Israel’s security forces are to be praised for swiftly capturing the terrorists suspected of killing Yehudah Dimentman. Dimentman, 25, who was the married father of a toddler, was shot in a carefully planned ambush near Homesh in Samaria on Thursday night. Overnight on Saturday, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), IDF and the Israel Police special anti-terrorism unit carried out an operation in the village of Silat al-Harithiya, arresting four people suspected of involvement in his murder.
Dimentman was shot in the neck and two people were wounded in the ambush that took place as the yeshiva students were returning to Shavei Shomron from their studies in Homesh.
There has been much discussion lately of whether Israel is witnessing the start of a new wave of terrorism. This is based on the rise in numbers of serious attacks that have been carried out in recent weeks, which includes the murder of Eli Kay in Jerusalem’s Old City last month, the stabbing attack on an Israeli in Jaffa on the same day, and several other stabbing and vehicular ramming attacks.
The 14-year-old Palestinian girl who stabbed a Jewish mother of five in Jerusalem is expected to be indicted this week, and on Saturday night a 65-year-old Palestinian woman was arrested after trying to stab a Jewish man near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
More than 10 Israelis have been wounded in at least seven attacks since mid-November. Hundreds of attacks are thwarted before they can be carried out. Last month the Shin Bet announced it had arrested some 50 members of a Hamas terrorist cell who possessed a large quantity of weapons and materiel for at least four suicide belts.
UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland issued a statement on Friday saying he was “alarmed by the escalating violence in the occupied West Bank, including east Jerusalem, which is claiming the lives of Israelis and Palestinians” and making special mention of the “retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.”
All the Palestinian fatalities Wennesland is referring to were the perpetrators of the attacks – that is, the terrorists. The Israelis were the victims.
His statement is part of a disturbing phenomenon of downplaying the terrorist attacks on Jews or linking it to a “cycle of violence.”
Israeli officials from the president down have condemned violence by Jews against Palestinians while the Palestinian Authority continues to foster an environment in which martyrdom is seen as the highest value.
Every successful attack encourages more, both as copy-cat attacks by so-called lone wolves and by organized terrorist cells. Every attack is an attempted murder. The terrorists do not set out to injure their victims but to kill them.
There is an unfortunate tendency to dismiss terrorist attacks that take place over the Green Line as being about “settlements.” Relating to the victims in terms of being settlers delegitimizes and even dehumanizes them. The victims in the recent upsurge of attacks were not targeted for being “settlers” but for being identifiably Jewish. For the terrorist organizations, all of Israel is considered a legitimate target and all Jewish Israelis are perceived as “settlers.”
What starts in Judea and Samaria does not end there. Terrorists attack where it is easiest for them. If it is easier for terrorists to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at cars or open fire in a drive-by attack or ambush in Judea and Samaria, then that’s where they will do it most often. However, it doesn’t mean the rest of the country is not at risk. Indeed, jihadist attacks around the world have shown that nowhere is safe.
There is no justification for terrorism, period. Not the economy, not the settlements, and not a peace process or the lack of one.
It is morally repugnant to blame the victims for where they live, work or travel. When an attack is dismissed because it is on a “settler,” it is but one tiny step on the proverbial slippery slope. Further downhill are attacks on all Israelis and Jews anywhere, and ultimately nobody of any religion will be safe. The world needs to take this seriously and support Israel in the battle against terrorism.