Three Palestinian Arab terrorists were captured this week on their way to massacre Israeli Jews. Let’s see what we can learn from this incident.
To begin with, it reminds us of the incredible, stubborn refusal of many major media outlets to use the “T”-word. The three would-be killers were armed with hand grenades and knives. Talk about being caught red-handed! Yet the Associated Press could not bring itself to acknowledge that they were terrorists. According to the A.P., they were merely “three Palestinians from Gaza.” Like Osama bin Laden was “a Saudi Arabian visiting Pakistan.”
Despite the fact that the terrorists were on their way to perpetrate a massacre, the A.P. didn’t think the story merited more than four paragraphs. I guess it wouldn’t want to strain its correspondent’s typing fingers by asking to delve more into the implications of the incident.
Not that The New York Times or the The Washington Post was any better. They didn’t think the story was worth troubling their correspondents at all. They simply reprinted the tiny A.P. article.
The Associated Press articles mentioned, vaguely, that “it was the second such breach of the border in recent days.” That’s it. No explanation as to who was doing the “breaching” or why. It sounds as if they were innocent prisoners making a break for freedom in some low-budget B movie from 1952.
Israeli media reports, however, revealed the rest of the story. It turns out that last week, a group of terrorists from Gaza carried out an arson attack on Israeli construction machinery near the border. It’s a good thing that no one was on the scene at the time. The terrorists surely would have burned them to death; they’ve done that before.
Anybody out there remember the name Amnon Pomerantz? I didn’t think so. The names of Jewish victims of Palestinian terrorism tend to be quickly forgotten.
It’s a shame that American Jewish and Zionist organizations don’t make more of an effort to keep their names alive. It’s the least we can do to honor the innocent victims—and to remind us of the nature of Israel’s enemies.
On Sept. 20, 1990, Amnon Pomerantz, age 46, was driving near the Gaza Strip. He was returning from a visit to his 2-year-old son, who was hospitalized. Pomerantz took a wrong turn and found himself in the El-Bureij refugee camp. Before I describe what happened to him, note the significance of the fact that it took place in September 1990. Throughout the previous two years, the State Department and the Jewish “peace” camp were insisting that the Palestinian Arabs had become more moderate and peace-seeking. The United States even extended official recognition to the PLO—which it had to withdraw in May 1990 after another brazen PLO terrorist attack.
Not only that, but the Israeli government had been experimenting with a new, softer approach to the Palestinians in the hope that they would reciprocate. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported at the time that the Israelis’ new approach involved “a low military profile in territories and limiting the use of deadly force by IDF personnel.”
It turns out that the Arabs in El-Bureij had a different attitude regarding “deadly force.” As soon as they spotted the yellow license plates of Pomerantz’s car—revealing that he was an Israeli—they tried to stone him to death. “A crowd surrounded his car and began to smash it with heavier rocks and concrete blocks,” reported JTA, calling it a “savage murder.”
“Pomerantz was struck unconscious. His car was then set on fire and he burned to death.”
What happened to Amnon Pomerantz was not an anomaly. It was an illustration of the seething Jew-hatred typical of Gaza Arab society, then and now. No matter how many press releases Peace Now issued claiming to see signs of Palestinian moderation, no matter how State Department officials insisted that there would be peace if Israel withdrew from Gaza, stoning and burning Jews to death was still one of the most popular sports in the region.
Sadly, such murders did not dampen the Jewish left’s campaign for an Israeli surrender of Gaza. On the contrary, their campaign intensified. Only instead of the old slogans about “coexistence,” the left adopted a new mantra: separation. The Israeli presence in Gaza would mean endless casualties, they argued. Israel should withdraw for its own good.
All the Arabs in Gaza wanted was to be rid of Israelis, the left insisted; if Israel withdrew, there would be peace. After all, they argued, why should Gaza’s Arabs be interested in conquering Sderot, Beersheva or Ashkelon? That wouldn’t make any sense. Many weary Israelis accepted that logic, including Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He withdrew Israel’s forces from every inch of Gaza. He bulldozed every Jewish town in the area.
Lo and behold, peace did not reign. Instead, thousands of rockets from Gaza rained down on Israel. Palestinian terrorists went on trying to infiltrate Israel in order to slaughter Jews in Sderot, Beersheva and Ashkelon. And the international news media continues to downplay Palestinian violence.
Those three little terrorists who crossed into Israel from Gaza this week were nothing to worry about, according to the media and the left. But everything that has happened regarding Gaza throughout the past 30 years proves that reality is exactly the opposite of what they tell us.
Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in Gaza in 1995.