The world often dismisses spontaneous outbursts of violence by the “Palestinian street” as a natural reaction to alleged Israeli crimes. One could ask why the same sense of understanding wasn’t extended to Israeli Jews after some responded in an unprecedented manner to yet another fatal Palestinian terror attack this week.
On Sunday afternoon, a Palestinian Arab deliberately crashed his car into that of two Israelis passing through the village of Huwara while traveling on Highway 60 that traverses Samaria.
The Palestinian then exited his car, walked over to that of his Jewish victims, and unloaded his M16 automatic rifle from point-blank range, executing brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv, aged 21 and 19.
Their sister, Rachel Yaniv, delivered powerful words at her brothers’ funeral on Monday: “We are trying to accept with love the hard news that God gave us yesterday. This is hard, and this hurts. We are going through difficult times. But we are strong, and the Jewish people have gone through so many other difficult things. I am sure we will overcome.”
A ceremony was held for the Yaniv brothers in their hometown of Har Bracha in central Samaria. Har Bracha translates to “Mount of Blessing.” The name is derived from the fact that the community is situated on the slopes of Mount Gerizim, the mount from which God’s blessings were pronounced (Joshua 8), while the curses for disobedience were proclaimed from nearby Mount Ebal.
The family then traveled south to Jerusalem to lay their children to rest on Mount Herzl. Hundreds of local Jews lined Highway 60 to comfort the Yanivs.
Israelis line Highway 60 in Samaria to comfort the family of Hallel and Yagel Yaniv as they make their way to Mt. Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/4xmn9p8ho6
— Israel Today (@israeltoday) February 27, 2023
Enough is enough
Jews traveling from southern to northern Samaria must pass through Huwara, and residents say the government and military do too little to protect them from constant Palestinian attacks.
On Sunday night, several hundred young Jewish residents of Samaria decided enough was finally enough and took matters into their own hands.
Rampaging through Huwara, they set fire to dozens of cars and several houses. One Palestinian was reportedly killed and some 100 others wounded while confronting the Jewish mob.
Two-faced international condemnation
The European Union and the United States harshly condemned the “settler” violence.
They use that term “settler” to express their view that Jews don’t belong there, an indirect way of suggesting that the murder of local Jewish residents like the Yaniv brothers is ultimately their own fault, and the violent response is therefore not only unjustified, but entirely without reason.
Or perhaps they’ve learned over the decades to expect Israel’s Jews to be more compassionate than their Muslim enemies. The following image, taken at Huwara on Sunday, shows Israeli Jewish soldiers aiding and escorting a Palestinian Arab woman to safety. If the roles were reversed, if it was an elderly Jewish woman at the hands of Hamas gunmen, she’d be dead.
You will not see this on the mainstream media ‼️
Israeli soldiers rescued a Palestinian woman from extremists who attacked Huwara town as a reaction to the terror attack earlier today.
I condemn terrorists, but I also condemn violence. It will not bring peace. pic.twitter.com/vcYMSr1d0u
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) February 26, 2023
Blame and support
Israeli opposition leaders predictably blamed the situation on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hard-right government, which they claimed had put wind in the sails of violent elements among the Jewish “settlers.”
Netanyahu for his part urged the furious Jews of Samaria to not take the law into their own hands, but rather to let the IDF and security services do their job and hunt down the Yanivs’ killer.
But some coalition lawmakers said what had happened in Huwara was precisely the kind of action that’s needed to create real deterrence.
“I want to restore security for the residents of the State of Israel,” MK Zvika Fogel told Army Radio. “How do we do that? We stop using the word ‘proportionality.’ We take the gloves off. Yesterday, a terrorist came from Huwara. A closed, burnt Huwara — that’s what I want to see. That’s the only way to achieve deterrence. After a murder like yesterday’s, we need burning villages when the IDF doesn’t act.”
He went on to explain that the residents of Huwara now understand very well that there is a terrible price to pay for terrorism against the Jewish people.
Fogel later tweeted that it wasn’t his intention to encourage vigilantism, and that citizens shouldn’t’ take the law into their own hands. He did, however, suggest that Sunday night’s rioting is what eventually happens when the government and security forces don’t do enough to keep the people of Israel safe.
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