When terror hits close to home
Misleading headlines distort the truth
For the past few weeks, I’ve been glued to my phone. I check it first thing when I wake up in the morning, while I’m eating, while I’m walking down the Infinite, in class, while I’m working on problem sets, and before I go to sleep. But I’m not checking fantasy football stats. I’m checking for reports of another terror attack and word that my little brother is safe.
My brother is currently studying abroad in Israel, and his school is located near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. Every single day without fail he texts me about another Palestinian terror attack – usually stabbings – directed against civilians. Last week, his teacher was one of the victims, stabbed in the neck for no reason other than being Jewish.
Since Oct. 1, there have been over 30 terror attacks carried out by Palestinian terrorists against Israelis, not including rocket attacks. Here is an abbreviated timeline:
—Oct. 1: Two parents were shot dead in front of their four young children. Fatah, the political party of Palestinian Authority’s president Mahmoud Abbas, claimed responsibility for the murders. (This same “moderate” group is responsible for negotiating peace with Israel.)
—Oct. 7: A terrorist stole a gun, broke into a woman’s home in Kiryat Gat, and tried to murder the family who lived there. (This happened right near my best friend’s school. I frantically messaged her to make sure she was OK, and the hours before she answered were terrifying.)
—Oct. 7: A 25-year-old man was stabbed and badly wounded by a Palestinian terrorist in Petach Tikva, where my cousins live. Thankfully, a bystander tackled the terrorist and held him down until the police could reach the scene.
—Oct. 9: In Jerusalem, two American teenagers were beaten and stabbed after taking a wrong turn into an Arab neighborhood.
—Oct. 11: A suicide bomber, with her child in her car, detonated a bomb that wounded her daughter and a police officer.
When someone gets stabbed, you would think that it is clear who the victim is and who the perpetrator is, right? Wrong. To my astonishment, the headlines reporting the recent terror attacks in Israel blur the victims with the attackers, the murdered with the murderers. On Oct. 3, an article published by the BBC was titled “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.” The headline obscured who was being attacked and who was the attacker, and it completely failed to mention that the Palestinian died while stabbing members of a family, murdering the father and another man.
Here is an even more outrageous example. The Independent published an article titled “Israeli security forces kill boy, 16.” When I first read that headline, I thought that a poor boy was killed without reasonable cause, and images of excessive force and police brutality came to mind. But in reality, that “boy” mentioned in the headline stabbed two elderly Jews on their way home, and the 16-year-old terrorist was killed to stop his stabbing rampage.
Can you imagine the mainstream media reporting on the Sandy Hook school shooting with headlines like “20-year-old shot dead in attack at elementary school”?
The problem isn’t restricted to the media. When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemned Israel for the “killings [of four Palestinians]” and demanded that the government of Israel conduct an investigation, he failed to mention the fact that those Palestinians died in attacks that killed four Israelis. He condemned Israel but failed to condemn the attacks on Israeli citizens that made these defensive acts necessary.
One might expect that Israel’s supposed peace partner, Mahmoud Abbas, would demand that his people stop these vicious crimes against innocents. But this is not so. Not only did Abbas’s party proudly commit two of the murders, as mentioned above, but Abbas claimed that “we [Palestinians] are working to spread the culture of peace and coexistence between the people in our region.” Then he turned around and justified the murders of unarmed civilians by saying, “every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every shahid [martyr] will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.”
Surely, though, the terrorists are just fringe members of Palestinian society, and as a whole, such violence is rejected? Not necessarily. Many Palestinian civilians celebrated the attacks in various ways, by passing out candies in the street, by a mother naming her newborn after a killed terrorist, and by firing firecrackers in celebration of the murders.
It is time for all civilians to be able to walk in Jerusalem without the fear of being stabbed to death. And it is time for the Palestinian leadership, the international media, and the U.S. government to take a moral stand and unequivocally call terror what it is: terror.