Wednesday, February 21, 2018

21-Feb-18: News industry activism, its tendentious outcomes and the Tamimis

ABC studios in Ultimo, a Sydney suburb [Image Source]
We've been busy the last few days responding to social media comments - some supportive, some critical, a lot of it disgustingly hateful - about Ahed Tamimi, a close relative and unabashed admirer of our child's murderer Ahlam Tamimi ["Ahed Tamimi and Her Family Aren't the Palestinian Saints You Want Them to Be", Haaretz].

Our Twitter account [here] has had orders of magnitude more traffic in the past week than we have seen before.

Yesterday, we saw that Sophie McNeill [background], whom we have never met and with whom we never had any conversation or email, had filed her own report on the Ahed phenomenon for Australia's ABC News. The ABC's site calls Sophie McNeill "a video-journalist based in the Middle East for the ABC". It doesn't mention that she's based in Jerusalem (or so we have been told) which is where we live.

Given the loaded nature of the issues in the ongoing Tamimi saga, it's a shabby and tendentious job of reporting and analyzing news.

Honest Reporting yesterday highlighted an outrageous problem with it - unprofessional recklessness or perhaps something much worse - that ought to have generated a fire-storm of controversy in the Australian media. But hasn't.

Here's how it starts:
On February 20, Australia’s 7.30 current affairs program on national broadcaster ABC included a ten minute segment on the Ahed Tamimi case. In the report, it appears that video footage of Tamimi has been deliberately cut mid-sentence to alter the impression that Tamimi was inciting violence – a key allegation in her trial... Not surprising given that the segment was put together by Sophie McNeill, who has a history of advocacy journalism and vilifying Israel. ["ABC’s Sophie McNeill Selectively Cuts Ahed Tamimi Video", Simon Plosker, February 20, 2018]
Ahed Tamimi speaks - but at the ABC she isn't heard: Some context
We aired our views some weeks back on the significance of what was yesterday excised from the Ahed Tamimi ABC record: see "04-Feb-18: The embarrassing violence of Ahed Tamimi and its fig-leafers". It's hard to understand anyone trying to get away with analyzing the Ahed Tamimi story without paying close attention to the violent things she actually said for the record. And intended to be heard since her mother held the camera and urged her to unload and then published it.

There's nothing especially new in angry allegations of bias concerning Ms McNeill. Honest Reporting, among others, raised what seem to us to be serious and valid concerns when she first got the job: see "Should ABC News Have Given Advocacy Journalist the Keys to its Jerusalem Bureau?". The concerns are highlighted by a look at Section 4 of the ABC's own Code of Practice:
The ABC has a statutory duty to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism.
The Honest Reporting analysis goes on to say that Ms McNeill's reporting
does not show a clear record of separating her media career from her activism. And there is little doubt that her activism continues and influences her reporting in terms of how she frames stories, particularly about the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Like her ABC Jerusalem bureau predecessors, Sophie McNeill could have done - but didn't ever do - a report that ties the conflict, the controversies, the human dimension of events here in Israel with her home market of Australia by doing a story on the Malki Foundation.

As many who read our blog know, we created the foundation in 2001 in the weeks after the murder of our Melbourne-born daughter Malki. It does wonderful, non-sectarian work and positively impacts on people's lives. More than that, it's worth pointing out that there is zero political dimension to its activity. In fact, people familiar with it have often commented that the Malki Foundation is exemplary in the way it provides benefits to a needy segment of the population in Israel without any regard for the political views, religion or ethnicity of the beneficiaries - of whom there are many thousands (roughly one-third are Arabs).

Ms McNeill was invited to interview us founders at a charity benefit hosted by the then-ambassador of Australia to Israel in his official Herzliya residence in the summer of 2015. We were told at the time that she had accepted. But she failed to show up on the night and the interview never happened. Nor did she ever try after that (or before) to contact us. Her privilege, of course.

Now her time here is drawing to a close. An Australian Jewish News report in December said
ABC’S controversial Israel correspondent Sophie McNeill is set to move back to Australia to join Four Corners next year. McNeil has been the focus of several complaints from Jewish communal leaders, and politicians, since she became the ABC’s Middle East correspondent in 2015.
Yesterday, for what we therefore assume will be the first and last time, Ms McNeill included a reference to our murdered daughter in one of her reports - the one on Ahed Tamimi who joyously danced at the wedding of her adored cousin, Malki's killer.

Concerning our daughter, here's the little that Ms McNeill and the ABC said yesterday:
Israeli activists have long accused the Tamimi's of condoning violence, pointing to a cousin of Ms Tamimi's father, who was jailed 17 years ago for aiding a suicide bomber who killed 15 Israeli civilians in 2001 — including a 15-year-old who held Australian citizenship.
Just one sentence. Our comments:
  1. Condoning violence? No, that's what the ABC arguably does. Critics of the Tamimi clan say the Tamimis do violence and incite more violence and worse ["Advocates for Terror: Why Ahed Tamimi and Her Family are No Heroes", Tablet, January 5, 2018, for instance]. It goes way beyond condoning.
  2. Is it really only "Israeli activists" who see the reckless, dangerous and bigoted violence of Ahlam Tamimi and her uncles, aunts, cousins and extended clan? The FBI added Ahlam Tamimi to its Most Wanted Terrorists list in March 2017 and described her as "armed and dangerous". She faces Federal charges. The US State Department announced a $5 million reward for her apprehension and conviction three weeks ago. See also what we recounted in our recent article: "04-Feb-18: The embarrassing violence of Ahed Tamimi and its fig-leafers"
  3. "Pointing to a cousin of Ms Tamimi's father" is a disingenuous way of avoiding the notably tight-knit nature of the Tamimi clan. In an interview, Manal Tamimi (Bassem Tamimi's sister-in-law and aunt of Ahed) here described the Tamimi reality: "Almost 600 residents. Most of us are Tamimis, one big family". It's a key point in understanding how the Nabi Saleh villagers operate. We drilled into this in our widely-read article: "17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns". There's further little-known background in these posts of ours: "29-Aug-15: Revisiting a Palestinian Arab village and its monsters"; "01-Sep-15: A tale of two villages: one devoted to non-violence, another that actually exists"; and "19-Dec-17: Uncovering some of Nabi Saleh's hideous buried secrets"
  4. "For aiding a suicide bomber" is just as disingenuous. Ahlam Tamimi masterminded the August 2001 Sbarro pizzeria massacre. 15 people were immediately murdered; 130 or more were left badly injured and maimed; a sixteenth victim, a young mother when this happened, lies unconscious to this day and her then-two-year old daughter has been raised motherless. This was Ahlam Tamimi's second Arab-on-Israeli terror attack that month on behalf of Hamas, whose first-ever female terrorist she was. It earned her a criminal conviction from a notably furious judicial bench and an Israeli prison sentence of 16 life terms (in the end she served just 8 years). Some aid! It also turned her into a global, pan-Arab celebrity.
  5. "Including a 15-year-old who held Australian citizenship". That's factual enough. But with all Ms McNeill's fawning attention to the details of the Tamimis and especially 17 year old Ahed, it might have been appropriate for the reporter to state Malki Roth's name, that she too was a girl, and that she not only "held Australian citizenship" but was Melbourne-born with an extended family who are based in Melbourne. Small and insignificant points in some people's eyes, we know. But the absence of any attempt to humanize and connect to the murder of an Australian girl strikes us as cold, deliberate and agenda-driven. Consider also when Sophie McNeill last addressed Malki's tragic murder during the several years of her Jerusalem posting. Hint: never.
  6. On an ongoing basis, we want to engage the government of Australia to help us get the Sbarro bomber Ahlam Tamimi extradited from Jordan to the United States. She's wanted there, as we noted above, to face serious Federal charges and Australia has unusually good relations with the Hashemite Kingdom. Jordan is tight-lipped about its refusal to comply with its extradition obligation which arises under a signed and valid treaty (according to the US State Department). Parts of the Australian media gave this some appropriate attention during 2017: see "Help bring Malki’s murderer to justice, Mr Turnbull" and "Dad’s plea for justice as killer of Aussie girl spreads message of hate". But not Sophie McNeill, the only Australian reporter stationed in the city where we live. And not Australia's ABC. Busy, most likely.
We're not totally unrealistic. We realize that few people have the intensity of concern that we do about Malki's life and her murder. And that there might be very little interest in the story among the Australian news-consuming public. Those aren't our concerns. The pursuit of justice, never a quick process, continues to keep us focused and active, but has always gotten less media attention than we would have liked.  

