חשיפה: שלושת מבצעי הפיגוע בהר הבית הבוקר הם תושבי אום אל-פאחם ממשפחת ג’בארין
NOTE: The two Israeli police officers originally listed in “extremely critical condition” have since died. The Israeli gag order was partially lifted last night. But the names of the attackers have yet to be released via Israeli media.
Israeli security services have refused to release to Israeli media any information about the attackers who allegedly carried out a daring assault on Israeli police at the Temple Mount (Haram al Sharif) today. But a confidential source tells me that they were members of the Jabarin clan from Umm al Fahm, a town located just inside the Green Line in northern Israel. All three of the attackers were named Mohammad. Two were born in 1998 and one in 1987, making them 18 and 29 years old. I’m displaying their Israeli ID cards.
The video was uploaded by Palestinians and shows the shooting in which one of the attackers was riddled with scores of bullets. Though Israeli police are calling this a firefight, that’s not what this particular video shows. It shows a Palestinian who gets up from the ground surrounded by armed police. He begins to run away from them (and I don’t see any weapon in his hands). And they fire at him until he falls to the ground dead. You see the body of the same individual below. The video does not show the other two alleged attackers. But this Facebook post published by the participants just before the attack, shows two of them before the Dome of the Rock with the Arabic caption: “Tomorrow’s smiles will, God willing, be more beautiful.” This would indicate that they had planned such an attack.
One alarming element of this incident is that the shooters were Israeli citizens, not West Bank Palestinians. Until recently, Israeli Palestinians largely eschewed violence against their own state. But clearly, with Israel’s increasing provocations against Muslim worship this is changing. The town is one of the centers of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, whose leader Imam Raed Salah, has been persecuted by Israeli security services for years, including multiple jail sentences on largely trumped-up charges. The government recently outlawed the Islamic Movement, which likely had the effect of sending the more radical of its members underground. The function such repression serves is to drive legitimate protest movements into the shadows so that incidents like this result.
As reader Danny writes in a comment below, the police victims were Druze. These are the grunts of the Israeli security services. They worship a variant of Islam, but consider themselves to be allies of the Israeli Jewish majority. They serve in the IDF, unlike most other Palestinians. They consider themselves different and superior to Palestinians, in a process much like the colonial effort to fragment colonized peoples by showering favors on one minority to the detriment of another. In some sense, the Druze are victims of a different kind in Israel’s “war” against Palestinians.
It was an extraordinary security lapse for Israel’s Border Police to permit the militants to enter the Noble Sanctuary armed with guns, since everyone is searched for precisely this reason. Though the Palestinians are being called “terrorists” in media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, I’m less willing to jump to such blanket assertions. Just last week, there were videos of these same Border Police invading the al-Aqsa mosque and firing tear gas canisters into the sacred site with worshippers fleeing in panic. These officers are among the most brutal and violent of all Israeli security forces.
Were anyone to assault the Kotel Plaza or Jerusalem’s Great Synagogue in the same manner, the Israeli Jewish response would be the same. Imagine batons beating worshippers and tear gas canisters flying through the aisles and defiling Torah scrolls at the Kotel.
Such security incursions are deeply offensive to all Muslims. Also note, that though there was a alleged gunfight, only police were injured, with two in “extremely critical condition” at the hospital. One officer was lightly wounded. This was not an attack on civilians. It was an attack on Israeli occupiers who are usurping and defiling a Muslim holy site.
Further, Israel is the one who has made this a religious war as it just announced that settler leaders like MK Yehudah Glick would once again be permitted to enter the Haram and lead his campaign to destroy the Muslim mosques in order to rebuild the Holy Temple there. Thanks to Israel’s far-right government this has moved from a political struggle to a religious one, with all the fanaticism that the latter sorts of conflicts can muster. If you transform the conflict into a religious holy war, you will get fanatical true believers on both sides (and let’s not forget the many Jewish terrorists who’ve done the same) who will act in God’s name in this manner.