Monday, August 09, 2010

Nine Years After The Sbarro Massacre

Murder most foul...and perhaps almost forgotten, except for the people whose lives it touched.

Today is the anniversary of the Sbarro Pizza Parlor massacre, a deliberate attack designed to murder as many innocent civilians as possible.On August 9th, 2001 fifteen people were murdered at the Sbarro Pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, seven of them children enjoying lunch with their friends and families.Over one hundred and thirty people were wounded, many of them scarred and disabled for life.

The bomber was Izz al-Din Shuheil al-Masri, a Hamas operative, andthey later claimed credit for the 'operation'

But the attack was planned and carried out from the Fatah occupied areas of Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank), Fatah operative Abdallah Barghouti constructed the ten kilo bomb belt and the driver was Ahlam Tamimi, a 20-year-old female university student and part-time journalist, who had disguised herself as a Jewish tourist for the occasion. The 'operation' was a joint project, coordinated between Hamas and Fatah.

Because Israel's security barrier was not in place at the time, Tamimi was able to simply escort al-Masri to the restaurant, where he set off the bomb belt in the midst of the lunch time crowd.

Both Barghouti and Tamimi were subsequently caught, tried and sentenced. For his part in the Sbarro murders and a string of other attacks that cost the lives of 66 civilians, Barghouti was handed down 67 life sentences.

Tamimi received 16 life sentences. After her conviction, Tamimi smiled when she was told by an interviewer about the death toll. She expressed no remorse whatsoever. "I am not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence…"

She's not alone in that sentiment.One year after the bombing, Palestinian university students at An-Najah University in the Samarian city of Nablus celebrated by creating an exhibition showing the Sbarro attack. The exhibit included a room-sized re-enactment of the bombing complete with broken furniture and splattered with fake blood and human body parts.The entrance to the exhibition was illustrated with a mural depicting the bombing.

Tamimi was subsequently awarded
the Al Kuds Mark of Honor, the PLO's highest medal. Tamimi and Barghouti are murderers that both Hamas and Fatah want freed.

There's an interesting remembrance of this in today's Jerusalem Post written by Frimet Roth, whose teenage daughter Malki was murdered in the attack...and an important linkage to today. I reproduce it here in full, since the Jerusalem Post doesn't really archive its material for very long and this deserves to be remembered:

It's been nine years since my daughter Malki was murdered in the suicide bombing of Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant and terrorism denial is still rampant.

Foreign diplomats may still preface their complaints against Israel with the formulaic "Israel has some genuine security concerns and they have to be met." But after that obligatory line, most feel free to attack Israel with no holds barred.

Some of Israel's home-grown critics don't even bother with such political correctness. Our security is no longer a justified concern in their view and they have no compunction about saying so. Suicide bombers? Intifada? Israeli terror victims? Not in their history books.

Writing recently in Haaretz, columnist Merav Michaeli described a variety of possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her conclusion? It is incumbent upon us to "want to live in peace. Not in security, but in peace." Her column was even entitled "Not in Security, but Peace" in case the message was not clear enough.

Terrorism denial is the foundation on which the Free Gilad Schalit campaign has been built. At some point, its legitimate effort to pressure all involved parties to free Schalit was hijacked. Today its goal is nothing short of maligning and undermining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his unwillingness to release every last prisoner demanded by Hamas.

This campaign could not have galvanized so many - some estimate 200,000 joined its eleven-day march to Jerusalem last month - without the groundwork laid by terrorism denial. Were the faces of the 1,000 innocent Israelis murdered during the second intifada still fresh in Israelis' minds, warnings about the dangers of a mass prisoner release would not be dismissed as casually and as persistently as they are being now.

The statistics are chilling. According to government numbers, some 45 percent of released terrorists return to terrorism, while the rate of recidivism among Hamas members is 63%. And yet these numbers impact fewer and fewer Israelis.

Instead we hear Mayor Yoel Levi of Ramle, in an address to the Schalit march participants, calling the warnings against a prisoner release "scaremongering".

And we hear Noam Schalit, Gilad’s father, refer to them as "doomsday scenarios from twenty-five years ago."

In the current climate of terrorism denial, such attitudes gain traction with ease. It is left to the bereaved families to fight this dangerous phenomenon. We, who feel the pain of terrorism every minute of every day, must remind Israelis what "releasing the prisoners" to free Gilad Schalit entails. We must refresh the short collective memory of who those prisoners are, what they did and what can we expect them to do in the future.