But the Sophie McNeill phenomenon goes well beyond our private feelings. The ABC is one of Australia's most influential and significant national institutions. You don't have to be, to use Ms McNeill's inappropriate term, an Israeli activist to be outraged at the soft-pedaling she does on those who see value and even redemption in Palestinian Arab terrorism as the Tamimi clan do. 

She's entitled to her private ideological agenda - that goes without saying. But ABC management ought to be open enough and genuinely committed enough to the values of world-class journalism to know when to step in and object to brazen crusading, distortion and obvious manipulation of the news record. That's just outrageous.

In this latest case, they weren't and they aren't ready to act as far as we can tell and there are many losers as a result. And yes, of course we would have been glad to put these views to their Jerusalem correspondent if she had ever made contact.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

10-Feb-18: Two more Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attacks thwarted; both perpetrators are just 15

Totally unrelated to today's report, this product of the UN-operated
UNRWA school system has learned valuable skills involving household
tools which many of his age-mates have applied - under the influence
of inspiration from multiple levels of their society - to their daily lives 
Just yesterday, we posted ["09-Feb-18: At the Tomb of Patriarchs, yet another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack"] about what we called the sixth thwarted attack in and around the ancient and sacred Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron during the past two months.

Today there's yet another. Times of Israel reported around 4:00 pm this afternoon:
For the second day in a row, Border Police arrested a Palestinian suspect in the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, after finding a knife hidden under his clothes at the entrance to the Tomb of the Patriarchs holy site. After the 15-year-old boy set off the metal detector at a checkpoint outside the holy site, officers cocked their weapons at him and asked him to slowly raise his shirt. Upon recognizing the knife underneath, security forces detained the teen and took him in for additional questioning... ["Palestinian stopped outside Hebron holy site with knife", Jacob Magid in Times of Israel, February 10, 2018]
Times of Israel reports that in a separate thwarted attack yesterday (Friday), Israeli security forces arrested another armed Palestinian teenager at the entrance to the West Bank community of Hashmona'im, located just off Route 443 and a short stroll away from the city of Modi'in.

The 15 year-old from Bil'in had this knife on his body when arrested
at the entrance to Hashmona'im on Friday
Service personnel from the Border Guard (Mishmar Hagvul) police were alerted and ordered the suspect to stop. He ignored their command and was soon overpowered, arrested, searched and taken into custody. The would-be attacker, a resident of nearby Bil'in, was found to be armed with a knife. No one was injured though it's apparent to any intelligent observer that this, like today's attack, could easily have ended very differently.

With its easy access - located near major highways and half-way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Bi'in is host to an ongoing media-focused cottage industry of holding weekly "protests" to which members of the reporting industry have made their way on Friiday's throughout the past thirteen years [see Al Jazeera for background]

The underlying story, which is egregiously ignored by the mainstream media, is the way fifteen year-old Palestinian Arab children are front-line troops on behalf of the Palestinian Arab cause, having undergone a relentless and ongoing process of weaponization in their schools, social media and mosques.

Friday, February 09, 2018

09-Feb-18: At the Tomb of Patriarchs, yet another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli stabbing attack

Video capture [Source: YouTube] shows the checkpoint where the
alertness and cool-heads of the personnel prevented an awful outcome
It's a gorgeous early-Spring day here but the miserable problems of living side-by-side with significant numbers of violent and extremist neighbors are still with us.

Around noon today (Friday) for at least the sixth time in two months, another Palestinian Arab armed with a knife was apprehended by service personnel of the Border guard police as he attempted to enter the sacred Tomb of the Patriarchs complex with a concealed knife - in his case, a kitchen knife tucked into one of his socks.

According to Israel National News, the security people at the checkpoint
noticed that the 23-year-old Arab arriving at the site was behaving oddly, and asked him to walk through a metal detector. After the metal detector beeped a few times, the officers found a large kitchen knife hidden in one of the Arab's socks. Following an initial investigation, Border Police estimate that the Arab planned to carry out a stabbing attack at the Cave of the Patriarchs. The suspect has been taken for questioning.
Via Hebrew-language social media, it's noted that the thwarted attacker is a resident of Hebron.

09-Feb-18: Acting slowly in Jordan and the United States?

Jordanian king, US Secretary of State - April 2017
[Image Source: Wikicommons]
A syndicated article, "Despite reward for fugitive Palestinian terrorist, U.S. and Jordan remain slow to act", was posted Thursday to the JNS website.

Authored by the historian Rafael Medoff, it quotes several voices (including ours) expressing concern about the failure of Jordan's Hashemite government to hand over for extradition to the US the confessed mass-murdererer and fugitive FBI Most Wanted Terrorist, Ahlam Tamimi. She's the killer of our daughter, Malki, a US citizen. 

