Weekly roundup of world briefs from JTA


In dual Jerusalem stabbings by Palestinians, 2 Israelis killed

JERUSALEM (JTA)—An Israeli teenager was stabbed by a Palestinian man outside Jerusalem’s Old City several hours after two Israeli men were killed in a similar attack nearby.

The 15-year-old victim was in moderate condition after being treated on the scene early Sunday morning by paramedics, according to initial reports. He was taken to the hospital with wounds to his chest and back.

The assailant reportedly fled the scene. A video posted online appeared to show him hundreds of feet away, on the tracks of Jerusalem’s light rail, where he was shot and killed by police officers.

Hamas media named the suspected stabber as Fadi Aloon, a resident of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. A post before the attack on what appeared to be Aloon’s Facebook page pledged martyrdom and asked God’s forgiveness for sins.

The stabbing attack that killed the two Israeli men took place on Saturday night, also in the Old City. An Israeli woman, the wife of the men who was killed, and her 2-year-old son were injured.

The Palestinian assailant, 19, from the al-Bireh village near Ramallah in the West Bank, reportedly took a gun from one of the stabbed men and began shooting at Israeli security forces, who were alerted to the attack by the injured woman.

The assailant was shot and killed by Israeli security forces.

The Islamic Jihad terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the attacker—identified as Muhannad Shafeq Halabi, a law student at Al-Quds University—was a member of its movement. Halabi posted a message on his Facebook page on Friday saying that the third intifada has begun.

The Fatah movement, which is led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted an image of the message on Saturday, after the attack.

Hamas applauded what it called the “heroic operation” in a statement, saying: “We support and welcome any resistance activity that harms Israeli soldiers and settlers. Our people in the West Bank are ready to die, to sacrifice themselves to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

One of the dead men, identified as Aharon Bennett, 22, was the husband of the injured woman and baby, who were evacuated to Jerusalem hospitals where they each underwent surgery.

The second victim was Rabbi Nechamia Lavi, 41, a rabbi at the Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva in the Old City and a father of seven. The men were walking to the Western Wall through the Lions’ Gate when they were attacked.

The attack followed two days after an Israeli couple was shot dead by Palestinian assailants while driving in a car in the West Bank with their four young children, who survived the attack.

The Israel Police said they would continue to operate additional security patrols throughout Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the Old City, where there has been an increase in violence centered on the Temple Mount in recent weeks.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of the Zionist Union blamed the attack on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Netanyahu lost control over the security of Israeli citizens and Jerusalem,” Herzog said in a statement posted on Facebook. “His government is showing weakness and a total failure in security and the national mission of protecting Jerusalem’s security.”

Security does not come from speeches, he added, alluding to Netanyahu’s Oct. 1 speech  before the United Nations General Assembly.

Funerals held for 2 Jerusalem stabbing victims

(JTA)—Thousands attended the funerals of two Jewish-Israelis who were stabbed to death in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The funerals for Rabbi Nehemia Lavi, 41, and Aharon Benita, a 22-year-old soldier, were held in Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon. They were stabbed to death on Saturday night by a Palestinian assailant who was shot to death by Israel Police.

Lavi, a rabbi at the Ateret Cohanim yeshiva and a father of seven from Jerusalem, had rushed to the scene of the attack. At the funeral, his father praised his bravery.

“Without any hesitation or delay, you ran to save an innocent family that was on its way to the Western Wall,” Yehezkel Lavi said, the Times of Israel reported.

Benita’s wife, Adele, and 2-year-old daughter also were injured in the attack and are hospitalized.

At the funeral for Benita, directly after Lavi’s, Adele’s mother, Miriam Gal, said in a eulogy that passers-by yelled that they hoped Adele would die too as she ran, seriously injured, for assistance.

“Aharon promised her that he would make her the happiest Sukkot ever. What promises he promised her,” Gal said. “Whoever speaks about peace is stupid. There’s no other word. The people of Israel need to wake up.”

In his eulogy for Lavi, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin urged Israelis to continue to visit the Old City and Western Wall, despite the violent attack.

“We cannot stop going to the Western Wall, the remnant of our temple,” he continued. “I urge the pilgrims—don’t forsake the Old City, we must march in the footsteps of Nehemia and Aharon and prove that they [the terrorists] will not harm our way of life,” Rivlin said, according to the Times of Israel.

PA condemns Israel for killing 2 Palestinian attackers

JERUSALEM (JTA)—The Palestinian Authority condemned Israel for the killing of two Palestinian attackers in Jerusalem and called on the United Nations to intervene to protect its citizens.

In a statement published Sunday on the website of the Wafa Palestinian news and information agency, the P.A. called on the international community to intervene following “the killing of two young men in occupied Jerusalem and the series of incursions into cities and villages in the West Bank.”

