As Katie wrote yesterday, two Palestinian terrorists opened fire Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, killing four innocent Israelis and wounding 16 others. The shooters disguised themselves as ultra-orthodox Jews prior to opening fire. Israeli authorities eventually arrested the two terrorists, one of which was shot by a security guard. In light of the attack, and the fact that the terrorists were from the West Bank, the country has since suspended Palestinian entry permits; those with work authorizations will not be impacted.
Yet, some of the commentary in the aftermath of the attack was directed at Israel’s “extreme right-wing government,” and for that—you can always expect MSNBC to serve as the petri dish for infectious nonsense. The Media Research Center’s Newsbusters crew clipped and transcribed the exchange between NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin and Martin Fletcher (via NewsBusters):
AYMAN MOHYELDIN: But in the bigger picture, in terms of the context of what has been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories, the occupation, the shift of Israeli politics, including now the current government more to the right to what has been described by Israelis as even more of a extreme right-wing government, some of the measures that have taken place in the West Bank, the siege that continues in Gaza, all of those continue to fester.
And as a result, the sense of depravation, the sense of frustration, the lack of any clarity on a political process that would lead to a – some kind of peace process, if you will, all of that has been brewing for the past several months. It's been systematic for the last several years in terms of the ongoing occupation, but really, what we’ve seen is a spike, as Martin [Fletcher] was saying, in the past nine months with these wave of attacks. That has been a huge factor in why we are seeing this sudden spike.
There's a tremendous amount of frustration among Palestinians who live in the occupied West Bank coupled with the shift of Israeli politics to the right, and that has led to even further measures of what Palestinians say is oppression in the occupied West Bank. The lack of any progress on the front with Gaza, it has been just a very – it’s been a recipe of disaster.
KATE SNOW: A boiling point, perhaps. Martin, as we – I’m trying to think back, and we’ve heard so much about the knife attacks that have happened last fall, I think, that was the last big spate of them – but is this – if you can put this in context, how significant is an event like this? And we're talking about three people dead, multiple injuries. I mean, it looks a lot like what we saw in Paris, although not on the same scale. I guess I just wonder whether this will be a call to action on – on both sides.
MARTIN FLETCHER: Well, probably not much will change in the situation because of this. Because it was feared, the Palestinian – different Palestinian groups are trying to do this kind of thing. But it's a shock, certainly to the Israeli public. It’s a shock because Tel Aviv is always sort of a rather hip, cool place outside the mainstream of the violence. Occasionally it reaches Tel Aviv with devastating effect. There have been bus bombs in Tel Aviv over the years and the attacks like this, but they have been far and few between.
The – I mean, from the point of view of the attackers, this was a successful attack that will shock the Israelis, but actually, will it change anything? Will it lead either side towards any movement towards peace or understanding that they need to make real progress? Probably not. I mean, as Ayman said, the Israeli government – you know, we keep – every few years we say, “Oh, this is the most right-wing government in Israel’s history,” and it just keeps getting more right-wing. So the chances that there’s going to be a move towards peace as a result of a violent shooting is probably the wrong conclusion. If anything, with the new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman, really an extremely right-winger, he will be – a settler himself – he will be calling, clearly as a defense minister, for a strong response of some kind.
MOHYELDIN: And this will be, correct me if I'm wrong, but really the first test on the security front for this new right-wing coalition government that was just formed within the last couple of weeks. This is the first, certainly the first significant major incident that has happened since this government has come into formation. And so I suspect, as Martin was saying, you're going to hear tough talk in terms of measurements, in terms of if they identify and conclude that this is in fact the result of a Palestinian terrorist group or if a Palestinian individual was acting out.
Yes, that’s right—four people were just killed by terrorists killed, but it’s somehow partially the fault of the Israeli government. Frankly, so what if the Israeli government moves more to the right, it doesn’t justify the killing of innocent people. Period. Last year, it seemed as if Israel was on the receiving end of endless knife attacks executed by Palestinians on innocent Israelis. In October of 2015, the country suffered 609 attacks.
Lastly, if Ayman Mohyeldin’s name doesn’t ring a bell, he’s the guy who was corrected on air in October of 2015 for saying that a Palestinian attacker was unarmed when Israeli police shot him. At the the time, the would-be attacker had charged at the officers at the Damascus Gate. As it turned out, it was pretty clear he was holding a knife, though his worst commentary came when he said that the late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle might have been a racist who went on “killing sprees” in Iraq.