It opens this way:
The Trump administration has offered a $5 million reward for the capture of a Palestinian terrorist in Jordan, but apparently has not asked the Jordanian government to hand her over. Relatives of the terrorist’s victims are expressing disappointment and anger at what they call a half-hearted U.S. effort in this and similar cases. The terrorist at the center of the controversy is Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi, one of the masterminds of the Aug. 9, 2001 bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed in the blast, including two U.S. citizens: New Jersey schoolteacher Judith Greenbaum and 15-year-old Malki Roth... [MORE]
We hope it gets attention in some of the right places.

We have been in private dialogue of various kinds with officials from several parts of the US government since the important March 2017 announcement, right up until the past few days. It's hard to read the JNS article and not be deeply disheartened by the brick walls that Dr Medoff has encountered in trying to get clarity on what has been done these past ten months - and what has not.

Confessed murderer reacts on Aljazeera to US extradition
request
Also published yesterday, the US Secretary of State is making an official visit to Jordan in the next few days:
In Jordan, the top US diplomat will meet with King Abdullah II and Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Al-Safadi, the statement said. Tillerson will underscore the enduring strength of the US-Jordan relationship, engage with the Jordanian leadership on the conclusion of a new Memorandum of Understanding on bilateral assistance, and discuss key regional issues such as the ongoing crisis in Syria and Jordan's support for Middle East peace. [Source]
They will also, we assume, discuss the contemptuous way Jordan has brushed aside its 1995 extradition treaty obligations with its most important strategic ally. And make immediate plans for remedying that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

07-Feb-18: In Gush Etzion's Karmei Tzur, another Arab-on-Israeli knifing Wednesday morning

The secured entrance to Karmei Tzur this morning [Image Source]
At the secured entrance to the Israeli community of Karmei Tzur (an hour's drive south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem via the Tunnels Road) in Gush Etzion, a Palestinian Arab equipped with an attack knife stabbed one of the security people inside the booth at around 6:30 this morning (Wednesday). Times of Israel says a second security person shot the assailant and killed him.

The Israeli who suffered knifing injuries, said to be a male of about 34, was treated at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics. He was then rushed to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek hospital, fully conscious, for emergency care.

We're evidently in the midst of one of those periodic upticks in Arab-on-Israeli knifing attacks.

Meanwhile the narrative-spinning of the Palestinian Arab news media continues in its customary manner:
HEBRON, February 7, 2018 (WAFA) – A Palestinian was shot dead by an Israeli security guard on Wednesday following an alleged stabbing attack at an illegal settlement north of Hebron, Palestinian and Israeli reports said. The Israeli army said a Palestinian stabbed a security guard at Karmi Tsur settlement near Halhoul, north of Hebron, before another guard shot him dead. The stabbed guard was taken to hospital where he was reported in light condition. The Palestinian coordinating office identified the alleged attacker as Hamzeh Yousef Zamaareh, 19, from Halhoul. Palestinians said Israeli soldiers raided the Zamaareh home following the incident. WAFA correspondent said residents of the area where the Zamaareh home is located clashed with the soldiers. No injuries were reported. ["Palestinian shot dead following alleged stabbing attack north of Hebron", WAFA, this morning]
Martyr-style portraits of Zamaareh (or Zamareh) are already circulating in the terrorism-friendly parts of the social media. Here's one that suggests he worked in a pizzeria. His family will now become eligible for payments from the terrorism-encouraging PA Martyr's Fund ("Rewards for Terror"). This however will not be mentioned in any mainstream media reports.

Halhoul appears frequently in our blog posts. No prizes for guessing why. The most recent murderous attack emanating from Halhoul that we reported is this one: "17-Nov-17: Ramming/stabbing attack Friday morning at entrance to Efrat"

Monday, February 05, 2018

05-Feb-18: The victim of today's Arab-on-Israeli stabbing barbarism, a teacher and a father of four young children, has died of his injuries

Tragedy in Ariel: The Ben Gal family, destroyed by today's
murderous terrorist attack [Image Source: Ynet]
Israeli society is having to confront another extreme-bigotry-driven murder today and the tragic burden which has landed on a young family ill-equipped to deal with its weight.

Today, Monday afternoon, just outside the entrance to the Israeli city of Ariel, at about 2:30 pm, an Israeli man, standing on the sidewalk at a bus stop that also serves as a hitch-hike point, became the victim of an unprovoked stabbing attack. 

The knifer, a Palestinian Arab whom the security camera captures crossing the road and approaching his unsuspecting target from behind, fled the scene after plunging the knife into the victim's chest several times. He the object of an ongoing manhunt as we write this.

We know now that the man who came under attack is Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, a father of four young children who settled with his wife and family in the Israeli community of Har Bracha, a short distance from where the attack took place. He was given emergency care at the scene by a Magen David Adom ambulance team and army medics. Times of Israel reported that he was taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikvah but died of his wounds. He will be buried in Har Bracha tomorrow (Tuesday) morning.

Israel National News says Rav Ben Gal was an educator who worked with 8th graders at the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Givat Shmuel, a Tel Aviv suburban community, and taught as well in the Har Bracha Yeshiva.

Ynet says this about the suspected murderer now being tracked down:
The terrorist, investigators found, is 19-year old Israeli-Arab resident of Jaffa Abed al-Karim Adel Assi, a son of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father from Nablus... Despite being hit [by an Israeli motorist] al-Karim was able to escape with the help of an unidentified driver who picked him up near the scene of the incident. IDF forces are currently spreading out in the region in an effort to locate him. The terrorist's backpack was found on the scene containing a change of clothes and his Israeli ID card. The bag also contained a comb, hair gel, a lighter and a charger... Large concentrations of IDF forces entered the village of Kifl Haris, according to Palestinian reports, in their search of the terrorist.
Kifl Haris is a Palestinian Arab village which, according to some Jewish traditions, is the site of the graves of the Biblical figures Joshua, Caleb and Joshua's father Nun.

According to Ynet, the Islamist terrorists of Hamas issued a message from Gaza welcoming today's murder and asserting that it "is proof that the Al-Quds intifada continues".

UPDATE Tuesday February 6, 2018 at 2:00 pm:
According to a Times of Israel report today, the terrorist attacker who stabbed to death Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal yesterday has been advised to
Today's funeral for Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal [Image Source]
turn himself in to security forces, his mother tells Israel’s Channel 10 television news. Abed al-Karim Assi, 19, is suspected of stabbing to death Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal, 29, at the Ariel Junction in the northern West Bank. Assi holds Israeli citizenship and lives in Jaffa, defense officials said late Monday. He managed to evade capture following the attack, even after an IDF officer hit him with his car while in pursuit. Assi’s father lives in Nablus and his mother in Haifa. She tells Channel 10 she “hasn’t seen my son in a long time.” She says his actions “are unacceptable.” “What he did just ruined his life. He has no right to take a life,” she says.
Listening to his mother is good advice though probably hard for the stabber. Listening to Miriam, the mother of Itamar Ben-Gal's orphaned children, might be good advice too but in the current circumstances a lot harder for both sides.

