Saturday, August 18, 2018

18-Aug-18: Friday afternoon Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack is thwarted by police - who are accused by attacker's family

Screen-cap from the security video
Security camera video has emerged of a stabbing attack on Israeli police keeping order in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday afternoon.

The would-be knifer, identified subsequently as Ahmed Muhammad Mahameed, 30, an Arab resident of the Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, is seen walking briskly from the direction of the Temple Mount, turning sharply in the direction of a small group of on-duty police, then quickly pulling a knife out and attempting to stab someone. There follows a scuffle which is shown only briefly and then - according to a Times of Israel report - the assailant is shot by one of the police who came under lethal attack and he is killed.

The report goes on to focus on the complaints of the dead attacker's family. They say he was mentally ill and had twice tried to take his own life. They deny that he carried out the attack for nationalistic reasons but fail to offer an explanation - beyond mental illness - for what happened. They also deny that the response of the police was reasonable and say the officer who fired at him was “light with his finger on the trigger.”
“They didn’t have to kill him,” said the assailant’s father, pointing to other instances where police managed to neutralize attackers by shooting at their legs instead of their upper bodies. Mustafa Abu Megged, a friend of Mahameed’s, called his family a “normative” one that would never endorse such conduct. “They could have neutralized him in another way. When it comes to Arabs, they [the police] are easy to pull the trigger,” Megged charged. In addition, the Umm al-Fahm Municipality released a statement Saturday condemning police for what it called the “cold-blooded murder” of its resident.
Members of the family are quoted as well in a Ynet report:
"He suffers from a mental illness and he tried several times to commit suicide. We did not know he was in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, he never usually goes there,” said Ahmad’s brother Naseem, in an interview with Ynet... "My brother is a mentally ill person who never thought of harming people... We thought at first that he was misidentified. My brother is not a terrorist. Everyone needs to understand his mental state and not jump to conclusion that are so far from the truth," Naseem vented... ["Family of stabbing attack suspect: He has mental illness", Ynet, August 17, 2018]
There's a video embedded in the Times of Israel report that concludes with an officer reassuring the uniformed men on duty that they acted correctly in defending themselves and that doing so was in accordance with police values. It's hard to disagree with him.

Umm al-Fahm is home to more than 50,000 Arabs, overwhelmingly Muslim and almost all of them Israeli citizens.

For the past two decades, its public life has been increasingly viewed as directed by the outlawed (since 2015) Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement whose leading figure, former mayor of the city (between 1989 and 2001) Sheikh Raed Salah, is identified with Hamas. Salah is notorious for inciting under the slogan "Al-Aqsa is in danger":
In 1996, as events surrounding the authorization of a northern exit to the Western Wall tunnels were unfolding (and which led to violent riots), Salah became aware of how to capitalize politically on matters regarding the Temple Mount and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He started to hold an annual rally titled “Al Aqsa [Mosque] is in danger” in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm. Thousands usually attended. [Avi Issacharoff, "The Islamic Movement’s Northern Branch — long a thorn in Israel’s side", Times of Israel, November 17, 2015]
We may be about to see the flames of that particular kind of incitement being fanned again.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

16-Aug-18: The victim of an Arab-on-Israeli vehicle-ramming tonight is a young woman

Israel National News has reported tonight (Thursday) that an Israeli woman was killed in a vehicle-ramming attack in Israel's Samaria district:
A young woman in her 20s was murdered in a ramming terrorist attack that took place Thursday night near Havat Gilad in Samaria. Magen David Adom paramedics attempted to resuscitate the victim, but were forced to declare her death. The assailant fled the scene. IDF forces began searching the area. In January, Rabbi Raziel Shevach of Havat Gilad was murdered in a drive-by shooting attack.
We hope they're wrong about her condition. Times of Israel describes the victim as being alive but in  a very bad way. A MaarivOnline tweet says the attack happened at 9:32 pm tonight.

We wrote about how six more Israeli children - Renana, 10; Naomi, 8; Miriam, 6; Malka, 5; Ovadia, 3; and Benayahu, 10 months - all from Havat Gil'ad, became orphans in that January 2018 vehicle ramming at the same spot as tonight's - see "10-Jan-18: Hamas praises a murderous drive-by shooting that orphans six young Israeli children". The attacker was eliminated in a shoot-out with Israeli security forces a few weeks after that ramming murder.

Sorry to say, Ynet says tonight's Israeli victim has died. It adds
"The driver fled the scene, with the IDF suspected he escaped to the nearby Palestinian village of Jit."
UPDATE: At the Jerusalem Post in a report published around 10:20 pm tonight, they're not sure if this was a terror attack:
An Israeli woman was killed in a hit-and-run incident near the Havat Gilad outpost in the Samaria region of the West Bank. It was not immediately clear if it was a vehicular attack or a car accident. The woman was hit as she crossed Route [blank] near the outpost. The car appeared to be a Palestinian taxi, which fled the scene...  According to KAN Radio, the Palestinian driver was afraid to stop. He drove straight to the nearby Palestinian city of Nablus and turned himself into the police there, where he clarified that the incident was an accident. A Magen David Adom paramedic said that the woman was found unconscious in a ditch and had sustained massive injuries. She was not breathing nor did she have a heart beat, the paramedic said. They were unable to revive her and she was declared dead at the scene.
UPDATE Friday August 17, 2018  at 7:00 am: According to a Times of Israel update, the victim is a woman "in her forties" from the Israeli community of Emmanuel. Her name is not yet published as "some family members were still being sought to notify them of the death".

