Thursday, July 03, 2014

Reactions to the murders

The reactions to the murder of the three Israeli teenagers has released anger on both sides.  First Palestinians rioted in several Palestinians towns and neighborhoods in response to the searches and arrests made by the IDF, first for the boys and now they are desperately seeking the two Hamas killers of the boys, who are believed to be hiding out in or near Hebron.  The IDF have arrested over 400 people so far, most of them Hamas activists, rioters who attacked the IDF soldiers and some re-arrested terrorists who had been released in exchange for Gilad Schalit.  PA Pres. Abbas issued a statement deploring the killings, but also against the Israeli arrests and invasions of Palestinian towns, during which 5 rioters have been killed.
A major demonstration by Israeli Jews in Jerusalem this afternoon became violent.  Shouting anti-Arab slogans they surged through the center of town and attacked several Arabs.  The police intervened and arrested 57 people. There had been a report of an abduction earlier of an Arab teen by three men in a car.   Later the body of an Arab teenager from the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat was found in some woods.   Whether this was a revenge killing by Jewish extremists or an internal clan feud is not yet clear, since there have been previous kidnappings and killings in this area.  But, it is likely to have been a revenge murder for the three murdered Israeli teens.  As a result of this killing there were riots of Arab youths in several Jerusalem neighborhoods, they attacked stores, burnt tram stops and attacked police with Molotov cocktails and rocks.  Many were arrested, but the police used non-lethal crowd dispersal measures against them.  The police also rescued several Arabs who were attacked by the mob, either because they were against violence or because they were accused of being Israeli agents.  At present, by night-fall, the police have the situation throughout Jerusalem under control, but they are still on alert.
PM Netanyahu and several other leading Israeli politicians denounced the killing of the Arab teen, and the mother of one of the murdered Israeli youths also issued a statement against any kind of revenge killing, she said "it's not our way."  I agree, although I am in favor of the harshest measures against Arab terrorists, I am totally against any kind of general attacks on Arabs.  The Jewish extremists in their "price tag" attacks, slashing tires and burning mosques, have attacked places such as Abu Ghosh, a small Arab town near Jerusalem, and Fureidis near Zichron Yaakov, both of which are known for their friendship for and support of Israel.  This is deliberate by these Jewish extremists because they want to antagonize the whole Arab population.  Like the IAF attacks in Gaza, the counter attacks must be targeted against the terrorists and not against the general civilian Arab population.  Nevertheless, some counter-measures are justified, for example, the authorities have banned Muslims from the Temple Mount even though it is Ramadan. 
Last night there was a peace rally of Israelis that marched to PM Netanyahu's home to ask for a calming of the situation.  So far things are under control, and we await the supposed retaliatory actions of the Government.  In the Security Cabinet there are two factions, one led by the PM and FM Lieberman, which wants to take strong punitive measures, and the other led by Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, both of the liberal wing of the Coalition, who want a more measured response.  We await to see which official reactions will occur.



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