As I begin this post in the late afternoon in Jerusalem, with the sounds of helicopters circling overhead, this is what we’ve seen today:
There were two simultaneous attacks in Jerusalem. One was in Armon Hanetziv (east Talpiot).
Two terrorists from Jabel Mukaber – an Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem right next to east Talpiot – boarded an Eged bus in east Talpiot, armed with a gun and a knife, and began attacking passengers. Two were killed and nine others were injured, either with gunshot or stabbing wounds – two seriously. It appeared that the terrorists intended to take over the bus. One terrorist was killed by security, the other wounded. They would have had Jerusalem residency, at least, if not citizenship.
A scene from that attack here:
Credit: Shlomi Cohen
The second attack took place on Malchei Yisrael street in the Geula neighborhood of Jerusalem. The terrorist plowed his car into a bus stop, killing one – Rabbi Yeshiyahu Krishevsky – and seriously injuring another. He then leaped out of the car and began stabbing people before he was shot dead by security. A scene from the second attack:
The terrorist in Geula was Alaa Abu Jamal (I believe also from Jabel Mukaber).
And here is the shocker: He was an employee of the Israeli phone company Bezeq, was wearing his uniform when he attacked, and used a company car. In the picture above you can see the Bezeq “B” logo.
Bezeq put out a statement:
“Bezeq would like to express its deep outrage over the attack on Jerusalem’s Malchei Yisrael Street and over the terrorist action of one of its workers…We are stunned and repulsed by the criminal act, and the deep hurt he has caused to the families of those killed. We are praying for the quick recovery of the wounded victims.
“We emphasize that there were no warning signs, and there were no clear changes in the worker’s conduct that could have prevented the act of terror. We will continue to follow the developments, and our hearts cry out to the victims and their families.”
Not for a second do I question the sincerity of the distress registered by Bezeq – representatives and executives within the company had to be been exceedingly horrified.
But it is not quite the case that there was no way to know this man was a potential terrorist: He was a cousin to the monsters who committed the atrocity in Har Nof last year, and when interviewed about it on television said, “Thank Allah, when someone dies as a martyr, that’s a great thing.”
I am, of course, not implying that Bezeq had any clue about this. The question raised here is what sort of vetting of Arab employees is appropriate. The implications are vast and can seriously impact the Arab community in Israel, with regard to their ability to readily secure employment. In situations such as the one we are in now, innocent Arab Israelis are likely to pay a price.
There has been a great deal of talk about the lone wolf, and people acting on their own initiative after having been incited. But security officials are now suggesting this is not the case any longer (if it ever was): The simultaneous timing of the two attacks in Jerusalem suggests something else (emphasis added):
”A security source said that the two terrorist attacks that killed three people and wounded several others in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning seem to be ‘a planned and timed assault.’
“’There is no doubt that the source of incitement of the sequence of terrorist attacks this morning is east Jerusalem,’ the source added.”
Once there is an address for the source of the attacks, it certainly seems it should become easy to put a stop to it. See more below on this.
Also this morning, there were two stabbing attacks in the city of Ra’anana, a city in the central plain, near Herzliya. In the first attack, at a bus stop outside of city hall, the terrorist stabbed someone, causing light wounds; he was restrained by passers-by until the police arrived. He was from eastern Jerusalem.
In the second attack, less than two hours later, a terrorist began stabbing people on the street, injuring one critically and three others lightly. A motorist, seeing what was happening, rammed his car into the terrorist. He was from eastern Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who has come off during this spate of terrorism with a tougher line than Netanyahu, at least up to this point, called for the closure of the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
There were calls, as well, for the international community to stop funding the PA, because it is a major source of incitement.
“Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said after the attacks that the Palestinian Authority had lost its right to exist (a mouthful if this is taken seriously – of course she is correct), adding that PA President Mahmoud Abbas bears responsibility for the ongoing terror…
“’The blood of Israeli citizens is on [Abbas’s] hands, and of those of his men who incite children to go out and murder.’” She was referring to Abbas spokesperson Nabil Abu Roudeineh, who reportedly praised the 13-year-old Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli teenager yesterday on his bike.
“”The Palestinian Authority has lost the right to exist. Instead of preventing violence, it is a hothouse for radical Islam that hurts Israelis on a daily basis,’ she said.”
Credit: Times of Israel
“Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) lambasted the international community for failing to condemn the current wave of terror.”
“’There is no excuse in the world to justify the murder of innocent children. The silence of the international community is regrettable and worrying. The fact there no one condemns the Palestinians spreading lies that increase murderous terror is a warning signal to the entire free world.’” (Emphasis added)
My friends, the world’s silence is, for most of us here in Israel, more than “regrettable and worrying.” Minister Akunis, normally a very forthright man, was being a bit polite. It is, as we see it, horrifying and deeply disturbing. I would suggest a serious moral deficit. There is a disconnect, a reluctance to confront what Israel is coping with.
We see that the Palestinian Arabs continue to tell the most outrageous lies, pretending to innocence and pointing fingers at Israel. And we know that much of mainstream media are happy to transmit the skewed version of events – focusing on what Israel has “done” to poor Arabs. I will return to this.
Speaking of the international community, Netanyahu requested that the Quartet not come now, and they agreed. One less pressure. Can you imagine them looking over our shoulders as we respond to the terror?
Yesterday, as the Knesset opened its winter session, Netanyahu made a forthright statement (emphasis added):
“Terrorism does not come from frustration because there is no peace process. Terrorism comes from a desire to annihilate us.”
We have faced terrorism repeatedly over the last 100 years, he declared. “What always wins is the recognition that this is our homeland. Our will to live trumps our enemies’ desire for death. There is no way to stop the Zionist enterprise.”
This afternoon, he called a lengthy Security Cabinet meeting to discuss the way to handle the current outbreak of terrorism. Subsequently he made a statement (emphasis added):
”Israel will settle its account with ‘murderers and those who want to kill, and anyone who helps them. Not only won’t they have any rights, but we will extract the full price from them’
”The prime minister said that he was sure that the actions Israel will take will bring about a realization on the other side that ‘terror does not pay.’”
He addressed a number of specific problems – particularly PA incitement and veneration of terrorists, and the complicity of certain Arab MKs. I will return to examine these.
Although when he spoke he was not specific about what actions would be taken, for the first time, I began to have genuine hope that my government was, at last, ready to get serious. And sufficiently tough.
After he spoke, the Security Cabinet reconvened in order to pass a number of measures. Most significant, I think, is the bolstering of IDF forces in city centers, with Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem to be surrounded by security forces.
We are going to hear a great deal about deprivation of Arab rights now. Watch. I think the gov’t is prepared to withstand this onslaught, likely to come from international sources and certain Arab MKs.
More to come as the situation unfolds.
Please do take note of the bravery of Israeli citizens who have been involved in stopping or capturing terrorists.
Today’s good news:
In August, Israeli charity Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry facilitated 25 lifesaving transplants. They included stem cell donations by five IDF soldiers that saved the lives of five desperately ill patients.