On Wednesday, November 13, an 18-year old, newly-drafted Israeli soldier Eden Atias boarded an Egged bus that would take him back to his base. Before the trip had barely begun, he fell asleep. Atias had just entered the Israeli army two weeks earlier and was still in his first days of basic training. While he slept, the 16-year old sitting next to him stabbed him viciously, several times in the neck. Atias was rushed to Haemek Hospital in Afula, where surgeons worked feverishly to save his life, but could not. Atias died in the hospital, and before the day was ended, he was buried at the Nazareth Illit military cemetery (photo shows family mourning at his funeral).
The murderer, Hussein Sharif Rawarda, was immediately arrested by the Israeli police. He told them, “I boarded the bus with the intention of stabbing someone. . . . to bring a gift to the Palestinian people and to Hamas prisoners for the festival of sacrifice”.Hamas issued a statement in Gaza, saying “Hamas welcomes the soldier stabbing in Afula.” Hamas spokesman Fawzy Barhoom parised Rawarda on his Facebook page, writing, “Congratulations to the Palestinian West Bank hero who killed an Israeli soldier in Afula this morning”.
No one is surprised that Hamas glorifies those who attack Jews in Israel, and celebrates them as martyrs when they die. And it does not seem to influence either the Western press or our government’s foreign policy. The Palestinian governments – the Palestinian Authority and Hamas – name streets and sports teams after their “martyrs”, declaring them heroes because they murdered Jews. Rawarda has already achieved the status of hero for this cowardly murder, even as the Atias family mourn the death of their son, whose only crime was being an Israeli, drafted into the service of his country.
What is shocking is that the Western press continues to ignore the atrocities committed against Israelis, focusing instead on Israeli military responses to these attacks. This subliminal editorial statement keeps the real story of Israel’s dangerous situation out of the news. The New York Times, for example, covered the story of Atias’ murder in a single sentence, with a picture, not of the victim or his grieving family, but of the murderer’s mother, surrounded by photos of her son, under the title, “Attack on Israeli Worsens Tensions With Palestinians”. The article referred to the murder almost as an aside, stating that it clouded “a peace process that was already severely strained.” The brutal, unprovoked, and deadly violence that killed Atias was ignored completely.
This murder was only the last of several brutal, unprovoked terrorist attacks against Israelis in recent weeks. In addition to a rash of fire bombs and potentially lethal stoning of cars on Israel’s highways, several high profile murders of Israelis by Arab terrorists have created uneasiness in Israel, after years of relative quiet.
The axe murder of Colonel Seraiah Ofer, who was killed outside his home in the village of Brosh Habikaa, the murder of Sgt. Tomer Hazan who was lured by a Palestinian co-worker to a West Bank village where he was murdered and his body was thrown into a well, and the sniper shooting of Sgt. Gal Kobi, who was on active duty in Hebron, have all been signs that despite the ruse of peace talks, the Palestinians are renewing a sporadic but increasingly aggressive terrorist campaign against Israel.
It should be abundantly clear to the objective, knowledgeable observer, that the cause of such hostility is born of an incessant education of hate and vengeance against Israel from the cradle. Official television programming features cartoons and enactments of violence and hate speech against Jews and Israelis, while school books and lesson plans are rife with disinformation and anti-Israel invective.
When will the US start building its policies towards Israel based on facts instead of the anti-Israel propaganda supplied by Israel’s enemies? Israel is a key player in the ongoing battle against the West by Islamist forces determined to destroy our culture. The time is long overdue for America to stop pressuring Israel to act against its own self-interest and national security. Instead of pushing the Israeli government to release hundreds of imprisoned Arab terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands as a “goodwill gesture” to stimulate “peace” talks, we should be standing with Israel in the court of international opinion, recognizing that Israel’s very survival is on the line and that our role should be of a strong ally, not an adversary who joins with those who threaten her very existence.
Our current aggressive and dismissive posture towards our supposed ally, Israel, (particularly in the face of current negotiations with Iran and the growing chorus of anti-Israel threats emanating from much of the Arab and Muslim world), leads us to the inevitable question: which side is the US government really on?