Tag Archives: terrorism

The Hebron Massacre: 88 Years On

Eighty-eight years ago, one of the darkest events in the history of the Jewish community in pre-state Israel occurred. In Hebron, the second holiest city in Judaism, local Arabs massacred the Jewish community, murdering 67 and injuring over 50.

Arabs, hearing false rumors that Jews were planning on seizing control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and that Jews had massacred Arabs in Jerusalem, started attacking Jews. At around 8:30am on a Shabbat morning, the first attack was staged, as a mob of Arabs armed with long iron bars, long knives, and axes entered a Jewish house in Hebron and stabbed the occupants to death.

Student of Hebron Yeshiva lost his hand in the attack (Wikipedia)

Soon after, the mob entered the house of Eliezer Dan Slonim, the son of the Rabbi of Hebron, and asked if he would hand over Ashkenazi students from the Hebron Yeshiva. He declined, and in turn was shot dead along with his 4 year old son. The Arabs kept screaming that they were “going to Jerusalem to slaughter all the Jews” according to one witness. The attackers were going from door to door, slaughtering everyone who was inside. The screams and the moans were terrible. People were crying “Help! Help!”

The attack on the Jewish community did not just involve murdering Jews in their homes, the mob of Arabs looted and destroyed a Jewish hospital, which often treated Arabs. Synagogues along with Torah scrolls were also destroyed, and a Jewish library was burned down.

Synagogue in Hebron destroyed (Jewish Virtual Library)

One third of the Jewish community of Hebron were murdered, including 24 yeshiva students and numerous Americans. Some Jews were saved by local Arabs who hid them in their houses. Nineteen Arab families saved dozens if not hundreds of Hebron’s Jews, the one shining light from a terrible day.

The event marked the end of a centuries old presence of the Jewish community in Hebron. After the attack, the British authorities evacuated the 484 survivors, including 153 children, to Jerusalem. Jews were unable to then return to Hebron, barred by the British authorities. Once Israel was established, the area was under Jordanian rule, keeping the city uninhabitable for Jews.

In 1967, Israel captured Hebron along with the rest of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) from Jordan. With the city under Israeli control, Jews started moving back, 38 years after the massacre. Today there are over 500 Jews living in Hebron.

Jewish community returned to Hebron after the 1967 Six Day War (Jewish Community of Hebron)

The Hebron Massacre was a significant moment in the history of Zionism. The Massacre signified the need of Jews in Palestine to have a force to protect them, and therefore the event led to the re-organization of the Haganah, which later became the Israel Defense Forces.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern. 

PBS Stands by “Dying to Be a Martyr” Curriculum (Part 1)

Early in April, the conservative news website the Blaze reported on a lesson plan about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict geared towards high school students on PBS’ website. The lesson plan, titled, “Dying to be a Martyr,” includes video clips of interviews with three young Arab men who either committed terror bombings against Israelis or planned to commit them.

As the Blaze pointed out, “no instructions are provided telling teachers to denounce the radical claims made by Majdi [who participated in a terror attack that killed 17 people] and there are no other lesson plans describing the conflict from the point of view of the Israelis.”

The written materials that accompany the videos are also extremely one-sided, and prompt students to sympathize with the Palestinian side.

Shortly after the Blaze and a few others reported on the lesson plan, the (now-former) PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler wrote about the lesson plan and the coverage of it on his blog. Of the lesson plan itself, Getler wrote that, “my own reading of the lesson plan was that the overall tone it projected was more tilted toward understanding the plight of the Palestinians—which is very real—than to the impact, and especially the immorality, of suicide bombings as a recourse; that the most powerful elements were those bomber videos and that it was more focused on the drama of capturing the voices and desperation of the bombers than on the immorality of the act itself.”

Despite these comments from its own Ombudsman, PBS has neither removed the lesson plan nor altered the content.

A Hamas terrorist.

The Lesson Plan’s Objectives

One of the stated objectives of the lesson plan is to “explain why individuals and groups sometimes turn to tactics of terrorism, and evaluate how terrorism affects the world we live in.” Indeed, one of the student organizer worksheets asks students about the impact of the bombing on Israelis. Yet, there is no video or written material that discusses how individuals and societies are affected by terror.

