Terror Rules Jerusalem
All the U.S. national news headlines speak of yesterday’s heinous synagogue terror attack by Palestinians in the West Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof (largely populated by Haredi Jews). The assault resulted in five Israeli dead with the two Palestinians attackers killed as well. U.S. news programs have also focused on the American citizenship of three of the victims, bringing it closer to home.
Ironically, Har Nof means roughly (“lovely view”) and is the Hebraized name for the village of Deir Yassin, where the Irgun murdered 100 Palestinians as part of the pre-war (1948) violence that eventually led to the Nakba. It’s also a bit of black humor that after the War of Independence, Deir Yassin became the site of an Israeli mental asylum, the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center. It’s horrible to think that this single place could be the site of two such tragedies.
Jerry Haber offered this eloquent perspective on Har Nof:
I refuse to be affected by scenes of blood distributed by partisans from Har Nor or from Gaza. I refuse to play moral one-upmanship on behalf of my tribe or any tribe. In Cast Lead, I told people to stop forwarding me pictures of Palestinian babies who were blown to bits, the purpose of which was to harden my heart against the Other. The scenes of praying Jews lying in their blood remind me of the Jewish terrorist Barukh Goldstein and not Kristalnacht. But I pray to God that He gives me the strength to be unaffected, except by what I know to be right. This is not hardening my heart. This is stiffening my resolve not to be swayed by tribalist emotions. And, frankly, after seeing this go on for decades, it becomes easier.
In the next few days, after the IDF and the settlers will have taken their vengeance, under the Orwellian cover of “deterrence”, life will go on. The settlers who commit price-tag attacks will be condemned for a day, then understood, then arrested, maybe, convicted maybe, and pardoned, probably. The soldiers and police will do whatever they want with impunity, B’tselem cameras or not. Land will be expropriated, freedoms eliminated, the matrix of control and, most of all, the routine will continue until the next time, when Jews die, and the clueless Israelis hold everybody and everything but themselves responsible.
The families of the terrorists will have their houses blown up, and God’s name, and the memory of the Jews who were murdered today, will once again be desecrated
In this post, I want to focus on an earlier killing that has dropped out of the headlines. Two days ago, a Palestinian bus driver, Yusuf Al-Ramuni, was hung on his Egged bus. Israeli police immediately pronounced the death a suicide, before any forensic investigation.
An autopsy was performed by an Israeli pathologist. The victim’s family also named their own Palestinian pathologist to join the procedure. Within hours of the autopsy, Israeli media trumpeted the confirmation from the Israeli coroner confirming the verdict of suicide. They erronenously claimed that the Palestinian medical expert concurred with the Israeli opinion. Based on my own experience in such matters, everything seemed way too pat. When it appears Israel is overexerting to fit circumstances to a preconceived set of “facts,” you know something is askance.
I wanted to find out what the family’s medical expert said before wading into the subject. Last night, VICE linked to the Palestinian media version (similar report here), which stated categorically that the man was murdered by unknown “criminal others.” The following offers excerpted translations of this report (Arabic):
…According to the results of the initial autopsy he [the victim] was murdered by ‘strangulation by hanging’ and did not commit suicide…
The expert [pathologist] explained that … the autopsy showed postmortem lividity on the back, not on the lower extremities, indicating that the victim was not hanging for long.
In other words, in a standard case of suicide by hanging the blood would flow downward and pool in the legs and feet. In this case, the blood pooled in his back, indicating that he died while lying on the ground. He would later have been strung up in the bus in the condition in which he was found.
The account continues:
He [the pathologist] said samples of body fluids were taken to be tested in the laboratory to determine the presence or absence of narcotic substances… and pointed out that it devolves to the possibility that the martyr has been sprayed by someone with drugs, and at the same time another person may have tied a wire around his neck from behind and cut off oxygen from his brain…
There was no dislocation of the first neck vertebrae, which is usually found in cases of suicide by hanging.
He said that the crime lies in the context of “organized crime” in which criminals are working to hide any evidence… and added that the laboratory tests need a long time, which exceeds three months.
Again, I do not know how Al-Ramuni died. But neither do the Israeli police. And the fact that they rushed to declare him a suicide before having any scientific or medical basis for doing so–along with the Palestinian pathologist’s finding–offer a strong basis for suspecting murder.
Not to mention that suicide is exceedingly rare in Palestinian society and suicide by hanging even rarer. I think the Israeli version of events stinks.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what really happened because Palestinains are so cynical and mistrustful of past Israeli bad behavior that they wouldn’t believe Israeli authorities even if they provided video of Al-Ramuni hanging himself. There is a deep credibility crisis, which no one seems to acknowledge. Why is it that Palestinians always have to prove their trustworthiness, while Israelis always assume that they are self-evidently so? That’s certainly not the way Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world see things.