UPDATE Wednesday February 7, 2018 at 9:30 am: There's a disturbing update report from Times of Israel -
The suspected terrorist behind the killing of a rabbi Monday was detained by soldiers in a confrontation at the scene a day before the attack and then released, the Ynet news site reported Tuesday night. According to the report 19-year-old Arab Israeli Abed al-Karim Assi arrived at the junction outside the settlement of Ariel on Sunday — a day before he is believed to have fatally stabbed 29-year-old Rabbi Itamar Ben-Gal at the same spot — and swore at soldiers stationed there. The soldiers are said to have detained him and examined his identification, then allowed him to go on his way... The military said a preliminary investigation showed soldiers had acted appropriately in accordance with the suspect’s behavior. Israeli security forces were still searching for Assi on Tuesday night. In the evening clashes broke out in Nablus as troops searched the West Bank city... ["Ariel killer was briefly detained by soldiers a day before attack", today]
The pursuit of Abed al-Karim Assi who video cameras "allege" stabbed to death Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal Z"L at the entrance to Ariel on Monday goes on. A report from i24news this morning says a Palestinian Arab was shot dead and five others, perhaps more, are critically injured as the IDF continues to search for the stabber in Nablus/Shechem. Reporter Khaled Abu Toameh says (via Twitter) says the injuries tally stands at 47.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

04-Feb-18: The embarrassing violence of Ahed Tamimi and its fig-leafers

Nariman, Bassem and Ahed Tamimi of Nabi Saleh
[Image Source]
We have more than the regular amount of interest in the in-your-face bigotry and incitement-to-extreme-violence of the loathsome Tamimi clan of Nabi Saleh. We have explained why over and again in past posts.

But for anyone fresh to this blog or to us - the parents of Malki Roth - or to the news industry's sickening and highly-selective fixation with the media-centric doings of the Tamimis, we suggest to start here:
With the background in mind, think now about the stream of news articles during the past six weeks that have delivered up softball versions of Tamimi analysis, driven by another (in a long series) of self-engineered "clashes" with the IDF in which the central player is, as always, Ahed Tamimi.

Today she's a young woman of seventeen (born January 31, 2001) who as we sit here writing these lines, is being held behind bars in an Israeli prison while a phalanx of publicists, reporters, TV presenters and politically-active non-governmental organizations calls with rising urgency for her unconditional release. 

We leave to readers to figure out for themselves why she was arrested and whether and on what terms she ought to be let loose. Our concern here is to cover matters that one high-profile news article after another in the past month and a half have simply ignored: what are her actual values? Where does she stand on the subject of real, physical Arab-on-Israeli violence of the lethal kind? (Given the obvious confusion about this in the media, the questions have surprisingly clear-cut answers.)

Our comments are prompted by an egregious case, the latest in a depressing series, of superficial and thus second-rate reporting, this time from a serious source: "Meet 17-year-old Ahed Tamimi, the new face of Palestinian resistance" [Derek Stoffel, Middle East Correspondent for CBC, the Canadian national broadcaster, February 4, 2018]. It's simply too painful to quote from. The link is there for anyone patient enough to read the same re-hash of Tamimi PR hand-outs.

It's not the poor reporting per se that is so enraging but the absence of two key elements that if disclosed would have put a fully-justified violent frame around (gritting our teeth) the charming portrait of a blonde girl with curls:
  • The connection between Ahed Tamimi and her idol, Ahlam Tamimi with whom she is related closely and in multiple ways and at whose 2015 wedding (to Ahed's cousin) little Ahed danced and gazed worshipfully at the bride for the cameras.
  • The terrorism-rich personal credo that the adorable Ahed recently recorded for her mother's video camera and which no reporter should ever dare to ignore in telling news-consumers the things worth knowing about this not-exactly-new "new face of Palestinian resistance".
Ahed Tamimi captured by her mother's video camera, responding to her
mother's request to share "a message to the world", December 15, 2017
[Source: YouTube]
The historian and analyst Petra Marquardt-Bigman has followed the violent Tamimi clan for some years and does an unparalleled job of providing a context to the often-context-free promoting that passes for journalism in much of the news industry.

Here's a small and highly relevant part of what she knows but CBC's man does not:
As reported by media around the world, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager, has been charged by Israeli authorities with assault, after she was filmed by her family kicking, punching and slapping Israeli soldiers in mid-December.
Nariman Tamimi, Ahed’s mother, live-streamed the incident and its aftermath on her Facebook page. About seven minutes into the video, when the soldiers Ahed had attacked – supported by her mother and a cousin – had left, Ahed was asked by her mother to send a “message to the world.” As you can see in this subtitled clip, Ahed seemed embarrassed for a moment, but then she responded by dutifully repeating the slogans she had grown up with.
I wish that everybody would participate in demonstrations because that is the only way for us to get results; because our strength is in our stones; and I wish that everybody all over the world would unite so we can liberate Palestine, because Trump must bear responsibility for the decision he took for any Palestinian reaction – be it stabbings, martyrdom-seeking operations [i.e. suicide bombings], throwing stones – everyone must do something. So we can unite this way, so we can get our message across in the required way and get this result, that is the liberation of Palestine, Allah willing.”
As shocking as it is to hear a girl who is just approaching her 17th birthday (on January 31) to casually list “stabbings” and “martyrdom-seeking operations” among the actions she wants others to take in support of her cause, there is no doubt that Ahed’s mother was pleased to hear her daughter express exactly the views she had been taught throughout her childhood. [From "Advocates for Terror: Why Ahed Tamimi and Her Family are No Heroes", Petra Marquardt-Bigman for The Tower, January 5, 2018] 
The entire video "message" in Arabic with English subtitles is here on YouTube.

June 16, 2012: Ahed Tamimi on stage in Amman, Jordan, gazes longingly at
her role-model cousin and Nabi Saleh's pride and joy, the boastful and
confessed murderer-who-got-away-with-it Ahlam Tamimi. The occasion
is the wedding of the Tamimi woman with another Nabi Saleh
murderer (who is also the bride's cousin as well as little Ahed's cousin),
Nizar Tamimi, the male in the photo. Everyone in the
picture is a blood-relative of everyone else. [Image Source]
There's another aspect to the journalistic wrong done by the Canadian: the absence of background. How did we get here? What caused this innocent child to develop her ideas, her attitudes, her fists?

