This is extremely distressing. Early this morning, two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun burst into a synagogue in an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Jerusalem and killed four worshipers before dying in a shootout with police. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the city in years and comes amid escalating tensions and violence surrounding the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif complex, and may also have been carried out in retaliation for recent attacks on Palestinians in the city. Hamas, which praised the murders and called for more such “revenge” attacks, is certainly spinning it that way:
Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, said in a BBC interview that attacks like Tuesday’s should be anticipated. “Everyone expected that this would happen,” Hamad said. “Every day Jerusalem is boiling, every day there is a new crime against a Palestinian citizen. We didn’t see any effort of the Israeli government to stop the settlers from attacking the al-Aqsa mosque. They should open their eyes and see there is a revolution in Jerusalem, there is an uprising.”
Goldblog holds this up as further evidence of Hamas’s genocidal ambitions:
This is how a Hamas spokesman reacted to the massacre of Jews at prayer: “The new operation is heroic and a natural reaction to Zionist criminality against our people and our holy places. We have the full right to revenge for the blood of our martyrs in all possible means.”
Twenty years ago, shortly after the Jewish fanatic Baruch Goldstein massacred Muslims at prayer in Hebron, the then-prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, said of the killer, “You are not part of the community of Israel. … You are a foreign implant. You are an errant weed. Sensible Judaism spits you out.” Hamas’s endorsement of the massacre of Jews at prayer in their holy city confirms—as if we needed confirming—that its goal is the eradication of Israel and its Jews. We should pray for the day when the leaders of Gaza react to this sort of massacre in the manner of Yitzhak Rabin.
But David Horovitz also blames Abbas for fanning the flames:
[T]he centrality of religious dispute to this latest iteration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now unmistakable. And at the core of this new iteration, Tuesday’s attack made murderously clear, is Muslim intolerance — of the very notion that Jews have a religious connection to the Temple Mount, and by extension to Jerusalem and to Israel. Appallingly in the last few weeks, Abbas made himself a party to this intolerance. Unlike Hamas, he does not openly call for Israel’s destruction. He may not, in his heart of hearts, even seek it. But he has allied himself to the extremists in castigating as “contamination” the Jewish desire to express the link to the site of the Biblical temples, the site that roots our historical legitimacy here.
Charles Pierce throws up his hands:
By the choice of targets, by the alleged motives in question, and by the ex post facto justification offered on behalf of the attackers, this was purely an act of religious war. By the choice of targets, by the alleged motives in question, and by the ex post facto justification of what is surely to come, the response is likely to be purely an act of conventional war, even though there will be a religious undertone to it that nobody will talk about. The response is also likely to be overwhelming. Thus, in the choice of targets, by the alleged motives in question, and by the ex post facto justifications of both sides, the violence will be speaking to the violence in a different language entirely. One cannot solve the other because one cannot understand why the other does what it does. This increasingly seems to be a problem that the modern world is unequipped to solve. The intellectual faculties needed to understand religious violence have atrophied in the west. It baffles us, a T-Rex in the Internet cafe. It baffles us and it goes on.
(Photo: This handout image supplied by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), shows a view of the scene of a shooting at a Synagogue where a suspected Palestinian attack took place on November 18, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. By Kobi Gideon / GPO via Getty Images.)