Terror is terrifying because of its indiscriminate nature. You never know when it will strike — a marathon in Boston, a coffee shop in Sydney, or a concert in Paris. Even in Israel, a country that has learned to live with terror, the latest outbreak has a chilling new tenor as terrorists target septuagenarians with unsettling regularity.
Yesterday a Palestinian terrorist drove his car into pedestrians at a Jerusalem bus stop injuring, among others, a woman in her seventies.
On November 2, a 71-year-old man was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack in Netanya. The same day an 80-year-old woman was injured in a stabbing attack in Rishon Lezion. These attacks weren’t in the so-called territories, mind you, they took place on the main streets of undisputed Israel.
On October 14, a 72-year-old woman was stabbed while waiting for a bus in Jerusalem. The day before, terrorists boarded a bus in Jerusalem and murdered 78 year-old Chaim Haviv and 76 year-old Richard Lakin. They also repeatedly slashed 78 year-old Marike Veldman, a Dutch nurse who spent 32 years running a foster home in East Jerusalem for Palestinian orphans.
Having seen the inner workings of international diplomacy as a member of Israel’s delegation to the United Nations, I know that it’s too much to hope for the international community to clearly and unequivocally condemn the stabbing and shooting of Israeli seniors in the streets.
The fact of the matter is that in those rare instances in which international leaders deviate from calling on both sides to ‘demonstrate restraint,’ the outrage is aimed squarely and solely at Israel. The tacit implication is that when Palestinians plunge knives into Israeli necks and run down Jews in the streets, the victims somehow had it coming. No attack is too vile and no target off limits for the apologists.
Some, like UNRWA Spokesman Chris Gunness, claim that Palestinians are frustrated by economic despair. Yesterday he tweeted that, “If it weren’t 4 collective punishment, Gaza could b start up capital of the Middle East.” That’s a revelation given that the ruling Hamas government is far keener on investing in rockets and terror tunnels than schools and new businesses.
Others, such as Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, argue that the Palestinians are frustrated with the stagnating peace process. They conveniently forget that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who so respects peace, order and good government that he is now in the eleventh year of his four year presidency, declared that his government is no longer bound by the Oslo Accords.
And finally, there is the most tired argument of all, the settlements. The international community has convinced itself that the construction of homes, schools, and highways is so outrageous that the only reasonable response is to murder and maim innocent civilians. It’s this same faulty logic that has passionate Palestinian advocates boycotting goods made in the West Bank even as it puts Palestinians out of work.
This willful refusal to see the Palestinian leadership for what it is — irresponsible; the unrelenting barrage of anti-Israeli incitement for where it leads — murdered civilians; and Palestinian terrorism for what it intends — to destroy Israel; amounts to a clueless crusade to redeem the aggressor.
The Palestinians have been led to believe that they can stab, shoot, and ram their way to a state. This isn’t simply my opinion; it’s evidenced in Palestinian public opinion. Last month, Israeli political scientist Daniel Polisar published a study in Mosaic magazine of Palestinian public opinion based on 330 surveys carried out by the four major Palestinian research institutes.
When Palestinians were asked about their views on “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel,” Polisar found that in most cases, “supporters outnumbered opponents, with those expressing strong support almost always outpacing, often by as much as six to one.”
This troubling revelation will do nothing to change the minds of the hardliners and morally-muddled, but it would be refreshingly responsible if all the rest could accede that a murderous rampage aimed at the elderly is nothing less than evil.