Ramallah and Remembrance

Michael Freund,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....

For a brief moment this week, Israelis were given a pointed reminder of the type of foe we are up against.

This past Sunday, the Judea Military Court sentenced Azziz Mustafa Salha to life in prison for his involvement in the infamous lynching of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah four years ago. Salha is the person whose image was broadcast around the world after he raised his hands stained with the blood of the two victims before a cheering crowd of thousands of Palestinians.

The lynching took place on October 12, 2000, when Reservist Sgt.-Maj. Yosef Avrahami and Corporal Vadim Novesche made a wrong turn and drove into the Palestinian-controlled city. Instead of being assisted by Good Samaritans, they were instead assaulted by an angry Arab mob, which included uniformed members of the Palestinian police.

After being taken back to a Palestinian police station, Avrahami and Novesche were set upon by their captors with inhuman cruelty. Military officials at the time told Arutz-7 that the two were "deliberately tortured and abused...  The bodies were mutilated and torn to pieces.  There was great difficulty in recognizing them..."

Salha’s charge sheet adds another set of gruesome details to our knowledge of what happened that day. According to the prosecutor, Salha saw Novesche lying on the ground at the police station with a knife sticking out of his back. He grabbed Novesche in a stranglehold, took the knife and then stabbed him to death before running over to the window to raise his bloody hands in “triumph”.

The body of one of the Israelis was then thrown from the window, before being tied to the back of a car and dragged through the streets.

At the time, the lynching shocked all of Israel, and underlined exactly why our “partners in peace” were neither partners nor very much interested in peace.

But now, just four years later, it is as if the lynching in Ramallah never happened. Our government seems to have learned nothing from those horrific events, as it plunges forward intent on giving Gaza to the Palestinians, thereby enabling them to create a terrorist rogue state from which to carry out further attacks.

On that terrible day, the Palestinians demonstrated to the entire world precisely why they can not and must not be entrusted with the tools of statehood. They showed no respect for the living and no remorse for the dead, preferring to celebrate their mindless destruction of two innocent human beings.

It is hard for me to imagine what further evidence, what further proof would be needed for the world to finally see our foes for what they truly are and to stop hectoring us to grant them a state.

Then again, if our own Prime Minister is so willfully blind to the consequences of his proposed withdrawal from Gaza, and if he too has chosen to forget the events that occurred in Ramallah just 48 months ago, then can we really expect more from the nations of the world in this regard?

I for one have neither forgotten nor forgiven those bloody events in Ramallah – and I hope that you won’t either.

Shabbat Shalom.