UPDATE Friday August 17, 2018 at 2:00 pm: The Israeli victim struck in last night's incident is named today as 42-year-old Hava Roizen. Roizen was struck by the vehicle on Route 60, near the Havat Gilad outpost. She was declared dead by the Magen David Adom ambulance service after paramedics were unable to resuscitate her. Times of Israel says 
Following a preliminary investigation, the army said it was “highly likely” that the fatal crash was a hit-and-run incident rather than a terror attack. The driver fled the scene and was later spotted near the Palestinian village of Jit where he turned himself in to Palestinian Authority police. A senior PA official told the Times of Israel the driver was a 63-year-old male who insisted what happened had been an accident and not an attack. The official added that the man would remain in the custody of the PA police and would be dealt with by the PA judicial system. “I was afraid that if I stopped they would kill me, so I fled,” the driver told Palestinian police, according to Hebrew media reports.Roizen was a resident of the small ultra-Orthodox settlement of Emmanuel...  An immigrant from the former Soviet Union, Roizen worked as a photographer, frequently hitchhiking around the country to events, an Emmanuel resident [said] “She was incredibly dedicated to her job. She’d travel wherever it was necessary, and I’d often see her returning to Emmanuel at very late hours,” he said, referring to Roizen and her husband as humble people.While military sources said the preliminary investigation found that the incident was a hit-and-run, they had not definitely ruled out the possibility that it was a terror attack.
We will share whatever else we learn.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

14-Aug-18: Chasing (some) terrorists in Jordan

Image Source: Twitter account of Jordan's royal court
A significant clash between the forces of the king and what are being called a terrorist force happened on Saturday across the valley from us over in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

It all started, as far as we know, with an explosion at a Jordanian music festival on Friday. First reports - like this one from an English-language Arab source, were careful to tiptoe around the possibility of terror:
A vehicle belonging to the Jordanian gendarmerie was hit by an explosion on Friday evening, leaving one sergeant dead and wounding six other security personnel, an official at the General Directorate of the Gendarmerie has said. The blast happened just outside the capital Amman, where the unit was tasked with guarding a cultural festival held in the western outskirt of the city. Local news media quoted government sources denying the blast was linked to terrorism, however, investigations are continuing... Local media quoted security sources as saying that "a gas bomb exploded near the fuel tank, causing the explosion of the vehicle". The Fuheis festival is an annually held event in Jordan and is considered the second largest festival in the country after the Jerash Festival... Fuheis is a Christian-majority town, around 20km northwest of the capital Amman. [The New Arab (UK), August 11, 2018]
Pretty soon, the story got darker: turns out it was a bomb that 
was planted under a police vehicle providing security at [the festival]... No group immediately took responsibility... Prime Minister Omar Razzaz portrayed Friday's bombing as a "terrorist attack"... Jordan is a close Western ally in a turbulent region, and has largely been spared from the conflicts in neighboring Syria and Iraq. However, the kingdom has also been targeted by Islamic militants, both domestic and foreign who have carried out a series of attacks... [Associated Press]
Fuheis (or Fuhais or Al Fuheis) is about 20 kilometers north-west of the capital Amman. The Fuheis Festival has been held annually for the past 25 years and is considered Jordan's second-largest cultural festival. Wikipedia says the town has 20,000 residents, 60% of them Greek Orthodox Christians. It's in the Wadi Shueib (Valley of Jethro) area, between Salt and Amman.

A place with a historical heritage ["Is Al-Salt Set to be Jordan’s Next UNESCO World Heritage Site?"] Salt, also called Al-Salt, happens to be where the security forces made up of "special forces", police and the army carried out a raid on Saturday. And where things seem to have gotten badly out of control. Salt had 97,000 inhabitants in 2006: 65% of them are Muslim and the remainder Christians.

Image Source: Where the ISIS people had their base - till Sunday
Newly appointed government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said the security forces we just mentioned were pursuing a "terrorist cell". Here's a summary of what Agence France-Presse reported ["4 security force members, 3 'terrorists' killed in Jordan raid"] on Sunday:
  • Quoting not its own reporters but the Jordanian government, it says: "Four members of the Jordanian security forces and three "terrorists" have been killed during a raid on a militant hideout after an officer died in a bomb blast near the capital..."
  • Making clear Jordan now tied the raid to what had happened in Fuheis on Friday, it said "Five suspects were also arrested during Saturday's raid in connection with the home-made bomb that exploded under a patrol car at a music festival."
  • According to Ms Ghneimat, "The suspects refused to surrender and opened heavy fire toward a joint security force". They "blew up the building in which they were hiding, and which they had booby-trapped earlier".
  • The three security forces who were killed died in the shootout with the gunmen. A fourth died later of his injuries.
  • The bodies of three terrorists (AFP puts that word in quotation marks) were found in the rubble of the exploded building as were some automatic weapons. Five militants (AFP's word) were arrested in the operation.
  • AFP quotes "medical sources" saying 11 people "were wounded during the raid, including members of the security forces and civilians who were residents of the building where the militants were hiding". They included women and children. The AFP report has no details of who thhey were, their ages, or the extent of their injuries.
  • Now this interesting direct quote based on something said by a "security official who asked not to be named": "All the terrorists who were killed or arrested were Jordanians and residents of Salt."
  • The king, Abdullah II, is quoted saying Jordan would "strike mercilessly and forcefully" against whoever they are blaming which is not yet specified. "This cowardly terrorist act, and any act that targets the security of Jordan, will only add to our unity, strength and determination to wipe out terrorism and its criminal gangs". 
  • And this intriguing comment from the recently appointed (see "New Jordanian cabinet has fresh faces but same old problems", The National, June 14, 2018) prime minister Omar al-Razzaz: Jordan will "not be complacent in the hunt for terrorists".
How firmly does King Abdullah actually run things in the kingdom? You get a sense of this from a recent comment by the sober and generally respected Deutschewelle news service:
Since the king calls the shots on all policy issues, it is unclear what mandate Razzaz will have to take measures to pacify the protesters ["Jordan's king appoints Omar Razzaz as new prime minister to defuse protests", DW, June 5, 2018]
On the other hand, how well that's going can be surmised by how many prime ministers the king has appointed and then replaced. Since he was crowned on June 9, 1999, Abdullah II has hired and fired 12 prime ministers, not including the new man, Mr Razzaz. They have served, on average, for less than a year and a half each. (We did the calculations from public records.) The economy is perhaps the most visible sign of how much of a challenge Jordan's managerial class have on their hands: see "'We simply can't take this': Jordanians vow to continue protests after PM resigns" [Middle East Eye, June 5, 2018]

