Whenever there is a terror attack, and lives are lost, I post, because getting the information out is important.
These attacks seem endless! Heaven forbid they should actually be so: we will prevail.
But endlessly ugly? That doesn’t even begin to describe the situation. Obscene comes a bit closer.
In the Shomron there is an industrial park called Barkan, located next to a Jewish community of the same name, and not far from the city of Ariel. Established decades ago, it currently encompasses approximately 150 businesses and factories, with some 8,000 employees – roughly half of whom are Israeli and half Palestinian Arab. Barkan has long been hailed as a model of coexistence, as Israelis and Palestinian Arabs (from PA controlled areas) work side by side.
Until yesterday. That is when a Palestinian Arab Barkan worker, an electrician, murdered two Israeli workers in a manner that was particularly horrific. He didn’t shoot them randomly or attack them with knives. He tied them up and shot them at point blank range with a sub-machine gun.
This happened within the premises of the Alon Group, where all involved had worked.
The two who were killed are:
Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, 29, of Rosh Ha’Ayin.
Kim was a wife and mother of an 18-month old son. She served as secretary to the CEO of the Alon Group and was studying for her bar exams.
A friend described her as “an amazing, wonderful, kind woman, all about giving. A wonderful mother.”
Kim was laid to rest yesterday.
Ziv Hajbi, 35, from Rishon LeZion.
Ziv was a husband, and a father to seven-year-old twins and a four-year-old son. He worked as an accountant at Alon.
His mother described him as a “pure and amazing soul.”
Ziv’s funeral was held today. At the request of the family, no pictures were taken by media. Cried his widow Natalie: “We were together 18 years, the love of my life, my first and last love in the world…”
A third person, Sara Vatori, was shot in the stomach when she happened upon the terrorist. She hid under a table after being wounded, and recounts, that “I knew if he saw me I was dead.” Seriously wounded, she is now said to be out of danger.
The terrorist – Ashraf Walid Suleiman Na’alwa, 23, of the village of Shuweika near Tulkarem – escaped on motorcycle after the attack, carrying his weapon with him. He has not yet been apprehended, as I write, and is considered dangerous. He will be caught.
Last night, IDF troops, working with the Shin Bet, entered the village, searched the family home, and arrested several people, including the terrorist’s brother.
When the troops arrived, there was a clash with village residents, who threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at the soldiers.
This was not some “oh, he was a good boy, but he was depressed,” scenario (as phony as such scenarios may be). Not a situation of a “lone wolf” whose family was horrified and whose neighbors professed shame. It would certainly appear that he was from an environment that supported terrorism.
Na’alwa reportedly left a suicide note with a friend three days before he acted; the friend, who said nothing, has now been arrested. It is not clear how the police learned about that note.
Considerable soul searching has been generated by this attack:
Can we continue to think of co-existence projects such as Barkan as viable? Many are adamant that this is the only path to follow – that this was a single incident after decades of peaceful interaction. Others raise questions.
There are security issues. How did the terrorist smuggle in a sub-machine gun? Answer: In a backpack that was not inspected – he had a legal work permit.
Is it not clear that checking is insufficient? Security personnel argue that only so much checking is possible when some four thousands Palestinian Arabs are entering the Barkan Industrial Park daily.
Unfortunately the terror attack is not the only ugly incident I must write about today. There is also the violence from Gaza, which, yes, also seems endless, but will not be.
How many times can I write “it’s worse than it was last week” before there is a resolution??
Twenty-thousand came to the fence area, with more – hundreds, I believe – trying to break through. Grenades and explosive devices were thrown at our soldiers, toxic smoke billowing from burning tires.
If the Gazans are so idiotic that they do not care about health risks to their own people, that is their problem. But what is happening now is that Israelis on the other side of the border are also suffering:
“In the Kibbutz of Kerem Shalom, children have been suffering from vomiting and shortness of breath due to breathing in the toxic fumes of burning tires…
“Symptoms have been growing among the children in the Kibbutz in particular over the past four months…Many of the children have required medical intervention to offset the adverse effects of the pollutants in the air…
“This past Friday things took a dramatic turn for the worse…A resident who wished to remain anonymous told reporters that: ‘We cannot continue to live this way. Our children are being sacrificed… we demand that the Defense Ministry deals with this insanity immediately…’
“…a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environmental Protection said that this issue poses a direct and immediate threat to the residents of the area.”
The latest pronouncement of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman:
“We got through the High Holy Days just as we had planned, without a war erupting and while exacting a heavy price from the rioters on the Gaza border. But the holidays are now behind us, and I tell the heads of Hamas: ‘Take that into account.'”
Words, threats, won’t cut it with Hamas leaders! It is time to get real.
The totally insane situation we are caught in is the result of Palestinian Arab leaders who care less than nothing for the welfare of the people. They are doing battle on the backs of the people.
Hamas, while first a jihadist group determined to destroy Israel, also has responsibility, at least de facto, for administering Gaza. What their leaders wanted to do is to foist off the mundane administration on to the PLO, while controlling the militias and weapons cache.
Abbas was having none of this. He seeks full control, and denied this, has now declared himself ready to forgo all responsibility for the people of Gaza, even though technically he still does have responsibility: at a minimum for electricity and certain salaries. He has cut back on both. That it makes life more miserable for Gazans is of no concern to him – he wants to bring down Hamas.
Of course, if Hamas tempered some of its activities, it would have funds to tend to more of the people’s needs. But, as I said, Hamas leaders don’t care either: they see their raison d’être as being one of sustaining a strong stand against Israel.
Hamas is feeling ever more desperate because of the deteriorating situation, and sees violence as the best, if not the only, solution.
President El-Sisi of Egypt, who wishes to reduce violence and unrest in Gaza because it feeds into the Sinai, tried urgently to find some way to bring a reprieve for Hamas via a deal with Israel that would include some opening of crossings. That this failed shows us how hard-nosed Hamas is, how adamant in maintaining its “principles,” no matter…
Into this horrendous situation has now entered Qatar, which has been a Hamas supporter. They are prepared to pay for a finite amount of fuel for generators to increase electricity to Gaza; this would be done via Israel.
They would also pay some salaries, this via Hamas. Not an appealing situation, as it strengthens Hamas.
Abbas was livid at this, because it diminishes his control. He now says he will cut off Gaza from all PLO assistance.
Israel cannot forge a coherent policy that is dependent upon the erratic whims of the PLO’s Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s Yahya Sinwar (pictured). Abbas is so irrational it is possible he is entering early dementia. While a cold-blooded and devious Sinwar speaks of war, as he also seeks opening of borders.
Israel should not wait until Hamas launches the first hundred rockets to go to war. This would place Sinwar in control.
Israel must take control. That means making a decision that adequately and properly protects Israel’s citizens.
I close on a very brief “up” note, with gratitude that Brett Kavanaugh will take his place on the Supreme Court. America is not yet home free, but was saved from an imminent disaster. America must do major soul searching. I will return to this.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.