For 23 days during the month of October 2002, residents of the Washington D.C. area lived in utter fear. Snipers, later identified as John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, took turns randomly shooting unsuspecting victims while hiding in the trunk of their car. By the time the “D.C. snipers” were caught, their killing spree had claimed ten victims. Life for residents slowly returned to normal.
Imagine if Muhammad and Malvo had not acted alone. Imagine if many other self-proclaimed executioners stalked the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, attacking residents and claiming innocent lives. Imagine the cloud of fear that would loom over the Nation’s capitol.
An army of such killers following sniper Muhammad’s lead could have suspended normal life in Washington D.C. indefinitely as law enforcement agencies struggled to determine how best to stop the murderous rampage.
It is just such a cloud of fear that looms large over Jerusalem and other cities in Israel as its citizens now find themselves targeted by a Palestinian wave of independently-acting terrorists.
The Palestinian leadership, rather than appealing for peace, is playing the hate card again. It has called for Jews to be slain wherever they are found. Among those fanning the flames of hatred is Sheikh Muhammad Abu Sa’da. In a sermon delivered at the Abdallah Azzam Mosque in Gaza, he invoked the Quranic epithet for Jews, calling on Palestinians to wage a genocidal jihad against “the brothers of apes and pigs.”
At Al-Abrar Mosque in Rafah, cleric Sheikh Muhammad Sallah gave a sermon running quite contrary to President Obama’s continuing assertions Islam is a peaceful religion. In it, he reminded his followers the Quran’s story how Muhammad, through a henchman, Companion Sad Ibn Mu’adh, ordered the slaughter of the Banu Qurayzah Jews at Khaybar Oasis. Surrendering without a fight, estimates are that between 400-900 Jewish men and boys were beheaded.
Seeking to repeat the slaughter of Muhammad’s time, Sallah said:
The soldiers of the Prophet Muhammad are here. Brothers, this is why we recall today what Allah did to the Jews. We recall what He did to them in Khaybar…Now, we are imposing a curfew with daggers, and in the next phase, which is Allah willing, about to be realized…Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh has reappeared—in the West Bank. Sa’d Ibn Mu’adh is now in the streets of Jerusalem, Afula, Tel Aviv, and the Negev. The Islamic military court has made the divined ruling: You will get nothing in our land except for slaughtering or stabbing. Why? The world will say that we are terrorists, that we incite. Yes!…you have the honor of delivering these messages to the men of the West Bank: Form stabbing quads. We don’t want just a single stabber. Oh young men of the West Bank: Attack in threes and fours. Some should restrain the victim, while others attack him with axes and butcher knives…Do not fear what will be said about you. Oh men of the West Bank, next time, attack in a group of three, four, or five. Attack them in groups. Cut them into body parts.
Such calls for violence have triggered a wave of attacks by Muslim followers. While the weapons of choice for this “stabbing intifada” are knives and machetes, anything that can be quickly turned into an instrument of death to kill unsuspecting Israelis—such as cars—are also being employed.
In one vehicular attack last year, a three-month old baby in a stroller was killed as a Palestinian drove his car into a crowd of Israelis disembarking at a light-train station in Jerusalem. In another this year, a man is seen on surveillance video trying to ram his car into Israelis at a bus stop and, upon failing to kill them all, gets out of his car and tries to hack at them with a machete.
Palestinians are looking to turn Jerusalem, as well as other cities in Israel, into virtual killing fields.
Why the call for violence? It was prompted by the Palestinian leadership’s false assertion Israelis were desecrating a holy site—Haram al-Sharif Temple Mount—and executing Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership has used such claims before to play off the emotions of their followers.
In the 1920s, the Palestinian spiritual leader Amin al-Husseini did so, inciting a bloodbath against Jews who prayed at Temple Mount as well. The violence started after Jews simply placed a bench in front of it for the elderly to rest. Husseini promoted the act as an effort by the Jews to take over Temple Mount. More than 130 Jews died in the ensuing attacks. (Husseini went on to work with the Nazis during World War II in an effort to expedite extermination of the Jews.)
So, historically, truth has never worked to deter the unleashing of Palestinian hatred against the Jews.
The sin committed by the Jews this time was simply visiting the holy site, leading to claims they were desecrating it “with their filthy feet.” As revenge, in addition to these attacks, Palestinians burned Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. Ironically, while Joseph is a significant biblical figure for Jews, Joseph’s story has significance too for Islam.
In the midst of this violence, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry appear to be seeking to give Palestinian terrorists a pass. Kerry stated the violence was caused by “the massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years…(giving rise to) an increase in the violence because there’s this frustration that’s growing.”
Not content to limit its comments to this false causation claim, the Obama Administration also accused the Israelis of “excessive use of force” to stop the attacks—but offered no evidence to support such a claim.
Kerry’s outlandish remarks remain in the shadow of his first real foray into the foreign policy arena in 2009 as Secretary of State—negotiating a two state solution between the Palestinians and the Israelis— which was a debacle.
If Kerry exercised the same negotiating skills in 2009 as he did in 2015 with the Iranians to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons—only to ultimately give them the keys to a future nuclear arsenal—it is no wonder why the 2009 talks failed.
Yet, now, Kerry—after paving the high road for the Palestinians with a statement rationalizing their attacks—seems to want to play a role in negotiating an end to them. With his proven negotiating skillset, perhaps we can expect Kerry’s proposal simply to seek a cap on the number of Jews the Palestinians are allowed to slaughter.
As this killing spree continues in Israeli cities, another lesson—in addition to the one Palestinian hatred has no boundaries—comes into play.
Several attacks have been stopped due to an alert, and armed, Israeli citizenry. Recognizing that responsible armed citizens provide an invisible army with which to protect Jews has led the Israeli government to make it much easier to obtain weapons. Yet President Obama’s continuing preparation of an executive order seeking to disarm responsible Americans of their weapons suggests this lesson is lost upon him.
After ignoring Israel’s national security interests by negotiating a very seriously flawed Iranian nuclear deal, the Obama Administration is the last member of the international community Israel would now look to for help.
Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.