An Inexcusable Act of Terror in Jerusalem

There can be no equivocation in condemning today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem and expressing pure sympathy for the victims, their families and their community.

There can be no caveats, no excuses. This brazen slaughter of men at prayer serves no legitimate political purpose other than to dangerously escalate tensions between two people who clearly have not tried hard enough to figure out how to live together in some semblance of peace and respect.

The Har Nof neighborhood, where the attack occurred that left four dead and at least eight seriously injured, is not in East Jerusalem. It is not in contested land. It is on the internationally accepted side of the Green Line, within the state of Israel proper, as rooted to Israel as the Empire State Building is to New York.

So any gesture towards placing this in a large political context is disingenuous. Sorry, we won’t accept the justification that the terror was provoked in even some small way by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as was suggested by a relative of one of the two attackers.

We have sharp disagreements with the policies of Netanyahu’s government, especially the continued building of settlements that ignores international law and further degrades the opportunity for a political agreement with the Palestinians. We can understand the boiling frustration engendered by decades of living under occupation.

But that anger is wildly misplaced when it results in the spilling of blood and multiple murder in a house of prayer. This is not, as described by Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s central committee, “a normal reaction to the Israeli oppression.” The massacre of Muslims at prayer in a mosque in Hebron 20 years ago should never be excused or lionized, and neither should this horrific act.

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s denunciation of the attack is welcome, it is not nearly enough. He needs to take full responsibility for what Secretary of State John Kerry called “a pure result of incitement.” In the last few weeks, he and other Palestinian leaders have riled up the populace with unfounded fears that Israel is posed to take over the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as Haram al-Sharif, a step Netanyahu has repeatedly denied. They must accept their share of the blame for enabling such thinking and for turning murderers into martyrs.

This is a crushingly sad day for Israel and a terrifying one for the region. At this point, we can only pray that the violence will not be repeated.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

An Inexcusable Act of Terror in Jerusalem

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close