Monday night brought this update:
Jordan said Monday that a terror cell targeted in a deadly weekend raid by security forces was composed of supporters of the Islamic State terror group and shared its extremist views. Saturday’s raid, during which three jihadists were killed and five arrested, revealed that they were preparing a series of attacks in Jordan, Interior Minister Samir Mubaideen said... The suspects “were not part of an organization but followed its takfiri (Sunni Muslim extremist) ideology and supported Daesh... All of them were Jordanians... The raid also foiled other plots to carry out a series of terrorist operations against security installations and public gatherings,” he said. ["Jordan says jihadists killed in raid were Islamic State supporters", AFP, August 14, 2018]
Reuters added:
  • Also quoting al-Mobaideen, it says the "militants... did not belong to a specific group but subscribed to Islamic State ideology... There were plots to wage a series of terror attacks that sought security points and popular gatherings. We know the targets but we won’t tell them so people won’t get terrified”... 
  • [T]here were no signs so far they had foreign links, Mobaideen said, refusing to give names of suspects. “The investigations are secret and ongoing,” he told a news conference
  • Alongside automatic weapons in the suspect’s possession, the authorities found a location where chemical ingredients for manufacturing explosives were buried, Mobaideen added.
  • The militant cell was recently set up and there were indications its members had embraced radical ideology. “What is dangerous is that these new recruits are more impulsive than those with experience in executing operations that harm Jordan’s security,” [head of the Gendarmerie] Hawatmeh told reporters.
  • "Intelligence officials and some experts believe widening social disparities and a perception of official corruption are fuelling a rise in radicalization among disaffected youths in a country with high unemployment and growing poverty."
A report from a Palestinian Arab source ["Jordanian King Abdullah II vows to eliminate terrorism", Ma'an News AgencyAugust 12, 2018] datelined Amman says:
The Jordanian King Abdullah II released a statement on Sunday, vowed to end the existence of terrorism, following a deadly terror attack in the town of al-Salt, Jordan. [He] stressed that this cowardly act of terrorism and any action aimed at the security of Jordan "will only increase unity, strength, and determination to eradicate terrorism and its criminal gangs."
What's actually going on behind the official statements and media releases? It's genuinely hard to know. Jordan doesn't have a free and enquiring media and much of what emanates from official sources is spin. A Jordan Times article yesterday shows (probably inadvertently) how that works:
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Sami Mahasneh told The Jordan Times over the phone that a meeting with the minister and heads of political parties had been concluded with "unanimous agreement upon the government’s media strategy". He announced that a new platform dubbed “It’s Your Right to Know” is being developed by the government to issue around-the-clock news, which he said "will hopefully put an end to all false news and deal with sensitive ones in a delicate manner"...
Bayan Tal, senior advisor at the Jordan Media Institute, told The Jordan Times that this approach is "indeed noticeable" in the new Razzaz government. "There is a gap of trust between the government and the citizens when it comes to news. This is a result of the past governments’ way of dealing with the media and it is what leads citizens to often turn to rumours or unofficial news outlets for information, rather than the government's press release, as proven by studies,” Tal said... The competition between news agencies should not push them to commit immoral and disgraceful acts just to get views, likes, and comments, as those are “not the values of a true journalist”... ["Officials warn against false news ‘igniting national fear’", Jordan Times, August 13, 2018]
We actually do have things to say about how the "values of a true journalist" operate in Jordan. See
and especially
Now seems like a perfect time for the Jordanians to show how firmly they oppose Islamist terror by handing high-profile Islamist terrorist and Jordanian media celebrity Ahlam Tamimi over to US law enforcement authorities as they are obliged to do under the 1995 Extradition Treaty between the two countries.

Monday, July 30, 2018

30-Jul-18: Neither Ahed's gaze nor her ideas are the problem – it’s what others do with them

Monday's media focus on Ahed Tamimi was wide, attentive - and
spectacularly shallow [Image Source]
The opinion piece by Arnold Roth, below, was published today by the Jerusalem Post. It was solicited, we think, to be one of the alternative voices in the context of the wide current news reporting around the release from prison of Ahed Tamimi on July 29, 2018. The version as published is online here.

More horror than heroism
Arnold Roth

My sweet-natured daughter Malki, brimming with empathy and generosity toward others, always with a smile on her face, was 15 when she was murdered in the Sbarro pizzeria massacre seventeen years ago this week.

The experience of losing her, of trying to rebalance my life and my family’s and of trying to make sense of the reactions of other people has shaped much of what I believe about terrorism.

We know who plotted the Sbarro barbarism. It was not Ahed Tamimi. But when her clan, the Tamimis of Nabi Saleh, get together to celebrate it as we know they do, she is an enthusiastic participant.

In a village where almost everyone is related by blood and (yes, and) marriage, Ahed is a cousin of Ahlam Tamimi in multiple ways. Ahlam now lives free in Jordan. She boasts that she chose the site for the explosion, seeking to kill as many Jewish children as possible, and planted the human bomb. Via social media, public speeches and (for 5 years) her own TV program, she urges others to follow her lead.

When Ahlam married Nizar Tamimi ["22-Jun-12: A wedding and what came before it"], also a murderer from the village, a few months after both walked free in the Shalit Deal, Ahed was there to dance and gaze adoringly at the bride.

But neither her gaze nor her ideas are the problem. It’s what others do with them.

Ahed’s parents make a living from propagandizing against Israel. They fashioned and groomed Ahed ["24-Dec-17: Nabi Saleh, the media and a Tamimi child's journey"], leveraging her blondeness, pushing her into staged conflicts with Israeli soldiers from when she was 10, deliberately putting her at real risk on a weekly basis for years, long before she had the ability to discern what was being done to her.

Though all they had to go by was mostly-staged images of her thrusting fists at Israeli soldiers, too many reporters and editors responded (and still do) with absurd comparisons to Joan of Arc and Malala.

On the day of the slapping/kicking incident that led to her facing Israeli charges, Ahed’s mother pointed one of her cameras at the girl. She told her to speak to the world. And she did. The girl’s message was angry, urging anti-Israel violence and more conflict.

