Columns / Discourse / October 21, 2015

A new wave of terror in Israel

“Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.” This was the headline on the BBC News website on Oct. 3. What this headline neglects to mention is the fact that this Palestinian was responsible for the deaths of the two victims, as well as the injuries to a woman and her baby.

This terrorist, Mohammad Halabi, snuck up behind Aharon and Adel Bennett and their children and stabbed them repeatedly. Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, standing just feet from the attack, attempted to subdue Halabi, but was also killed. Halabi then grabbed Lavi’s gun and began shooting, wounding the Bennetts’ two-year-old son. Adel Bennett, with Halabi’s knife still protruding from her neck, stumbled down the street, leaving her stroller-bound baby behind, and begged witnesses to help her. Palestinians at the scene prevented her from seeking help, spit on her, laughed at her and told her to die.

So instead of being portrayed as a horrific attack by a terrorist on defenseless and innocent civilians, the BBC tried to point the blame at the Israeli police officer who stopped Halabi from harming other civilians, making him look like the villain. Imagine the American media berating police officers for shooting Wade Michael Page, the terrorist who in 2012 murdered six Sikh worshippers in Milwaukee. That would never be accepted here, so why is it all right when talking about Israel and Palestine?

This incident is far from the only terrorist attack on Israelis in the past month: Eight Israeli civilians have been murdered with dozens of others injured in attacks across the country (as of Oct. 15, 2015). These attacks have come in the form of stabbings (sometimes more like hackings), car-rammings, shootings and attempted suicide bombings.

This past week, a Palestinian citizen of Israel slammed his car into a bus stop full of Israelis, sending one of them flying over his windshield in the process. He then got out of the car and started hacking at two defenseless civilians with a meat cleaver. This attack killed a man and seriously injured two others. The terrorist did not flee when he saw security forces approaching. Instead, he ran at a security guard with the meat cleaver raised high, before being shot.

According to the New York Times on Oct. 15, clashes between Israelis and Palestinians are nothing new.

“These attacks demonstrate that a new generation of Palestinians is ready to turn to suicidal violence,” the article said.

Several terrorists have attacked groups of soldiers or police officers with knives, a fight that clearly will not end in victory. But it seems the definition of victory for these terrorists has changed. The main goal is no longer to harm people before escaping, but to injure as many Jews as possible before being stopped.

These terrorists’ identities have spanned the spectrum, ranging from a 13-year-old boy to a 31-year-old woman. This has made protecting civilians against these attacks incredibly difficult for Israel, as they are often random, can happen anywhere and develop very quickly.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has existed for decades, and now the West Bank, which is territory captured by Israel during the Six Day War, is at the heart of the issue. This new wave of terror follows a statement by Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority’s President, stating that he “welcome[s] every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem,” calling one who carries out an attack a “martyr.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, has said that he is “prepared to immediately, immediately resume direct peace negotiations,” telling President Abbas that together they “can do remarkable things for [their] peoples.”

While the ultimate goal is peace between Israelis and Palestinians, it seems unlikely that these will be the conflict’s last days of violence.

And so, a person who wishes to be educated on this topic should not simply accept the first piece of reporting he sees as the whole truth. When the issue at hand is as charged, as complex and as misunderstood as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, multiple sources should be considered before fully forming any opinion. Anything short of that is negligent.

In these days of terror and instability in both Israel and Palestine, I pray for the values of fair reporting and truth to return to the forefront of the media’s coverage on this issue.

I pray for the safety and security of all those involved.

I pray for the safety of my extended family living in Israel, including my brother Adam Schrag, a Knox senior living in Israel for the term.

I pray that leaders on both sides make peace and coexistence a widespread reality.

Jonathan Schrag, Sports Editor

Tags:  column conflict Israel Jerusalem Palestine peace

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