Four killed at synagogue

The Palestinians have been up in arms lately over the stubborn insistence of Jews to live and worship in Jerusalem.  The situation just escalated from random vehicular homicide to a horrifying terrorist attack on a synagogue that killed four people, three of them American citizens.  The Obama Administration did its level best to ignore the previous Palestinian murder of an American, but there’s no way they can sweep this one under the rug, no matter how much they want to pump the Palestinians’ thug “unity government” up into a statesmanlike gaggle of “partners in peace.”

The Washington Post reports on the carnage, and does not skimp on the awful details:

Two Palestinian attackers armed with knives, axes and a gun stormed a synagogue in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood on Tuesday, killing three Americans ??? including a prominent rabbi ??? and a British worshipper in one of the deadliest attacks in years in Jerusalem.

The attackers ??? identified by Palestinian media as residents of mostly Arab East Jerusalem ??? were killed by police in an aftermath that vividly showed the razor-edge tensions in Jerusalem after weeks of bloodshed and clashes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Palestinians leaders for inciting violence and promised to ???respond harshly.??? In the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip, calls over loudspeakers praised the attackers.

The Associated Press, citing Israeli police, said those killed included one Briton and three Americans ??? among them Rabbi Moshe Twersky, who taught at an English-speaking religious school in Jerusalem and a member of one of the most respected families in Orthodox scholarship.

The names of the others killed were not immediately made public through official channels, but media reports in Israel identified them all as rabbis. The synagogue is located in a neighborhood, Har Nof, popular with Americans undertaking studies in Judaism.

Well, okay, they skimped on some of the awful details.  For example, according to Bloomberg News, “the assailants cut off the arm of a worshipper wearing phylacteries, a religious article Jewish men don during prayer.”  And the Jerusalem Post reports that those lovable Palestinian scamps did a lot more than merely praise the attackers over loudspeakers:

Gazan revelers in Rafah handed out sweets and brandished axes and posters of the said perpetrators in praise of the deadly attack. 

Palestinian radio reports described the attackers as “martyrs” and Hamas praised the attack. Loudspeakers at mosques in Gaza called out congratulations. However, there was no direct claim of responsibility.

Palestinian media named the attackers as Ghassan and Udai Abu Jamal, cousins from the Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukaber, and said they were members of a small militant group. 

Clashes broke out in Jabal Mukaber as Israeli security forces moved into the area to make arrests.

“Hamas calls for the continuation of revenge operations and stresses that the Israeli occupation bears responsibility for tension in Jerusalem,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Another Hamas statement described the attack as “a quality development in the confrontation with the Israeli occupation” and hailed it as “an appropriate and functional response.”  They seem like such lovely folks.  You can see why Barack Obama and John Kerry are so eager to give them a state of their own.

CNN earned widespread criticism for its amazingly undercooked headline: “4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians killed in synagogue attack, Israeli police say.”  Shouldn’t the headline note that the two Palestinians died because they were the attackers?  Western media’s reflexive tendency to undersell Palestinian atrocities has not diminished, despite all the flack they took for helping Palestinian propagandists during the recent Gaza war.  Remember all the postscript reports from media organizations that finally got around to admitting they watched Hamas set up its rockets behind civilian human shields, but were threatened with violence if they dared to file a report… and didn’t even bother to report they had been threatened?

The BBC, meanwhile, told Israel’s Economy Minister, Nafitali Bennett, that he couldn’t show pictures of the synagogue attack during an interview, with the hostess snapping “Sorry, we don’t want to actually see that picture, if you could take that down” when Bennett held up a photo of a victim.  Of course, pictures of Palestinians killed during battles with the Israeli police and defense forces are perfectly acceptable.  By the way, when Bennett refers to “Abu Mazen” in this clip, he’s using an alias of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

