Cutting Through the Pain
Here I am, again, skipping over the good news. My apologies for this, as I know my readers enjoy those good reports (as do I). But once again, I feel compelled to focus on the not-good news:
Some painful circumstances – disease, for example – may be unavoidable. Others should never, ever happen. What I have in mind right now is the terrorist murder of 13 year old Hallel Yafa Ariel last week, who met her death at the hands of a knife-wielding 17 year old Palestinian Arab.
Monday I paid a shiva (condolence) call to her family. I was blown away by their determination to persevere, their strength in the face of horror.
And just for one moment it is the horror I need to focus on. For she wasn’t “just” killed via a knifing. Her body endured a pummeling by knife. It is so perversely sick that thinking about it becomes unbearable. (It brought to my mind the 2011 beheading of the two-month old Fogel baby by Palestinian Arabs terrorists who later declared themselves “proud” of what they had done.)
There is a part of me that wants to be circumspect and discrete, passing over these gruesome facts. But I have come to realize I have an obligation to speak out. Because the world does not know. People – embracing some sanitized version of the situation – do not begin to comprehend what we deal with here. And so I must tell it out, and ask you to wrap your heads around this, and tell it out as well.
Please, do not imagine that the way this young terrorist behaved is a response to the “occupation” – an occupation which, in point of fact, does not even exist. (More below on this issue.) Or that he is an anomaly, an aberration in an otherwise normal social. For this is not the case!
What we are facing is a society that in some substantial measure –encouraged by its leadership – embraces, indeed venerates, violence.
Consider Palestinian Arab practices such as “honor killings” and the shooting of guns to celebrate weddings (which practice on occasion causes the accidental death of a celebrant). Mark their hysterical and violent funerals for their terrorists, as compared with the subdued, “let’s make the world a better place” tone of the funerals for the victims of those terrorists.
Hey, even more significantly: Mark the fact that the terrorists are their national heroes, celebrated in a way that the Palestinian Arabs never, ever remotely celebrate scientists or musicians or educators. And that children are taught at a young age to embrace violence. This is a form of child abuse.
See this chilling video:http://www.palwatch.org/site/modules/videos/popup/video.aspx?doc_id=16531 and be sure to read the full comment below about social media.
And so, we come to the great injustice visited upon us by the world: We are told to make concessions to the Palestinian Arabs for “peace.” Concessions to people who venerate violence and celebrate death.
The traditional way of Muslim mourning requires erecting a tent, where mourners receive their visitors. The Taraiyre family – family of the terrorist who murdered Hallel Ariel – has such a tent.
It was paid for by the Palestinian Authority.
Reportedly, a high official of Fatah, the major party of the PA, was among those who paid a condolence call.
And there is still more. As the Palestinian Media Watch has noted:
“…in accordance with PA law, Taraiyre’s family will now begin receiving a monthly stipend — something that is paid to all families of “martyrs” [shahids].
Please, dear friends, wrap your heads around this, as well. The Palestinian Authority condones and rewards what this young terrorist did. Its leaders have no red lines that conform with decency and humanity. They do not speak out against such acts, but the contrary.
How dare the world suggest that we sit with the PA and negotiate a “state” for them!
Before I move on to further points I wish to make, it is important for me to note that certainly not every Palestinian Arab embraces violence and is filled with hatred; some show that decency and humanity I refer to above.
Please see an article here about the Palestinians Arabs who saw the overturned car of the Mark family, and came to help:
(The fact that this was newsworthy indicates that this behavior is out of the norm.)
As to the much touted suggestion that the “occupation” is the cause of this deep-seated and virulent hatred we are witnessing:
 I have spoken many times about the fact that in legal and historical terms Israel is not an “occupier” in Judea and Samaria, and I will return to this many more times. But even if there were an “occupation,” it would not justify what is going on now. No way, no how. To use it as justification is to obfuscate: to rationalize, to mask the total immorality of the current violence.
 While they are reluctant to say so publicly for obvious reasons, it has been clear for years that many Palestinian Arabs would prefer governance by Israel to governance by the PA, which is totally corrupt, provides no human rights, offers scant economic opportunities, has no social services, etc. They are not chaffing under Israeli governance, where it exists, so much as furious about the way the PA conducts itself. But sometimes it is easier (and safer) to vent against Israel. And the PA – in speaking about such things as the alleged danger Jews represent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque – provides a convenient rationale for channeling this fury.
See this, written just a year ago:
It is nonsense to suggest that those Palestinian Arabs under the jurisdiction of Israel are so greatly enraged by this fact that they are reduced to extreme and uncontrollable violence, or that those under the jurisdiction of the PA are livid because they believe the PA has not been given the latitude to establish a full state.
Palestinian Arab culture is hamula-based. The loyalty is to the clan. There is not a huge yearning for a state. Not intrinsically. Whatever the PR hype on the matter.
 Lastly, I would like to share something just written by the eminent scholar Efraim Karsh, “Occupation is not the problem.”
When professor Karsh speaks about “occupation,” he is not referring to legalities of ownership of the land, but of governance of the Palestinian Arabs by Israel.