Moreover, the only information about why people engage in terrorism is the statements of the two bombers and the would-be bomber themselves. There is no mention of the fact that the Palestinian Authority pays salaries to terrorists, or of the undeniable causal connection between those salaries and terror. This omission is despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority law has been in effect unofficially “since the PA came into existence in 1993 … and [it was] made official in 2004.”

Nor is there any mention of incitement in statements by Palestinian leaders, in books and lessons in PA schools, and media. For example, a recent study by the Center for Near East Policy Research found that “over 200 US-government- approved textbooks used in hundreds of Palestinian UNRWA-sponsored schools are reportedly teaching Arab children between the first and ninth grades to kill Israelis, and sacrifice themselves as martyrs to drive Jews out of the country.”

Therefore, the lesson plan does not provide the necessary material for students to accomplish its stated goal.

The Lesson Plan’s Video Materials

The lesson plan’s Overview states:

This lesson will use video segments from Wide Angle‘s “Suicide Bombers” (2004), Internet sites, and primary sources to examine the roots of the Middle East conflict. The video contains interviews with young Muslim Palestinians who participated—or intended to participate—in suicide bombings. These young Palestinians share the personal, religious, political and emotional reasons behind their participation in these terrorist operations.

As is made clear, the three video interviews with terrorists are central to the lesson. There are no videos with interviews of terror attack survivors or family members of those killed to provide balance.

Two of the three clips are from an interview with 18-year-old Mohanned Abu Tayyoun, who planned a terror attack but then changed his mind and did not go through with it. The third video features two subjects, 25-year-old Majdi Amer, who built the bomb that killed 17 people and wounded 50, and another terrorist whose name is not given.

While playing the videos of Mohanned, teachers are instructed to ask students “to identify how Mohanned views his life and how he feels it differs from the lives of Israelis (Jews),” and “why Mohanned may feel that way.” PBS tells us, “answers may include: Palestinians have less land, fewer privileges, cannot come and go as they please.” They are not instructed to ask students to identify how a survivor of a terror attack feels nor the feelings of family members whose loved one was killed in a terror attack. The worksheet students are to be given after viewing the videos asks, “how does history relate to the anger of Palestinian suicide bombers towards the state of Israel and Jews, as seen in the video clips?” There are no questions asking how Jews or Israelis might feel about being attacked in 1948, 1967, 1973, or in hundreds of terror attacks. The materials are set up to prompt students to sympathize with the Palestinian side.

In the third video, titled “Israel and Palestine,” terrorist Majdi tells viewers, “if the Israelis kill a child in Gaza, I’m ready to kill one in Tel Aviv.” The students are not given any information, however, about why a child may have been killed in Gaza. Thus, the material leads them to a false understanding of the two killings as morally equivalent.

Majdi continues, “I’m a person who looks for peace, who calls for peace, but with one basic condition, the freedom of my country and people, and to put an end to this Nazi state, this racist Jewish state.” The students are never told that peace and freedom were offered to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000, and again in 2001 – years before Majdi’s 2003 attack – and rejected by the Palestinian Authority’s then-President, Yasser Arafat, in favor of violence.

The second terrorist interviewed in the same video tells his audience, “it’s the duty of every Muslim to liberate this land, every inch of it, so, we acted accordingly, struggled to free all of Palestine, the whole of it, the areas occupied in 1948, as well as the West Bank and Gaza strip, all of it.” There is no instruction, however, to compare this statement with other statements in the lesson plan that this is a struggle over getting a fair share and an even division of the land.

 

To continue reading this article, part two can be found here.

This article was originally published by CAMERA’s Karen Bekker at camera.org.

16 Years Ago, Hamas Murdered 13 Israelis at a Pizzeria

Sixteen years ago, Israel suffered what would be one of the most well-known terror attacks to hit Jerusalem, the Sbarro suicide bombing. The bombing was one of the most striking attacks of the Second Intifada, and still haunts Jerusalemites.