Though published and promoted by advocates of the Israeli cause, what Ahed said in that clip was largely ignored. As if she had said nothing. Its harsh reality was and still is denied.

The weaponization of Palestinian Arab children by their own society, even by their own families, is so incomprehensible to outsiders that it seems many deny its reality for that reason alone.

They deny what Ahed symbolizes too: identification with the vicious murderers in her own clan, with explosive rage, with a horrifying zealotry that brings people to push their society’s innocent children into the front lines. The Palestinian Arabs have many needs but what this girl stands for – more anger, more bitterness, more failure – delivers nothing of value to them.

They don’t hear this from the news industry - the reporters and editors who have built a podium for Ahed Tamimi and her enablers.

They don’t hear it either from their own utterly failed leadership who exploit Ahed Tamimi as another cheap diversion from the disasters they have brought on their people.

[Arnold Roth brought his family to Jerusalem from Australia 30 years ago. A lawyer and manager in Israel’s emerging technology industries, he now devotes his time to advocacy for special needs children and with his wife Frimet established the Malki Foundation in their murdered daughter’s memory.]

Friday, July 27, 2018

27-Jul-18: A murderous Thursday night knifing attack in suburban Jerusalem; the killer, again, is a child

Image Source: CUFI
The Israeli community of Adam (also known as Geva Binyamin, recalling the name of the site on which it stands which is mentioned in the biblical Book of Joshua), located just a few minutes drive north of Jerusalem and 45 minutes by frequent Egged bus ride from the capital's Central Bus Station, is in stunned shock this morning.

As Times of Israel reports:
The Israeli man stabbed to death in a terror attack in a West Bank settlement on Thursday night was named Friday morning as 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia. His funeral will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem. According to Israeli authorities, suspect Mohammad Tareq Yousef climbed over the security fence of the West Bank settlement of Adam sometime before 9 p.m. Thursday. He walked deeper into the settlement, crossing a playground area, where he encountered [31-year-old Yotam] Ovadia, and stabbed him repeatedly in the upper torso...  father to a 2-year-old child and a 7-month-old baby. The Brinks security company announced on their Facebook page that he worked for them as a technician...
A second resident, 58, was also stabbed after arriving on the scene. He was rushed to a hospital in serious condition but it was upgraded to moderate after doctors managed to stabilize him.
A third resident, Assaf Raviv, 41, went outside to investigate the disturbance and, realizing that an attack was occurring, shot the Palestinian terrorist three times, killing him. He was stabbed and lightly injured during the incident, and on Friday morning it was announced he had been released from hospital. The settlement committee on Friday released a statement praising Raviv’s bravery... 
Haaretz captures some of the Arab world's blood-lusting reaction:
In response, the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza said it welcomes the attack, describing it as "the appropriate response to the crimes of the occupation." [PRC is aligned with Hezbollah and with the government of Iran.]
Hamas said in an official statement: "This is an act of heroism and a message to all the heads of the occupation that attempts to uproot the spirit of resistance from the heart of the Palestinian people have failed and today's heroic action proves the unity of the Palestinian people and its common destiny. Yesterday three fighters were killed in Gaza and today the response has come from the West Bank."
And from a different Hamas source quoted on a Jordanian news site, a supercilious, general-purpose, one-size-fits-all self-justification for the barbarism:
"The operation today is a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people, and an extension of the ongoing uprising of our people," said Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanoua
The terrorism-friendly editors of the Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency have not yet managed to report any of this in their English-language edition but it's already headline news in their Arabic version (they understand their market's needs). Via machine-translation, we see they name the killer as Ahmed Tarek Dar Yusuf Abu Ayouch, 17, and frame the news as "the death of a boy". Other reports say he was younger than that. We won't post his photo on our site, but it's over here.

Unsurprisingly Israel-hating social media posts (like this one and this) refer to the cold-blooded knifer as "martyr".

Times of Israel notes that he comes from
Khobar, a West Bank town near Ramallah. The village is the same village the killer of the Salomon family came from, exactly a year ago.
They are referring to the savagery we reported a little over a year ago in "22-Jul-17: Friday night carnage in Neve Tzuf". (Do the British citizens of the English Midlands town of Walsall understand what they got into when they entered a twinning relationship with Khobar?)

What they ought to have mentioned as well, but didn't, is that Khobar (or Kobar or Kaubar or Cobar), a dusty village of about 4,000 people located about 10 km north of the PA administrative capital Ramallah, happens also to be the pre-imprisonment home-town of another notorious murderer, Marwan Barghouti, convicted on terrorism charges and involvement in five counts of murder in a criminal trial which we attended ["21-Mar-14: Allegedly objective journalism"]. It prides itself on having 25 of its residents in Israeli prisons.

Unlike the #WeaponizedChild teen who was lethally stopped last night trying to murder Jews, the older villager ["Who is Marwan Barghouti?"] gets his op eds published in the New York Times where they disingenuously call him "a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian".

There's much more in our post "18-Apr-17: So what, in reality, is Marwan Barghouti?", almost all of it ugly in the most serious of ways. Admirers of a certain loathsome South African churchman ["Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominates Marwan Barghouti for Nobel Peace Prize"] may be interested in the supporting role he plays.

As often happens in the wake of lethal terror attacks inside Israeli communities, it's likely the IDF will enlarge (for a time) its visible presence in the communities and on the roads of Judea and Samaria and carry out very active investigations in places like Khobar.

This morning's reports suggest the possibility that the terror in Adam involved an accomplice and that a "suspicious vehicle" was seen leaving the community shortly after the killing. Ma'an reports (again - only in Arabic for now) that three villagers have already been taken into Israeli custody this morning in Khobar and names them as Nasrallah Yousef Mishal, 17, his brother Mohammed Mishal, 21 and a 42-year-old Barghouti male named Khaldoun.

A Friday morning Arabic news report says the knifer's home is being prepared for demolition by the IDF. On that issue, bear in mind that the perpetually-insolvent Palestinian Authority's Rewards for Terror scheme will be providing lifetime incentive payments to the family of the dead killer.

