem, gets its name from a British radar installation that used to be where the homes now stand.

---
* So it's highly unlikely this will get any media coverage outside of the Israeli and Jewish media. That's not a light-hearted observation. We Israelis pay a heavy price for this editorial-selectiveness.

Monday, October 15, 2018

15-Oct-18: Monday noon: Another Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack in Samaria

The scene of today's attack [Image Source: Hamodia and Reuters]
In the third terror attack to have taken place in Israel's Samaria District over the past eight days, a Palestinian Arab man armed with a stabbing implement was thwarted in his efforts around noon today (Monday).

He was permanently prevented from completing his terrorist mission.

The attack site is a short distance away from the Israeli city of Ariel on the heavily-traveled Highway 5.

As reported by Times of Israel:
A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli forces Monday during an attempt to stab a soldier at the Gitai Junction in the northern West Bank, the army said. No Israeli troops were injured in the incident and the Israel Defense Forces said it has opened an investigation. Several hours after the attempted stabbing, the Kan public broadcaster reported that the assailant was a resident of Biddya, the same hometown as a 47-year-old Palestinian mother of eight who was killed late Friday night when a rock was hurled at her car in the northern West Bank.
From Ynet:
A Palestinian would-be terrorist tried to stab a soldier standing at a bus stop at the Gitai Avishar Junction on Highway 5 in the northern West Bank on Monday and was shot dead by soldiers from the Artillery Corps' 55th Battalion, who were on the scene. No Israeli troops hurt. The Gitai Avishar Junction is a busy and central intersection on the highway linking the settlement of Ariel to central Israel. Hundreds of Palestinian workers travel through the junction on their way to Israel to work. The junction was also the site of several attacks in the past, and is constantly guarded by two soldiers, who were the ones to shoot and neutralize the terrorist... An IDF reservist soldier was moderately wounded and a civilian woman was lightly wounded in a stabbing attack Thursday outside the Samaria Territorial Brigade base. The terrorist was able to escape initially, but was captured several days later. Last Sunday, terrorist Ashraf Na'alwa murdered two Israelis—Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 28, and Ziv Hagbi, 35—in a shooting attack in the Barkan industrial zone. He is still at large.
The usual Arab channels are publicizing the attacker's name and portrait. His face can be seen here. One Arab source [here] names him as Elias Saleh Yassin from Biddya, and says he was 22 years old. It refers to him as "martyr".

Praise from Hamas was not long in coming:
"The martyrdom of Elias was a response to the crime of the settlers against the martyr Aisha Al-Rabi of the same town. It affirms the right of our people to defend themselves and resist the occupation that assaults humans and land with American support and international silence." Hamas tells "the resistance" to "continue this path that the enemy does not understand... the shortest way to liberate from occupation and to acquire the rights and the building of our Palestinian state." [Arabic source]
The propaganda-centric Ma'an News Agency headlines the English-language edition of its report on today's failed stabbing attack with this: "Palestinian shot dead after alleged stabbing attack near Salfit". Its Arabic edition by contrast is more expansive and less shy: "A martyr tried to stab soldiers north of the West Bank".  The use of the word "martyr" in Arabic-language reporting is a core element in the ongoing Arab incitement to more and worse Arab-on-Israeli terrorist violence.

It is unconscionable that Ma'an's work is funded by European governments [see "09-Jul-15: When incitement to murder is financed by foreign aid, where will the accounting come from?"]

Thursday, October 11, 2018

11-Oct-18: In Israel's Samaria district, an Arab-on-Israeli stabbing this afternoon

There's been another Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack today.

Two Israelis are injured, one in serious condition, after an attacker, evidently a Palestinian Arab, standing at an Israeli bus stop near the IDF's Shomron Regional Brigade headquarters close to the community of Itamar, pulled a "huge knife" (according to an Israel National News report) at about 1:30 pm. He stabbed an Israeli reservist of about 30 and then fled from the scene. He has not yet been apprehended.

(We wrote about another stabbing attack at what sounds like the same spot in January 2016 - see this post.)

Times of Israel says IDF soldiers at the scene opened fire in the attacker's direction:
Shrapnel from the shots struck the woman in the leg. The stabber may have fled in a waiting car nearby, Hadashot TV news said.
The woman caught in the cross-fire is reportedly 26 and her leg injuries are not life-threatening. Both victims were taken to Rabin Medical Center/Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for emergency care. (It's the largest ER facility in Israel.)

Many Arab-on-Israeli stabbings over the past two years have involved the knifers aiming for the upper parts of their victims' bodies, and so it was this afternoon. The male victim suffered stab wounds to the face and the upper torso. He was conscious when brought to hospital.

Consistent with the shabby, unprofessional way it reports on Arab-on-Israeli terror, the European-funded Ma'an News Agency 'knows' ["Israeli soldier, settler injured in stabbing attack, suspect flees", today] that the woman victim is a "settler". In fact, her identity and certainly her home address, remain unpublicized. Calling her a settler is a knowing act of incitement to terror; for the practitioners of Maan-style lethal journalism, all Israelis are "settlers".

One report ["Israeli Army Reservist Wounded in West Bank Stabbing Attack", Haaretz, today] says the knifer fled toward Huwara, a Palestinian village near Nablus. It says the IDF has set up dozens of roadblocks around the town and soldiers were carrying out checks, causing "large traffic jams" in the area.

The alleged stabber is taken into custody on Thursday
night [Image Source]
UPDATE 12:05 am Friday October 12, 2018: Times of Israel says the attacker has been apprehended. He is un-named at this stage but reported to be a 19-year-old male from the Muslim village of Jamma’in (population about 7,000), about 16 km south of Nablus in Samaria. He is currently helping the Israeli security authorities with their enquiries. Hamas, according to Wikipedia, is the dominant political force in the town. A Hamas announcement [here in Arabic] says Thursday's stabbing attack at a bus stop is "a slap to the occupation and failure of its security system... the operation comes in the context of our people's response to the arrogance of the occupation and its continuous violations against our people and our holy sites".

UPDATE 12:30 pm Friday October 12, 2018: A Palestinian Arab source names the arrested suspect as Muaz Qassem Hussein, age 19. They publish his photo here.

UPDATE 11:15 pm Monday October 15, 2018: From Ynet:
The IDF released footage from the security cameras showing the stabbing terror attack at the bus stop outside the Samaria Territorial Brigade base in the West Bank, which last Thursday left an IDF reservist moderately wounded and a civilian woman slightly hurt. In a video released Monday, the reservist, who is reported to be in his thirties, is seen standing on the side of the road next to a civilian, when the terrorist suddenly emerges from behind and proceeds to chase after the soldier with a knife. After a struggle between the two, which lasts several seconds, the civilian at the bust stop is seen escaping the area and two other soldiers arrive at the scene and aim their weapons at the fleeing terrorist.
The video is here.