This morning, during prayers, a horrifying terrorist attack was perpetrated at a synagogue in Jerusalem. Using guns, knives and axes, two Palestinian terrorists killed four and wounded over a half-dozen others, before they were shot by Israeli police. Three of the slain victims were American citizens; one of them reportedly had his arm taken clean off by an axe blow.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) issued a powerful statement on the attack, in which he made the point that Israel needs more than just sympathy at a time like this; they need to know the U.S. government is on their side against savagery, rather than taking an impartial, disinterested brokerage position:
“Evil was unleashed in Jerusalem today, as two Palestinian terrorists armed with handguns, knives and hatchets attacked a morning prayer service. They worked at close range, shooting into the crowd and hacking at heads and arms of worshippers with their axes while shouting ‘Allahu Akbar.’ Witnesses reported that the blood of the victims ‘flowed like water.’ Some dozen people, including two policemen, were wounded in the onslaught before the terrorists were neutralized, and four men lay dead. Prayer shawls and tefilin have become shrouds for the devout, whose only crime was the peaceful practice of their Jewish faith.
“Israel mourns for Rabbi Moshe Twersky. For Rabbi Avraham Shmuel Goldberg. For Rabbi Kalman Levine. For Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky. But Israel does not mourn alone, for all four were not only Israeli—Rabbi Avraham Goldberg was a dual Israeli-UK citizen while Rabbis Moshe Twersky, Kalman Levine and Aryeh Kupinsky were all dual Israeli-US citizens.
“These men were not victims of a senseless tragedy, they were deliberately targeted in carefully-planned attack. The Palestinian terrorists, incubated in a culture of violence and hate, were intent on killing Jews and they singled out men of deep religious faith who would not be armed to ensure maximum casualties. Their despicable actions have been hailed as ‘heroic’ by Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Fatah that are actively inciting these attacks.
“All our friends in Israel have our sympathies in the aftermath of this atrocity, but they need more than that. They need an unequivocal statement of solidarity, a recognition that America is not a disinterested bystander in this battle. Our citizens are dying too, targeted by these same vicious murderers, and our good friend and ally should have not only our prayers but also our unequivocal support as the Israeli people continue the fight against the terrorists who have declared war on both our nations.”
He’s absolutely right about that. Whatever their bloody internal disputes might be, the barbarians have much in common. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been making the point for months that ISIS is Hamas; this brutal synagogue attack should make that point with grisly eloquence, just as the spectacle of Palestinians dancing in the streets and handing out candy to celebrate the slaughter should bury the dopey “lone wolf jihadi” talking point.
Netanyahu is also taking every opportunity to point out that the Obama Administration’s favorite “moderate” Palestinian Leader, President Mahmoud Abbas, bears responsibility for inciting this violence. Obama will try to protect Abbas from the fallout, to keep his dreams of negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian deal before he leaves office alive. If we haven’t already gotten the ritual “both sides must exercise restraint” moral equivalence from the State Department yet – I frankly don’t have the heart to check – I’m sure we’ll have a bucket full of it by tomorrow morning.
Look: either this sort of thing is absolutely intolerable, or it isn’t. If it’s intolerable, then Abbas should not be spared from his role in stoking violence in Jerusalem (he most certainly has been doing his part lately.) If it’s intolerable, then the Palestinians should be be rewarded or given concessions after perpetrating and applauding such a slaughter. And if it’s tolerable – frowned-upon, denounced, tut-tutted a bit, but at the end of the day, not a deal-breaker – then be ready for more of it.
The gates of civilization are rarely flung down in a single strike by barbarians; they are pried open a crack first, and the crack steadily widens. The goal of the barbarian is to collect the benefits of civilization while shirking its responsibilities. It’s very advantageous to be the only party in a conflict able to sanction bloody atrocities using illegal forces, without losing your seat at the table. As it stands today, the Obama Administration has never made it unambiguously clear to the Palestinians that terrorism is intolerable, even when it kills American citizens… not even when one of those citizens was a three-month-old baby. We reap the bloody results of Hamas, and yes, the “moderates” of parties like Fatah, concluding that the Western world might not like terror attacks on civilians, but we will put up with them.