An Israeli family is in deep mourning, and the nation along with it, after suffering unbearable losses in the hateful terrorist car ramming attack in northern Jerusalem on Friday.
Just after midday Friday, as Jewish Israelis were making their way home for Shabbat evening, an Israeli Arab man, a resident of eastern Jerusalem, purposefully targeted a family waiting at a bus stop in the north of the city, not far from the tomb of the biblical patriarch Samuel.
Seven people in all were injured as the terrorist maliciously slammed his vehicle into the innocent bystanders.
Three of the victims were young brothers. Could the perpetrator see the terror in their little eyes as he sped toward them? Did their fright bring him satisfaction? What happened afterward certainly pleased Palestinian terror organizations and their supporters, who hailed the perpetrator as a national hero.
Six-year-old Yaakov Yisrael Paley and his eight-year-old brother Asher Menachem Paley were critically injured by the terrorist’s car. Yaakov was soon after declared dead at the scene of the attack. Asher succumbed to his injuries and died at a Jerusalem hospital a day later.
Their 10-year-old brother Moshe Paley suffered light injuries and has already been released home. But that home is now devastatingly empty.
The father of the three boys, Avraham Paley, remains hospitalized with moderate injuries, which means he will likely bear some form of physical scars or disabilities for the rest of his life. But that will pale in comparison to the emotional trauma of losing his children.
“The grief and agony are indescribable,” an uncle of the murdered boys told the daily newspaper Israel Hayom.
Also killed in the attack was 20-year-old Alter Shlomo Lederman, who had only recently been married. Miraculously, his young wife was not injured physically. But like the Paleys, she will now carry the trauma of having her beloved ripped from this life before her eyes.
The attacker was identified as Hussein Qaraqa, a 31-year-old Israeli citizen, resident of Jerusalem and married father of three.
Qaraqa was shot and killed by a police officer who happened to be at the scene, though security camera footage showed several bystanders aim firearms at the car as it rammed the bus stop.
A survey of Qaraqa’s social media accounts revealed a history of celebrating Palestinian terrorism against Israeli Jews.
Israel seals the family homes of Palestinian and local Arab terrorists ahead of possible full demolition. But since Qaraqa lived in a rental property, his parents’ home in eastern Jerusalem was instead sealed. The process involves welding shut the doors and windows of the home so it cannot be accessed.
Police welded shut the home of the parents of the terrorist who rammed and killed 3 Israelis in Jerusalem on Friday. Hussein Qarqa lived in a rented apartment so Israel can’t demolish it, and this move is reversible if High Court denies full demolition (which is likely). pic.twitter.com/cRtQcFm6Ta
— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) February 12, 2023
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir vowed a harsh reaction to the attack, including a sweeping military operation against suspected terrorists and their sympathizers in eastern Jerusalem.
Other government officials shot back that Ben-Gvir doesn’t have the authority to order such an operation, and that any response will be carefully deliberated and approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ben-Gvir said that might be the case, but stressed that he will not remain silent until Netanyahu and the rest of the government do something to end the plague of terrorism.
The past month has seen an uptick in Palestinian terrorism, particularly in Jerusalem, where seven Jewish worshippers were murdered while exiting a synagogue two weeks ago.
The situation now is tricky for those in the government who worry about public and international perceptions. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is coming up, and both Palestinians and local Arab Muslims expect greater freedom of movement in Jerusalem in order to access the Al Aqsa Mosque. In the past, that freedom of movement has been exploited to murder more Jews, and given the current wave of violence, that is exactly what many Israelis fear will happen.
Israeli misgivings regarding the upcoming Ramadan holiday were not helped by the outburst of celebration among Palestinians and Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem following Friday’s attack.
“The heroic action in Jerusalem is a natural response to all the crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people,” said Gaza-based Hamas spokesman Hazem Kassem in reference to the slaying of two children.
The “military arm” of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, known as the Al Aqsa Brigades, issued a similar statement:
“We welcome the Occupied Jerusalem operation, and see it as a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people everywhere, and we confirm that the resistance will continue its activity as long as the occupation remains on our land and desecrates our sanctity.”
Islamic Jihad vowed that such attacks will continue until Jews are “removed from our Jerusalem.”
But it wasn’t only the terror organizations and the Palestinian Authority that hailed the attack and hoped for it to be repeated.
The local “Arab street” long indoctrinated to seek death in service to the cause of destroying Israel also saw this heinous crime as a good thing.
“We are all ready to die for Palestine,” a young Arab resident of Jerusalem told Channel 12 News following the attack. “I want to be a martyr for Palestine,” said another, adding that he has a “10-year-old son and we hope he will also be a martyr (ie. die while killing Jews).”
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