Reuven Bobby Weinmann

Huwara Pogrom?

On Sunday night, February 26, there was an incident in Huwara. I say “incident” because I was not there, and it seems no one else there can honestly tell us what really happened. A bunch of other people who also were not there have called it a “pogrom”, including one Israeli general.

We do know that two Israeli brothers, Hallel and Yagel Yaniv (HY”D) were killed by a Palestinian Arab earlier in the day. He first rammed the car in bumper-to-bumper traffic, then came up to the car and shot them point blank. No one seems to  disagree with that.

We do know that angry Jews, went to the spot to protest. After that we have what the media have reported, and I have A LOT of questions about that.

As a place to start, let’s discuss this article:

“Dozens of Israeli settlers rampaged violently…” – “Dozens”? This shows you that we’re not dealing with precise facts here and it looks like the entire article is second-hand information. “Settlers”? How do you know? I’m sure many were – if “settler” means living in Judea and Samaria – being that the location is deep in Samaria and dangerous to get to (hence the shooting that day), but the idea that only settlers care about the murder of settlers, I believe, does not give enough credit to the rest of the Jewish Israeli people. “Rampaged violently”, well that’s editorial, but all reporting is these days.

“The Palestinian Health Ministry said one man was shot dead by Israeli fire during the riots in the town of Za’tara, south of Huwara and close to the settlement of Kfar Tapuah.” – Is the Palestinian Health Ministry – an official propaganda arm of the PLO terrorist group – a reliable source? It does seem (this time) that the man, Sameh Atqash, is in fact dead, but his family claims that the IDF did it. If true, that would fit the words of the story, but the blame couldn’t be laid on the protesters. There is also the fact that he did not die in Huwara, but in another town, Za’tara, about four kilometers from Huwara. Were there protests, or even a riot there also? No one has said. That could be sloppy reporting, but the Arab sector has a long history of shooting each other. So much so, that even the Muslim Brotherhood party that was in the previous government said it was out of control – and that was talking about Israeli Arabs, in the Palestinian Authority areas, everyone has a gun and there is very little in the way of law enforcement. Add to the above the fact that the family demanded to bury him without an autopsy, and the fact that no one has been arrested for it, even though Israel has fairly tight controls around Jewish-owned guns, how could we possibly know if he was shot by protesters, the IDF or another PA Arab?

“The Palestinian Red Crescent medical service said two other people were shot and wounded, a third person was stabbed and a fourth was beaten with an iron bar.” – The Palestinian Red Crescent, another trustworthy and impartial source, tells us that four others were injured. I’ve never seen the names, or their testimonials, but maybe I just missed it. There is only so much news I can read. What I said about guns in Israel above would hold here too; it seems odd they couldn’t find the shooters.

“Some 95 others were being treated for tear gas inhalation.” – Initially, the aforementioned always honest Red Crescent announced 390 injured, then reduced it to “about 100 injured” and four “physically wounded”. The four are those mentioned above, the other “injured” were those affected by tear gas. Many articles still carry the 390 number. And since when is tear gas considered “injured”? The four injured, you could probably ascribe to the protesters, but did they have tear gas? That sounds like another one you have to lay at the feet of the IDF, if you want to assign blame, but do we? Do we want the IDF to not use tear gas?

“Palestinian media said some 30 homes and cars were torched” – Well if you can’t trust Palestinian media, who can you trust? I’ve seen all sorts of numbers since the incident, but no names, except one. There have been numerous pictures of burned out cars in a junkyard/auto parts store, which were obviously burnt at the junkyard. For this one, we actually have someone with the rest of the story:

The junkyard belongs to one Ayed Maharab, a paroled terrorist who spent five years in Israeli prison. It is also well known that our very high rate of car thefts is caused by Arabs stealing them and selling them to Palestinian Authority chop shops, to be sold for parts. I cannot however vouch for any particular car in Maharab’s particular chop shop. Note that Barry Shaw’s op-ed also mentions the official town fireworks and passing-out of sweets celebrating the Yaniv brothers’ (HY”D) murder. It’s crucial to note, then that one of two things happened, neither of which bode well for the “pogrom against innocents” narrative:

  1. The Jews knew exactly who Maharab was and set his junkyard on fire on purpose OR
  2. They lit a random business on fire, which just happened to be owned by a convicted terrorist, which means that you can’t swing a dead cat in Huwara without hitting a terrorist.

“Eight people were reported arrested.” – We actually have confirmation of this from Israeli sources. The court, surprisingly – since they love a good Jewish terrorist to make everything even – released all eight due to lack of evidence. However, because the Supreme Court still allows indefinite administrative detention without trial (<sarcasm>while doing a wonderful job of defending minority rights</sarcasm>), the Defense Minister was able to override the court by having two of them imprisoned through that mechanism after being released.

I’ll skip the rest of the article, since it’s quite lengthy, but one thing not in there was what was the reaction of the Arabs when they saw a bunch of Jews approaching? Did the Jews run up and immediately start setting things on fire? Did it maybe start peacefully and escalate? As I said, I wasn’t there, but if 95 Arabs were treated for tear gas, it didn’t stay one-sided for long.

To summarize, after the murder of two Jews stuck in traffic by a jihadi, the town of Huwara celebrated. Soon afterwards, Jews who were surprisingly upset by this, came to protest, and, I’m sure, looking for a fight. All subsequent information comes from the PLO, who side with the Yanivs’ murderer, but tell us that the “dozens” (so I’m guessing less than 95) Jews clashed with a larger group of Arabs (at least 95) and allegedly injured four, burned the (likely illegally obtained) property of a known terrorist and burned the houses of unnamed victims, none of which could be corroborated in court – all while the killer was still at large. Oh, and someone else was shot and killed nearby, but no one knows by whom.

This was certainly vigilantism, and there are reasons to be against vigilantism. It was certainly violent, and probably would have been much more so if the IDF had not intervened – I’m guessing with tear gas. But was it a pogrom [“an organized massacre of helpless people”]??? Lastly, will Jews, especially Israeli generals, calling it a pogrom – and compensating the aforementioned terrorist chop shop owner – help?

About the Author
Reuven (sometimes Bobby) came from a mixed Jewish-Christian background. He became ba'al teshuva (Jewishly observant) in his 20s with the intention of making aliyah, which didn't happen until his 40s. His daughter, Shani, also blogs and serves in the IDF as a medic. She was a lone soldier until her parents made aliyah in 2017.