Two brothers, aged 6 and 8-years-old, were among three Israelis murdered when a terrorist drove a car into a crowd at a Jerusalem bus stop on Friday. An off-duty Israeli Police detective arrived at the scene and shot and killed the terrorist. A recap of the attack posted to the Israeli Police Twitter page, reported the car was “speeding” towards an intersection and “rammed innocent people who were waiting at the bus station.” The Israeli Police also confirmed the terrorist was a resident of the Palestinian neighborhood of Isawiya.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the Security Cabinet was set to discuss “a more wide-ranging operation” against terrorists and their supporters “while avoiding—as much as possible—harm to those who are not involved.”
In Netanyahu’s comments, published by Israel, he noted the horrific incident extended to the reaction to the act of terrorism. “In recent days we have once again seen the immense difference between the brutality of our enemies and the humanity of our people. Our enemies murder young children in Jerusalem and celebrate their murder while we are rescuing young children in Türkiye and praising their rescue,” said Netanyahu.
The Israeli leader offered condolences to the families of the three persons murdered in the attack: Yaakov-Yisrael Paley and his brother Asher, and Alter-Shlomo Lederman, a 20-year-old seminary student, who Netanyahu noted was married just months ago. He said they are praying for the recovery of the father of Yaakov and Asher, who Netanyahu noted remained hospitalized.
Netanyahu also commended the police officers who “eliminated the terrorist at the scene and thereby prevented an even worse attack.”
The car ramming was the second multiple fatality terror attack in Jerusalem in a span of two weeks, following the shooting outside a synagogue on January 27 that killed seven. In Friday’s attack, Israel’s Magen David Adom paramedic service reported on Twitter that in addition to those murdered, multiple persons from the incident were hospitalized.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US “strongly condemned” the latest attack in a statement published by the State Department. Said Blinken, “The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians is repugnant and unconscionable. The United States extends our deepest sympathies to the injured, and we stand firmly with them in the face of this attack.”
Germany’s Foreign Office also condemned the attack on Twitter, but surprisingly implied Israel was partly to blame for being attacked in view of the stagnant Israel-Palestinian peace talks. Said the post, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s car attack in East #Jerusalem. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and we wish those injured a swift recovery. To deprive terrorism of its breeding grounds, political dialogue & more cooperation are urgently needed.”
Germany did not clarify that the Palestinians have repeatedly refused to join the Abraham Accords peace process.
For their part, Israel blamed in part the Palestinian Authority (PA) for making government-funded payments to terrorist families. “I’m shocked by this dreadful terror attack. This is the direct consequence of the relentless incitement by Palestinians and the ‘pay for slay’ PA policy,” Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General for Public Diplomacy Emmanuel Nahshon posted to Twitter on Friday.
In the wake of the attack, support for Israel in the Arab world continued. The Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an Israeli ally, issued a statement on their website on Saturday stating their “strong condemnation of the terrorist attack.”
Said the statement, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirmed the Kingdom of Bahrain’s firm position in rejecting violence and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, renewing its call for calm, restraint, non-escalation, protection for civilians, and the creation of an appropriate atmosphere to revive the just and comprehensive peace process in the Middle East region, in order to achieve security, stability and prosperity for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples as well as the peoples of the region.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai made it clear how Israel would be approaching acts of terror in a post to the Police force’s Twitter page: “Israel police officers are at the forefront of security efforts; we will continue to fight terrorism—in Jerusalem and anywhere else.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, February 12, 2023)