Friends and relatives mourn at the graves of Yosef Salomon (70), his daughter Haya (46) and son Elad (35), after their funeral, attended by thousands, at the Modiin Cemetery, on July 23, 2017. The Salomon family members were murdered in a stabbing attack by an Arab terrorist who attacked them during their Friday night dinner at their home in the community of Halamish.
The Friday night slaughter of three Jews in the Israeli town of Halamish encapsulates pretty much everything one needs to know about the conflict between the Palestinian Arabs and Israel.
It takes a special kind of savagery to murder people the way Omar al-Abed did, repeatedly stabbing defenseless civilians at their dinner table. And there have been so many similar attacks. The Halamish massacre was not an aberration; it is exactly what countless Palestinians do, or aspire to do, or cheer and admire. That’s a sad statement, but it’s true.
And it takes a special kind of cold-heartedness to defend and excuse the murderer, as Omar’s parents did. His father said the stabbing was the fault of the “occupation,” even though the al-Abed family lives in a suburb of Ramallah, which is occupied by the Palestinian Authority, not Israel.
His mother told Israel’s Channel 2 that she is “proud of my son, may Allah save him and release him and look out for him.” Many other Palestinian parents have reacted the same way to the murderous deeds of their children.
So here’s lesson #1 of the Halamish slaughter. This is how Palestinian Arabs behave when they have self-rule and kitchen knives. Imagine what they would do if they had a sovereign state and shoulder-launched missiles (the kind that could take down a plane approaching Ben Gurion Airport).
The killer did not ask his victims their political or religious opinions. Like every Palestinian stabber or sniper or suicide bomber before him, he didn’t care whether they were Reform or Orthodox, left-wing or right-wing or anywhere in between. He murdered them because they were Jews.
That’s lesson #2. They hate all Jews.
Lesson #3 is that settlers do not “provoke” their murderers. Halamish did not displace any Palestinians. It was established in and around an abandoned British fort from the Mandate era. The residents of Halamish have harmed nobody. Their presence in that region has done nothing except make the formerly arid land bloom. They are not persecuting or oppressing or occupying anybody.
Halamish, by the way, happens to be one of the many Israeli communities that spent countless years and countless funds defending itself against baseless Arab claims to its land. With the active assistance of left-wing Jewish financial backers in Israel and abroad, Palestinians tie up Jewish communities in court with the flimsiest of “claims” to their land. The international news media and so-called human rights groups then drum up hostility against Israel by claiming that it must be Palestinian land.
In the case of Halamish, residents of a nearby Palestinian Arab village, Deir Nidham, went all the way to Israel’s Supreme Court with their allegation that the area on which Halamish was situated had been cultivated and inhabited by Arabs back to Ottoman times. Lo and behold, aerial photos from the early 1900s showed the land was in fact completely barren. Which is why Israel’s Supreme Court – which is hardly known to favor the Israeli right, to put it mildly – rejected Deir Nidham’s claims.
And while we’re on the subject of Palestinians claiming to be mistreated, let’s say a few words about the killer. We don’t know a lot about him, but the photo of him on his Facebook page offers some clues. He is well dressed. He has a stylish haircut. And he had a computer, from which he posted on his Facebook page. He wasn’t unkempt or unshaven. He wasn’t dressed in rags or malnourished.
Lesson #4 from Halamish: poverty does not cause terrorism. Ideological and religious hatred of Jews and Israel causes terrorism. Omar al-Abed proves that.
Lesson #5 from the Halamish attack has to do with the Palestinian Authority’s response to the massacre. I am writing this 36 hours after the attack. PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas has not condemned it. Israel’s leaders are urging him to speak out. Sorry, too late for that. If Abbas genuinely opposed stabbing Israeli civilians to death, he would have done so immediately. Once 36 hours have passed, any statement he makes would be completely meaningless – a transparent attempt to keep the U.S. Congress from cutting off his $500-million annual aid package. No doubt Abbas will eventually issue some kind of mealy-mouthed statement opposing “violence on all sides.” Hopefully nobody will be fooled by such insincere blather.
The other aspect of the PA’s response to the slaughter has to do with how Omar al-Abed will be treated in the months and years ahead. The PA position is that all Palestinian terrorists imprisoned by Israel are “political prisoners” and should be released immediately. That now includes al-Abed. And as long as al-Abed is in prison, he will be receiving a handsome salary from the PA, calibrated according to the number of Jews he killed.
So that’s part of lesson #5: once again, the PA’s policies show that it endorses and subsidizes terrorism.
Lesson #6 is that no matter how savage Palestinians behave, the major international news media will search for ways to downplay it. The headline writers at The New York Times wrote: “Deadly Clashes Erupt in Standoff Over Security at Mosque in Jerusalem.”
“Deadly Clashes” somehow just “erupt.” The Arab side is never the aggressor. And it’s all because of “security at the mosque.” It has nothing to do with Arabs hating Jews.
“Six people were killed on Friday in an outbreak of violence,” Times correspondent Isabel Kershner began her story.
Six? Yes, three Palestinian Arabs who tried to stone and burn Israeli policemen to death elsewhere in Jerusalem were shot in self-defense. But the three terrorists and the three victims in Halamish are all lumped together so that the Arabs don’t look like the bad guys.
Cops have guns? Robbers have guns? That must mean that cops and robbers are morally equivalent. Arab terrorists die? Unarmed Jewish civilians die? Well, they all died so they must be all the same.
The seventh and final lesson from the Halamish massacre is a history lesson. It turns out that Michal Salomon, the widow of one of the Halamish victims, is no stranger to terrorism. Members of her paternal grandmother’s family were murdered in the Palestinian Arab pogrom in Hebron in 1929. That’s right: 1929. There were no settlements, no “occupation,” no Jewish state at all. But they murdered Jews then, too. And they did it the same way Omar al-Abed did it last Friday night, with knives. Nearly a century later, the Palestinian Arab war against the Jews rages on.