UPDATE 3:00 pm Friday July 27, 2018: If you're familiar with the nauseating, agenda-driven editorial skills of the Ma'an people, you won't be surprised with how they approach the terrorist attack in their slow-to-arrive English-language report on last night's unspeakable savagery in Adam:

"Israeli settler shoots, kills Palestinian teen after stabbing attack" is the nauseating headline they came up with. In the body of the report, they quote Arab sources who say the boy came with an axe and that was what he used to attack his victims, and to carry out the murder of Yotam Ovadia.

And with Arab culture being flexible in the way names change form according to circumstances, they now call the killer Muhammad Tareq Youssef Abu Ayyush. Being cautious in their customary way, Ma'an's editors don't call the high-school-age killer a "martyr", at least not in this shabby Western-funded outfit's English-language version. But for the less delicate consumers of Ma'an's Arabic version, martyr is of course what they call him. Ma'an's editors know their readership and its predilections.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

17-Jul-18: Prayers for the dead, prayers for the living

There's going to be a public discussion this evening in London about the events we mention below. What we write in this blog post will, we hope, reach the people gathered at JW3 and be understood as a constructive contribution to a fraught but important dialogue:

Devastation at Sbarro pizzeria, Jerusalem, August 9, 2001
We’re living in morally confused times.

The handful of young British Jews, a few dozen according to reports, who assembled in Parliament Square in mid-May and solemnly said Kaddish for 62 dead Palestinian Arab Gazans, surely didn’t see themselves as compromising any principles or betraying any values.

They likely felt they were on moral high ground by being in solidarity with unfortunate, peaceful, unarmed, aggrieved protesters who clashed with Israeli army bullets on Gaza’s side of the Hamas/Israel border.

Our fifteen year old daughter Malki was murdered in Jerusalem by a woman foot soldier in the Hamas fighting forces. This happened in the Battle of Sbarro Pizzeria. That female terrorist saw herself as unarmed too - as a protestor, as aggrieved.

This she expressed by planting a bomb – a walking, breathing human bomb – in the pizza place.

After the massacre was done, she said she chose that site because at two in the afternoon it attracted children. She needed dead children. Lots of dead Jewish children.

We now know that just a few hours before the London Kaddish, a Hamas insider owned up to how at least 50 of the 62 deceased “protestors” were in reality Hamas fighters. Another Gazan terror group immediately piped up and claimed several more of the dead as their fighters. Most, maybe all, of the Gazans who passed on in that ‘demo’ were there to fight. And - at almost any price - to bring extreme harm to Israelis.
Hamas’s Salah Bardawil acknowledges 50 Hamas fatalities among the
62 killed on Israel-Gaza border, May 16, 2018 (Screenshot) [Source: MEMRI]

It’s unfair to blame the Kaddish-sayers for not knowing the truth about them - those rioting, murder-minded Gazan jihadists. The news professionals at the BBC, The Independent, The Guardian evidently didn’t know either. Some still don’t know it even now.

But we can ask those youngsters, some of whom had had some instruction in the basics of Judaism, if they know what Kaddish means. 

Beyond the fact that it’s said for the dead, do they recognize these words?
May there be abundant peace from heaven. And life for us and for all Israel. And say, Amen. May the Maker of peace in His celestial heights make peace for us and for all Israel and say, Amen.
Kaddish doesn’t mention the dead at all – not even once. It’s a central Jewish prayer for goodness. An expression of gratitude for Heaven’s power to bring peace and beneficence into our lives and into the world.

At the heart of the Kaddish is something that has been at the top of my mind constantly since Malki’s life was stolen from us. It’s not peace. Heaven knows, we haven’t had much of that.

No. It’s the importance of us, of our side: Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu – May He make peace for us

Losing a child to triumphant, barbarous murder is an experience – I can tell you from first-hand knowledge – that fiercely concentrates a person’s mind. It forces you to look very closely at what the enemy wants. And then to decide what our side wants. 

I don’t believe we Jews are better than other people. I don’t suggest for a moment that peace is something only we, our side, ought to have. On the contrary.
Malki Z"L, on her way to
a Passover hike when she was 14

Some of us knew before the Hamas thug admitted it that the Gaza mob was there at the fence to do as much harm to us as humanly possible. Those who didn’t know it then must surely know it now, even as the BBC and its ilk conceal this reality. 

The Gazan side want to win, to triumph. And to destroy us. Peace isn’t on their minds at all.

The moral confusion I mentioned just now is what causes some young Jews to lose their sense of us. Feeling part of us doesn’t, mustn’t, mean wishing bad to the other side. But it does mean understanding that if we want good – for us and also for them – we have to protect our own side first: our own homes, our own children, our own lives.

And be vigilant because we face a real, shooting, incinerating, bombing foe who means to wreak the greatest possible harm on us.

If the shocking display of Jews saying Kaddish was meant in the same way we say it for our deceased grandparents and family members, then it signifies a failure by all of us in preparing young Jews for a life that sadly includes unwanted confrontation with an unfathomable evil that targets usall of us.

But if it was intended as a cry for more peace, then I wish those young people knew, and maybe they do, that on the Israeli side, the passion for peace is real and easy to find.

If we want a passion for peace to take root among the Gazans, we owe it to ourselves to first acknowledge that calls for peace – as opposed to calls for victory, self-sacrifice and triumph – have completely gone from Gaza and not only from Gaza. And for now at least, they don't seem to be coming back soon.

That’s something worth praying for.

Postscript: The families of Malki Roth הי"ד and Michal Raziel  הי"ד invite friends of the two girls, murdered together in the Sbarro massacre on the 20th day of Av, seventeen years ago, to pray with us at their gravesides in Jerusalem's Har Tamir cemetery (part of the Har Menuchot complex) on Wednesday August 1, 2018 starting at 5:30 pm. We will be glad to provide more specific details [click].

Monday, July 16, 2018

16-Jul-18: What do the Palestinian Arabs want? What do they believe? What do they think?

