July 10, 2020

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10-Oct-16: Does yesterday’s Arab-on-Israeli shooting attack say anything about our neighbours?

The cold-blooded murder of Levanah
at a Jerusalem tram
stop yesterday has warmed many
Palestinian Arab hearts

It’s hard to think about the explosion of violence [“09-Oct-16: In Jerusalem, first reports of Arab-on-Israeli shootings this morning“] yesterday in this city of great beauty and of peace and spirituality without reflecting on the awful savagery of the past several years. Do yesterday’s events add anything to our understanding?

In the aftermath of Sunday’s attack by a lethally-armed Palestinian Arab attacker on unarmed Israelis standing at tram-stops in the capital, the New York Times looked at the people behind the attack:

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the Palestinian coastal territory of Gaza, praised the attack and described the gunman as “one of ours.” Al Quds, the Hamas-affiliated television station, broadcast a video that it said was exclusive to the channel and that it described as the perpetrator’s last words. It was not clear when or where the video had been filmed. In it, the man, wearing a green polo shirt, the color of Islam and of Hamas’s flag, stood before a map of historic Palestine.

Not an outright claim of ownership – though Times of Israel says it is, quoting Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum who characterized the cowardly shooting of randomly-targeted Israelis as “a natural reaction to the crimes and violations of the occupation against our people.”

Hamas are riding the wave of Palestinian Arab support for savagery of Sunday morning’s kind. And not to be out-flanked, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement also praised that attack, calling it “heroic.”
How widespread is that support? We offered a view some months ago, in “15-Jun-16: What do the Palestinian Arabs think?“. The picture provided by reputable Arab pollsters is strikingly consistent. The answers are so clear-cut and so extreme that it’s astounding they are referred to so little in the news commentary provided by ‘experts’.

Here’s one of the ways the flames keep being stoked. Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel’s Middle East analyst, writes that members of the killer’s family

joined the celebrations of his “martyrdom,” handing out candies to all those who passed by their house. Even his young daughter put out a video in which she expressed her joy in her father becoming a “shahid” (martyr)… The terrorist published a “will” in which he called on Muslims to act to protect the [Al-Aqsa] mosque.  [“Does the Jerusalem terror attack signal a new uprising?”, Times of Israel, October 9, 2016]

The killer’s daughter is Ma’an’s principal focus today  

The family’s adulation of yesterday’s murders, and of the murderer, is a major talking point for the reporters and editors of Ma’an News Agency. The main story on their English-language news site at this moment (Monday October 10, 2016 at 12 noon) is headed “Israeli forces detain slain Palestinian gunman’s 14-year-old daughter

A video of Eiman hailing her father’s actions went viral on social media on Sunday“We deem my father as martyr,” she said in the video. “We hope he will plead for us before God on judgment day… I am proud of what my father did…” 

From the same Arab source, additional hard-to-miss signs of how much support there is currently in Palestinian Arab circles for the murder of innocent Jews:

Hamas said on Sunday afternoon that Abu Sbeih was a member of its Islamic resistance movement. Meanwhile, the Fatah movement in Jerusalem declared a day of mourning for slain Palestinians on Sunday afternoon following Abu Sbeih’s death. Fatah said in a statement it rejected Israeli forces’ killing of Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem, and that it would never leave the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the Old City “fall prey” to Israeli “extremists and terrorists” Ma’an News Agency, October 10, 2016]

Yosef Kirmah, newly-married, a ‘
decorated anti-terrorism hero,
now dead
In addition to the six wounded, two Israelis were killed in yesterday’s murderous attack. 

Yosef Kirmah, an officer in an Israel Police counter-terrorism unit, the Yasam (a Hebrew acronym for Special Patrol Unit), was one of the police motor-cyclists who pursued the gunman after the attack and engaged in a gunfight with him in which the gunman also died. He was 29. Hundreds attended his funeral late yesterday at Jerusalem’s Mt Herzl Military Cemetery:

In her eulogy, Noy Kirma, whose husband had been awarded a medal of honor last December for thwarting a Palestinian stabbing attack on kindergarten kids, continued: “How many plans we had — for a home and children. You loved me more than I love myself… You were my shoulder to lean on…” said the young widow, who had been married to the Israeli hero for only six months before his life was cut short. “You were loved by all. You were number one in their eyes. Number one in my eyes. I don’t know how the world will turn without you…You will be in my heart until the day I die.” [Algemeiner, October 9, 2016]

A Facebook page, quickly set up in his memory, served as a magnet for expressions of incitement and hatred during yesterday. Israel National News says:

Facebook users from Israel’s Arab sector bombarded Kirma’s memorial page with abusive taunts, anti-Semitic smears, and explicit incitement to violence and even threats of murder. Some of the offensive posts included images of anti-Semitic caricatures, pictures of bloody drawn knives and vulgar language.

Levanah Malichi, the second victim of yesterday’s shooting ramage, died of her injuries at the Hadassah hospital on nearby Mt. Scopus. She left behind a husband, three children and six grandchildren. Many Jerusalemites remember her fondly from the three decades of her work on the administrative and logistics side of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. The Knesset speaker Yuli Edestein is expected to eulogize Malichi at her funeral today.

The police say (according to Haaretz) that the shooter

used a .556-caliber automatic rifle, in contrast to the crude, homemade firearms typically used in past attacks… [P]olice were trying to determine how the shooter had obtained the weapon.

It’s unlikely that that particular high-power, automatic weapon is the only one currently in the hands of murder-minded Palestinian Arabs, already well-equipped with what are sometimes called home-made guns. The current tensions are unlikely to abate soon.

The same is true of the open adulation for the dead gunman, as evidenced by doing a Google search on “الشهيد أبو صبيح“. Those Arabic words translate to “Martyr Abu Sabih“, which is the name more than 60,000 hits give at this hour to the man who mercilessly opened fire with his high-powered rifle on unsuspecting Israeli commuters yesterday in order to “save” a house of prayer. In a string of Facebook posts, the gunman offered such thoughts as “We sacrifice our souls and our blood for you Al-Aqsa” and “We sacrifice our children for Al-Aqsa“.

His frame of mind and his actions are likely on the minds of many other Palestinian Arabs today.

We’re wide open to being shown Arabic-language condemnations of the pointless killings perpetrated in Jerusalem yesterday. If there are truly angry Arab voices out there, or even just some expressions of Palestinian Arab despair at the open bigotry and the immorality of celebrating murders, people need to hear them and know about them.

We’re waiting, as we have been for some time.

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