Further, in the media rush to cover the horrific attack on the Har Nof synagogue, let’s not forget that this incident preceded it. Terror always has a context. Do not forget that no matter how heinous an event, something equally heinous preceded and incited it.
While the world justifiably gasps at an attack on a Jewish house of worship, let’s remember that Palestinians see their own mosques and cemeteries torched and desecrated by settler price taggers. They see hundreds of heavily armed Israeli Police defiling the sacred precinct of Haram Al Sharif. Does anyone believe that a Muslim is not as horrified by this encroachment as a Jew is by an assault on praying Jews?
It takes two, and Palestinian rage derives from Israeli provocation. Certainly, the settlers who murder Palestinians believe the converse. So why not credit Palestinian rage as much as Israeli?
I was bemused yesterday by John Kerry’s demand that Mahmoud Abbas express contrition for the Har Nof attack (which the PA leader dutifully did). Why should a measure of the worthiness of a Palestinian leader be based on how obeisant he is to Israeli pain or rage, when no Israeli leader (except perhaps Reuven Rivlin) expresses anything but rote lines of insincere, rehearsed regret at similar Palestinian suffering?
Examine once again Bibi’s response to the Kafr Kana police murder. He dispensed with rote regret altogether. He launched into barely controlled rage at Palestinian protests against this cold-blooded murder and warned they would be “dealt with” severely if they didn’t learn to behave themselves.
Bibi doesn’t mind the current level of civil unrest. It plays into his hand for upcoming elections, and this is literally all he cares about. Israelis flock to the strong man, even if he’s utterly unable to stifle Palestinian terror. The problem will be that Bibi will win an election, but have no more idea how to quell the rebellion after the election than he does now.
I wrote the title of this post deliberately, conveying a literal and figurative meaning. Law does not rule in Jerusalem. Bibi does not rule. Not even the security state rules. The wild-eyed, vengeful god of Terror does. Woe betide such a hellish zone of fire.
Those who murmur about a Third Intifada should admit that it’s already here. But unlike the earlier Intifadas, this one is a mutual affair in which Jewish terror (whether official and State-sponsored or vigilante-based) responds to Palestinian terror (or vice versa). This is a far more dangerous phenomenon than anything that preceded it. My fear is that the State, when it runs out of options, will resort to naked terror, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Think of Kent State in a U.S. context or Tiananmen Square in a Chinese context.
Like Casey Jones of the American folk-myth, we are on a train careening down a mountain grade after losing our brakes. Furiously blowing the whistle to warn bystanders to get out of the way won’t help. We are headed for disaster and no one will be spared. It’s only a matter of time before it happens.
50 thoughts on “Terror Rules Jerusalem – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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The policeman who died in the exchange of gunfire was a Bedouin.
@ Black Canary: Meaning? Palestinians killed a fellow Arab? Is that your ignorant anti-Palestinian claim?
” (….) in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof (largely populated by Haredi Jews).”
Richard, I think Har Nof is in West Jerusalem. It’s partly built on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin as far as I’ve read.
That area is a 1948 armistice line area.so it is a combo east and west Jerusalem.
Deir Yassin aka Har Nof is not even close to the Green Line/Armistice Line from 1949, in fact it’s more or less halfway between the Northern and the Southern Armistice line surrounding Jerusalem, right in the middle,
I’m certainly no expert in forensics, but it seems to me that if a corpse is hanging against a wall, blood might pool at the point where the skin is pressed the hard surface. Mere conjecture.
@ Black Canary: “Mere conjecture.” Nothing is “mere” with hasbarists like you. You want to support the suicide theory. Good luck to you.
He was NOT pressed against a wall or hard surface. He was hanging from a metal bar in a bus.
I believe the driver’s corpse was found in the stairwell of the bus, which makes it more likely that his body abutted a hard surface.
@ Black Canary: Nonsense. Bus entrances do not have walls or hard surfaces. They are open to allow the driver a view of passengers entering the bus.
Here is the interior of an urban commuter bus. Note the stairwell, on the right, under the mirror, has walls and railings, not to mention the door. These are all ‘hard surfaces’ that may have pressed on the victims body.
Sit back and enjoy the ride.
@ Black Canary: When you post the actual interior of the actual bus in which al-Ramuni was killed, then we can talk.
Nope black canary. The blood pools where gravity sends it. Your mere conjecture is uniformed. I am not an expert in this matter but have attended a number of forensic autopsies where the medical examiner explained things like post and pre mortem wounds and where blood pools after death.
