In the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks, Palestinian terrorists massacred innocent Jews at prayer, motivated by intensive Palestinian incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism against Israelis.

 Behind the Headlines: Terrorist attack in Jerusalem synagogue

 

Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

Early Tuesday morning (7:00 Israel time), two Palestinian terrorists entered a synagogue in Har Nof (a neighborhood in north-west Jerusalem), with the intention of massacring innocent Jews at prayer. Using a gun and butcher knives, the terrorists murdered four Jewish worshippers during their morning prayers. All four men were rabbis and all held dual citizenship: three were American-Israelis and the fourth was a British-Israeli dual citizen.

A police officer who was critically injured while attempting to stop the terrorist attack succumbed to his wounds late Tuesday evening, bringing the death toll to five. Seven other Israelis were wounded (three of them seriously) in the attack.

The two terrorists from the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal Mukaber were killed during the exchange of fire with police. This massacre of peaceful worshippers is the latest in a series of Palestinian terrorist attacks.

These terrorist attacks as well as Palestinian violence on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount are caused by intensive Palestinian incitement to hatred, violence and terrorism against Israelis. As US Secretary of State John Kerry stated today in London, this morning’s attack on the synagogue was "the pure result of incitement."

This vicious incitement is conducted by the Palestinian Authority, led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and extreme Islamist elements, particularly Hamas. The incitement is based on false claims against Israel and outright lies, including about sensitive religious issues.

For example, on Sunday, a Palestinian bus driver committed suicide in Jerusalem. The official autopsy and police investigation found that he had committed suicide by hanging himself inside his bus. Despite this, official PA media and other sources enflamed the situation by spreading the lie that he was murdered by Jews. This morning, the main headline of the official PA paper, al-Hayat al-Jadida, quoted Abbas calling the suicide "an abominable crime" and the bus driver "a martyr."   

Palestinian incitement is continuing despite last Thursday’s talks (13 November) in Jordan with Secretary Kerry, King Abdullah of Jordan, PA President Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The parties were supposed to act to calm the situation in Jerusalem. Israel did; Abbas most certainly did not. While Israel acted to restore calm and reaffirmed its commitment to the status quo on the Temple Mount, the Palestinians incited to terrorism and carried out murders. Israel ended the temporary security restriction on younger Muslims praying on the Temple Mount on Friday. The PA’s official media called for a "Day of Rage" on Friday. Instead of calming the situation, Abbas exploited Sunday’s suicide to inflame it.

Most members of the international community have turned a blind eye to Palestinian incitement to violence. This permits Abbas and other Palestinian leaders to allow the publication of the hate speech and blood libels that directly inspire terrorist attacks. World leaders and the international community at large should condemn this systematic and pervasive incitement, starting with that being carried out by President Abbas and PA officials.

While Abbas’ office did issue a lukewarm condemnation of the attack this morning (which focused more on blaming Israel than denouncing or even identifying the attackers), it was clearly an attempt to deflect international pressure. Abbas’ own Fatah party praised the terrorists who attacked the synagogue. Sultan Abu Al-Einein, an advisor to Abbas and a member of Fatah’s Central Committee, called the synagogue attack "heroic" on Facebook. An additional statement praising the attack in the name of Fatah’s Jerusalem branch was published on a main Fatah Facebook page.

Recent Palestinian terrorist attacks

  • 16 November (Saturday night): A 35-year-old Jewish man was moderately injured after being stabbed in the back by a Palestinian in Jerusalem.
  • 10 November: A 26-year-old Israeli woman died in the West Bank after being run over and stabbed.
  • 10 November: An off-duty IDF soldier was stabbed to death in Tel Aviv.
  • 5 November: An Israeli police officer and 17-year-old yeshiva student were murdered and 13 others injured when a Palestinian terrorist deliberately rammed his car into pedestrians near a Jerusalem light-rail station and then attacked them with a metal bar. 
  • 29 October: Rabbi Yehuda Glick was shot multiple times and critically injured by a Palestinian terrorist in central Jerusalem. 
  • 22 October: A three-month-old baby girl and a young woman from Ecuador were murdered, deliberately run over by a Palestinian driver at a light-rail train station in Jerusalem. Seven others were wounded.