Yesterday, a 21 year old Palestinian, Khairi Alkam, traveled to East Jerusalem settlement and opened fire near a synagoguge. Contrary to most reporting, Alkam did not travel specifically to the synagogue to carry out the attack, nor did he specifically target worshipers. After he killed seven of them he was himself killed (or “neutralized,” so as to deny the killer any humanity). Israelis are apoplectic. Pres. Biden called Netanyahu personally to express outrage. The entire world shares Israel’s sorrow. Not so much for the Palestinians murdered in Jenin the day before.
But here are facts that are less known and should be–indeed must be. Haaretz reports the critical context missing from all of this outrage:
On May 13, 1998, Khairi Alkam, a 51-year-old construction worker, left the prayer service at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and headed to work in West Jerusalem. He was attacked with a knife and killed on Shmuel Hanavi Street.
This was part of a series of attacks on Palestinians in the Jerusalem of those days. The murderers etched a Star of David on the body of one of the victims.
The police and Shin Bet security service believed that it was a politically motivated murder, and the family was recognized as victims of a terror attack. This was one of the first times the state recognized a murdered Palestinian as the victim of a terror attack. Four years later, Alkam’s grandson was born, and given his grandfather’s name.
Twelve years after the murder, the Shin Bet made an arrest, widely covered by the media, of a Kahanist activist who was an associate of Itamar Ben-Gvir. He was suspected of carrying out a string of murders, but was eventually released without being charged.
The making of a Jewish serial killer
The murderer was a Jewish terrorist, Chaim Perlman. Not just a murderer, but a serial killer no different than Baruch Goldstein. His lawyer, Itamar Ben Gvir. Ben Gvir’s idol? None other than Goldstein, whom settlers celebrate every year by dancing at the mass murderer’s gravesite.
Perlman, age 17 when he committed the first murder, was a student at the same Kahanist yeshiva where Ben Gvir studied, The Jewish Idea. It seems to incubate serial killers and their defense lawyers. After the 1998 murder of Alkam, he killed three more Palestinians and wounded seven over the next six years. After the third of his four murders he was even recruited as a spy by the Shin Bet. He spent a total of 12 years a free man till he was arrested in 2010.
This was someone who had murdered four Palestinians and stabbed seven others who managed to survive. No charges, no interrogation. Nothing. Until finally the Shin Bet arrested him. Perlman claims he wouldn’t have been arrested at all if he hadn’t rejected the agency’s attempts to recruit him to infiltrate the Jewish terror underground. The arrest was, in essence, an act of security service revenge.
In order to obtain further evidence against him, it assigned one of its agents to incite Perlman to commit other terror attacks, including the murder Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Islamic Movement. and a thorn in the side of the Israeli state for years. It’s hard to tell whether the domestic intelligence agency wanted Perlman to actually commit the crime; or only to use Salah as “bait.”
Perlman not only unmasked the Shin Bet agent, he recorded him goading him into new murders. Then he released the recordings, making the spy agency look like fools. When it seized the recordings from his home, he released other copies he’d made.
A shrewd killer. One for whom Ben Gvir has enormous pride. In this 12-year-old video, Ben Gvir rails at what he calls “Israeli democracy” (isn’t it clever how Judeo-fascists exploit “democracy” when it benefits them, and despise it when it doesn’t). The video is featured on the YouTube channel of Honenu, which defends Israeli Jewish assassins like Yigal Amir and baby killers like Amiram Ben-Uliel and pays them blood money after their convictions. This is no different, by the way than the PA providing payments to the families of shahids. A practice Israel hypocritically rails against.
Ben Gvir practically crows with pride at gaining his release. But in all likelihood, the reason he got off scot-free was that a prosecution would explose the disastrous tactics the Shin Bet used. Similarly, I recounted in my coverage of the Dawabsheh murders, that it had recruited an informer within the terror cell, but he had failed to inform them of the attack. The informer was never prosecuted. Nor were the others in the cell, except Ben-Uliel.
In the video, the murderer Perlman stands at his lawyer’s side with his infant son in his arms. What do you think this child will grow up to be and do? Here is Ben Gvir’s statement outside the prison:
We are deeply outraged. All along, I must say journalists smeared him. There were those who used terms like “the Jewish terrorist.” A Jew, certainly. Today, it is clear he is not a terrorist. I want to say one other thing: yesterday, in an unprecedented manner, Shabak made (?) a statement that they have a feeling in the pit of their stomach that Chaim Perlman is the murderer. But they have no proof and they acknowledge they don’t have enough to file an indictment. But in their view, he is the killer.
I want to say to you: why didn’t you cry out? In a democratic state calling itself democratic [sic], there is no place for a feeling in the piit of one’s stomach. People aren’t arrested because of a feeling in the pit of one’s stomach. They detained this man for 30 days in prison. They tortured him. THey sickened him on the basis of the pit of their stomach.
This is shameful. Someone must give an accounting for this. And regarding such an accounting I have one last word on the court. There were several decent judges who followed the law and justice. But to our sorrow, most of the judges followed the lead [“followed the piper”] of the Shin Bet. We are outraged to see there are judges who, when the Shin Bet comes to them, they straightaway, automatically do whatever it wants: ten days [detention], seven days, five days. Someone here must give an account [for this].
Alkam’s grandson takes his revenge
Yesterday, Alkam’s grandson, after whom he is named, attacked Israels in occuped East Jerusalem. While it’s likely he sought to avenge his grandfather, his family says that another murder had greater impact. Last week, Israeli soldiers invaded the Shuafat refugee camp. There they confronted 17-year-old Salah Mohammed Ali and murdered him. They claimed he had a gun. All he had in his hand was a toy gun. Yet another Palestinian youth dead for no reason. A life lost for no reason, sacrificed on the altar of Israeli security. Before he left on his last journey from his home in East Jerusalem, Alkam wrote a final Facebook post mourning his cousin, Ali’s death.
The self-same Ben Gvir who defended a Judeo-terrorist murderer, gave a medal to the police who murdered Ali, saying:
“I’m proud of you and admire you,..I know how hard you work so that we can sleep well at night. I have no doubt that when a terrorist threatens you with a pistol, even if it later turns out to be a toy … we will back you completely. You acted correctly, you ‘made contact’ [ie murdered him] and brought pride to us all.”
Ben Gvir, who is police minister, is now demanding the creation of yet another security force which he’s calling a “national guard.” Ironically, over the past few weeks journalists and critics of the new government predicted that Ben Gvir was angling to create his own private militia. That’s certainly what he’s done. Israel has a massive army, a national police force, a Border Police force, not to mention the Shin Bet intelligence service. Now he wants to create yet another security unit, recruited and commanded only by him. He wants to become an Israeli version of a caudillo. A petty dictator ruling over his own fiefdom. But in this case, it would be Israel itself; his own version of a Jewish plantation.