Border Police Officer St. Sgt. Solomon Gabaria, and security guards Yussef Othman (an Israeli Arab), and Or Arish, watched the Palestinian Arab warily as he approached the security gate to Har Adar, a quaint community nestled in Judean hills just north of Jerusalem. They had no reason to suspect 37-year old Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal. After all, Jamal had been working at Har Adar in the past as a cleaner and had a work permit. But something about the laborer’s gait and clothing drew their suspicions. It was a hot day yet he was wearing a jacket and he seemed jittery. When they asked him to halt for inspection, he drew a pistol and began firing with deadly precision.
Gabria, Othman and Arish – all in their early to mid-20s – were instantly hit and mortally wounded. A fourth Israeli was hit in the shoulder and hip but survived the attack. Another border policeman who witnessed the attack drew his automatic rifle and fired three bullets, killing the terrorist. Gabria had been seriously injured in a prior terror attack in Jerusalem but insisted on rejoining his unit just two months into his recovery. He along with Othman and Arish paid the ultimate price in defense of their country. Security forces immediately sealed off Beit Surik, the attacker’s village, and arrested three suspects, including two of his brothers on suspicion of assisting the assailant.
According to Israeli authorities, the weapon used in the attack had been reported stolen in 2003. The terrorist did not have a record of security related offenses and was apparently operating as a so-called, lone wolf. But the term lone wolf is a misnomer because the Palestinian Authority, the entity that governs Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria, subjects its population to a steady diet of vitriolic incitement and antisemitism. No doubt that PA sanctioned incitement played a role in Jamal’s mindset. In PA vernacular, Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs and loyal non-Jewish Israelis are deemed collaborators and stooges.
Israeli authorities noted that Jamal was an abusive husband who frequently beat his wife. She fled to Jordan some weeks ago and left him with their four children. In a Facebook message posted just prior to the attack, Jamal acknowledged that he had been a bad husband and father. He followed up that post with other messages laced with Islamic undertones including the common Muslim creed, “there is no God but God.” Apparently, Jamal used his marital woes to somehow justify mass murder. Perhaps he thought he would find bliss among 72 virgins.
The U.S. embassy issued a swift and harsh condemnation of the attack. Ambassador David Freedman tweeted, “Once again, Israelis confront the cruel and evil brutality of unprovoked terrorism. We pray for the victims at Har Adar and their families.” That sentiment was echoed by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations who tweeted, “My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror!” It is refreshing to note that after an eight year hiatus, U.S.-Israeli relations are back on track with the current administration dispensing with the usual politically correct, equivocal banalities and forcefully acknowledging who the good and bad guys are. The European Union also condemned the attack and criticized Hamas for glorifying the assailant and his actions.
Among the Palestinian Arabs, it was an entirely different story. The Hamas terrorist entity that runs the Gaza Strip praised the attack and hailed Jamal as a martyr. In the Gaza Strip, jubilant crowds, like the ones witnessed in Gaza after the 9-11 and Boston marathon bombing attacks, danced in the streets and handed out sweets to passersby in macabre celebration of the murders.
Among Palestinian Arabs residing in the West Bank, the scene was no less disturbing. Hamas’s rival Fatah, the political party of the PA’s “moderate” Mahmoud Abbas, also glorified the attack and painted a portrait of the terrorist as a hero and martyr. Fatah also promised to pay a stipend to the terrorist’s family. The Palestinian practice of “pay for slay” is routine with some Palestinian families of terrorists receiving upwards of $3,000 a month. In fact, a substantial portion of the Palestinian budget is allocated toward paying the families of convicted or killed terrorists. Most of the Palestinian budget is derived from foreign donations, including aid from the U.S. and EU, making these nations indirectly complicit in perpetuating terrorism.
The United States however, is taking the situation seriously. The Taylor Force Act – named after Taylor Force who was murdered by a Palestinian Arab who went on a stabbing spree in Jaffa – is slated to be signed into law. The bill, which has garnered strong bipartisan support and has already overcome committee hurdles, would compel the State Department to terminate funding for the PA over its macabre practice of “pay for slay.” The Trump administration has voiced support for the legislation and Trump said he would sign the bill into law.
The reflexive Palestinian reaction to rejoice in response to brutal acts of violence and terrorism is medieval and aberrant. What kind of society produces a people who almost ritually revel in blood and gore and celebrate the deaths of innocents? The more salient question is; are people who rejoice when civilians are killed worthy of statehood? The answer seems patently obvious.