The bombing took place in Sbarro, a fast-food Pizza chain. Its restaurant was located on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road, one of the busiest intersections in the center of Jerusalem.

The aftermath of the 2001 Sbarro Suicide Bombing (Wiki Commons)

A suicide bomber, Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, acting on behalf of Hamas, walked into the restaurant at 2pm, when it was filled with customers, including women and children, and blew himself up. The blast killed 13, all civilians, and wounded 130. Among the dead were eight children and a pregnant American woman.

The bomber received help from fellow Palestinian Ahlam Tamimi who picked the target. She was later arrested and sent to prison. During her time in prison she was interviewed by a journalist, and when he informed her of the number of children killed in the attack, she smiled. Tamimi was released from prison in 2011 and sent to Jordan as part of the prisoner exchange with Hamas for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, but the US is now seeking her extradition.

Mordechai and Tzira Schijveschuurder, both children of Holocaust survivors were killed in the attack along with three of their children. Two other daughters, Leah, 11, and Chaya, 8, were critically injured. Chaya gave her testimony to The Guardian.

“We were hungry, so Mommy said we could go to a restaurant to eat. In that restaurant, you have to pay first and only afterwards you sit down to eat. When we were at the cash register, we suddenly heard an explosion. I ran out as fast as I could. I didn’t look at anything. I just ran out. A medic, I don’t know his name, took me to an ambulance and that is where I saw Avraham Yitzhak (her brother) for the last time.

I said to him, ‘Avraham Yitzhak!’ but he didn’t say anything. After that they took me on a stretcher to the hospital, and I had to have an operation to remove the screws that entered my liver and leg. I saw a sign on the door that said ‘Operating Room’ and started to cry. After that I didn’t see anything.

In my house, they are sitting ‘shiva’ right now. My brothers came here with their torn shirts. I asked them ‘Why are your shirts torn?’ but they didn’t want to tell me that my parents were dead. My brothers were not with us in the restaurant. They found me first. After that, they found out that my sister and my brother were dead.”

The bombing of the Sbarro pizza chain in Jerusalem was just one of many that Israel faced during the Second Intifada, a wave of Palestinian terrorism which murdered over 1,000 Israelis from 2000-2005.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern. 

The First (and Last) Time El Al’s Security was Breached

El Al is known for being one of the safest airlines in the world. As a result of the terrorism Israel faces, Israel’s national carrier has no choice but to be extremely vigilant when it comes to security. Yet one day in El Al history stands out, the first and last time an El Al flight has been hijacked, 49 years ago this week.

El Al flight 426 had just taken off from Rome on route to Tel Aviv when 3 terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine burst into the cockpit, clubbed the co-pilot with the butt of his pistol, and ordered the plane to fly to Algiers, the Algerian capital.

Once the plane had landed in Algeria, the Algerian authorities took control of the operation. They separated all Israelis from the rest of the passengers, allowing non-Israelis to go free. The action of separating Jews from non-Jews brought back terrible memories for the Jewish people and their state, just over 20 years after the end of the Holocaust.

El Al Boeing 707 Plane (Wikipedia)

The Algerians demanded of Israel the release of all Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were convicted terrorists, in exchange for the Israeli passengers and crew. At the same time, a variety of international efforts by the UN, Italy and the International Federation of Airline Pilots’ Associations were underway to secure the release of the Israelis.

International pressure on Algeria, including through boycotts and other measures, led to the Algerians decreasing the significance of their demands. By this point, the Israelis had been held hostage for 5 weeks. After negotiations between the Israeli and Algerian governments, an agreement was reached where Israel would release 16 Palestinian prisoners in return for the Israeli passengers and crew. Lasting 40 days, it was the longest hijacking of a commercial plane, and that record still stands today.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern. 

Arab World Ignores Terror Attack, Chooses to Victim Blame Israel

On Friday, two Israeli Border Police were murdered in a terror attack by an entrance to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. After committing their attack, the terrorists then fled to the Temple Mount, and were eventually shot and killed after being chased by Police.

