The State of Israel, which since its very inception in 1948, has not seen a day of peace, had a little secret – it was called the ‘Barkan Industrial Zone’, located in the centre of the country near the community of Ariel.
Barkan has been the very epitome of co-existence, with Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians working and living side-by-side.
Approximately 8,000 people are employed there, with half of them being Israeli and half Palestinian.
This week, that idyllic paradise came crashing down.
On Sunday morning, Kim Levengrad Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi, arrived for work at the Alon Factory, which manufactures waste management systems.
Yehezkel was twenty-eight years old and a mother to an eighteen-month old baby boy. She had also been studying for her law bar exams. Before coming to work, Yehezkel dropped off her baby at daycare and promised to pick him at the end of the day.
Hajbi was thirty-five years old, an accountant and father of three small children. He was one of the first to arrive at the office, promising his three kids he would be home for dinner.
A short time after they arrived at the factory, they were met by Ashraf Waleed Suliman Na’alwa, a 23 year-old Palestinian from a nearby village.
Like a cold-blooded savage killer, Na’alwa tied up Yehezkel and shot her point blank. After spraying a hail of bullets, he then turned his sub-machine gun on Hajbi and murdered him as well, while seriously injuring a third person.
The IDF, who immediately labeled this a ‘severe terrorist attack’, are currently still in pursuit of the attacker.
Both Yehezkel and Hahbi were murdered for one reason and one reason only – they were Jews who epitomized the very notion of successful co-existence. In fact, the terrorist forced an Arab employee from Nablus to tie up Yehezekel, before allowing him to flee and shooting her in cold blood.
As Michael Oren, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Diplomacy observed, “this is not about the absence of peace, but the presence of hate.”
The basic fact of the matter is that attacks like these do not occur in a vacuum. Such acts of pitiless slaughter are the direct result of a pervasive Palestinian infrastructure headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas in Gaza, indoctrinating hate, inciting violence and instilling a worldview justifying such gruesome acts.
It should therefore come as no surprise that immediately after the attack, as the victims’ bodies were still warm, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups praised the attacker as a ‘hero’, while in the streets of Gaza they handed out candy and sweets in celebration.
What complete and utter absence of humanity!
Meanwhile, it should likewise come as just as little surprise that not only has President Abbas refused to condemn this heinous attack, he is probably already taking out his checkbook to make sure the family of Yehezkel and Hahbi’s killer will receive a healthy pension for life under the Palestinian Authority’s twisted ‘Pay Per Slay’ program.
This program, mandated under Palestinian law, requires the PA to reward Palestinian terrorists and their families with monthly stipends or salaries. In fact, under this perverse system, the more Israelis you murder, the greater the reward.
Shortly following the Barkan attack, the EU Ambassador to Israel, Emanuele Giaufret, condemned the shooting. While the gesture may have been wholly well-intentioned, it would be more helpful if the EU, which is the main funder to the Palestinians (in 2017 contributing $415 million in aid), stopped turning its back as the PA continues to use their blood money to underwrite the murder of Israelis.
Just like the United States, said ‘enough was enough’ and passed the historic Taylor Force Act this year to cut off aid to the PA as long as they continue to reward and incentivize Palestinian terrorists and their families, the Europeans should do likewise if they truly care about how their money was being spent and making a positive contribution to the peace process.
Similarly, although it was appreciative that a number of European leaders and their diplomatic representatives in Israel also condemned the attack, what was glaringly absent in their statements was the refusal to identify the perpetrator as Palestinian. When it comes to settlements, they seem to have no such qualms about calling Israel out directly, including down to the specific village.
If Europe insists on playing a major role in the peace process, they must call ‘a spade a spade’. That starts with calling out Palestinian terrorists by name and refusing to shield them from scrutiny. As long as the international community refuses to do so, they will only be complicit in every act of murder and violence like what happened in Barkan.
At the same time, across many parts of Europe, we are hearing increasing calls to recognize a Palestinian state if there is no progress on the peace process.
Those leading this call, however, must ask themselves, what kind of Palestinian state do they wish to recognize, one that shares their liberal values and lives in peace side-by-side with Israel? Or one that hands out candies after the brutal execution of two Israeli parents and then rewards their murderer with a salary for life?
The ball is in Europe’s court …