The last time we addressed the important matter of Palestinian Arab opinion polls ["04-Apr-18: Here's (one view of) what the Palestinian Arabs want"] we started this way:
Palestinian Arab polls of Palestinian Arab opinion can be valuable tools for understanding what they think at any given time. And no less importantly, how accurate the assessments of what they want for the future are. And to be blunt about this, they're invariably more valuable by far than media guesses about what the Palestinian Arabs think and want. Claims are made freely and often about Palestinian Arab aspirations. Very often, though, the data tell a story that's at total variance from what's being claimed about them. That's why we have chosen from time to time to publicize here the results of opinion polls conducted by relatively respected organizations within Palestinian Arab society.
We stand by every word of that.

The Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) has just posted the findings of its latest opinion poll conducted in "the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 25 June and 1 July 2018". PSR is headed by a respected professional, Dr. Khalil Shikaki. We know him only by his work and reputation; we have no personal connection. We have reported on his organization's past findings at intervals over the past four years - here are some of the posts we wrote:

The latest PSR Public Opinion Poll is Number 68 and was released yesterday. It's based on a survey sample of 2,150 adults interviewed face to face in 127 randomly selected locations. Margin of error is 2.5%. Some of the findings that caught our attention:

How rotten are their lives? Palestinian Arab society is highly dysfunctional on multiple plains, and strongly marked by very wide citizen fear of its own institutions. How strongly? 60% of them (maybe read that again - sixty percent!) say people cannot criticize the PA "without fear". This may be connected to the next finding - that "perception of corruption" is 80%. We interpret this to mean that eight out ten of them believe the people with whom they are forced to deal in the PA and Hamas regime offices are on the take or applying wrong and subjective criteria and will put personal benefit or other irrelevant interests ahead of doing an honest job. That's a nightmare world.

The downward spiraling of Gaza: The pollsters asked what they call an open-ended question: which party or which side is causing the worsening of conditions in the Gaza Strip? 34% say it's Israel - no great surprise given the full-blast hate messaging emanating from Hamas. But what of the other two thirds? So 26% blame Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority; and despite the thuggish grip they and their Islamist insiders have over Gaza, no fewer than 20% believe it's Hamas' fault. Conclusion: most of the anger about Gaza that Palestinian Arabs are willing to express is directed at two of the Palestinian Arab regimes. (They were not given the option of blaming the third Palestinian Arab entity, Jordan.)

Leadership: If Palestinian Arab elections were held now, and they took the form of a two-horse race, Fatah/PA/PLO president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas terrorist-in-chief Ismail Haniyeh would produce a near-dead-heat: 47% versus 46%. If the convicted, imprisoned and unrepentant ex-leader of the Fatah/Tanzim terrorist gunmen Marwan Barghouti were to run against the Hamas guy, Barghouti would walk it in: 58% versus 37%. This is not the only indication that Palestinian Arab public opinion respects men who know how to kill (meaning they know how to tell their underlings how to kill).

Abbas go home: From his standpoint, it's good that president-for-life Mahmoud Abbas doesn't have to actually face up to elections, but there is a tiny silver lining to the cloud of rejection that his leadership evokes among ordinary Palestinian Arabs. The latest measure of "satisfaction" with Abbas' leadership is a pathetic 37%; active dissatisfaction stands at 59%. Sounds bad, right? (According to the Gallup Polls website, satisfaction with how President Trump is doing his job is just a bit higher: 41% as of a week ago.) The silver part of this for Abbas is he was doing worse three months ago. Back then, PSR found a dismal 33% were satisfied with his leadership and 68% wanted him out of office immediately. Today 61% of all Palestinian Arabs want to see him leave office immediately. Which isn't entirely bad since 90 days ago it was 62%. (He's doing great by his own standards.)

Jerusalem: The recent relocation of part of the US embassy's functions from its beachside Tel Aviv location to the long-established US consulate in Jerusalem is seen as weakening the Palestinian Arab "position" (we're frankly not certain what that word means in this context - probably the "position" that Jerusalem which has never been the capital city of any Arab entity in history should become "Palestine"'s capital) by most Palestinian Arabs: 55% of them. We're frankly puzzled at the strength of this concern which, in practical terms, has not changed anything on the ground. But being a Palestinian Arab is nothing if not a matter of perceptions and watching over your own shoulder.

Israeli municipal elections: When eligible voters vote on October 30, 2018, most East Jerusalem Arab residents who can vote (holders of so-called Blue Israeli IDs - the vast bulk of the Arabs we see everyday commuting into downtown Jerusalem by car, bus or light rail) say they won't. A mere 22% say they will. We guess going to the election centers comes at a certain price in a community where most people see most officials as dishonest and dangerous. A pity for all of us. But especially for them - especially since other data show they demonstrate a solid, practical and growing connection to living under Israeli sovereignty compared with the past ["Jerusalem Palestinians still seek Israeli citizenship despite Trump declaration", USAtoday, December 18, 2017]

The "peace" process: Here's where it gets especially painful - if you believe the widespread and irresponsible media narrative of a desperate Palestinian Arab search for more and better peace with their Israeli neighbors. The most effective means of establishing a Palestinian state next to the state of Israel is, according to respondents to the poll:
Negotiation: 39% (West Bankers 41%; Gazans 35%)
Armed "resistance": 34%
"Non-violent resistance": 22%. We could write an essay about the gulf that separates that simple-seeming term and what the highly immoderate "moderate" Abbas and his cohort mean when they use it. In fact, we have written several - click for some. We especially recommend "18-Aug-17: On vehicle rammings, Mahmoud Abbas, moderate advocate for terror, is open-minded, sees both sides".
What do the Israelis want? A large majority of Palestinian Arabs, 58% of them, say Israel’s "long-term aspiration" (undefined) is to expand Israel to stretch from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and to expel the Palestinian Arabs. A more moderate view, held by 21% of Palestinian Arabs, is that Israel plans to annexe "the occupied territories" (undefined) and then "deny the Palestinian citizens their rights" (undefined). Fewer than one in five Palestinian Arabs think Israel’s intention is to withdraw from all or parts of those occupied territories after ensuring its security.
AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed
If there's a single take-away that we wish the Western media would absorb from this and all the previous poll results we have posted here, it's that among Palestinian Arabs there's far less belief in their own leaders than a difficult process like making peace needs. This trumps all the better-publicized problems like the endless rivalry between the Fatah people and the overtly-Islamist people, and the sense among the Arabs that the Israelis want to kill them all, expel them all or absorb them all while stealing their rights. 
There is literally no possibility of a deeply split society (which is what the Palestinian Arabs surely have) even starting the process of adjusting their expectations towards the compromise that peace necessarily demands. That will remain true so long as the leadership is steeped in personal and institutional corruption, a total unwilling to surrender power or even submit to elections and obsessively focused on the need for outsiders - the UN agencies in general and UNRWA in particular - to solve Palestinian Arabs' economic and development problems.