“…Not to mention that suicide is exceedingly rare in Palestinian society and suicide by hanging even rarer”.
Do you have any statistics to back this claim up? Because it’s wrong. Yes, it is true that someone taking his own life brings shame upon one’s family in Palestinian society (not if he blows himself up on an Israeli bus of course, then he’s a hero) – but that does not mean it does not happen. And it happens quite often.
Here’s what Palestinian author Nadia Dabbagh writes in her paper “Behind the Statistics: The Ethnography of Suicide in Palestine”: “…statistics gathered from the Ramallah region of the West Bank in Palestine painted an apparently remarkably similar picture to that found in Western countries such as the UK and France. More men than women completed suicide, more women than men attempted suicide. Men used more violent methods such as hanging and women softer methods such as medication overdose. Completed suicide was higher in the older age range, attempted suicide in the younger”
And here’s a link to the research: http://icph.birzeit.edu/uploads/File/monographs/Parasuicide%20in%20Palestinian%20society%20-Nadia.pdf
@ Boaz: I’m going to tell you something I’ve written here often but which people like you ignore. Before thinking you’re going to catch me out in a gotcha moment, read EVERY link in my post especially links in the very sentence you’re claiming is wrong. You’ll see I linked to a book written by the same academic you quote in which she says that the Palestinian rate of suicide DESPITE the anger, frustration & violence of Occupation, is “lower” than in western countries. Go and read the link. And do not ever again try to contradict me before reading all links. I spend hours writing these posts. The least you could do before betraying your own errors & ignorance is to spend 2 minutes reading the linked article or source.
This is a summary of her argument in the publisher’s website page devoted to her book:
How do we explain the apparent contradiction? Easy. You’ve cherry-picked a passage which deads with “statistics from the Ramallah region.” The overall suicide rates for ALL of Palestine are not the same as those for Ramallah. Even a small amount of thinking might have prevented you from making this mistake.
“If the body is removed within 4 hours after death and is placed in a supine position, post mortem hypostatis in the limbs will fade and new areas of lividity will appear along the back and buttocks”
If suicide by hanging is a rarity in Palestinian society, I wonder how the Palestinian pathologist gained his expertise.
@ Black Canary: Doncha just love hasbarists who become pathologists in their spare time. Wherever did you find the time to earn your medical degree, Dr.??
You wonder where this guy came up with this source. Perhaps the Israeli pathologist on the payroll of the MFA for just such social media warfare??
“You wonder where this guy came up with this source.”
I googled, ‘suicide..hanging..lividity’, and that was the first source that appeared.
Not discounting the possibility of suicide or murder, but the picture is clearly that of livor mortis. Anyone who has actually examined a dead body should know this. Claiming that these are bruises from a beating is irresponsible and malicious.
@ Shaun: I never claimed they were from a beating. Didn’t you bother to read the post? Or did someone tell you that’s what I wrote and you believed them without even reading it? Either way, sloppy work.
‘Shaun of the Dead’ read about the ‘alleged beating’ in the Vice link that you provided.
@ bl: He can’t seem to distinguish between me and a source to which I link. I know it’s hard people, but put in some effort!
“and at the same time another person may have tied a wire around his neck from behind and cut off oxygen from his brain”
Wouldn’t that leave a mark around his neck?
@ Interesting quote: Didn’t you bother seeing photos of the victims neck??? Please do some research before asking such ill-informed questions.
The Israeli Pathologist went on air today explaining exactly why he claimed what he claimed. He also said that the Palestinian Pathologist was present in the room, overlooking and agreed with their conclusion. He says that this is a classic suicide without any indication of foul play as far has he can judge. He also gave explanation as to why he thinks that’s the case.
Another thing that is a bit weird is that the pal pathologist is unreachable. The media tried to contact him, the Israeli pathologist said he tried to reach him to see why he made such a claim etc.
Could it be that he was in some kind of pressure to release a statement saying the bus driver was killed?
What made him change his mind?
@ shay: I don’t care what the Israeli pathologist said. I don’t care if he said his mother was the Empress of England. I just plain don’t believe him. He can offer his view of the evidence, the corpse. But he can’t speak about what’s in the mind of another living person. That’s not his job. Nor do I trust him to do that.
The Palestinian pathologist seems quite accessible to Palestinian media where he’s not only made a statement but had it published. Maybe the Israelis aren’t trying hard enough…or maybe they can’t speak Arabic. Or maybe the Palestinian thinks the Israelis are lying and doesn’t feel a need to be pressured. What sort of pressure do you think Israeli authorities could place upon him to get him to renege? I’d guess plenty. I wouldn’t want to talk to them either I were him.
