Israeli security forces have placed the identity of the attacker who murdered two Israelis in an apparent terror attack in Tel Aviv earlier today under gag order. But I can tell you that he is/was Nash’aat Milhem, 30, of the northern Israeli village of Ara’ra near Wadi Ara. He has not been apprehended and is still at large. Israeli media report that he began his radicalization after a close relative of his was killed by Israelis in 2006. Milhem served five years in an Israeli prison for assaulting an IDF soldier and trying to steal his M16. Media also reports that the alleged attacker’s father said he had come under the spell of ISIS recently. But to claim this attack for that Islamist group as the foolish Daily Fail has done, is nonsense because Palestinians don’t need such outside motivation. They have plenty of reasons to become radicalized that are quite close to home.
The latest death count for the Intifada is 23 Israelis killed and over 130 Palestinians. Israel claims 85 of those killed were involved in a terror attack. Though that number has not been independently confirmed, it’s been clear that many of those who perpetrate attacks are killed in cold blood after they no longer pose any danger to anyone. Nor do the vast majority of these attacks result in Israeli fatalities. And even if that were not true, it still leaves nearly one-third of the Palestinian dead as pure victims having nothing to do with terror.
There can be no doubt that Milhem will not be apprehended alive. Israel’s security services specialize in confronting Palestinian militants dedicated to going out in a blaze of resistance and glory. They are inevitably killed after being asked to surrender and then responding with a hail of bullets, to which security forces had no choice but to respond, killing the suspect in the process.
There can be no doubt that any Palestinian who kills Israeli civilians has committed a heinous crime. But there can also be no doubt that justice demands arrest rather than summary execution. Israel no longer believes in such niceties of the rule of law and democracy. They have gone out the window as the violence and killing has intensified.
Gideon Levy writes about one such unfortunate soul (there are many others I’ve posted about here as well): a Palestinian mother of four who was hurrying home to feed her baby. When hailed by Border Police to stop, she did not do so. For her trouble, and though she offered no threat to anyone, she was sprayed with 17 bullets. For many Israelis, these are the unfortunate casualties of a conflict caused by Palestinians. So they, Israelis, can be sad for the toll, but certainly not responsible. Which is a view typical of the moral myopia that reflects much of Israeli thinking.
In truth this Intifada, which started as a Palestinian reaction to Israel blocking access to free worship at the Muslim holy site, Al Aqsa, has been vastly exacerbated by Israeli security forces overreaction to the violence. It is Israel who originated this Intifada and the rivers of Palestinian blood spilled further feed the flames.