Though they never seem to be asked about this by pollsters, what will it take for ordinary Palestinian Arabs to see that their collective destiny depends on them and their own initiatives?

This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Czego chcą Arabowie? W co wierzą? Co myślą?") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

04-Jul-18: An affront to Australian values: A welcome reconsideration of aid to the Palestinian Arabs

A front page story ["Australia freezes aid to Palestinian Authority | Our tax won't 'Pay to Slay'"] in the July 6, 2018 edition of the Australian Jewish News (we subscribe to the electronic edition which emerges before the print version does) deals with a welcome and important move to reconsider foreign aid funding of the Abbas PLO/Fatah regime.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said this past Monday, according to Haaretz, that she directed Australia's funding support to be stopped
after she wrote to the Palestinian Authority in late May seeking assurance that Australian funding was not being misspent. "I am confident that previous Australian funding to the PA through the World Bank has been used as intended. However, I am concerned that in providing funds for this aspect of the PA's operations there is an opportunity for it to use its own budget to (fund) activities that Australia would never support," Bishop said in a statement. "Any assistance provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization to those convicted of politically motivated violence is an affront to Australian values and undermines the prospect," Bishop added. ["Australia Ends Direct Aid to Palestinian Authority Amid Fears Money Is Going to Terrorists", July 2, 2018]
The Australian report focuses on the broad support given by Australia's Jewish community leadership to what it accurately calls a "landmark announcement": 
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim welcomed Bishop’s announcement but cautioned, “It would actually make matters worse if this reallocated Australian aid money freed up funds of Hamas to use against Israel in making rockets and building terror tunnels. “We trust that the government will ensure that cannot happen, and that Australian aid money will be applied directly only to projects that the PA or Hamas would not otherwise have to fund themselves, and from which they derive no political benefit.” Zionist Federation of Australia president Danny Lamm described Bishop’s decision as “a strong sign that the government is taking this issue very seriously and will take immediate action when the situation arises” ...But Bishop said her government “remains committed to supporting vulnerable Palestinians with access to basic services”... [The announcement] came just days after a report in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph that the MA’AN Development Centre, a Palestinian organisation receiving Australian aid through Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, an Australia trade-unions charity, employed Ahmed Abdullah Al Adine, a senior figure in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which has a decades- long record of terrorism. Al Adine was killed in May during rioting at Israel’s Gaza border... Bishop’s announcement drew praise in Israel, with Arnold Roth, whose Australian-born daughter Malki was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 2000, describing it as “completely justified”. 
Completely justified is an accurate way of conveying what Arnold Roth said to the AJN reporter.

But here's the fuller, unpublished version of what he said:
The decision by Australia to call the Palestinian Authority's bluff is clear, strong and completely justified.  
For years, the Palestinian Authority has given canned answers to critics of its rewards scheme whose real purpose is clearly to encourage Arab-on-Israel terror. They call them pensions for "prisoners of war" and "social welfare" payments for their needy dependents. That this is sand-in-your-eyes nonsense can be seen from how the monthly payments and other benefits rise sharply according to the seriousness of the act of terror with the highest monthly salaries going to the vilest killers. 
It's not credible that governments, Sweden for instance, who accept the PA’s assurances, believe what they are being told. To me, it’s evident that they need to pretend to believe. Congratulations to Ms Bishop and Australia's government for showing they're made of much better stuff.
For a sense of how outrageous the PA's scheme is, my daughter Malki's murder in 2001 involved several terrorists who today have high public profiles in the Arab world.
I consulted Itamar Marcus of the authoritative Palestinian Media Watch organization who told me the terrorist who made the exploding guitar case for the Sbarro pizzeria attack where Malki was murdered, Abdallah Barghouti, has so far earned more than US $180,000 from the PA. He is serving 67 life terms.
Ahlam Tamimi, the Sbarro massacre mastermind, was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment but walked free in the 2011 Shalit deal. She lives in Jordan today as a celebrity. My wife and I are working with US government authorities to have her extradited to Washington to face trial on US terrorism charges. Palestinian Media Watch says she was paid US $53,000 during her decade behind Israeli bars. Her husband, himself a murderer who spent nearly two decades behind bars, received much more.
The parents of Izz Al-Din Al-Masri, the human bomb whom Tamimi brought to Sbarro, are monthly beneficiaries under the PA scheme. Payments to them reached about US $50,000 as of last month.
(A brief synopsis of what Arnold Roth said to the AJN appears in a second article ["Israel, Australia tackle terror funding"] of the same edition written by their Israel correspondent Nathan Jeffay. That's not posted online.)

Much like the frenzied reaction of a drug addict when refused further access to narcotics, the official responses of the Palestinian Arabs have not been slow to come. Izzat Abdulhadi who styles himself 
Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Australia but in reality is simply the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Australia and in New Zealand and some Pacific islands, issued this statement:
This is a decision that follows months of anti-Palestine rhetoric and tendentious cherry-picking in the Australian government and media, and so while certainly deflating, it is not surprising. What’s most disappointing, though, is that Minister Bishop’s decision is not evidence-based, but rather a result of empty claims and speculation... [T]his decision is political in nature, for its justification has no grounding in facts. Whether it be to soothe factional tensions, meet electoral demands, or to simply appease a strong and formidable lobby, it has less to do with genuine concerns about terrorism and the stifled peace process than it does with domestic political expediency. To invoke a concern for peace and security while ignoring Israel’s ever-expanding colonial project ["Withdrawal of Australian government aid to the Palestinian Authority" via, July 2, 2018]
and on it goes in the usual, sadly predictable way.