The Palestinian pathologist said that the absence of 1st vertebrae dislocation raises suspicions. In fact, 1st vertebrae dislocation is the hallmark of judicial hangings. The victim’s body is weighted and he drops a length in order to produce this dislocation and instant death. A self induced suicide by hanging should NOT result in a vertebrae dislocation.
This, and his failure to connect back and buttocks lividity with being laid supine after early discovery of the corpse suggests that this ‘expert’ is deliberately throwing gasoline on fire. He’s further debased his ‘expertise’ by offering the victim’s family the cockamamie theory that the victim was chemically anestetized and than strangled by ‘criminal elements’.
Oh please. Let’s get real. This Palestinian pathologist is a horror.
@ Black Canary: Where did you get your pathology training my friend? At the University of Google?? I’m not prepared to accept your claim of expertise on any such specialized subject especially when you offer no credible source in support.
It’s also curious that you, without any pathology expertise describe a pathologist with professional expertise as “cockamamie.” As for being a “horror,” that would be you.
I’m implementing a comment rule regarding you. If you do not offer credible support for your personal opinions, they won’t be published here. You’re already moderated. Consider yourself warned. Follow the rules regarding expression of opinions on contentious subjects. Or don’t bother commenting.
It appears the hasbara brigade is really exercised about this case. They’ve come out in full force in ridicule and vituperation. A few comments that were personal insults directed at me I haven’t even published. Eventually as the song lyrics say, there’ll be “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide” for the Israeli authorities. They’ll have to do a better job on this case.
I just came across this:
Father of accused Abu Khdeir murderer prays at attacked Jerusalem synagogue
Israeli media suggests a possible revenge motive for Tuesday’s deadly attack.
The father of the accused murderer of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir prays regularly at the synagogue targeted by Palestinian terrorists on Tuesday, according to the Israeli daily Maariv.The report suggested a possible revenge motive for the deadly attack. Another report in Israeli media claimed the three suspects in the teenager’s murder have too frequented the synagogue before their arrest.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence. Anyway, the body of Muhammad Abu Khdeir was found in Jerusalem Forest in Givat Shaul, the neighbourhood just next to Har Nof.
Then there’s this:
The two attackers decided enough was enough & struck back at an Israeli target.
The Palestinians have been left no other choice than either to die upright or to continue living on their knees.
Is it “apartheid” they have to cope with? The erstwhile doyen among Dutch sociologists, the late Professor Jacques van Doorn, already remarked many years ago that the comparison was actually insulting to the Afrikaners. However misconceived and cruel their policy was they did try, in a fashion, to make of the Bantustans viable units. Israel is doing no such thing. It is doing the opposite in attempting to make life as miserable as possible for Palestinians.
Ronnie Kasrils, a Jewish South African anti-apartheid activist who became a cabinet minister under the new dispensation, was quoted on the Jews Against Racist Zionism website as follows:
: “Travelling into Palestine’s West Bank and Gaza Strip, which I visited recently, is like a surreal trip back into an apartheid state of emergency. It is chilling to pass through the myriad checkpoints — more than 500 in the West Bank. They are controlled by heavily armed soldiers, youthful but grim, tensely watching every movement, fingers on the trigger… The West Bank, once 22% of historic Palestine, has shrunk to perhaps 10% to 12% of living space for its inhabitants, and is split into several fragments, including the fertile Jordan Valley, which is a security preserve for Jewish settlers and the Israeli Defence Force. Like the Gaza Strip, the West Bank is effectively a hermetically sealed prison. It is shocking to discover that certain roads are barred to Palestinians and reserved for Jewish settlers. I try in vain to recall anything quite as obscene in apartheid South Africa.” .
“ The occupation reminds me of the darkest days of apartheid, but we never saw tanks and planes firing at a civilian population. It’s a monstrousness I’d never seen before. The wall you built, the checkpoints and the roads for Jews only – it turns the stomach, even for someone who grew up under apartheid. It’s a hundred times worse.” .
I’m not a forensic pathologist and so I won’t comment on that. Based on what I’ve read, those questioning the Israeli coroner’s assessment are implying or outright claiming that the bus driver was murdered by Jewish extremists – ie “nationalistically motivated.” However, I don’t see any precedent of a terrorist committing an act of terror and then taking the time to set up the crime scene in order to make it not look like an act of terror. However Hasan Al-Ramuni died, it doesn’t make sense that it was in the furtherance of a nationalistic motive. If someone murdered him, they sure went to a lot of trouble to cover up the murder. If it was Jewish extremists wouldn’t they want people to know that they had murdered a Palestinian in order to sow terror among Palestinians?
