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His chances weren’t good. He suffered severe trauma while still in utero, after his mother Shira Ish-Ran was shot in the lower abdomen. Delivered at 30 weeks via an emergency C-section, this tiny baby held on for four days, as doctors labored over him. But late on Wednesday, he lost his fight.
Wednesday night he was laid to rest in the cemetery on Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives).
At the graveside, his paternal grandfather, Rabbi Raphael Ish-Ran, said:
“It is written in Halakha [Jewish law] that a name must be given to the baby, so your parents have given a name, which is of great significance and symbolizes everything.
“Amiad Yisrael, our people is here forever. The people of Israel is here forever.
“Our message is clear – we will not break, we cry and it hurts us, but we are strong…
“You brought so much light, and with all the light that you brought, we will extinguish their darkness.”
The baby’s maternal grandfather, Chaim Silberstein, said:
“A cruel and low enemy aimed his weapon at a pregnant woman because he wanted to uproot us from our land.
“You will never succeed… This is our land, our people and our holy Torah.
“Amichai and Shira, our hearts are torn with grief over the pain and loss. But your young son Amiad Yisrael, our delicate grandson, may Hashem avenge his blood, already did much before completing four days. He united the people of Israel, who rose up in prayers, hugs, love.
“With determination he delayed the return of his soul to the Holy One, blessed be He, until his wounded parents met him, embraced him and said goodbye.”
Prayer, hugs, love. This struggle has touched Israel’s heart.
Enough, we say now. Enough!!
May the Almighty grant strength to this entire family, and especially to Shira and Amichai, as they heal.
Meanwhile, it was announced that the IDF, Shin Bet and the Yamam counter-terrorism unit had arrested the terrorists who carried out the shooting attack that killed Amiad Yisrael and wounded his parents.
Several were taken into custody. One terrorist, Salah Omar Salah Barghouti, from the Arab village of Kobar, attacked Israel security forces as he attempted to escape, and was shot and killed.
Two individuals, at least, were directly involved: one who drove the car and the other who shot. But this was an operation planned by a cell, and so others were indirectly involved as well. While several people were taken into custody it is believed other members of the cell may still be at large. (See below.)
Salah was the son of Omar Barghouti, who is a Hamas leader operating in Judea and Samaria (not to be confused with the man with the same name who has residency in Israel and founded the BDS movement).
In the small hours of Thursday morning, Hamas confirmed that Salah is the one who carried out the attack: “Hamas announces with great pride the death of its martyr Salih Omar Barghouti, the perpetrator of the heroic Ofra operation.”
The “heroic operation”: to shoot a pregnant woman and destroy her unborn child. May they be cursed eternally.
Previously, this terrorist group had praised the attack without claiming responsibility.
I would like to imagine that leaders of some of the nations that refused to support an anti-Hamas resolution in the UN General Assembly are feeling a twinge of guilt.
But I do not delude myself that this is likely the case.
At the very same time, on Wednesday night, Israeli forces located Ashraf Na’alwa, the terrorist who had perpetrated the Barkan terror attack in which Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi were murdered just over two months ago.
The Shin Bet had uncovered the location of his hideout, in the Askar refugee camp in Shechem (which the Arabs call Nablus) in the Shomron. As soon as that information was acquired, the IDF and the Israel Police moved in on him. It was known that he was armed and would come out fighting. In the course of attempts to arrest him, he was shot and killed.
Interrogations carried out prior to his having been located indicated that Na’alwa intended to carry out other attacks, and so there was an urgency to find him. Full IDF units had been pulled off of other operations during the past week in order to seek him.
Now that he has been caught, the Shin Bet will be backtracking and investigating the path Na’alwa took over the last two months, in order to determine who was complicit in helping him hide.
I had written in my last post about the entrance of IDF troops into Ramallah, which caused Abbas to be furious. Going into the PA media offices of WAFA, the IDF troops had seized security video footage. This operation took two days, and encountered violence from the residents.
A day later, on Wednesday, there was a similar operation at al-Quds University in Abu Dis.
Information on what was sought, and what was secured in the raids, is classified. It certainly appears that information acquired may have led to apprehension of the terrorists who carried out the drive-by shooting. But I cannot attest to this.
What I can attest to with certainty is the relief felt by the families, that the terrorists were caught, and that they are dead. That relief is shared by the nation.
In spite of the overlapping timing of the apprehension of the two terrorists, it seems to have been coincidental.
A senior IDF officer, in discussing apprehension of the terrorists, observed that Hamas is the most violent organization in Judea and Samaria and is making great efforts to carry out attacks.
Most of these attacks are successfully thwarted, but constant vigilance is necessary in order to preserve deterrence.
“Lately, we see [more] attempts to carry out terrorist attacks, and the weaker the Palestinian Authority is, the more likely the [Hamas] terrorists are to carry out attacks.”
(Citation above, following paragraph about Barghouti.)
