Yesterday morning, a Palestinian teenager broke into the home of a Jewish family near Hebron. He entered the bedroom of a thirteen-year-old girl. She was asleep. He locked the door. He raised a knife, and he stabbed Hallel Yaffe Ariel in the head. Again, and again and again.
The nauseating attack drew instant condemnation. “The stabbing of a 13-year-old girl is a new record in atrocious and cruel acts,” said the German Foreign Office.
Please. Cut the hyperbole and spare me your shock. This horrifying attack was brutal, but hardly beyond measure: we have been here before. And if you weren’t watching when other, equally gruesome attacks were perpetrated, then you’ll forgive me for questioning your judgment in understanding what we’re up against.
Earlier this year, nurse and mother of six Dafna Meir was butchered on the doorstep of her home in front of her children. She died holding the knife inside her so the murderer could not use it on her children.
In 2014, five rabbis were murdered in prayer in a synagogue, as was the policeman who came to their rescue.
In 2011, the entire Fogel family were slaughtered in their sleep. The parents were knifed to death in their beds. So were their 11- and 4-year-old children. Their 3-month-old daughter, Hadas, was beheaded.
In 2004, eight-months-pregnant Tali Hatuel was shot dead at close range in her car, as were her four daughters: aged 11, 9, 7 and 2.
In 2002, 30 Jews — mostly elderly, including many Holocaust survivors — were blown up at a Passover seder in a Netanya hotel.
In 2001, 10-month-old girl Shalhevet Pass was shot dead in the head by a Palestinian sniper. The bullet passed clean through her skull. Also that year, two Jewish teens were kidnapped while hiking, and were bound, stabbed and stoned. Their killers dipped their hands in the boys’ blood and smeared it over the walls of the cave where the bodies were abandoned.
In 1985, Palestinian terrorists hijacked Italian cruise liner the Achille Lauro. They killed a man in a wheelchair and threw him overboard.
In 1979, Lebanese terrorist Samir Quntar shot an Israeli father on the beach, then smashed the head of his four-year old daughter Einat against the rocks with the butt of his rifle.
And in the 1974 Ma’alot massacre, Palestinian terrorists killed 25, including 22 children, with grenades after a two-day hostage crisis.
Yesterday was nothing new.
The mother of yesterday’s terrorist called her son a “hero”. “My son died as a martyr defending Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque,” she said. “Praise be to God, he is united with the martyrs before him… God willing, all of them will follow this path, all the youth of Palestine.”
This was nothing new either.
We don’t need your shock. We need your attention.
We need you to listen closely the rampant incitement to violence in Palestinian discourse. We need you to take seriously the profound, eliminationist hatred towards us in Palestinian society. We need you to internalise that the Palestinian national movement is premised on our negation, and that peace will not come until you force the Palestinians to come to terms with the fact of our permanent existence.
But whatever you do, don’t express surprise at the brutality of Palestinian terrorism: it only reveals how far you weren’t paying attention all along.
Correction: An earlier version said that four, not five, rabbis were murdered in the 2014 Har Nof attack. One of the injured died months later from his wounds; the policeman was also killed.