The low-level Palestinian terrorism that has been plaguing Israelis for years, particularly firebombings, shootings and stonings have been documented on this blog and elsewhere innumerable times; similarly the ongoing destruction – under the guise of “youthful vandalism” – of the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives, as well as attacking Jewish visitors to the cemetery. This terrorism has been gradually ramping up, and it was obvious to all that the longer no serious Israeli response was forthcoming, the more serious the situation was set to be.
On Rosh Hashana eve, another Israeli fell victim to Palestinian rock throwing: Alexander Levlovitz of Mevasseret was killed as he drove in East Talpiot, Jerusalem:
Police identified the Israeli man killed late Sunday night in a rock-throwing attack in Jerusalem as Alexander Levlovitz, 64.
Levlovitz died of his injuries in the early hours of Monday morning after he lost control of his car when it came under attack by assailants hurling stones; he drove into a ditch and hit a pole, initially sustaining serious wounds. Police were investigating whether Levlovitz suffered cardiac arrest when his car crashed.
Two other people travelling in the car were lightly injured in the incident in the East Talpiot neighborhood of southeast Jerusalem. The three were returning from an event celebrating the Jewish New Year.
Unknown assailants believed to be Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem reportedly attacked the car with stones. The assailants, allegedly from the nearby Palestinian village of Sur Bacher, also attacked other cars on East Talpiot’s Asher Winer street, Channel 2 reported.
“The driver who was involved in an accident, apparently as a result of stone-throwing… died at Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement.
This attack might have been prevented if the police – at the government’s behest – would have taken a firmer hand against the perpetrators. Finally, much too late, the politicians appear to be waking up to the threat. President Rivlin called for firm action against terror following this stoning attack plus several days of rioting on the Temple Mount (more on that to follow), and he was joined in his call by politicians from both Left and Right.
Netanyahu too finally sprang into action, summoning an emergency meeting at his office at the close of Rosh Hashana to discuss ways to combat the growing terror threat:
At an emergency meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office late Tuesday to discuss measures to curb an increasing trend of Palestinians using homemade weapons against Israelis, Netanyahu said that stone-throwers would face harsher penalties in the future.
“I take the throwing of stones or firebombs against Israelis very seriously, and I intend to fight this phenomenon by any means necessary, including the use of implementing stricter sentences and enforcement,” he said.
The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and senior security officials.
The committee would submit its recommendations within a week, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
Netanyahu also ordered the Israel Police and state prosecution to form a separate committee to examine ways to deter such attacks by increasing the severity of penalties and sentences.
The committee was specifically tasked by the prime minister with determining the efficacy of measures such as imposing high minimum sentences, and instituting steep fines on minors and their parents who participate in rock-throwing attacks.
Ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu vowed to use “any means necessary” to curb stoning-throwing attacks against Israelis and ongoing violence on the Temple Mount, which on Tuesday saw Palestinians clashing with Israeli police for a third consecutive day.
The emergency meeting came after three days of violent clashes on the Temple Mount and a rock-throwing attack that led to a fatal car crash in Jerusalem Sunday night, killing the driver, Alexander Levlovitz.
May the family of Alexander Levlovitz Hy’d be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may his memory be for a blessing.
In recent weeks we have seen how the uncontested Arab “vandalism” – in actual fact antisemitic acts of the basest sort – in the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives has reached heights never seen since its partial destruction by the Jordanians in 1948. Graves were smashed and trees set on fire in the latest bout.
Returning to the recent violence on the Temple Mount, Palestinian anti-Jewish violence in the Old City of Jerusalem and its environs has also been growing apace, partly because of a limp police response to the Palestinians’ violence combined with an unfairly firm hand against the Jewish victims.
One of the worst manifestations of Muslim supremacy has been the “Temple Mount screamers” who have been hired and are paid by radical Muslim organizations specifically to hound and harass Jews and others who wish to visit and pray at their holiest site. Up till this week they have been aided and abetted appeased by the Israeli police who simply want a quiet life and find it easier to chase the Jews away rather than confront the Muslim stalkers.
But finally the Israeli government has woken up, maybe after being embarrassed by a visiting US Congressman being harassed by these “screamers” – or maybe just by mounting furious domestic public opinion. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has now outlawed the Murabitun’ and ‘Murabitat:
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon signed an order Wednesday declaring the groups of Islamists who regularly harass Jews on the Temple Mount – the male “Murabitun” and female “Murabitat” – as illegal organizations.