Ahlam Tamimi is one prisoner that Hamas wants freed. As a woman, she garners much sympathy for their cause. The mere mention of "woman" and "prison" in one sentence is a surefire tearjerker.

But here are the facts. Tamimi is a mega-terrorist. She is responsible for the deaths of fifteen men, women and children, all of them civilians. She transported 10 kg of explosives hidden in a guitar case into west Jerusalem, handed them to her accomplice and escorted him through the city center disguised as a Western tourist. She led him to the target she herself had selected, an eatery filled with families eating lunch. She then warned her "weapon" to wait fifteen minutes before he detonated the bomb - allowing her enough time to escape unharmed.

After her conviction, Tamimi smiled with pleasure upon learning from an interviewer how many children she murdered. She told Ynet: "I am not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence… Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.” She has served only six years out of sixteen consecutive life terms.

Does any rational human being believe that this monster will enroll in a flower arranging course when she is released? Or sit at home writing a novel?

Former prisons commissioner Orit Adato, a staunch advocate of selective release of security prisoners, maintains that some prisoners must remain imprisoned. When asked "Do you think it is possible to rehabilitate the 'ideological' security prisoners?" she replied: "Not the hard core cases."

But neither expert views nor cold statistics are welcome by those eager for a mass prisoner release.

An extraterrestrial landing on earth for the first time would be forgiven for thinking that Netanyahu himself is holding Gilad Schalit captive. In a July 31 speech, marking the 1,500th day of Gilad's captivity, Noam Schalit addressed Netanyahu regarding his son: "Stop abusing him" he said, adding "A captive soldier is not a piece of real estate."

The truth is, Netanyahu has agreed to release 450 prisoners in negotiations with Hamas and another 550 unilaterally as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority. The 450 to Hamas includes over 100 terrorists who murdered more than 600 Israelis. Netanyahu has only refused to release the "mega-terrorists," those responsible for the six most horrific terror attacks of the second intifada.

However Netanyahu's concessions have not won him any friends among the Free Schalit activists. Nor did his call to the international community "to line up alongside the State of Israel and our unequivocal and just demand that our abducted soldier be returned immediately" impress them. They want nothing short of the fulfillment of every Hamas demand.

And with the Israeli media's unstinting support, the chances are they will ultimately win the government's acquiescence.

Columnists and reporters alike have stooped to absurd hyperbole in their coverage of the Schalit campaign. Haaretz's Yoel Marcus wrote last month of the march: "It was the most spontaneous, humane and impressive demonstration ever held here. At the risk of sounding schmaltzy, it was good to see the face of the beautiful Israeli."

Here is "the face of a beautiful Israeli" I would like this country to see today. It’s the face of a fifteen-year-old girl who cared passionately about disabled children and volunteered with them in myriad settings. Who loved and nurtured her own profoundly disabled sister unconditionally. Who studied the flute for years and played classical music on it that brought tears to my eyes. Who kept a diary throughout the last year of her life in which she detailed her activities in school and in her youth movement. Who recorded alongside those anecdotes the names of the victims of every terror attack perpetrated that year. Whose wish for the coming new year, which she did not live to see, was that her family remain close and supportive of one another. It is the face of my daughter, Malki, z"l.

On August 9th for the last eight years, I have urged others to remember the Sbarro bombing and its fifteen victims. One of them was Malki. Five others were the members of one family, a mother, father and three of their eight children. Another victim was an only child who was pregnant with what would have been her parents' first grandchild. One of the "injured," not even counted among the fifteen dead, is a young mother who has remained in a deep coma since that day.

This year, I beg you not only to remember them but to also to remind another person, someone who may have fallen prey to terrorism denial.

There is no negotiating with evil, and the Israelis of all people should know that. If we fail to learn that lesson, then the deaths of Malki and all the other victims of Islamist terrorism will have been in vain. And that is an evil almost beyond comprehension.

One of the problems with Islamist terrorism is that too many of the victims become mere statistics, rather than people who once lived, loved and spread joy and hope to those around them. In that spirit, I include a picture below of the victims(z"l) of this atrocity, so that you may click to see the human faces behind the headlines. They could have been your son, your daughter, your husband or wife, or your best friend.

May a righteous G-d avenge their innocent blood.

please helps me write more gooder!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why there should be a death penalty for terrorism.
But, the sad truth is that a great many Israelis are brain-dead, liberal bleeding hearts, sentimentality overwhelms them, they think life is a reality TV show. I've been in Israel for five yrs. and I can barely read the news anymore - even allowing for the left-wing bias of journalists here, the stupidity leaves me dumbfounded.