By Alan Simons
JULY 6, 2008 – Israel, for goodness sake, this time, get it right, and I don’t mean the far-right.
As we are all aware, this past week a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem used a bulldozer to smash cars, kill three civilians and injure many other individuals.
We now know from Israel’s Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (IICC), ” Hussam Taysir Ibrahim Dawiyat, 30, married, a resident of Sur Baher (a village near East Talpiot annexed to the Jerusalem municipality) was a known narcotics addict and worked driving a bulldozer at a construction site. In 2001 he was sentenced to two years in prison for rape. He had also been previously imprisoned for a year for assault.”
IICC also stated:
“Although the attack was apparently carried out by a lone terrorist with a criminal record, a number of terrorist organizations claimed responsibility for it: first was a network calling itself the Imad Moughnieh Squad of the Free Sons of the Galilee (Ma’an News Agency, July 2), a network which occasionally falsely claims responsibility for various terrorist attacks in Israel, including the attack at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva (Al-Manar TV, March 6). Later, AP reported that three additional organizations had claimed responsibility: the Free Sons of the Galilee , the PFLP and Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AP, July 2). In our assessment, it is doubtful whether their claims of responsibility are genuine.”
Today, according to The Jerusalem Post, some 30 right-wing [Jewish] activists demonstrated at the entrance to the village of Sur Baher, calling for the demolition of the home of Dawiyat. To call this right-wing ultra-nationalist bunch merely ‘activists’ is somewhat misleading and downright scary.
The Jerusalem Post said, “the protestors were led by Itamar Ben-Gvir and Burch Marzel.”
Israel’s far-right Chayil Party and the Jewish National Front
Ben-Gvir is the leader and spokesman for the far-right Chayil Party and the American-born Marzel, is a leader of the Jewish National Front party. Neither of these two characters are known for their refined social behaviour.
The Jerusalem Post added:
Officials also said that since another family lives inside the Dawiyat family home in Sur Bahir the IDF was considering the possibility of sealing the home with concrete. Residents of his neighbourhood, described Dawiyat as an unpopular troublemaker with drug problems. “He was just stupid and he didn’t understand anything. He had family problems and he just made problems for others,” said one neighbourhood resident… Another neighbour, described Dawiyat as having a short temper. “He didn’t have any friends, he was very remote, didn’t go to the mosque, drank and took drugs,” he said.
The Jewish far-right’s anger was also expressed by Rabbi Moshe Ben-Hood, a well-known contributor of letters to Israeli newspapers. Ben-Hood explains in an email to The Jerusalem Post:
“If we demolish the building, they will just build a new one. Therefore we must confiscate the building and the land and if there are other families living there, throw them out into the street . . . And of course, all the Arabs of East Jerusalem must be stripped of their Israeli citizenship or residence. Also, all non-Jews should be issued a different colour ID card.”
It is a coming-out, one of adulation, for Israel’s far-right at time of tremendous sadness such as that we have experienced this past week. They thrive on the nation’s grief, using whatever tools they have at their disposal to wedge an instrument of evil between Muslim and Christian Arabs and Jews who genuinely want peace to prevail.
At the time of writing, Dawiyat’s family and the other families living in Sur Baher must wonder what is to become of them. Will their residence be demolished or not? If Ben-Gvir, Marzel and Ben-Hood have their way, as well as all of those who politically and financially support them in Israel, from Europe and North America, Israel’s sorrow and outrage will continue unabated.
I also wonder if Israel’s far-right intend to protest at the offices of Dawiyat’s employer, to ask them if they knew anything about Dawiyat’s criminal record. I’m not holding my breath.