Two Israelis – a beloved grandmother and a young policeman, married only a few months – were murdered and six wounded in Jerusalem on Sunday, by a Palestinian terrorist. This isn’t surprising, since 42 Israelis have been killed and some 500 wounded in similar attacks over the past year. Jerusalem has been the focus of many of these attacks, only exceeded by Judea and Samaria.
For some reason, this particular attack made us furious. People have had enough, not that murder is ever acceptable. That’s it, we are saying, we won’t take it anymore. It must not be that Jews can’t walk the streets of our cities without fearing that they will be shot, stabbed or run down. We want something done, something more than just placing more police and soldiers on the street.
Meir Turgeman, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem spoke for many:
“We have reached the moment of truth. Let's put all the cards on the table: the people in eastern Jerusalem want to kill us and destroy us. Why should we give them yet another opportunity?" Turgeman said in an interview with Radio Jerusalem, calling on Jerusalem Arabs to take responsibility.
“We lived under the false hopes that these people would change their animal-like behavior if we help them. But it turns out that nothing helps. Why do people have to die in Jerusalem? Where is that written? Who said it?” he added.
“We need to take responsibility here. And I'm going to set an example. I removed all construction plans in eastern Jerusalem from the agenda [of the planning and building committee]. I cancelled all the plans. They say stick and carrot, but there are no more carrots, only sticks,” Turgeman said.
Mayor Nir Barkat said that he hadn’t been consulted and that the statement didn’t represent city policy, but my guess is that the Jewish population of Jerusalem overwhelmingly agrees with Turgeman.
One of the key aspects of the wave of terrorism is the degree of support for it by the Palestinian leadership and the population, both in the territories and in Jerusalem:
Hamas referred to the terrorist as its “son” who “died a martyr.” The group called the attack “heroic” and “a normal reply to the crimes of the Israeli occupation.” In a Facebook post, Fatah, the party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also praised Abu Sbeih: “The one who carried out the operation today in Jerusalem is a pilgrim [to Mecca] martyr, one of the most prominent people in Jerusalem and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and a released prisoner.” The Jerusalem branch of Fatah called for a general strike “in Jerusalem in memory of the souls of the martyrs of Palestine and this morning’s martyr.” Abu Sbeih’s teenage daughter said in a video, “We deem my father as martyr…I am proud of what my father did. We’re very happy and proud of our father.” Hamas handed out candy and baklava in celebration of the attack and sweets were passed out in East Jerusalem as well.
Incitement to violence by the Palestinian leadership has driven an ongoing wave of terrorism for the past year, which has killed 42 Israelis and wounded more than 500. Fatah boasted in August that it has “killed 11,000 Israelis.” Abbas praised a Jordanian who was shot while attempting to stab Israeli Border Police officers as a “martyr” in a condolence letter to his family last month. He has consistently refused to condemn acts of terrorism. A senior adviser to Abbas stated this past June, “Wherever you find an Israeli, slit his throat.” When a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing spree in Jaffa that killed American army veteran Taylor Force in March, the PA’s official TV news station called the terrorist responsible a “martyr” and on Twitter, Abbas’s Fatah party hailed him as a “martyr” and a “hero.” Last February, Abbas met with families of terrorists who carried out attacks against Israelis, telling them: “Your sons are martyrs.
Social media is even more aggressive and insistent with its incitement. In fact, Sunday’s terrorist (who, I am happy to report, died in the firefight with police he provoked) had been imprisoned for inciting murder on Facebook.
The PA also does its part by paying large salaries to the families of jailed terrorists. Bomb-maker Abdallah Barghouti, serving 67 life sentences for the bombing of the Sbarro pizza restaurant and others, has received about $150,000. Amjad Awad, one of the cousins who slaughtered the Fogel family, received $23,000. This has become such a scandal that even the usually supportive government of the UK is having second thoughts about continuing to fund the PA.
So what to do? Deputy Mayor Turgeman had some ideas, including deporting supporters of terrorism to Gaza and unilaterally divesting of some of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan says that the social networks must do more to remove inciting posts. Others have suggested blocking social media in the PA and Arab neighborhoods (I don’t know if this is technically feasible).
It seems to me that before anything else, the educational and media system set up by Yasser Arafat that produces generation after generation of Palestinians who are little more than walking, protoplasmic containers for the most vicious anger and hatred – e.g., Abu Sbeih’s daughter or any of the several 13-year olds that have tried to murder Israelis – must be ended. The PA has promised to stop incitement on several occasions since the Oslo accords created it, but they have never done anything, since they understand that “popular resistance” – murder carried out by ordinary citizens with no centralized control – is one of their best weapons. Perhaps this will require ending the reigns of the PA and Hamas.
In the face of this, the Israeli Left, as personified by the Ha’aretz newspaper, displays its remarkable, even psychotic, disconnect with reality. “Instead of understanding that only bold moves to end the occupation are likely to reduce the violence, Netanyahu is turning Israel into a hopeless place that endangers the lives of its people,” they write, in an editorial published Monday. It continues,
The government’s consistent blocking of any option for a diplomatic process, at the end of which a glimmer of hope for an agreement might emerge, is what’s causing the feelings of suffocation and frustration, and later the barbaric acts like Sunday’s attack.
If you ask them, the Palestinians will tell you that what suffocates and frustrates them is the presence of Jews between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Nothing makes this clearer than their refusal to accept offers of almost all the land outside of the Green Line for a sovereign state, while they refuse to admit that even the pre-1967 Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and demand to flood it with Arab ‘refugees’. Anyone who doubts this need only look at their maps of ‘Palestine’, pay attention to what their leaders say in Arabic, or the Palestinian in the street tells pollsters. What would an “agreement,” as Ha’aretz demands, with these people be worth?
This should have been obvious to everyone since the terror attacks of the mid-1990’s, and if not then, from the Second Intifada, and if not then, from the Hamas takeover of Gaza and consequent rocket attacks, and if not then, from the currently ongoing “popular resistance.” But for Ha’aretz and its ilk, all the violence just means that we havn’t been bold enough in our concessions, even though every concession has brought more violence.
I don’t know precisely what the solution is, but I can say for certain that it won’t be found in trying to make things better for the Palestinians or giving them hope, because what they hope for is our destruction. The answer lies in the opposite direction, in “bold moves” to increase, not decrease, our control of the land of Israel, and to reduce its Arab population.
As far as ending terrorism is concerned, Turgeman had the right idea: no more carrots, only sticks.