The statement by P.A. government spokesman Ihab Bseiso did not say that the two Palestinian men were killed by Israeli security services in the wake of attacks on Jewish-Israelis.

Muhannad Shafeq Halabi, 19, a law student from the al-Bireh village near Ramallah in the West Bank, killed two Jewish-Israeli men on Saturday night in the Old City of Jerusalem in a stabbing attack. He was killed in a shootout with Israeli troops after he grabbed one of his victim’s guns and started firing.

Fadi Aloon, a resident of the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, was killed Sunday morning while being pursued by Israeli police officers after stabbing a 15-year-old Israeli teen in Jerusalem.

“The only solution is the end of the Israeli occupation of our occupied Palestinian land and the establishment of our independent state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” Bseiso said in his statement, according to Wafa.

On Sunday, the Israel Police announced that Palestinians would be banned from the Old City for two days in the wake of the stabbing attacks.

Israeli officer removed after soldiers destroy journalists’ cameras

JERUSALEM (JTA)—An Israeli military officer was removed from his position after soldiers under his command were seen on video destroying cameras belonging to journalists.

The disciplinary action was announced last Friday, a day after the Israel Defense Forces held a hearing on the Sept. 25 incident in the West Bank involving the filming of a Palestinian demonstration by the French news agency AFP. The IDF said it would consider whether to allow the officer to continue to serve in the military in any capacity. He had been suspended following the incident.

“This was a serious incident from an ethical and command perspective that will be investigated and its lessons learned,” the IDF said in a statement.

The commander’s attorney, Eidan Pesach, said the officer, identified only as A., was “sacrificed on the altar of political and diplomatic interests.”

During the incident near Nablus, soldiers smashed the cameras of two photographers for AFP as they filmed the demonstration. Agence France-Presse said that one of the photographers was thrown to the ground and had a gun pointed at him as he looked for his press card.

Members of the officer’s battalion have said they will refuse to serve in the next operation in protest of the punishment.

More than 3,600 people have “liked” a Facebook page in support of officer A.

Israeli army: Palestinian boy shot himself while playing with gun

JERUSALEM (JTA)—A report by Palestinian parents that their 6-year-old son was shot in the stomach by a Jewish settler was fabricated, the Israeli army said.

The Israel Defense Forces found in its investigation that the boy who was shot in Qalqilya, a West Bank Palestinian city that borders the central Israeli city of Kfar Saba, was playing with a gun owned by his brother, an 18-year-old Palestinian police officer, when it misfired on Saturday. The child is on life support; the Israeli military interrogated the older brother.

Palestinian sources told the Israeli daily Haaretz that the family may have lied to protect the brother and in order to be recognized as victims of settler terrorism by the Palestinian Authority and receive a payment from the P.A.

The family said originally that an Israeli driver stopped his car on the road outside of Qalqilya and shot at the boy before fleeing, the Palestinian Maan news service reported. Maan later updated its report to say that the Israeli army rejected the “involvement of Israeli civilians” in the shooting.

The report said that the P.A. security service was following up reports about the shooting of the boy “after initial reports from relatives appeared to be false.

West Bank Palestinians arrested for attack that killed Israeli couple

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Several Palestinian suspects were arrested in connection with the drive-by shooting in the West Bank that killed an Israeli couple.

The suspects were arrested in raids in the Palestinian West Bank city of Nablus early Saturday morning during a joint operation of the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service, the IDF said in a statement.

Nablus is located 3 miles from the site of the Oct. 1 shooting attack on the car of Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin. Their four young children were in the vehicle at the time of the attack but were not injured.

The IDF said it has deployed four additional battalions in the West Bank to continue the search for other suspects and to provide more security against Palestinian violence.

There is a gag order on other details of the investigation into the attack, according to the IDF.

Eight Palestinians were detained in the raids in Nablus and at least 10 others were wounded during the operation, the Palestinian Maan news agency reported. The detained men were identified by Maan as Hamas affiliates.

The Abdel Qader al-Husseini Brigades, a group affiliated with Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Bon Jovi at Tel Aviv concert promises return to Israel

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Jon Bon Jovi said at his first-ever concert in Israel that “I’ll come here any time you want.”

In an apparent swipe at the BDS movement, Bon Jovi made the vow at the end of his performance on Saturday night in Tel Aviv before tens of thousands of fans.

“We’re finally here. It took me long enough,” the American rock star said during the concert.

He dedicated a new song, “We Don’t Run,” released during the summer, to Israelis.

The concert opened less than an hour after a stabbing attack in Jerusalem left two Jewish-Israeli men dead.

Bon Jovi came under pressure from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, most notably from Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, to cancel the concert.

Palestinians banned from Jerusalem’s Old City in wake of 2 stabbing attacks

JERUSALEM (JTA)—Palestinians will be banned from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for the next two days following two terrorist attacks, including one that killed two Jewish-Israelis.