The reality is that Ahed Tamimi has been groomed, trained, weaponized, hardened and massively exposed for years - and by the same manipulative pair of people the whole way: Mummy and Daddy. This is all a matter of the public record that remains just as public when reporters who ought to know better choose to ignore the record.

So Mr Stoffel, and the CBC people who oversee your work-product, please thumb through what we published here: "24-Dec-17: Nabi Saleh, the media and a Tamimi child's journey" And the excellent piece by Shoshana Keats Jaskoll that Forward published a month ago: "Why Is No One Talking About Ahed Tamimi’s Call For Stabbings?"

Articles like these and like the post you are browsing now are unlikely to get you to see things more clearly or very differently. But ignoring them turns your article into a shallow piece of cheap, amoral flim-flammery.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

03-Feb-18: Friday night Gazan rocket attack - the second in two nights

As the Sabbath departs, we're at our desk catching up on the developments of the past 25 hours. As happens far too often, terrorism is part of the story.

At about 9:30 pm Friday night, “Red Alert” in-bound-rocket warning sirens were heard across a broad swath of southern Israel. The last Arab-on-Israeli rocket attack emanating from Gaza was all the way back on... the previous evening (see our earlier report).

Israel National News quotes the IDF confirming that a rocket fired by hostile forces in Gaza exploded in an open region, causing no injuries and little damage. According to Haaretz, Israeli air force planes late Friday night struck two Hamas targets in Gaza by way of response, hitting what it called "terror targets belonging to Hamas" in the southern part of the Strip, part of a military facility. 

Thursday, February 01, 2018

01-Feb-18: UPDATED: From Gaza: infiltrators, rockets and reports of a lethal feud

You can know a lot about people from the things they
bring with them when they visit: The infiltrators had these
in their possession, plus grenades, says IDF
For the third time this week (see here and here), an Arab-on-Israeli infiltration attack was thwarted before the terrorists were able to do harm to others.

Israel National News says -
Four armed Arab terrorists were captured Thursday evening after they crossed the frontier into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip [and] were spotted when they approached the security fence and were apprehended shortly after they managed to cross the frontier... Israeli security personnel nabbed the four terrorists after the managed to penetrate the security fence along the Israel-Gaza border. After the four terrorists were captured, Israeli forces found the four were carrying two knives and a grenade. The suspects have been transferred for interrogation. ["Armed terrorists infiltrate from Gaza", Israel National News, February 1, 2018]
A comment in Times of Israel reminds us of often-overlooked aspects of infiltrations:
There have been cases of Gazans entering Israel with weapons not to carry out attacks, but in order to be arrested and sent to prison, rather than remain in the beleaguered coastal enclave, which is run by the Hamas terrorist group.
Scene of this afternoon's Gaza explosion [Image Source]
Gaza is in the news for additional reasons tonight. Reports around 6 this evening (Thursday) say an explosion in a residential building in the Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City has taken multiple lives, including children. The WAFA news agency says
Seven people were killed and at least 20 others injured in an explosion in a house in the densely populated Sabra neighborhood in Gaza city on Thursday evening, according to the Ministry of Health. WAFA correspondent said an explosion occurred in a house belonging to Abu Assi family in Sabra neighborhood, leaving seven people dead and 20 others injured some of them seriously. The house collapsed as a result of the explosion. The injured were moved to nearby al-Shifaa Medical Complex for treatment. Initial reports said the explosion resulted from the detonation of a gas cylinder at the house.
An AFP newsagency report quoted by Times of Israel has a very different take on what happened:
At least seven Palestinians died in an explosion in Gaza City Thursday, in what officials say was an intentional act after a family quarrel. “Seven people including children died, and around 30 others were injured in an explosion at a home” in Gaza City, a spokesman for the health ministry says. A police statement says a member of the Abu Assi family deliberately set a gas canister on fire during a family quarrel, leading to the explosion. It says police were investigating the circumstances of the incident. Eyewitnesses say the explosion caused serious damage to the two-story building. [AFP]
Given the opacity of most news emanating from inside the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, we might not ever know.

It's also a great pity that the news industry, whose principle role always, everywhere, is to explain news events to people who don't know about them and don't have the context and background to understand their implications, doesn't shine a little light on what happened in Gaza City. A "family quarrel" with many dead, some unknown number of them children? Go try to find that in your local news stream - TV, radio, Facebook, newspaper. The reality is that feuds among clans play a significant and expensive (in terms of lives ruined and lost) role in Palestinian Arab society:
Clans, which share many attributes with tribal structures but have developed along a different path, are a major factor in local politics and in many ways define the boundaries of what is politically possible... [This] quasi-tribal structure is detrimental to the emergence of a viable democratic culture, harnessing the power of the clans may prove critical at this stage for establishing authority in a fledgling Palestinian state—and understanding clans is thus a crucial part of the study of local Palestinian politics. A Palestinian state’s capacity to actually govern and execute its commitments in the Israeli-Palestinian political process; its monopoly over the means of violence; the possibility of democratization; and the effects of outside intervention on Palestinian political culture—all are to some extent dependent on this all-too-often ignored phenomenon. ["Clans and Militias in Palestinian Politics", Brandeis University, 2006]
The destructive reality of clans in Palestinian Arab life isn't the only thing worth knowing about how the conflict works or the most important. But many things don't make sense without understanding the clan phenomenon. And why the tragic, useless ad completely avoidable deaths of Gazan Arab children are going to have the smallest of impacts on the news cycle today.

UPDATE Friday February 2, 2018 at 8:00 am: The drama in and around Gaza continued late into the night. At least one terrorist rocket was fired from somewhere in Gaza (we don't know the details yet) in the general direction of Israel (the terrorists are indifferent as long as they hurt or damage something, anything, Israeli - that's why they're terrorists). According to Israel National News, this exploded near the border fence. (There are reports on social media saying two rockets.) There are no reports of injuries or damage. No incoming-rocket siren was sounded in the Gaza Belt communities. The Jerusalem Post quotes the IDF saying its forces struck a Hamas observation post in the northern Gaza Strip shortly afterwards in response.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

31-Jan-18: In Negohot, another thwarted Arab-on-Israeli attack today and military garb is involved again

Negohot [Image Source: Getty]
An attack that sounds worryingly similar to the one we reported this past Sunday ["28-Jan-18: In Itamar tonight, two uniformed infiltrators are thwarted"] was detected and stopped by alert Israeli security this afternoon (Wednesday). Today's happened at the Negohot community. With a population of about 300, it's in the Southern Hebron Hills area of Judea, part of the West Bank in Area C and therefore under full Israeli control.