A considerably more unpleasant picture than the image the Beeb decided its audience didn’t need to see was Tweeted out by the Prime Minister’s office.  I might be pushing my editorial boundaries a bit by posting it, but images are what burn stories into the public consciousness, and not only do I believe this incident must be understood and remembered, but I would like to take this opportunity to demonstrate my contempt for those who think it should not be seen.  So:

The Jerusalem Post has a video walkthrough of the bloodied synagogue.  It looks just like the final reel of a found-footage horror movie. We’ve grown accustomed to an incurious media taking direction from the Obama White House – on foreign affairs, the Administration is the senior editor on every story, if not the lead writer.  Securing a lame-duck photo op for Obama as the visionary leader who brokered a lasting Israeli-Palestinian two-state peace is a high priority for the White House, which makes it necessary to throw buckets of whitewash over every hideous thing the Palestinians do, especially when it comes to “moderate” President Mahmoud Abbas.  That strategy plays directly into the hands of the terrorists, who desire legitimacy above all else.  The victory scenario for terrorism involves an invitation to the table as a respectable negotiating partner, receiving all the benefits of civilized conduct without any of the responsibilities: asymmetrical politics following asymmetrical warfare. In this case, the terrorists have gone too far even for clueless Secretary of State John Kerry, whose department normally responds to these events by urging both sides to exercise restraint – the moral equivalence that forms the first ingredient of the legitimacy terrorists desire.  The Washington Post has reactions from Kerry and Abbas that make it sound like the Obama Administration will try to firewall Abbas from this atrocity and preserve his legitimacy, while supporting Israel (at least initially) against the more violent elements of the many-winged Palestinian collective:

In London, Secretary of State John F. Kerry angrily condemned the attacks and demanded that the Palestinian leadership take immediate steps to end incitement to violence among Palestinians. ???Innocent people who had come to worship died in the sanctuary of a synagogue,??? Kerry said shortly after the attack, his voice quavering. ???They were hatcheted, hacked and murdered in that holy place in an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and murder,??? he said after speaking by phone with Netanyahu. ???I call on Palestinians at every single level of leadership to condemn this in the most powerful terms. This violence has no place anywhere, particularly after the discussion that we just had the other day in Amman.??? Netanyahu, Kerry and Jordan???s King Abdullah II met last week in Jordan in a bid to ease tensions and restore calm after months of violent confrontations between the two sides over access to a sacred shrine holy to both Jews and Muslims. Abbas also condemned the attack. ???The presidency condemns the attack on Jewish worshippers in their place of prayer and condemns the killing of civilians no matter who is doing it,??? his office said in a statement given to the Reuters news agency.

It doesn’t sound like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to let Abbas hide behind that political firewall, because he directly blamed the Palestinian president for creating the atmosphere of tension and violence that led to the synagogue attack.  “This is a direct result of incitement led by Hamas and Abbas, incitement that the international community has been irresponsibly ignoring,” said Netanyahu.  “We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers.” I notice that very few Western media outlets saw fit to relay Netanyahu’s condemnation of Abbas, but since he has apparently repeated it directly to John Kerry, it might get some traction over here. Since this synagogue is located in a relatively tranquil neighborhood, there is talk of restricting Arab movement into the Jewish areas of Jerusalem, where many of them have jobs.  That’s an understandable security precaution in light of the attack, but it would unfortunately play into the short-term political needs of the terrorists, by further embittering the Palestinians in Jerusalem.  It’s unlikely that most of the people whose lives are damaged by tighter security precautions will blame the perpetrators of the attack for making them necessary… and that’s one of the reasons it is a terrible mistake, as well as a moral outrage, to lower the standards for civilization and make concessions to terrorists.  The legitimacy wrongly extended to the Palestinian leadership makes it easier for them to deflect blame for the consequences of their actions. Update: An accurate observation from Jake Tapper at CNN that will not sit well with many of his colleagues:

No doubt Tapper is a very busy guy, but is there any way he could make time to exercise a bit of editorial control over the CNN headline writers?  And perhaps also the onscreen chyron writers, since they evidently identified the target of the attack as a mosque this morning, rather than a synagogue.