The attack received widespread condemnation from the West and within Israel and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the attack.

But within a large segment of the Arab world, instead of focusing on the attack, politicians focused on Israel’s temporary closure of the Temple Mount for security reasons.

Jordan’s Minister of Waqf and Islamic Affairs Wael Arabiyat warned of “continued unprecedented harm to the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque” as a result of the closure. The Arab League issued a statement condemning Israel for its closure of the Temple Mount, but did not mention the attack which caused it. And the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, also criticized the closure, calling it “a serious crime and a dangerous precedent.”

Yet it wasn’t just politicians who ignored the attack, deciding to focus on the closure instead. The Arab media excessively focused on the closure, spouting aggressive and hateful language against Israel. A significant number of Arab media outlets even used cartoons to express their hateful message.

Saudi newspaper Al Watan printed a caricature of a Star of David with Satan’s horns, which is eating the Dome of the Rock (Ynet)

Newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi based in London, criticized what they deemed as a weak response by the Muslim world, which is portrayed as an ostrich burying its head in the sand while the Al-Aqsa Mosque bleeds. (Ynet)

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, based in Qatar, showed the mosques on the Temple Mount closed off with yellow crime scene tape marked with the Star of David and a sign that says “No entry.” (Ynet)

The Arab world have stated that Israel’s temporary closure of the Temple Mount would spark violence and terrorism. Yet it isn’t Israel which is causing tensions to rise, it is the Arab politicians and media themselves. The fiery statements and cartoons featured above, only increase the divisions between Israelis and Palestinians, and undoubtedly have an effect in radicalizing Palestinians to commit terror attacks. Imagine how a young Palestinian would feel seeing those cartoons. It would of course spark emotions of anger and hate.

If the Arab world, like the West, acknowledged some of the necessary actions Israel must take in the fight against terrorism, and unwaveringly condemned terror attacks against Israelis, then violence would eventually subside. Maybe if the Arab media stopped with their lies about Israel planning on changing the status-quo at the Temple Mount, tempers would die down.

But the more the Arab world ignores terror, and continues its fiery rhetoric and lies about Israeli actions on the Temple Mount, the more violence will occur.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern.

Britain Seeks Israel’s Help in Fighting Terrorism

After a significant rise in terror attacks in Britain this year, British security agencies are looking for different ways to prevent terrorism. One country that has unfortunately had to face the brunt of terrorism for decades is Israel. A British team is set to travel to Israel to learn from the Jewish state’s counter terrorism methods.

London has faced an increase in terror attacks recently (Daily Express)

The British team is due to view Israel’s counter-terrorism methods, and see what they can adapt to implement in the UK. The UK has already started introducing physical barriers between roads and pedestrian areas, like those seen in Israel, to prevent car ramming attacks. The UK team will also be seeking advice on how to increase response times when it comes to dealing with an on-going terror attack.

Another area where Britain may be seeking Israeli help is the use of technology in fighting terrorism, an area where Israel is very advanced. Elbit, Israel’s leading defense electronics contractor, has a system called ‘Wise Intelligence Technology’, which uses social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to notify security services if a terror attack is underway.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu highlighted the use of technology in preventing terrorism when he tweeted a video of new technology from the Mossad. The technology comprised of contact lenses, which had automatic facial recognition. The video also announced state funding for start-ups seeking to develop new technologies which would be useful for intelligence operations.

In a world in which terrorism seems to be at the forefront of people’s minds at the moment, it is no wonder countries around the world are looking to Israel for help.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern

It Is Time to Take Terror and Anti-Semitism Off Our Streets

After three major terror attacks in the UK in within four months, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that “Enough is enough” when it comes to terrorism, and pledged to not “allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed.” Yet less than a month after May’s fiery speech, despite pleas from Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, a UK charity dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, a 3,000-people strong petition to the Mayor of London, and concerns raised by CST, a charity which protects UK Jews from anti-Semitism, the government allowed the Al-Quds Day March to go ahead.

