Scene of shooting attack in Jerusalem's Ammunition Hill 9.10.16.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The duplicitous thing about terrorism is how quickly it strikes and turns a standard issue morning into a very abnormal moment of death, chaos and destruction.
At 8:30 on Sunday morning, the Ammunition Hill train/ bus stop on Route 1 in Jerusalem masqueraded as a scene of normalcy: The beginning of the week, buses coming and going, the light rail bursting with passengers, soldiers heading back to their bases and commuters heading to work in town.
The fact that the transportation hub is frequented by both Jewish and Arab Jerusalem residents has not proved to be a deterrent to Palestinian terrorists who have targeted the stretch of road separating west and east Jerusalem – ironically across from the Israel Police Headquarters – scores of times, many of them over the last year of the “stabbing and ramming” intifada.
The only sign of the dozens of attacks are the massive block barriers placed by the municipality to prevent car-ramming attacks and armed guards patrolling the platform. My bus from Ma’aleh Adumim approached its stop at Ammunition Hill and a handful of passengers alighted, hustling to grab the light rail train that had arrived from Pisgat Ze’ev heading toward Safra Square and downtown Jerusalem.
The rest of us continuing on toward the central bus station via Bar-Ilan Street watched the bustling street scene from the window, unaware that an hour or so later, a Palestinian terrorist would open fire indiscriminately at the humanity outside his car passing by that bus and light rail station and leave carnage in his wake.
The mundane was overtaken by the horror. But aside from the sirens, hordes of policemen and assembled journalists and passersby, it’s safe to assume that someone approaching the scene 10 minutes later would have been hard pressed to understand that something so ghastly had just taken place. People still had to get to work or back to their base. Life goes on.
In our resiliency and defiant desire to prove that point, we try to put things back in order as soon as possible. When I return home on Sunday evening and the bus pulls into Ammunition Hill, I’m confident that there will hardly be sign of the terrorism that shattered the calm in the morning; maybe a police white and red ribbon fluttering near a bus stop, maybe some extra security personnel. But the real-life drama that played out hours before will already be relegated to the timeline of Ammunition Hill’s bloody past.
That ability to persevere and adapt – it’s our gift... and our curse.