(January 24, 2020 / JNS) The latest Palestinian Arab stabbings of Jews in Israel won’t get much attention since fortunately, nobody was killed. Attacks that don’t involve fatalities are considered by the international news media to be insignificant; editors call them “dog bites man” stories. But the circumstances of the attacks are, in fact, quite significant.
Near Hebron, a 17-year-old Palestinian Arab stabbed and wounded a Jewish passerby. In Jerusalem, a 50-year-old Palestinian Arab woman charged towards Israeli police officers, brandishing a knife.
A 50-year-old woman completely shatters the profile of the “typical” Palestinian Arab terrorist. Supposedly, terrorists are mostly single men in their 20s. A 50-year-old woman, quite possibly a mother with children still at home, is exactly the kind of person who gets less scrutiny from security guards because they don’t expect her to be a terrorist.
What does that tell us? That Palestinian Arab terrorists come in all ages and genders, all economic brackets and social circumstances. Time and again, Israeli Jews have been attacked by terrorists who are younger or older than the “typical” terrorist. Employed or unemployed. Single or with families.
Many self-anointed “experts” on the Middle East situation insist that poverty or unemployment is the root cause of Palestinian Arab terrorism. The terrorists are supposedly jobless young men who feel “hopeless” or “frustrated” at their economic prospects.
Thus, these “experts” say, the solution is to throw more money at the Palestinian Arabs or to let more of them cross into Israel. Not too long ago, former Obama “peace processor” David Makovsky was urging Israel to admit 100,000 workers from Gaza each day. How does that advice look in the wake of the mass violence perpetrated at the Gaza border over the past year? How many of those who were trying to burn down Israeli fields and murder Israeli soldiers should be admitted?
The 17-year-old stabber raises a different issue. Twenty-three Democrats in Congress are co-sponsoring legislation that would prevent U.S. aid to Israel from being used to arrest “Palestinian children.” Any Palestinian under 18 qualifies as a “child,” according to the bill. Meaning, Israel would be penalized for arresting this week’s 17-year-old stabber.
The leading voices in the party’s left-wing are among the co-sponsors, such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.). Anything that would hurt Israel or help teenage Palestinian bomb-throwers tends to find favor in their eyes.
Not surprisingly, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) have praised the bill. J Street’s president, Jeremy Ben-Ami, hailed it as “groundbreaking” and evidence of “an overwhelming trend.”
Sometimes, the J Streeters get a little carried away with themselves. They seem to think that just because they are the subject of flattering feature stories in The New York Times or on CNN, it means that the winds of public opinion are blowing their way. But the meager support that the “teen terrorist” bill has garnered so far suggests otherwise.
It was originally introduced more than two years ago. Yet to date, it still has only 23 sponsors—in other words, it’s backed by less than 10 percent of the 232 Democrats in the House. (So much for the “overwhelming trend”!) Not only that, but two of the original co-sponsors, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell of Michigan and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, both Democrats, recently withdrew their support. I’m glad they realized they were being misled by the Israel-bashing crowd.
Tying Israel’s hands in the face of teenage terrorists would impair the national security of America’s closest Mideast ally and undermine the global war on terror. No Member of Congress should lend his or her name to such mischief.
Stephen M. Flatow is a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” is now available on Kindle.
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