Al-Quds Day is an Iranian inspired day of protest against Israel. Events are held in Iran, Yemen, Iraq and Syria but also in the west in places such as New York, Berlin and London. Every year, the events face accusations of tolerating anti-Semitic chanting, placards and support for terrorism, and this year was no different.

Placards showing support for terrorism at London Al-Quds Day march (CAA)

Hezbollah flags draped the backs of the marchers, as organizers handed them out, and placards with the words ‘We are Hezbollah’ were risen high in the air. Various anti-Semitic tropes and statements were shouted over the loud-speaker, including blaming Zionists for the fire in Grenfell Tower and ISIS. The event exemplified how anti-Zionism regularly morphs into anti-Semitism, with one event organizer shouting over the loud-speaker, “We are fed up of the Zionists, we are fed up of your rabbis, we are fed up of your synagogues.” This is racial hatred.

Hezbollah flag waved high in the air at London Al-Quds Day March (CAA)

In 2017, we should not allow incitement to racial hatred, illegal under British law, to go unpunished. Hundreds of police did nothing as Al-Quds Day marchers deliberately provoked hatred of a racial group, distributed racist material to the public, made inflammatory public speeches and incited inflammatory rumors about an ethnic group. All the above are illegal under British law and are offenses which justify arrest. Why, when racial hatred occurs against Jews, do police do so little?

Man fixes Hezbollah flag on boy (CAA)

Yet it wasn’t just racial hatred laws which were broken by parade goers. By publicly displaying the flag of Hezbollah, a recognized terrorist organization in the UK, Section 13 of the UK’s Terrorism Act was breached, as the law states ‘A person in a public place commits an offence if he wears an item of clothing, or wears, carries or displays an article, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation’. Why, when a terrorist organization seeks the genocide of the Jewish people, do the authorities do so little to act and enforce the law? The justification seemingly used by the police for not making arrests, is that Hezbollah’s ‘political wing’, is not proscribed as a terror organization by the UK, creating somewhat of a loophole.

Man wearing anti-Semitic clothing equating Zionism and Nazism, violating UK definition of anti-Semitism (CAA)

Theresa May and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan have both spoken passionately about their anger on the state of terrorism in the UK.  Yet actions speak louder than words, and their failure to intervene and get the Al-Quds Day march in London banned is a punch in the face to the fight against terrorism, extremism and anti-Semitism.

As David Cameron, then UK Prime Minister said, “If you say ‘Violence in London isn’t justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter,’ you too are part of the problem.” He was right, and if Theresa May was genuine in her words that “Enough is enough” when it comes to terrorism, then the Al-Quds Day March in 2018 must not be allowed to go ahead.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern

“I treated the injured soldier, while in the background they were still searching for more terrorists!”

Paramedic Muhammed Abd Elrhaman arrived at the scene of the terror attack by Damascus Gate and immediately ran to treat the injured soldier, Sergeant Hadas Malka, while reports in the background spoke of more attackers. Muhammed furiously fought to save her life and even stayed by her hospital bed during her final moment. Today he shared his feelings with us. 

The Friday peace was shattered by the voice of the Dispatch Officer in Magen David Adom’s (MDA) 101 Dispatch Center relaying a call about a stabbing by Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. Seconds earlier, three terrorists attacked a Border Police force that was on patrol in the area. One of the terrorists, only 18 years old, stabbed Hadas Malka and critically injured her, however the soldier didn’t give up and fought back for some time. Other members of her unit saw what was happening, shot and neutralized the terrorist, and then immediately called MDA.

Hadas Malka (23), Israeli Border Policewoman murdered in Damascus Gate terror attack (Courtesy)

Muhammed Abd Elrhaman, an experienced Paramedic from MDA’s Jerusalem station who has already witnessed many terror attacks during his years of service, immediately understood that this was a serious incident. Abd Elrhaman explained “I was on a MICU (Mobile Intensive Care Unit) shift in Pisgat Zeev and when we reached Begin Junction, only a minute away from the attack, we received a report over the radio from MDA Jerusalem that the Israel Police were requesting an ambulance after they saw on security cameras that someone had stabbed a soldier and that they are now lying on the floor. At first we didn’t realize that it was a female soldier. Noa Tiram, the Dispatch Officer, immediately sent an ambulance to assess the scene. No more than 20 seconds later it became evident that this was a terror attack, potentially still ongoing, and I called up and volunteered for the call as we were very nearby.

