Jerusalem Synagogue Attack Marks New Stage in Intifada

By Abdel Bari Atwan

Yesterday, two Palestinian cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal attacked worshippers in the Bnei Torah Synagogue in the ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of Har Nof in West Jerusalem. Armed with meat cleavers and a gun, the boys killed five – three rabbis with US nationality and one rabbi with dual UK nationality. A police officer was also killed.

Hamas praised the attack and it was celebrated in Gaza.

Tension has been building in Palestine since July’s murder of Arab teen Mohammad Abu Khdeir – who was burned alive by Jewish settler – and Sunday’s murder by hanging of bus driver, Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni.

Since July and before the synagogue killings, 5 Israelis and a foreign visitor had been deliberately run over or stabbed to death.

The Synagogue killings have caused panic among the Israelis, especially as West Jerusalem was considered to be a particularly ‘safe’ neighbourhood.

Over the past month, Jewish settlers have been provoking worshippers in the al-Aqsa Mosque in the Noble Sanctuary. Their activities have taken place with the support and encouragement of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and they have been protected by the Israeli police.

The leaders of Arab countries have sat on their hands and appear to be more pre-occupied with how to prevent the Syrian Kurdish town, Kobani, from falling to the Islamic State and in reconciling the squabbling Gulf nations.

The synagogue incursion has shaken Israel and sparked terror among settlers. Even though the Palestinian Authority, under Mahmoud Abbas, colludes with the Israelis, these attacks show that the Palestinians are not satisfied with the policy of appeasement it adopts.

 If anybody thought that the Palestinian people have surrendered to occupation and started to accept the insults, and humiliation of the Israeli occupation, these acts will make them reassess their opinion.

These horrifically bloody acts have been more than matched by the slaughter of hundreds of Palestinian children and mark the beginning of a revolution of dignity and decency.

The conflict has developed a religious aspect and Arab/Moslem determination to protect the Holy places has accelerated the uprising and will not stop for Israeli threats.

Netanyahu and his spokespeople are focusing on the murdered worshippers, demanding world sympathy and condemning Palestinian “terrorism”. Did the world act with similar indignation and horror in 1994 when settler Baruch Goldstein  opened fire on worshippers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron in the early morning, killing 29 and wounding 125?

Is it haram to massacre Jewish worshippers and halal to kill Moslems at prayer?

Relatives of the youths who stormed the synagogue say that they were furious about the failures of the Abbas regime and other Arab governments to stand up to Israeli violence, racism, apartheid, humiliation and provocation. They decided to ‘take matters into their own hands’.

Does Israel and its friends imagine that the Palestinian people, living in humiliation and indignity under Israeli occupation, will welcome intruders into the al-Aqsa mosque, and congratulate the illegal settler murderers of Mohammed Abu Khudair and Hasan al-Ramuni?

The people of the entire world know the meaning of the word Intifada which has entered all dictionaries as the definition of struggle for dignity, pride and homeland.

The incursion into the synagogue is a strong message that Jewish settlers will not enjoy security and stability as long as they keep their occupation and settlement and their provocations; nor will the Israelis be safe as long as they continue their massacres and the siege of Gaza.

Netanyahu is now looking to America and Europe for a shoulder to cry on, to incite against the Palestinian people, to back up his statements on terrorism, and to offer him money and weapons.

But none of this changes the basic facts on the ground and Netanyahu’s culpability in that he, himself, is a terrorist who killed the peace process and the security of the region and the West itself.

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