Times of Israel says a Palestinian Arab male was arrested there earlier this afternoon
holding a knife and a map of the Israeli community, security forces said... “Soldiers apprehended a Palestinian suspect wearing a military-style jacket near the community,” the army said, adding that a knife and a map of the settlement were found in the suspect’s possession. “The suspect and the found items were transferred to [the] security forces,” the statement said.
The incident, which was reported around 1:30 pm, comes three days after a pair of Palestinians wearing army uniforms tried to infiltrate the settlement of Itamar in the northern West Bank. When arrested, one had a pair of binoculars but no weapons; the second one fled and has not been found yet.

We noted a while back [here] that Negahot has the dubious distinction of currently being one of Israel's four most-vulnerable communities. A report around that time [here] said the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Knesset - whose work covers the foreign affairs of the state, its armed forces and its security - was told that the IDF Homefront Command considers four Yehuda and Shomron communities to be under especially significant security threat. They are Elon Moreh, Otniel, Karmei Tzur and Negahot. The IDF urged the government to enhance the defenses of those places immediately. That evidently paid off this afternoon.

Many may remember the shocking murders [background here] that brought Negohot into the headlines fourteen years ago on Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) night, September 25, 2003. A Palestinian Arab attacker in the service of Palestinian Islamic Jihad - a resident of Dura, a nearby Palestinian Arab settlement - managed to get into the community armed with an M-16 rifle and two hand grenades. He knocked on the door of a home in the community as the family and their guests were seated at their holiday dinner. One of the guests, Eyal Yeverbaum, answered and was immediately shot to death. The gunman then fired on baby of seven months, Shaked Avraham, and killed her.

31-Jan-18: There's now a $5 million reward for bringing the terrorist Ahlam Tamimi to justice

The English version of yesterday's announcement. It also appears in
Arabic here.
Established in 1984, Rewards for Justice, a program of the US State Department has the goal of bringing
international terrorists to justice and prevent acts of international terrorism against U.S. persons or property... Since the inception of the Rewards for Justice program in 1984, the United States Government has paid more than $145 million to over 90 people who provided actionable information that put terrorists behind bars or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide. [The program's website]
Federal criminal charges were announced last March against Ahlam Tamimi, the mastermind of the 2001 Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria massacre. Our daughter Malki, 15, was one of the people, mostly children, killed in that Hamas-driven terror outrage. Tamimi described herself as Hamas' first woman agent.

If you follow our blog, it won't be news to you that Tamimi has been living a celebrity's life in Amman, Jordan since her extorted release from an Israeli prison cell in the 2011 Shalit Deal. She was the only one of the 1,027 terrorists freed in that catastrophic transaction who was sent into "exile" in Jordan. Since she was born in Jordan in 1980 and lived in Jordan, getting her education there until a couple of years before executing the Sbarro attack and went back to living in Jordan today with a cousin who is now her husband, it's not really exile and never was.

There is one practical result of the decision to send her to Jordan that's worth noting: as we wrote earlier this week:
No fewer than 420 of the 1,027 let loose in the Shalit Deal are again engaged in the satanic work of doing more terror. 210 of the 1,027 have already been re-arrested by the IDF. Some 100 are currently back in the Israeli prison system...  ["29-Jan-18: Freeing unrepentant terrorists and the horrors it has brought"]
Tamimi is as active as ever representing Hamas and inciting to more terror. On any view, she is an active terrorist again and therefore is in breach of the terms of the condition that attached to her commutation of sentence and everyone else's in the Shalit Deal: go back to terror and your sentence is reinstated. But unlike almost all the other Shalit Deal beneficiaries she lives in Jordan where the Hashemite Kingdom identifies with her and shields her. Bottom line: Israel cannot touch her.

We have campaigned to have the US step up its efforts, first announced in Washington on March 14, 2017, to have Jordan hand her over to the US authorities so that she can be brought before a judge in Washington to face trial.

It's beyond doubt that Jordan has had an extradition treaty with the United States since 1995 ["26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan's foreign minister and we have 10 questions"] and that Jordanian citizens have in fact been extradited to the US within its framework.

Jordan now formally denies that the signed treaty is valid and in effect ["20-Mar-17: The Hashemite Kingdom's courts have spoken: The murdering FBI fugitive will not be handed over"].

The full-size Arabic language reward poster
can be downloaded here.
The US does not agree with Jordan on this, and says the treaty is in effect, that it is perfectly valid and that Jordan should just hand her over.

Tamimi was named to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list that same day last March. There are currently 28 terrorists on the list. None of them was added to it later than 2013 except for Tamimi. (About this, we're not drawing any conclusions.) And none of those wanted terrorists is hiding in Jordan. For that matter, neither is Tamimi though it's where she lives and principally operates when she's not traveling around the Arab world on celebrity visits and pro-terror rallies.

Which brings us to yesterday's important and welcome announcement ["Information that brings to justice | Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi | Up to $5 Million Reward"] made in Washington:
The Rewards for Justice Program is offering up to $5 million for information leading to al-Tamimi’s arrest or conviction for her role in this [Jerusalem Sbarro] attack, as part of the 1993 Violence in Opposition to the Middle East Peace Negotiations reward offer... Hamas has been designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity under E.O. 13224. [Source]
So how hard will it be to track down this confessed murderer?

Not as hard as you might imagine. Within Jordan, for reasons worth pondering, she's not thought of as a jihadist felon at all but more as a national hero of "resistance". To illustrate: she shared a prominent speaking platform just a few weeks ago in Amman with no less than a former Jordanian prime minister and several current and former national level politicians. [The details are in our post: "05-Jan-18: In Jordan, the FBI fugitive Ahlam Tamimi (among others) pays tribute to her slapping/taunting/kicking Tamimi cousin"].

Note that this occurred nine months after the United States called on Jordan to comply with its long-established treaty obligations going back to the Clinton Administration, and to hand her over to them for prosecution on some of the most serious charges that ever arise.

To some people, it will seem like a pungent message, even an insult, to the US from its heavily-dependent Jordanian client and partner in the battle against terrorists that Jordan said - and has stuck to saying - "no".

What might the Rewards for Justice development now do? Well, the Amman bureau chief of Associated Press had no difficulty arranging an interview in Tamimi's Amman home last March, filming a video clip (to our fury, we are in it too) that was then posted to YouTube. Many additional media organizations, among them Aljazeera, have managed to somehow find her and give her coverage and publicity in the past 9 months without struggling to locate her home. She might even be listed in the phone directory. Our understanding is she has not been in hiding at any stage since re-establishing herself in her Jordanian homeland in October 2011. And still is not.

We have questions about how the new reward works, including how it's going to be advertised. We have shared some of our concerns with the US authorities about aspects of the hard road to here and what's ahead. But we will save those matters for another time.