And indeed, today, Thursday, we saw three more attacks:
The first was at about dawn, in the Old City. A terrorist coming from the direction of the Damascus Gate drew a knife, jumped a Jewish man, and tried to stab him. He then ran towards two Border Police officers stationed nearby and tried to stab them as well. One of them shot and killed the assailant.
Then, most significantly, later in the morning another terrorist attack very similar to the Ofra attack of last week occurred. This took place outside of the Jewish community of Givat Asad and the Arab village of Silwan in the Binyamin area, on route 60, a mere two kilometers from where the Ofra attack had occurred. Two Israel soldiers have been killed and two other people, I believe both civilians, have been severely wounded. One, a young man, is in life-threatening condition. A young woman was more moderately injured. Both are from Beit El.
According to IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus it is not yet clear if this attack was perpetrated by other members of the same cell that attacked last week, or if this was a copy-cat attack.
A car stopped along route 60 near a bus stop/hitchhiking station, a terrorist exited and began shooting. There are always soldiers at the hitchhiking stations and they were targets along with others standing there. He then returned to the car, which fled. The car was abandoned nearby; both shooter and driver continued on foot, in the direction of nearby Ramallah. There may have been other terrorists involved as well.
A wide-scale IDF manhunt is now being carried out. Additional troops have been sent to the area to participate in the search and provide protection for communities in the region. Entrances to Ramallah have been closed and there are roadblocks throughout the area; additionally raids are being carried out in the Ramallah suburb of el-Bireh.
Abdelaltif al-Qanou, a spokesman for Hamas, has tweeted:
“The heroic Silwad operation is a response to the Zionist occupation’s crimes and behavior in the occupied West Bank.
“The West Bank’s youth and men will remain rebels against the occupation and continue to clash with it until it is banished.”
Some hours after the drive-by shooting, there was a ramming attack on an IDF soldier at al-Bireh, northeast of Ramallah. The soldier was lightly injured and the assailant was shot dead.
Surrounding Ramallah and all the rest described with regard to the drive-by shooting are simply stop-gap measures. Hopefully, the IDF will apprehend the perpetrators, but then what???
It is time for everyone to demand serious action on the part of the Israeli government to protect the citizens of Israel.
Last week, Qatar brought into Gaza, with the permission of Israel, another $15 million. This practice must be stopped immediately! It is supposed to bring quiet but does just the opposite. Hamas is emboldened and utilizes at least part of the funds to further its terrorist goals.
An anonymous PA official charges that some of the Qatari funds make their way to Hamas leaders in the PA-controlled areas and are used there to recruit terrorists willing to buy weapons to carry out attacks.
Senior US Advisor Jared Kushner has been talking in recent days about the imminent release of the “peace plan.” His thought, however he expresses it at different turns, is that matters cannot go on as they are, that there must finally be “peace” between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, and that the Trump plan can achieve this.
Whatever the very legitimate concerns regarding the north, I remain convinced that the desire of the Trump administration to advance that “process” is the other reason that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been reluctant to attack in Gaza now.
If Hamas had remained quiet, it would have been possible, indeed appropriate, to argue that the north must be attended to first. But this is not the case. Hamas has perceived the reluctance of our government to act, and is taking advantage of this.
It is time for the Israeli government to tell Jared the truth. There is no one in the governing coalition who does not know this truth. But it must be said out loud: Peace with the Palestinian Arabs is not possible because they want us destroyed. You cannot ignore their ideology and try to fix the situation with economic enhancements.
Israel is greatly appreciative of all that the Trump administration has done, and understands the sincerity of attempts to bring forward a plan for peace. But the Israeli government’s first obligation is to protect its citizens and this requires strong action.
MK Betzalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) says Netanyahu must close the roads in Judea and Samaria to Palestinian Arabs. It is a modest start (albeit one that will cause a furor among Palestinian Arabs).
MK Moti Yogev (also Bayit Yehudi), a member of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, is concerned about defense establishment plans to reduce the number of troops in Judea and Samaria. He calls on Netanyahu to freeze this reduction and re-evaluate the situation.
This is a step in the right direction. You’ve read it here: when the PA is weak, Hamas is more active in Judea and Samaria. A strong IDF presence is exceedingly important – to protect Israeli citizens and flush out terror cells.
In 2002, the Second Intifada was put down when the IDF moved with force into PA-controlled areas. It may be time to consider doing this again, before the situation gets even worse.
With all of this, I would suggest that action against Hamas in Gaza is also necessary. If the reluctance to institute a full war remains, then at least there should be targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders. They must be put on notice, and they must be afraid.
Prime Minister/Defense Minister Netanyahu has made statements about the fact that he will know how to act in Gaza if it is necessary. It is time to call him on this.
Please, consider writing to Netanyahu.
Make your message short and polite. Do not lecture.
Call upon him to protect the citizens of Israel, as this is his first responsibility. Say that right now Hamas is emboldened by his inaction and innocent Israelis pay for this with their lives.
Or use this contact form:
Please share this as broadly as you can: via your email lists, Facebook, and more. The more people know about this situation, the more people write, the better.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.