His executive summary (emphasis in the original):
“The proposition that ‘occupation’ is to blame for Palestinian terrorism defies history, reality, and logic. Israel’s control of the Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza has been virtually nonexistent for twenty years, ever since the 1995 interim agreement and the 1997 Hebron redeployment. Palestinian terrorism has increased not in response to the ‘occupation,’ but in response to its ending.”
Professor Karch writes (emphasis added):
“If occupation is indeed the cause of terrorism, why was terrorism so sparse during the years of actual occupation? Why did it increase dramatically with the prospect of the end of the occupation, and why did it escalate into open war following Israel’s most far-reaching concessions ever?
“One might argue far more plausibly that it was the absence of occupation – that is, the withdrawal of close Israeli surveillance – that facilitated the launching of the terrorist war in the first place, just as it was the partial restoration of security measures in the West Bank during the 2002 Operation Defensive Shield and its aftermath (albeit without assuming control of over the daily lives of the Palestinian population there) that brought the Palestinian war of terror to a (temporary) halt.
Unfortunately – and it grieves me greatly to say this – some portion of Israeli society is also sick. But in a way that is the inverse of the Palestinian Arab society.
We have had our own Jewish nation in modern times for 68 years now. But before this, we were in galut – in exile – for some 2,000 years. During those years, the survival of Jews often depended upon being able to please the host society. And we have not, as a nation, yet lost the habit of trying to please others.
As the Western world promotes a disproportionate concern for the Palestinian Arabs to the detriment of Israeli rights and well being, our leadership – or some portion thereof – struggles to show what “good guys” we are in dealing with those Palestinian Arabs.
In a nutshell: We are not as tough on them, and specifically on the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, as we need to be. We take little steps, and while they move in the right direction – quicker demolition of houses of terrorists, refusal to return bodies, etc. – they remain insufficient.
Our government needs to be less concerned about what the Western world will say, and more concerned about making certain that no more Israelis meet the fate endured by Hallel Yafa Ariel and Rabbi Micki Mark last week.
There are a number of suggestions on the table as to how to be more stringent. They include such actions as shutting down PA broadcasts, because of the incitement; refusing to turn over any tax monies collected as long as the PA continues to pay the families of terrorists and “salaries” to terrorists in prison; and blocking use of the Internet, which is a major vehicle for terrorists’ communication (although how, is beyond my expertise).
Taking aim directly at PA actions is a critical component of what needs to be done. And it is precisely in this regard that our government tends to tip-toe.
I cannot possibly deal here with all the suggestions for greater stringency that have been proposed, although I will mention one below and return to others later.
There is a feeling in several quarters in Israel that the government is about talk – about “seeming” tough for the moment – rather than about real action.
There is solid reason for this feeling. There have been stringent actions announced in the face of a specific terrorist act that are quietly reversed when the moment is past. And announcements about actions that seem to be stringent but in point of fact are not what they appear to be.
Here I mention a couple of examples of the latter:
The prime minister announced that in response to the terror attack in Kiryat Arba, 42 new housing units would be built.
Subsequently it became apparent that the tenders for this building had gone out well before the attack. That is, it was not a plan for new, additional building being announced at all.
It was also announced that there was going to be “full closure” of the village of Bani Na’im, home of the murderer of Hallel Ariel.
Subsequently, it was discovered that the “full closure” consisted of “nothing more than a pile of dirt that the Arab residents easily drive around.”
What I ask here is that you send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Do NOT preach to him. Do NOT write in anger. Do NOT suggest that you have superior expertise in the matter and can advise him on what to do. Do NOT engage in polemics or provide history lessons. All of these approaches are severely counterproductive. They will turn him off. If you want to be helpful, you will write with great restraint and avoid these pitfalls.
Be respectful. And write no more than three sentences. Be positive: Urge strength, encourage him to stand tall in the face of enemies, let him know you are with him during this horrendous time. It is the number of messages that matters, not your specific message.
I provide three different addresses below. Send your message to all three. The prime minister will not be reading these messages directly, his aides will. In your subject line, put “Please share this with the prime minister,” “Please pass this message to PM Netanyahu,” or something similar
[email protected] [email protected] (underscore after pm) [email protected]
As to responses that are being called for, I want to allude here to one approach that I see as good news: annexation of Ma’aleh Adumim and of Gush Etzion. It is time for a new message, say those advancing these proposals. And I heartily agree. Whether they meet with success now or not, we must hope that they mark the beginning of a brighter future.
When last I wrote, I noted that neither the White House nor the State Department had expressed condolences for the terrorist murder of Hallel Ariel, who was an American citizen. It was pointed out to me by a couple of readers that indeed there had been a statement by the State Department. This is the case, and so my comment had not been fully correct. But the State Department expression of condolences – which ignored the fact that Hallel was an American – was insufficient.
Not for a second do I believe this was an inadvertent oversight on the part of the State Department. To acknowledge Hallel’s citizenship is to acknowledge responsibility for responding to what happened to her. The State Department would rather avoid this.
A ZOA press release on this issue makes the further point that the condolence statement neglects to mention that the terrorist was a Palestinian Arab. Hmmm… It also compares the State Department condolence here to similar condolences regarding events in other parts of the world.
I will do my best to focus on some measure of good news when next I post.