Over Shabbat, the sacred day of rest, Jerusalem was rocked with two terror attacks leaving seven civilians dead and several more injured, some serious. Since then, Palestinian Arabs have attempted at least two other major attacks. Calls for additional terrorist attacks and other incitement on the Palestinian Arab street, from Hamas and other terrorists as far away as Gaza, and within the Palestinian Authority in next-door Ramallah, feed threats for further incidents.
These attacks are being celebrated widely with fireworks, and candies being handed out on the streets throughout Palestinian Arab towns and cities.
Terrorists don’t need an excuse to carry out murderous terrorist attacks. Evidence of this is that on Thursday, Israeli police and special forces killed eight terrorists, and captured other Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists in Jenin, under Palestinian Authority control.
The significant part of the Israeli operation in Jenin was that it was conducted due to intelligence that the terrorists being targeted were planning an imminent major terror attack. The terrorists were killed in a shootout during which the Israeli forces targeted the terrorists specifically, with precision. The fact that there was a civilian casualty is something Israel openly regretted and is investigating.
The immediate response to the killing of the Islamic Jihad terrorists took place Thursday around midnight when Hamas fired rockets from Gaza at Israeli communities. The fact that it was Hamas firing the rockets and not Islamic Jihad was significant in that it shows Hamas is stepping up to play an active role in the incitement.
As all this took place before Shabbat, Israeli military and security forces were beefed up preparing for possible terror attacks and more rockets being fired. However, when there’s so much incitement on the Palestinian Arab street, and many illegal weapons are easily accessible, the ability to prevent every attack is virtually impossible.
Friday night shortly after Shabbat began, the sanctity of the day of rest was violated when a 21-year-old Palestinian Arab entered the Jerusalem neighborhood of Neve Yaakov and fired into a crowd outside a synagogue following Shabbat worship services. Among the victims were a 14-year-old boy, a couple who raced to the scene of the shooting to help others, and a 56-year-old father of three. The terrorist fled to the Arab neighborhood of Beit Hanina, where he was chased down and killed.
On Saturday day, a 20-year-old off-duty soldier and his 59-year-old father were shot in the City of David neighborhood. Both are seriously injured but still alive. The terrorist was a 13-year-old Palestinian Arab from the adjacent Silwan neighborhood.
While Israeli troops entered Jenin conducting a very precise operation, and took responsibility for and are investigating the accidental death of civilians, Palestinian Arab terrorists opened fire to kill and injure as many civilians as possible. The terrorists are being celebrated as “heroes” and “martyrs” among Palestinian Arabs. Unlike Israel taking responsibility for the death of a civilian, the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) official response has been to blame the victim, Israel, as being “fully responsible” for the terrorist attacks. "The Israeli occupation government is to blame for the dangerous escalation. Its crimes resulted in 31 martyrs this month alone.” No taking responsibility, no regret or words of condolences to the civilian victims and their families, no calls to de-escalate and avoid further violence.
Rather, PA bookkeepers are sharpening their pencils and calculating how much money the terrorists’ families will get as a monthly stipend as part of its “Pay to Slay” program where terrorists or their families get paid based on how many people they kill or harm.
This is the crux of the difference between Israel and the PA and why peace is beyond reach. Israel conducts military operations to prevent the clear and present danger of an imminent terrorist attack and can eliminate senior terrorists in the process with minimal additional casualties, and certainly not targeting civilians. Palestinian Arab terrorists are encouraged, funded, celebrated, and cause deliberate havoc, attempting to kill and maim as many as possible.
Overlayed with all this, the Islamic holy month Ramadan is beginning soon. Ramadan is an excuse for violence by Palestinian Arabs against Israelis and threats of terror are higher in general. Now, with the recent terror attacks, Ramadan’s beginning is being looked at as a time of almost certain violence. Police have raised the level of alert to the highest possible. It’s a perverse way to celebrate one’s holy season.
The fact that a 13-year-old Palestinian Arab terrorist opened fire at civilians on a Jerusalem street when just hours earlier a 14-year-old Jewish Israeli was murdered by a different 21-year-old terrorist at the onset of Shabbat highlights why peace is so far beyond reach.
If it weren’t evident enough, summing up the reality of the situation, before committing murdering seven people Friday night, the 21-year-old terrorist posted on his Facebook page, “We want endless war. Who said we want peace?”
As US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is scheduled to arrive in Israel this coming week, hopefully, he’ll realize what the actual threat to peace is, who the obstacles to peace are and that the buck stops in Ramallah, Gaza, Jenin, and Tehran which is providing the funding for the terrorists.
Either way, he’s got his work cut out for him.