Not only are you not a forensic pathologist as you correctly noted, you’re not a forensic investigator. Have you never heard of a terror attack for which no terror group or individual took responsibility? Especially when it involves murder? Did the Abu Khdeir settler murderers brag about their crime? Did they announce their pride in what they did? Or did they keep silent until caught?
And why do you say they “covered up the murder.” If he was murdered they hung him up in full display. They didn’t dump his body in Jerusalem forest. Not making too much sense today I’m afraid.
Ok. Let me try this again. All I really want to know, especially given this discussion that delves into the minutiae of evidentiary matters – what, if any, evidence is there that this death was nationalistically motivated? Or that Jewish extremist elements were involved?
thats easy, pea.
the driver is dead and what can possibly couse a person to become dead other then setller murderrs?
@ pea: It’s the job of the Israeli police to provide evidence to support whatever explanation they offer. So far they’ve offered no credible evidence. By evidence, I mean video or the full findings of the coroner (not a media statement) including a toxicology report. Get that to us then you can carp about whatever you like.
Does it surprise me that a synagogue was targeted? no, does it surprise me that Hamas [allegedly] took responsibility for that attack?, yes.
If Hamas was behind the attack, it was foolish to do so: targeting civilians is not usually their modus operandi.
It is understandable that a synagogue would be targeted, though, after all, nothing is off limits for the Israelis’ in their assaults on Palestinian holy sites and civilian targets.
Do I approve of it? no.
I do believe that the Palestinians do have a right to armed resistance, however, targeting civilians is not within the legitimate law of armed resistance, both legally and within the tenants of Islam.
“If Hamas was behind the attack, it was foolish to do so: targeting civilians is not usually their modus operandi.”
Hamas has always targeted civilians. What are you talking about?
@ Red Eft:
Readers, meet our new hasbara handler for the coming days. BTW, I think you’re talking about the IDF, which targeted civilians & killed 1,700 of them during the Gaza war.
Read the comment rules & follow them extremely carefully. You may not substitute your opinion for views supported by credible evidence. As you haven’t offered any evidence to support your view, you’ve violated the comment rules in your first comment here. Don’t do it again.
Do you really ask for proof that Hamas targeted civilians in the past??
This witchhunt of the bus driver is no different than the Khdeir killing this summer. Israelis in their vengeance hunt for an ‘eye for an eye’ kill, and now they are trying to cover it up? What person kills himself at the start of his work day and in the morning? I feel like this is as sloppy as Oscor Pistorius excuses.
If an ‘eye for an eye’ is the way it’s gonna be in Israel, are we witness to a new strain of ‘judeo-western’ values evolving into some odd realm, where the media can explain to Americans that Israel is on the
path to righteousness, but they need just one more mission – to conquer Jerusalem, and they will feel safe and secure?
Sad that Israel is devolving into such a mess, and none of the tribe, especially the diaspora, can put it back on the path – they almost encourage Israelis to further occupy and live out the dream of ‘next year in Jerusalem’.
thanks for the Haber comment. Refreshing to hear someone who has some sanity left in ‘crazytown’.
A real suicide is also a message to others. If a low paid Palestinian driver in a Jewish bus company makes a suicide in a “Jewish” bus in front of a Jewish settlement, is it a message to Jews or to Palestinians? A message of lifelong bad and unjustified treatment? Also a murder disguised as a suicide is a message to the victims side. It says: do not come to work here in a Jewish company and transport Jews. The clumsy and more or less credible autopsy process by the ruling side, is also a message to the oppressed side. It is: we can do what ever we want and there is nothing you can do to avoid that. We rule the “truth”.
There is a old joke: A white sheriff found a black man’s body hanging in a barn. The black man had been shot several times in the chest, had two knives sticking out of his back, was severely burned and was hanged with a rope from a rafter. “Worst suicide I have so far seen”, said the sheriff. The reality is that today the Jewish Israel’s credibility is in many ways on the same level that what the southern sheriff in that joke had.
If one day a Palestinian state exists (with 1967 borders) and hundreds of thousands Jews live there under Palestinian rule (treated with present famous Israeli style) and in a Muslim state (= equal to the Jewish state), how convincing are the Palestinian “explanations” if a Jewish driver is found in a Palestinian company’s bus in front of fast growing Arab settlement inside a old Jewish settlement? Would the instant announcements by the Palestinian police and Palestinian pathologists be credible evidence that it happened as it is said to have happened? Surely Jews would not believe one word.
The Israeli law enforcement authorities had no inhibitions when dealing with a Jewish pathologist regarding the murder of Jewish person:
Which of course doesn’t justify the action in either case.