The activists regularly riot on the Mount, curse, shout, and throw various objects at the Jews who ascend the Mount, and sometimes attack police as well.
Yaalon signed the order upon the recommendation of the Israel Security Agency and the Israel Police, after he became convinced that it was necessary for preserving the public peace and security of the nation.
“The activity of the Murabitun and Murabitat is a central element in creating the tension and violence on the Temple Mount in particular and in Jerusalem in general,” said a statement issued by Yaalon’s bureau. “This is dangerous and inciting activity against tourists, visitors and worshipers at the site, that leads to violence and could cause loss of life.”
Boker tov Eliyahu. Where has Yaalon been hiding up until now?!
The declaration was signed after it received the approval of the Attorney General, and it means that anyone participating in Murabitun/Murabitat activities, organizing or funding it, is carrying out a crime and is likely to face prosecution.
I’d like to see that happen in real life. In practice I’m willing to bet we’ll never see a prosecution but I would be delighted to be proven wrong. I’ll be happy to see one or two of them arrested. (Not holding my breath).
Minister of Internal Security Gilad Erdan (Likud) sent Ya’alon letter last month, asking him to urgently declare the Arab organizations that create mayhem on the Temple Mount as illegal, so that security forces will have a freer hand against the rioters.
Erdan had been carrying out behind-the-scenes staff work, together with police, the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet), the State Attorney’s Office and even the Attorney General, who agreed to help advance the declaration.
In the discussions of the problem, Erdan was shown evidence that the Murabitun and Murabitat are directed by the northern arm of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
The purpose of their activity is to destabilize the status quo on the Temple Mount, and they have succeeded in creating escalation on the Mount, and in making the security situation there untenable.
Kol hakavod to Gilad Erdan, one of the few effective Israeli politicians in office today.
Miriam Elman at Legal Insurrection has produced an admirably thorough backgrounder to the “Screamers” – their financing and backing, their provocations and harassments, and their aim of denying the centrality of Jerusalem to the Jews. It’s outrageous and depressing reading. Read it all at the link.
As to what triggered the violence over Rosh Hashana, it all started when Israel hit back. Or rather, when the Israeli police discovered a stash of pipe bombs hidden by Palestinians on the Temple Mount, ready to be used against Jewish worshippers on Rosh Hashana:
Israeli police on Sunday discovered pipe bombs during what they said was a preemptive operation at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount, prompting one senior minister to warn that Israel would review measures at the site, which is holy to both Jew and Muslims.
The Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Egypt condemned the Israeli government for the incident.
Yes, of course, because it’s always the police’s fault for discovering a crime, rather than the fault of the criminal.
Police said it approached the compound to prevent an attempt to disrupt Jewish visits to the site.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan warned that the discovery of the pipe bombs “forces us to reconsider the arrangements for the Temple Mount.
“It is unacceptable that Muslim rioters who barricaded themselves during the night on the Temple Mount can, at will, turn this holy site into a battlefield, including throwing stones, shooting firecrackers directly at security forces, and even bringing explosive devices into the area of the mount,” he said.
According to police, the intention of the demonstrators was to upset the movements of Jewish visitors in the compound ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which began Sunday evening and marks the Jewish new year.
“Masked protesters who were inside the mosque threw stones and fireworks at police,” a police statement said. “Suspicious pipes that could be filled with homemade explosives were also found at the entry to the mosque.”
Police later confirmed that the objects were pipe bombs.
Once again, I don’t understand why it has taken the police or the political echelon so long to react. These Palestinian attacks with pipe bombs, stones and other weapons against Jews have been taking place for years.
In another recent anti-Jewish attack in Jerusalem, a Jewish worshipper was chased through the alleyways of the Old City:
Here is what the Muslims’ “third-holiest site” looks like from the inside:
The humour in the Sussex Friends of Israel’s cheeky comment disguises what is an important point: the Muslims lost all right to any claim to “holiness” just by the way they treat the Temple Mount as anything BUT a place of worship. To them it is simply yet another place from which to uproot Israel and its Jewish historical connection to the site.
The chutzpah of the EU, the UN and (incredibly) the US in urging “restraint” is once again beyond belief. Let them address their calls for restraint to the Muslims – to their Iranian backers, the Muslim Brotherhood financiers, and their Palestinian perpetrators.
Meanwhile let us hope that with the start of the New Year, the Israeli government will mark a new beginning and show us that it is finally getting serious about confronting this growing menace of Palestinian terrorism in Jerusalem, which threatens not only lives but our very sovereignty in our capital city.