The Culture of Death and the 2:1 Ratio…the Jews Lose

By Janet Tassel

Last week’s unspeakable massacre of the young Fogel family in the village of Itamar in Samaria has been mourned and wept over until there are no tears left. Well, of course not by everyone. According to Ynet News, “Gaza residents from the southern city of Rafa hit the streets Saturday [the day after the massacre] to celebrate the terror attack….Residents handed out candy and sweets, one resident saying the joy ‘is a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank.’”

And there was little, if any, weeping in the White House, either. Then again, when has this administration grieved over the plight of Israeli Jews? As Mona Charen writes, the “Obama administration has utterly disregarded the abundant evidence that the Palestinian Authority has, over the past 20 years, nurtured and cultivated genocidal hatred of Jews and the worship of violence. The men who slit the throats of the Fogel family may soon have a town square named for them.”

Charen’s dreadful prediction is far from a cynical flight of fancy. After all, as she reminds us, “The PA recently named a square in the town of El-Bireh after Dalal Mughrabi, who killed 37 Israeli civilians and wounded 71 in l978.  Mughrabi was also featured among the ‘Women as Exemplars’ on Palestinian television.” Three weeks ago, the PA named a soccer tournament after Wafa Idris, the first woman suicide bomber.   

And the invaluable Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) describes how “One day before the terror attack in the town of Itamar …PA TV broadcast a program honoring Ahlam Tamimi, the woman accomplice who drove the suicide terrorist to the Sbarro pizza restaurant in August, 2001. 15 people were murdered in the attack, 7 of them children.”

One week before the massacre, continues PMW, “PA TV honored another accomplice to a suicide attack. Fahami Mashahara drove a suicide bomber to Gilo in Jerusalem in 2001 who killed 19 and injured more than 100. His daughter was invited to perform a song on PA TV.” In perhaps the Palestinians’ most bitterly ironic recent act, three weeks ago PA TV broadcast videos glorifying the terrorist Habash Hanani, who in 2002 murdered three Israeli students – in Itamar.

There is – painfully – much more. Palestinian Media Watch has meticulously documented the ongoing Palestinian Authority policy of glorifying terrorists and murderers, even – or especially – on children’s television. Indeed, as Mona Charen writes, “The Fogels were not killed by two men. They were the victims of the death cult that Palestinian society has bred.”

But withal, the Israeli government cannot be completely exonerated. For some inexplicable reason, prior to the Fogel massacre, the Netanyahu government was conducting its own vendetta against the residents of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank ). Netanyahu now stands up tall against Obama and the PA, saying, “they murder, we build,” and announcing a few hundred new building permits. But recently it was revealed by Israel National News that twice as many demolition orders are carried to completion against Jewish outposts (25% of the signed orders) as against illegal Arab settlements (13%).

According to MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union Party), these figures were released by the Civil Administration, “but only after a lengthy, year-and-a-half-long struggle against Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who tried with all his might to hide them.” (Since Judea and Samaria are officially under military rule, Barak has the final word on approving – and destroying – construction projects.) Eldad continues that Barak’s Defense Ministry tried to keep the numbers out of sight, even from “a secret subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, using the lying excuse that the information was ‘sensitive.’”

Eldad promises to keep up the fight, however. “I will force him [Barak] to divulge all the information he has on this topic and to reveal who is responsible for giving the order for selective law enforcement against the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.”

The most publicized example of this selective law enforcement has been the saga of Gilad Farm (Chavat Gilad), in Samaria. According to Israel National News, the government has targeted Gilad Farm dozens of times over the past several years, although it is on private property owned by Moshe and Yael Zar, whose son Gilad was murdered in 2001 in a drive-by terrorist attack.

Among the many outrages suffered by Gilad Farm: The Israel Electric Company has not provided the community with a hook-up for electricity, often leaving the farm’s 28 families without electricity, even during the coldest parts of winter. Notably, however, two weeks ago the electric company hooked up to the Arab village of Um Reihan in Jenin, which is under Israeli control. The government brushed off criticism, saying it was a “humanitarian act.”

But the coup de grace was delivered the week before last. After several demolitions and dozens of arrests during the past year, including the arrest of an observant Jew on the Sabbath for allegedly damaging an olive tree belonging to an Arab, Israeli border police “staged a pre-dawn raid at Gilad Farm and shot plastic bullets at residents, 15 of whom were wounded, while two bulldozers demolished three structures, including the home of IDF soldier Shimon Weizman.” (Israel National News) Another member of the Zar family, son Etai, was among eight people arrested in the raid.

Citing the two-to-one ratio detailed above, Michael Freund in The Jerusalem Post, slams Barak’s “blather about the need to uphold the ‘rule of law,’ and rails against the obvious double standard. “Why the discrepancy?” he asks.  “Doesn’t the ‘rule of law’ apply equally to Arabs and Jews?

“The border police, of course” he continues, “vigorously deny having used excessive force at Gilad Farm, insisting that only after residents attacked them did they resort to harsher methods. But the police lie, the videos do not. Footage clearly shows officers raising their rifles and firing close range. Officers are seen viciously grabbing protesters, behaving more like drunks in a bar than public servants sworn to maintain law and order.”

“This entire incident is an utter disgrace,” says Freund, “and Barak should be fired immediately.” As it happens, Knesset members Miri Regev and Zeev Elkin of Likud have filed a measure to this effect, or at the least that Barak should no longer be in charge of “authorizing Judea and Samaria construction.” Meanwhile, Women in Green and Committees for Judea Action weighed in with a protest statement, but aimed it rather at Netanyahu: “Bibi,” it said, “the injuries are your responsibility. Stop hiding behind Barak.” (Israel National News)

In response, Netanyahu issued an impenetrable casuistical blob, as quoted in The Jerusalem Post: “We all want to strengthen the settlement and therefore we ought not ignore it. We are a few weeks after the Quartet’s decision, after the US’s veto, before another Quartet decision, therefore we must consider the reality in which we live. When there is a changing world order in the Middle East, there are those who seek an easy but irresponsible solution, and we won’t help them with that.” One hopes there is a translation problem here. Freund says that the government is paying down its “diplomatic debt” to Washington, and predicts there will be an “intensified campaign of destruction.”

This somber forecast is supported by the fact that IDF soldiers posted at the site have been instructed to “report on the entry of any truck bringing building materials to the farm,” and thus a truck bringing concrete for the floor of a new home was confiscated. According to Israel National News, “Itai Zar, ‘mayor’ of the village, called on the army to stop trying to strangle it….‘The Arabs build illegally on every single hilltop and no one stops them; but we are driven crazy for every truck….We do not accept the use of IDF soldiers as informers against other Jews.’”

A final word: Israel has invited 300 Palestinians living and working in Libya to enter the West Bank in the coming days. According to Yahoo News, “Netanyahu said Israel’s move was a ‘mark of our desire for good neighborliness and…peace.’”

With friends like these…

Janet Tassel, a writer and blogger from the Boston area, was for years a contributing editor at HARVARD Magazine, and has had her own column at Boston’s Jewish Advocate. As a long-time English teacher, she has published numerous academic articles as well.

2 Responses to “The Culture of Death and the 2:1 Ratio…the Jews Lose”
  1. Jessica says:

    Well said! Atrocities like what happened in Itamar don’t happen in a vacuum.

  2. Carl Sadler says:

    A lot of very good background info. The Fogel family was doomed by its own government’s policies. A huge tragedy, when a country created to protect Jewish life now serves to endanger it. Sad.

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