Monday, January 29, 2018

29-Jan-18: Freeing unrepentant terrorists and the horrors it has brought

New York Times, October 18, 2011
We haven't been shy about expressing the deeply negative feelings we have for the catastrophic 2011 Shalit Deal and for the decision-making and consultation with members of the community of victims of terror (of which there was none) that led Israel's government to enter into it.

Before the October 2011 mass release, we said this:
This deal is a disaster,” he [Arnold Roth] said of the exchange for the Israeli soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, as he sat with his wife, Frimet, on the balcony of their Jerusalem apartment. “Some of these people will go back to murdering. They pose an existential threat to all of us” ... “This is not a political issue for us,” he said. “I am not some raving right-winger. We too share the joy of the Shalit family. But the victims are being marginalized. We object on principle. We see ourselves as agents of the children who will be killed by the graduates of this release.” ["In Israel, Swap Touches Old Wounds", Ethan Broner in the New York Times, October 14, 2011]
and
"...She's got a life [referring to Ahlam Tamimi, mastermind of the Sbarro massacre] that's being handed back to her as a result of this transaction... Many hundreds of convicted murderers are going to be released for no other reason that the Government of Israel saw no alternative. Obviously, everyone in this country is delighted if this is going to produce a healthy and well Gilad Shalit, but that's not the whole deal - and the parts of the deal that involve allowing terrorists back on the streets are a recipe for a terrible outcome." [Arnold Roth interviewed on Lateline/Australia's ABC, October 13, 2011]
and
"With today’s decision to free the terrorists, prime minister Netanyahu, a savvy politician to the core, conveys to us his disdain for the lives of ordinary citizens like my Malki; his disrespect for Israel's justice system; and his lack of regard for the soldiers who faced death in order to apprehend the terrorists about to be freed. Which rational soldier or police officer is going risk his life in the future to defend us from the monsters like Tamimi, sworn to murder still more Jews? The prime minister is quoted this morning saying that his "heart goes out" to Israel’s many terror victims. His actions and those of his cabinet suggest otherwise. How can they sleep at night, knowing the peril they have brought onto their people?" [Frimet Roth - "A mother's statement", October 14, 2011]
and
[The] murderer of our daughter and of 14 other people, the majority of them women and children, is on the release list as we feared for years she would be... Has our government taken into account what the release means to families like us, and we are in the thousands, who have suffered the worst possible loss and now see the perpetrators dancing and prancing in the arms of their supporters? Everyone wants Gilad Shalit home, safe and well. If we were his parents, we might have done what the Shalits did. But this is not the same as deciding, as prime minister or as the cabinet, what is good for the country, for the people of Israel. The jubilation emanating from the two Palestinian Arab governments tonight, the Hamas and the Abu Mazen regimes, should make clear to Israel's friends everywhere that something dreadful has happened tonight. We may come to bitterly regret this transaction for years to come... [From Frimet and Arnold Roth's statement to an Australian newspaper, October 12, 2011]
and many other similar things via public statements, interviews and op eds.

Nadav Shragai, a respected veteran of Israel's brand-name media, and for years a correspondent at Haaretz, has a lengthy analytical article in the English edition (which is published online only) of the high-circulation Yisrael Hayom daily. (Amos Schocken, the publisher of Haaretz, is quoted on Wikpedia saying that Shragai was a journalist with clear opinions with which he largely disagreed, but "his opinions never influenced his news reporting, which was always professional".) Datelined January 26, 2018, it's entitled "Warning – abductions planned". Not surprisingly to anyone paying attention to terrorist attacks on Israelis these past six years and in light of what he writes, our statements were painfully accurate.

In our words, some of Shragai's revelations (direct quotes are in italics):
  • No fewer than 420 of the 1,027 let loose in the Shalit Deal are again engaged in the satanic work of doing more terror. 210 of the 1,027 have already been re-arrested by the IDF. Some 100 are currently back in the Israeli prison system.
  • "Terrorists freed in the Schalit deal have directly or indirectly been involved in the murder of seven Israelis, including the three teens abducted in Gush Etzion in June 2014, as well as Rabbi Michael Mark and Baruch Mizrahi."
  • Shragai, referring to reports from the Palestinian Authority, says Shalit Deal releasees are currently "working to carry out attacks in various parts of the West Bank and their main goal is another abduction of an Israeli". 
  • The Gaza operations of Hamas are now led by graduates of the Shalit Deal who are keeping Gaza relatively quiet while they "rebuild themselves [and] hatching plans for terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria, all while continuing to shake up the regime of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
  • One of those is Yahya Sinwar of whom we wrote recently ["13-Feb-17: Another Shalit Deal milestone: Four terms of life imprisonment but this murdering jihadist now heads Hamas in Gaza"]. He is aided by Tawfiq Abu Naim [we mentioned him in 2012] and Zuhair Jabarin, another Shalit Deal graduate. Sinwar, while serving a term of four life sentences for planning terrorist attacks and before being freed by Israel, was involved in planning the lethal kidnapping of a young IDF service man, Nahshon Waxman.
  • In the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, Shalit Deal beneficiaries play a major terrorist role as well. A Jordanian with close ties to Iran, Maher Obeid was put in charge of Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks in the West Bank in late-2017 [see this Ynet backgrounder] after Saleh al-Arouri, who was freed prior to the Shalit Deal, was promoted in October 2017 to become the deputy head of Hamas. 
  • al-Arouri has been the focus of several of our posts. One of the founders of Hamas, he is a veteran of Israel's prison system where he spent 15 (some say 18) years. On release in 2007, he was expelled to Syria. Hamas' offices in Syria were shut down in 2012, at which point he and several terrorist colleagues were welcomed to Turkey. He appears in several of ours posts: "22-Dec-15: Has a Hamas terror insider just been thrown out of Turkey?"; "11-Dec-15: The price of the Shalit Deal and the countries that help it keep rising"; "27-Nov-14: Hamas terrorist ring is busted; Israel says the handlers operate from Turkey; Qatar is involved"; "30-Sep-14: Martyrs and monsters"; "11-Sep-14: Freeing terrorists: The price in human lives lost and in justice perverted keeps getting clearer".
  • Three Shalit Deal graduates now report directly to Obeid: Abdel Rahman Ranimat (also written as Abed a-Rahman Ghaminat) [a central figure in this post of ours: "11-Sep-14: Freeing terrorists: The price in human lives lost and in justice perverted keeps getting clearer"] is in charge of the Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho regions. Abdullah Arar [profiled in "01-Jan-18: Another reason we call it the catastrophic Shalit Deal"] controls Jerusalem and Ramallah. Forsan Khalifa runs what we call Samaria, the northern part of the West Bank.
  • Dozens of terrorist attacks, including many that were thwarted, over the past year were initiated by this leadership and by other Shalit Deal releasees.
  • They have also been instrumental in so-called smaller Arab-on-Israeli terror attacks in which firebombs (otherwise known as Molotov Cocktails) were the weapons of choice rather than guns, rifles, knives and vehicle rammings. These have risen greatly in number over the past few weeks: 84 in November 2017, but then 249 in December 2017. Shragai notes that another Shalit Deal releasee was the driver of the wave of such attacks in the area of Dura until he was sent back to prison.
Other prominent Shalit Deal releasees mentioned in the Yisrael Hayom article because of their revived active terrorism roles:
  • Hussam Badaran who "oversaw an attempt by Hamas operatives from Hebron to commit terrorist kidnappings of Israeli civilians or soldiers". We have much more to say about this terrorist: see "13-Jun-13: Little-known sides to the post-Shalit careers of unjustly released killers"
  • Hashem Abdel Kader Ibrahim Hijaz "tried to launch terrorist abductions near Ramallah, using a local Hamas operative.
  • Mazen Fuqaha, another leader of Hamas' West Bank command who was killed in Gaza in March 2017, also devoted his energy to preparing a massive abduction. Fuqha was responsible for the suicide bus bombing at the Meron junction in 2002 that killed nine people. Sentenced to nine terms of life imprisonment, he served only nine years before being freed in the Shalit Deal.
  • "The Hamas cell that planned a series of terrorist attacks to be launched at the train station in Binyamina, the central synagogue in Zikhron Yaakov and the bus station in Wadi Ara, was also planning a kidnapping. The cell, which consisted of two residents of the village of Bani Naim near Hebron and an Israeli Arab from Wadi Ara, was funded by a group of terrorists freed in the Schalit deal. They kept in touch via Facebook."
  • Ruhi Mushtaha "another senior figure in Hamas who is close to Sinwar, had been assigned seven life sentences for his involvement in the Waxman abduction, was also released in the Schalit deal. Mushtaha was involved in assembling the list of prisoners Hamas wanted to be released. Since Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, he has also been in charge of the Hamas prisoners portfolio."
  • Mohammad al-Sharatha, "a member of the terrorist cell that kidnapped and murdered IDF soldiers Avi Sasportas and Ilan Saadon in two separate abductions in 1989."
All of them, back in the same lethal business that long prison sentences ought by rights, and by reason of justice, to have terminated.