Access to the Old City will be limited to Israeli citizens, Old City residents, tourists, businesspeople who work there and students at schools in the Old City, the Israel Police said in a statement.

The statement also said that access to the Temple Mount for Muslim prayer will be limited to men aged 50 and over; there will be no age limit for females. The worshippers will only be able to enter the Temple Mount from the Lions’ Gate, where two Israeli men were stabbed to death by a Palestinian assailant on Saturday night. The attacker was killed in a shootout with police.

Adele Bennett, the wife of one of the slain men, Aharon Bennett, is in serious condition in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem with injuries suffered in the attack. She is in a coma and on life support.

Aharon Bennett, also known as Benita, was identified Sunday morning by the Israel Defense Forces as an active duty soldier. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of corporal, the IDF announced.

The 15-year-old Jewish teen who was stabbed early Sunday morning by a Palestinian assailant in Jerusalem is recovering at the city’s Shaare Zedek Hospital.

Arab-Israeli lawmaker dismisses Jewish connection to Temple Mount

(JTA)—An often-controversial Arab-Israeli Knesset member said Jews have no proven historical connection to the Temple Mount and no reason to visit it.

In an interview last Friday in a Hebrew-language publication, Hanin Zoabi of the Joint Arab List said, “The name is Al-Aqsa, not the Temple Mount, and there is nothing there for Jews,” the Times of Israel reported.

Al-Aqsa is the name of a mosque located on the Temple Mount, a compound in Jerusalem’s Old City that Muslims call Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary). The compound, which has experienced considerable tension and violence in recent months, is arguably the most contested religious site in the world. It is the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam.

Zoabi, 46 and a Muslim, also served in the previous two Knessets. She has made many controversial comments during her political career and was barred from running in the last election because of her alleged extremist views, before the Supreme Court overturned the decision.

In the interview she said the Temple Mount, which is adjacent to the Western Wall, is “a place for Muslims only, according to all the agreements signed after the occupation of Jerusalem, and the agreements between Jordan and Israel.

“The Israelis understood that they occupied Jerusalem but are not allowed to occupy Al-Aqsa; now they are trying to occupy al-Aqsa too,” she added.

When a reporter asked if she acknowledges that the Jewish First and Second Temples once stood on the site, Zoabi said the Temple “is not part of the political reality in which we live.” She added that “the existence of the Temple is not verified scientifically.”

Zoabi described Israel’s recent restrictions on men under a certain age entering the mosque, ostensibly to prevent violence, as “a political colonialist war” waged by the State of Israel.

“As far as we are concerned it’s a declaration of war,” she said.

Another Arab-Israeli Knesset member, Jamal Zahalka, was questioned earlier this week for harassing Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.

In an exchange captured on video, Zahalka shouted at the visitors, “Crazy criminals, you’re all Kahanists, fascists, racists, get out of here, you hurt Muslims.” Kahanist refers to followers of the Jewish ultranationalist leader Meir Kahane. Zahalka also shouted: “This is not yours, get out of here, go home, you’re not wanted.”

The altercation came on the second day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and following two days of clashes between Israel Police and security forces and Muslim protesters on the site.

The leader of the Arab Joint List, Ayman Odeh, supported Zahalka and his actions.

“The Al-Aqsa mosque belongs to the Muslims, and the only way to defend it is to continue our struggle for the end of the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines whose capital is East Jerusalem,” Odeh said in the statement, according to the Times of Israel.

4 Israelis injured in riots following couple’s killing in West Bank

(JTA)—An Israeli police officer, three Jewish settlers and two Palestinians were injured in riots and clashes in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

A Palestinian rioter hit the officer from the Israel Police’s Border Police division in his head last Friday, Army Radio reported, during confrontations near the Lions’ Gate in Jerusalem.

Earlier last Friday, two Israelis sustained minor injuries when Palestinians hurled stones at them near the West Bank settlement of Ofra. Separately, a young Israeli woman was lightly wounded in a similar incident at the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

According to the Palestinian Maan news agency, a Palestinian man was injured last Friday as settlers opened fire at a junction south of Bethlehem. Walid Khalid Qawwar, 35, from the town of Aida was moderately injured, Maan reported based on a paramedic’s account.

The incidents occurred after the slaying on Oct. 1 of two Israelis, Naama and Eitam Henkin, near Itamar in the West Bank. Thousands attended their funeral, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

The president said settlement construction in the West Bank would continue.

“We didn’t build because of terror, and we won’t stop building because of it,” Rivlin said.

Before the killings, a Palestinian man identified by Maan as Samih Ali Abed Sabah, 28, was injured in the thigh from shots fired at him by Border Police officers near the West Bank village of Tuqu. He sustained minor to moderate injuries.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ordered the deployment of four infantry battalions around West Bank Jewish sites following the killings.


Reader Comments


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2018