We headed straight to the scene and heard over the radio that it was a developing incident but we were still uncertain as to its nature. At first the suspicion was of a criminal act rather than a terror one. However, seconds later, there was a report that it was terrorism that we had to take special precautions and don protective gear, to team up with the Police, and instruct the youth volunteers to remain on the ambulances. I realized that we would be first on scene and reported so to the Dispatch Center, knowing that there were another five ambulances behind me.”

Hadas was bleeding and unconscious

Treating Hadas reminded Muhammed of previous terror attacks at Damascus Gate, when other critically injured were brought to him. Muhammed said “When I arrived at the scene a regular ambulance reported that he was already transferring a seriously injured patient towards Hadassa Har Hatzofim Hospital. I decided that we would meet him at Damascus Gate by the scene of the attack so that we could treat the patient with drugs and advanced life saving capabilities. When we opened the ambulance door we saw the 23-year-old victim, a female Border Police soldier in combat gear and stab vest. She was unconscious. 

During the primary assessment I noticed stab wounds to her upper body and massive bleeding. I realized that I was fighting the clock and began some intensive treatment.”

MDA arrive on the scene of the terror attack at Damascus Gate (Times of Israel)

During your treatment at the scene, there were reports of other terrorists. Were you scared?

“When I’m dealing with such a critically injured patient, I concentrate only on her – not on the radio. I didn’t hear the warning about further terrorists, and it wouldn’t have made any difference to me because I had to treat her. At the time I was just with her. I undertook a surgical procedure in the field to release air from her chest cavity and treated her other wounds to try to prevent further blood loss.

I told my crew to begin resuscitation attempts, physically performing chest compressions. One volunteer leaned on the wound in her neck to try to stem the bleeding, a second volunteer performed the compressions and I intubated her and started an IV line in her neck to try to stabilize her situation.

Within only 7 minutes we provided most of the treatment at the scene using advanced surgical techniques, ventilated her, gave her drugs and transported her to hospital.”

Muhammed Abd Elrhaman (MDA)

We hoped so much that she would pull through

The crew arrived at hospital with Hadas and immediately went into the trauma room. Muhammed’s crew joined the doctors who fought for her life and he treated her up until her last moments. Abd Elrhaman said “There were a few optimistic moments when we arrived at the hospital and took her to the trauma room, but the optimism was short-lived as her situation worsened and she was classified in a critical condition.

We carried on doing chest compressions, she was given more blood and more drugs, but eventually, about an hour after she reached hospital, she was pronounced dead. We fought for her life – all of us. MDA crews and hospital teams. The moment her death was pronounced was a very difficult one for us all.”

Muhammed’s crew was kept at hospital until after Hadas’s family was informed that she had died. Muhammed said “We sat there and waited. Only after it was all over and we’d been allowed to leave the hospital did I hear on the news that there were actually two scenes and three terrorists who went on a shooting and stabbing spree. That’s when we really understood the magnitude of the situation.”

Today, three days after the event, Muhammed explained “We enter active scenes and treat victims while in danger on so many occasions. We act during those times through a feeling that we have a mission to complete, and with only one thought on our minds – to save the victims. We don’t think about what might happen later or what might happen to us. Each time that we see the scene of a terror attack we run in, when logic dictates to run away to survive. But this is who we are, this is what we know, and this is what we must do.”

Contributed by Magen David Adom

Punitive Housing Demolitions: Why They Are Justified

Israel has suffered from various threats from the first few hours of its existence, and those threats still continue today. At first the Jewish State was under threat from invading Arab armies seeking to militarily destroy it, and now it is faced with Palestinian terrorism from within. In response to the recent wave of terror, under much international criticism, Israel has re-introduced its policy of punitively demolishing the homes of terrorists and their families.