Image Source: FBI
Shragai doesn't mention her but Ahlam Tamimi deserves a place in the gallery of monsters. 

We have written frequently about her; she's our child's unrepentant murderer. The Shalit Deal enabled her to walk free, return to Jordan where she was born and where most of her family lives, to marry in a widely-watched celebration - to another Shalit Deal murderer/releasee, to start a family, to host her own TV show and present it to a global audience for nearly five years, to become a celebrity guest at guilds, colleges, schools and universities in several Arab countries and especially in Jordan, and to be a media-smart spokesperson for the deeply bigoted jihadist mission exemplified by Hamas.

The strikingly undeserved peace and quiet she has found in Jordan despite (thanks to the Hashemite regime - "26-Jul-17: We listened carefully to Jordan's foreign minister and we have 10 questions") being on the run from the FBI is one of the many reasons we hold, and will continue to express, strongly critical opinions about the process that handed her freedom back to her and to many hundreds of additional loathsome murderers.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

28-Jan-18: In Itamar tonight, two uniformed infiltrators are thwarted

One of tonight's two suspected
infiltrators, healthy and well and
being interrogated [Image Source]
The armed security, cameras and boom gates that are a regular feature of almost every Israeli community in Judea and Samaria are there for pragmatic and fully-justified reasons. Those are on public display this evening as news emerges around 7 Sunday evening of a thwarted terrorist infiltration in Samaria.

According to JPost.com, a Palestinian Arab was arrested this evening outside Itamar
and searches are being carried out for another suspect on suspicion that the two tried to enter the village wearing IDF-style uniforms, according to the Itamar Security Team.
From Times of Israel:
Army foils attempt by 2 Palestinians in IDF uniforms to infiltrate settlementArmy says one of the suspects captured but was apparently not armed, while troops search for the other around Itamar in the northern West Bank
January 28, 2018 | 8:13 pm
A pair of Palestinians dressed in IDF uniforms tried to infiltrate a Jewish settlement in the northern West Bank on Sunday, the army said. One of the suspects, who was detained by IDF troops near Itamar, had a pair of binoculars, but no weapons. Troops were interrogating the suspect who was caught in order to determine whether the pair had been attempting to carry out a terror attack or had criminal motive, Hadashot TV news reported. Soldiers were scouring the area between the settlement and the Palestinian village of Beit Furik for the second suspect, the army said.
Infiltrators dressed in IDF uniforms are a frightening thought. But as the photo above indicates, and with due respect to the news sources that claimed otherwise, it's not at all clear to us that these two Arabs in khaki were wearing IDF uniforms. Whether they had terror on their minds is also still a question though it's obvious their presence inside Itamar was not intended to benefit the local residents. (We're certainly not casting doubt on the need for tonight's intruders to be stopped and apprehended, whatever their agenda.)

Israel National News says the infiltration attempt was done via Itamar's back entrance - and local authorities in the area have instructed residents to stay in their homes for now until the second suspected terrorist is found and taken into custody.

Itamar, an Israeli community located about 5 kilometers south-east of Nablus/Shechem that was first settled in 1984, has a population of about 1,200. Nearly seven years ago, we wrote ["19-Apr-11: What happened that awful Sabbath night in Itamar?"] of the hideous massacre by Palestinian Arab terrorists of five members of the Fogel family, residents of the community. Wikipedia notes that
Itamar and its residents have been targeted several times by Palestinians terrorists in the past, three such incidents taking place between May and July 2002, a fourth in August 2004 and another [the Fogel atrocity] in 2011, which have caused more than a dozen deaths...
UPDATE Monday January 29, 2018 at 10:00 am: The search for the second thwarted intruder continues this morning but there have been some developments. Times of Israel reports:
Soldiers combing the area where two Palestinians apparently tried to sneak into a West Bank settlement found six Molotov cocktails, the army said Monday. The incendiaries were discovered near the settlement of Itamar... near the area where the two Palestinians were spotted, the army said. It said searches were ongoing. The army said Sunday night it was investigating if the Palestinians had planned to attack Israelis. The suspect who was caught had a pair of binoculars, but no weapons, the IDF said.
A Palestinian Arab news source, WAFA, says
"Clashes erupted on Sunday night in Beit Furik, to the east of Nablus, following an Israeli army raid of the village, according to Palestinian security sources... Soldiers raided the village after allegedly arresting a Palestinian believed to be from Beit Furik near the illegal settlement of Itamar. The army claimed the Palestinian was wearing army uniform. Another one got away, said the army."