An East Jerusalem Palestinian driver plowed his vehicle into two separate crowds of Israeli Jewish pedestrians, killing a Druze Border Police officer, wounding thirteen, three critically. A few hours later, three IDF soldiers were wounded in a similar car attack in the West Bank. It’s the fourth such attack in less than two weeks. Like one of the past incidents, today’s assault occurred at a Jerusalem light rail station.
When security forces confronted the terrorist they shot and wounded him. As he lay on the ground, they executed him on the spot. This has become the normative procedure (and in English) in such attacks. An eye for an eye, a death for a death. Israeli public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch heartily approved of the cold blooded killing:
“The action of the Border Police officer who chased after the assailant and quickly killed him was correct and professional and that is how we want these incidents to end.
Haaretz found the Palestinian’s murder to be problematic (translated from Hebrew):
As with the previous vehicular attack, a Border Police officer shot the terrorist to death after he’d been wounded and was lying on the ground. Once again there are those who claim that given such circumstances his killing was unjustified.
It’s apparent that in such situations there is a new undeclared, unwritten regulation, which has found its expression in these past two incidents: either neutralizing attackers at the site of assault (like today), or the killing of the terrorists at the time of capture (as happened in the aftermath of the Yehudah Glick shooting and in September, during the operation resulting in the ‘detention’ of those who killed the three Israeli kidnap victims in Hebron). Police shoot first and ask questions later…It even seems superfluous for Public Safety Minister Aharonovitch to declare that every such attack much end with the summary killing [execution] of the attacker.
…Such an unqualified public call [for summary killing] gives permission for [officially sanctioned] execution. This gives an opening for deeply problematic moral, legal, and political complications…Aside from the prospect of upcoming elections, there would be no other reason for a government minister to offer such public statements.
In many of the past cases of apprehending Palestinians, the security forces claim the suspects opened fire first and were killed by return fire. But I’ve pointed out that in almost all cases, they don’t fire in response. They initiate and they execute. With today’s terror attack, they’ve shed even that nicety. This is another past incident of Border Police summary execution which I wrote about about here.
Israel immediately and fraudulently blamed Mahmoud Abbas for the attack, though aside from making public statements excoriating the Israeli police for usurping the Muslim holy places, he did nothing to deserve such a claim. Clearly, Netanyahu was using the old trick known so well by magicians of displacing the mark’s attention from where the real sleight of hand was taking place.
In other words, the real cause for the new round of mayhem was the Gaza war of the past summer in which 2,100 Gazans were killed by the IDF, and subsequent rounds of theft and expulsion of long-time Palestinian residents from their East Jerusalem homes by settlers, and the military-style Border Police occupation of Al Aqsa, along with settlers and leading MKs storming the holy site, and calling for its destruction and replacement by the Third Temple. In the past two weeks, a settler killed a young Palestinian girl & severely wounded her sister in a hit and run attack which police refused to investigate as a crime. Palestinians don’t forget such things, though Israelis certainly do.
In response, Jordan recalled its ambassador. While many Israelis care little about foreign diplomats or diplomacy in general and will take little notice of this, it’s significant that one of the Arab countries with which Israel has enjoyed its longest span of peace has taken this dramatic step in protest. Jordan, as the protector of Jerusalem’s holy places has a special obligation on behalf of the world’s Muslims to object to Israel’s desecration of the Haram al Sharif. Palestinians and Muslims in general have come to believe that Israel is attempting to unilaterally change conditions on the Temple Mount.
Israeli media claimed the attacker was a “low-level” Hamas “operative” whose brother had served time in an Israeli prison and been released in the Shalit prisoner exchange. But curiously, Israel preferred blaming Abbas. Probably because it knows the PA plans to mount a major international campaign for statehood in the UN. Israel’s leaders also a fear mounting tidal wave of legitimacy for the Palestinian cause will cause pressure to recognize Palestine. This force will enable world powers to exert pressure for Israeli concessions or even the forced implementation of a peace agreement. Israel is not above exploiting a terror attack in order to defang Palestine’s forward political momentum. In fact, Netanyahu specializes in such manipulation.
In fact, Sweden just recognized Palestine last week, the first EU country to do so. The British parliament voted to ask its own cabinet to do so and French lawmakers are preparing debate on such a resolution.
For the past 100 years, whenever one side or the other (but mostly the Jews) have encroached on the prerogatives of the other, they’ve caused a violent response. The 1929 Kotel riots in which scores of Jews and Palestinians were killed started this way. The first Intifada began when Sharon brought 1,000 police to the Temple Mount in a brazen show of force meant to be seared into Palestinian minds, that while Jordan might nominally control the sacred ground, Israel could impose its will arbitrarily.
Extremist Israelis like those ruling the country now believe they can steamroller over the Palestinians; that “this land is ours and that’s just the way it’s going to be.” It may work for the playground bully, but not so much in the world of real politic when your opponent is willing to die to prevent you from succeeding. The Palestinian goal will be, like all classic insurgencies, to make East Jerusalem ungovernable. This would reinforce the illegitimacy of Israeli rule there and dispel the notion of Israeli sovereignty over a “united” Jerusalem.
Israeli extremist hardliners like Naftali Bennet have called for the proverbial ‘iron fist,” as if the country’s current policy is chocolates and cream. The next step is perhaps to forbid Palestinians from driving in Jerusalem. After that, a full curfew for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Finally, perhaps concentration camps or expulsion? After all, wouldn’t that be the hardest fist?
The ‘moderate’ among Israeli extremists say they’d allow “moderate” Palestinians to remain after expelling the worst of the lot. In 1492, the triumphant Spanish Catholics ‘graciously’ offered Jews the opportunity to convert if they wanted to avoid expulsion. But Israel’s Orthodox rabbinate would never accept mass Muslim converts to Judaism, since they’d be viewed as a secret Fifth Column. And how would authorities determine which Palestinians were good and which bad? Perhaps lie detector tests? Or forcing them to wear 24 hour video cameras to ensure loyalty?