Mr Abdulhadi probably hopes you won't look into his claims and become better informed about how the Palestinian Authority's long-established incentive scheme for more terrorism works.

We have written often about what we call the Rewards For Terror scheme - see these links. A good starting point for understanding what it does is "Palestinian Authority “Pay for Slay” Fact Sheet" from the fine Endowment for Middle East Truth organization in Washington DC.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

24-Jun-18: Chilling: In boasting of those she killed, the fugitive terrorist can barely control her excitement

Ahlam Tamimi lies, exaggerates, thrills to the excitement of murdering Israelis, and especially Jewish children. Here she is - the fugitive from US justice for whom the Kingdom of Jordan is prepared to risk everything, including the flagrant breaching of its 1995 Extradition  Treaty with its most important ally.

For background to the July 2012 Kuwaiti television interview of which the clip above is just an excerpt, see our post "5-May-13: Self-confessed jihadist murderer: "With my media card, I was able to enter back and forth, undetected..."

(Some of the sources for that 2013 post seem to have disappeared. Here's an archived version.)

The cold-blooded interviewer is a Kuwaiti Islamic preacher, Dr. Mohammed Al-Awadi. His popular TV program is entitled “Bayni wa Baynkom” ("Between Me and You").

Friday, June 22, 2018

22-Jun-18: At a sacred and ancient site, the bombs and attackers keep coming

Violence at the ancient and sacred Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron is in today's news - again (see "10-Feb-18: Two more Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attacks thwarted; both perpetrators are just 15" and "09-Feb-18: At the Tomb of Patriarchs, yet another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack" for some background.)
Here's what we know till now:
Israeli Border Police on Friday [today] said that they found two explosive devices in a courtyard of a home not far from the Tomb of the Patriarch’s in the West Bank City of Hebron. Police bomb disposal experts were called to the scene where they successfully neutralized the explosives without incident or injuries and "prevented any further danger to the units or to civilians," according to a police spokesman. The explosives were found in the courtyard of a home located next to one of the security check points where "security measures are implemented... Security measures continue in the area to prevent attacks of all kinds,” said police. ["Israeli police diffuse two explosive devices near Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron", June 22, 2018,]
This happened three days earlier
An improvised explosive device was thrown at police guarding the entrance of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron Tuesday night, police said. The attacker fled the scene after throwing the bomb at border guards manning a station just outside the tomb. The device did not explode and there were no injuries. Police said they were searching the area for the perpetrator and had opened an investigation in the incident... In the area of the tomb, there is unique coexistence that the security forces, including border police, protect with the goal of allowing freedom of worship and religion to both Jews and Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs,” police said in a statement after the incident. “The soldiers will continue to work with determination and professionalism to protect the security of all the citizens, residents and visitors to the site,” it said... ["Bomb thrown at border police at Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, no injuries", Times of Israel, June 20, 2018]
And eleven days ago
A bomb found near the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron was detonated by police on Sunday. Border police stationed outside of the ancient historic and religious site noticed the suspicious device and scrambled sappers to the area, clearing it of all civilians. The device, which included two small gas canisters, was blown up by the police bomb squad in a controlled explosion, near one of the entrances typically used by Muslims. Police launched an investigation, and issued a statement in which they promised to “protect the security of all the citizens, residents and visitors” to the Judea burial place of biblical forbears Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.
According to local law enforcement, “in the area of the tomb, there is unique coexistence that the security forces, including border police, protect with the goal of allowing freedom of worship and religion to both Jews and Muslims at the Tomb of the Patriarchs.” ["Bomb near Tomb of the Patriarchs detonated by police", Jewish News Syndicate, June 11, 2018]
The Cave of Machpelah - part of the Tomb of the Patriarchs complex, is "the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem... Over 300,000 people visit Ma'arat HaMachpelah annually. The structure is divided into three rooms: Ohel Avraham, Ohel Yitzhak, and Ohel Ya'akov. Presently Jews have no access to Ohel Yitzhak, the largest room, with the exception of 10 days a year." [Jewish Virtual Library]

22-Jun-18: Jordan's king heading back to Washington. Is extradition on the agenda?

White House - April 5, 2017 [Image Source: Video]
From AFP last night
AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan’s King Abdullah II set off for the United States on Thursday for talks with US President Donald Trump on Middle East issues including the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the palace said. Accompanied by his wife Rania, the monarch is also scheduled to meet with senior officials from the Trump administration and members of Congress, the palace said in a statement. His meeting with Trump is expected to take place at the White House on Monday. The White House said in a statement that they would “discuss issues of mutual concern, including terrorism, the threat from Iran and the crisis in Syria, and working towards a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.” ["Jordan king heads to US to discuss peace plan with Trump", June 21, 2018]
Reuters says President Donald Trump "will welcome King Abdullah of Jordan to the White House on June 25", quoting the White House announcement.

Trump has hosted Abdullah at least three previous times since becoming president:
They seem to have developed some chemistry. Perhaps, if one or the other is listening, even a common language. 

Was the subject of the fugitive Jordan-resident terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, whom Jordan is obliged under its 1995 Extradition Treaty to send to the Washington DC, publicly mentioned at any of their previous get-togethers. As far as we know, no. (See "09-Feb-18: Acting slowly in Jordan and the United States?")

Is this deeply disturbing in terms of the determination of the US to defeat violent extremism - the State Department's preferred term for terrorism? Certainly. (See "18-Feb-15: Countering Vacuous Euphemisms").

Since Tamimi, who boasts of killing Israeli children of whom one is our daughter Malki, is an unrepentant Hamas agent who hosted a terrorism-inciting television program in Amman for a worldwide Arabic-speaking audience for five years, and benefits from extraordinary protection from King Abdullah, it's strange to us to note that "issues of mutual concern, including terrorism" are on the agenda.

So can we assume Tamimi's extradition is going to be discussed?