The punitive housing demolition policy permits the IDF to demolish houses that were home to Palestinians suspected or convicted of involvement in terrorism against Israelis. These acts include suicide bombings, shootings, stabbings, as well as thwarted attacks against soldiers or civilians. The demolished houses belong not only to the terrorists, but also to suspects accused of involvement in an attack, such as planning, dispatching the terrorists, or assisting the responsible terror cell. The policy has received strong criticism in both the international press and on college campuses, with some claiming it violates international law.

IDF demolish house of Palestinian who stabbed and killed two Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City (Silman Khader/ Flash 90)

Israel has suffered from a wave of terror since September 2015, with 49 people being killed and 731 being injured in deliberate acts of violence aimed at killing Jews. These attacks have been in the form of 177 stabbing attacks, 117 attempted stabbings, 144 shootings, 58 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicular (bus) bombing. Israel, like every other state under threat, must protect its citizens, and the punitive house demolition policy has shown to be an effective way of doing so. An independent study of Israeli punitive home demolitions found that the demolitions led to a significant decrease in terror attacks of between 11.7% and 14.9%. Moreover, since the re-introduction of house demolitions, terror in Israel has significantly decreased, with the first half of 2017 marking the lowest number of terror attacks since early 2015. Therefore, to criticize the Israeli government for protecting its citizens and clearly saving lives is ludicrous and morally wrong.

Israeli Zaka volunteers carry a body following a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem in 2015. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)

Contrary to claims made by Israel’s critics, the policy is legal under international law, with the Geneva Convention requiring an occupying army to keep in place the laws of the previous recognized governor, in this case the British Mandate.

Punitive home demolitions act as a strong counter to the benefits given out by the Palestinian Authority to convicted terrorists and their families. The Palestinian Authority incites violence against Israelis by paying convicted terrorists and their family a monthly salary, with the more Israelis killed, the higher the salary. The financial hardship burdened by the families of terrorists is arguably outweighs to the financial benefits of conducting an attack, thus at least partially removing the incentive to carry out terror attacks from the Palestinian Authority.

Further justification for the demolition policy can be found in that it focuses on the terrorist’s family’s complicity. Many relatives of future terrorists often encourage, help supply, or fail to report planned acts of terrorism to the relevant authorities. The re-implementation of house demolitions acts as a strong deterrent, not necessarily to the terrorist themselves, but to their family, who will know if they do not report their relatives to the authorities, will face losing their homes.

All governments, including the Israeli government, have a responsibility to protect their citizens from all threats, such as terrorism. And despite all the criticism surrounding Israel’s re-implementation of punitive housing demolitions, studies show that it clearly works as a strong deterrent to terrorists and their families, saving many innocent lives. To demand of Israel to stop its demolition of terrorist’s houses, is to demand the Israeli government fail to do all it can to stop the murdering of its citizens, and no government would, or should accept that.

Contributed by Daniel Kosky, CAMERA Intern

Sequencing the Peace Process

This past winter break, I was able to see with my own eyes the various components of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I was able to get a firsthand account of many of the things that both sides must strive for in order to achieve peace. As I drove through the West Bank, encountering settlements deep in the territory and speaking with Palestinians in the heart of Ramallah, I fully realized the necessity of a two-state solution to attain the resolution to this century-old animosity. Two states for two peoples – maintaining the Zionist dream of a Jewish and democratic state while the Palestinians simultaneously declare their sovereignty – is really the only conclusion where the conflict will fully come to its end. But with this wholesome vision for peace, I was able to see more clearly and with more conviction what the first step toward this achievement must be – an understanding solidified just two Fridays ago in Jerusalem.

Everyone involved in the conversation about how to get to this final status obviously has very good intentions. We are all human beings, and the innate human instinct is that when we see suffering we want to do anything we can to stop it. That’s why on both sides of the political spectrum in Israel and within the pro-Israel community, our end goal is a peaceful resolution of two states for two peoples where both have the same exact Natural Rights that John Locke laid out hundreds of years ago and that the United Nations (zichronam livracha) declared in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Optimism has decreased as the situation on the ground has deteriorated; still, most Israelis would agree that peace will come when both sides ultimately have their own state. To achieve this peace through statehood, there are two overarching narratives, with the difference between them simple but glaring.

