Monday, January 23, 2012

23-Jan-12: Scenes from the rising tide of Palestinian Arab violence. Is there something to learn here?

North-east Jerusalem: The Shuafat neighborhood with
the Jerusalem city tram running along the main commercial strip.
Shuafat continues to be called "refugee camp" in news reports edited
by people who, in many cases, have never come close
to the place.  [Source]
Three reports from the past 24 hours.

Saturday afternoon near Shuafat (often described in the news as a "refugee camp" but in fact a relatively prosperous suburb) in north-east Jerusalem, a Palestinian Arab man threw himself on an Israeli serviceman and stabbed him, probably using a screwdriver. The Israeli, a uniformed Border Guard officer, was lightly injured while the stabber escaped and was not captured yet.

Sunday morning (yesterday) at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem, a few minutes drive from our home, a Palestinian Arab attacked security personnel at the security crossing armed with an ax. Acting in accordance with the textbook, members of the Border Police and security personnel opened fire at the man - wounding him lightly in one leg. Israelis are frequently accused by the Israel-bashing political extremists of engaging in genocide. Several instances selected at random: the president of Venezuela; Prof. F. A. Boyle of  the University of Illinois College of Law; Norman G. Finkelstein, until recently of DePaul University; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an Iranian political figure.

Ambulances, one from the Israeli Magen David Adom, the other
from the Palestinian Arab Red Crescent Society, parked side by side
at the entrance to Hadassah University Hospital
Ein Kerem
's emergency medicine center. Needless to say,
it serves Jews, Christians, Moslems and everyone else
without discrimination.
They will likely conclude that whoever did the shooting on the Israeli side missed.

But the truth is that missing is not what happened. Shooting at the legs is what the manual says, even when the terrorism-minded fanatics come at you with an ax. The injured Palestinian Arab ax-man was treated by a Border Police paramedic and then transported to the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem for further care. To minimize the chances that our readers missed the point, let's say that again: (a) treated by a Border Police paramedic on the spot, and (b) transported thereafter to the world-class Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem for (c) further care.

Incidentally, Border Police who arrived on the scene recovered a long commando knife in his bag, another matter that may come up when Ax Man is questioned after being released from hospital.

Later on Sunday (yesterday) an Israeli Border Guard serviceman stopped and arrested a Palestinian Arab man in possession of a 12 centimeter knife at Yitzhar junction. He is suspected of being on his way to carry out a stabbing attack against Israelis. Knifings of unsuspecting Israelis - hundreds of them in the past few years - are frighteningly easy to carry out. Despite the relative ease with which Palestinian Arabs can slip unhindered into mostly-Jewish population centers in Israel, a striking number of Palestinian Arabs carrying huge concealed knives have been stopped at security checkpoints (see for instance our recent blog entry: "9-Jan-12: Another day, another attempted murder-by-knifing").

It seems we are seeing a rise in the level of ordinary violence visited on us by the Palestinian Arabs living nearby and coming into our cities, hospitals and other institutions every day. This may be related to the same phenomena that has caused a spurt in the appearance of what Ma'an, a Palestinian news channel, calls "symbols of resistance". The symbols they describe are graffiti-sprayed signs, appearing at multiple locations in the center of Jerusalem, and calling for manly, self-respecting public actions by Arabs - like stabbings perhaps. Ma'an calls this "the start of a campaign which will target other locations in the city and may spread across Israel."

Stay tuned.

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