It is with a heavy heart that I again have to report on the senseless killing of Jews. The car assaults at Jerusalem’s light rail stations were bad enough. But killing worshippers in the middle of prayer and in such a depraved manner was appalling! Attacking praying people with meat cleavers in a synagogue- how low can you go!
Predictably, Abbas publicly condemned the act while people in Gaza rejoiced. Men handed out sweets and those receiving them praised the dead murderers. MEMRI.org has a short video showing the festive mood in Gaza following the synagogue slayings.
The media coverage of this event varied, with some providing good coverage, while others like CNN first reporting that the carnage took place in a mosque and displaying a headline that reported four Israelis and two Palestinians killed. They later apologized for the headline.
Interestingly, few media outlets reported that the Israeli policeman who was killed trying to help the worshippers was, in fact, a Druze Arab. Apparently, reporting that some Arabs are actually loyal to Israel, and serve in the armed forces and police force is not consistent with their view of Israel.
These Arab assassins were not from Gaza or the West Bank, but from eastern Jerusalem, a part of Jerusalem captured by Jordan in 1967 and annexed to Israel. While the people who live there are permanent residents, not Israeli citizens, they get all the rights of Israeli citizens, except the right to vote in National elections. They can vote in municipal elections and can apply for Israeli citizenship, which most refuse to do since they don’t want to recognize Israel’s sovereignty. They don’t have Israeli passports, but Jordanian ones which enable them to visit Arab countries.
There is no separation between East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem. People from one side are free to go to the other. But while many East Jerusalem Arabs shop in West Jerusalem, most Israelis limit their visits to East Jerusalem to the Western Wall, Jewish quarter and City of David.
While there is a large and ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, located in East Jerusalem, Arabs regularly harass Jews coming to pay respects to the holy men and loved ones buried there. The Arabs also desecrate the graves and have even stabbed visitors to the site.
While most of the residents of East Jerusalem are Arabs, a few Jews have started to move into a part of East Jerusalem called the Silwan. Formerly a thriving Yemenite village, it was destroyed during the Arab riots in the 1920s and 30s.
Netanyahu has ordered the demolition of the murderers’ houses, but this tactic, while strongly disliked by the Arab residents of East Jerusalem, does not seem to deter those intent on harming Jews. Perhaps, the Israel government should forbid amy future Arab housing at that location and declare it government land.
Since Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, and if it intends to truly unite both East and West Jerusalem and make it one city, it should start treating it as part of the country and encourage Jewish residence there. Of course, the world and the Arabs will scream.
Arabs living in East Jerusalem should be encouraged to apply for Israeli citizenship and those who do not wish to do so, should be encouraged to move to the West Bank, Gaza or other Arab country. It’s time for Israel to assert its authority over East Jerusalem and dispel all Palestinian hopes that East Jerusalem will be the capital of their state.