One of the general narratives believes that the order should go: remove the settlements, leave the West Bank, end the terrorism, then achieve peace. The second general narrative believes that the order should go: remove the terror, remove the settlements, leave the West Bank, then achieve peace. The blatant difference between the two is that they are exactly opposite and contradictory to each other. The problem found with the first general narrative, that settlement removal comes first, and therefore settlements intrinsically represent the main obstacle to peace, is that it retroactively inverts history. There was not one single settlement and not one single Israeli soldier in any part of the West Bank (or in other captured lands but we will keep it to this territory for the sake of the contemporary international conversation) prior to 1967. Despite there being zero Israeli presence in this territory, violence and terrorism still rained down on the Jewish state from there. Only after the 1967 War did Israel enter the West Bank, as a direct result of the terror and war against Israel. So with this backdrop, how is it possible that the removal of this presence, an effect of the Palestinian terror and violence, be the kick starter to the end of the same terror? An effect of something cannot also be its cause.

The Arab riots in 1929 were certainly not caused by settlements

Some claim that we must hold on to our original Zionist ambitions by democratizing and Jewishize-ing Israel first (through the removal of Israeli presence from the West Bank) and then if an attack happens against Israel we will have every right to enter the West Bank and reclaim it. This is a very tempting narrative to pursue because it guides us to quick Palestinian control and holds the prospect and the expectation that if the Palestinians stop all of their terror activities, peace for Israelis is fast in it tracks. Think about what that actually means: this suggests that the entire peace is predicated on the loss of Israeli life, with absolutely no evidence from the words in the Palestinian textbooks or the squares named after glorified Palestinian martyrs that this expectation will actually be realized. It is saying that we are willing to lose Israeli life for the potential for peace. It suggests that the human rights of Palestinians are more valuable than the human rights of Israelis. But even further, this puts at risk the lives of Palestinians too, and arguably even more so than the risk put to the lives of the Israelis. Look no further than the HD photograph of this dangerous scenario unfolding in Gaza, where just two year ago countless innocent lives of Palestinians were lost as a result of this concept. But who knows what the Palestinian attack will be THAT time. What if, during the waiting period to see if Palestinian independence of Israeli settlements will lead to true peace, it’s not a Friday truck-ramming that kills “just” 4 Israelis? What if it’s a massive bomb set off in the Tel Aviv Azrieli Towers that kills 400 Israelis? This suggests that it is okay to gamble with the lives of Israelis. That it is okay to say their lives just aren’t as important, whether that is the explicit or implicit statement.

Israelis have seen what happens when you withdraw from a land with people who have always been committed to terrorism against you without ending the terrorism first: Hezbollah filled the vacuum in southern Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. But at the same time, Israelis have witnessed what can happen when a nation first ends its anti-Israel violence and then extends a peaceful hand: when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat called for an end to the bloody war against Israel and came for peace negotiations in Israel, Israelis lined the streets to Jerusalem waving Egyptian flags.

Anwar Sadat speaking to the Knesset during his visit in 1978, when he called for an end to hostilities.

Israelis know very well from their history that long-lasting peace starts with the extinguishing of the terrorism against them. Now it is time for the world to understand this as well. But until then, no Israeli is going to risk our lives anymore. Benjamin Netanyahu won’t do it, nor will Yair Lapid or Tzipi Livni or Isaac Herzog, and neither will Michal in Tel Aviv or Baruch in Beer Sheba. For thousands of years, the lives of the Jewish people have been used as gambling chips – inquisitions, expulsions, massacres, blood libels, pogroms, the Holocaust. Israelis want peace just as much as anyone else does, but they will never do so at the expense of Jewish life again.

The end of the terror must come first. The peace will soon follow it.

Originally published at Times of Israel Blogs

Contributed by Tal Edelstein, former President of Mustangs United for Israel, a CAMERA-supported group