A week-long wave of attacks in Beersheva, Hadera, and Bnei Brak has left eleven Israelis dead and coincided with a pivotal meeting of Arab and Israeli foreign officials.
On Tuesday evening, March 29, a Palestinian Arab terrorist opened fire on civilians in Bnei Brak. The dead identified so far include Yaakov Shalom, a father of five; Rabbi Avishai Yehezkeli, a yeshiva instructor and father of two; and 32-year-old Amir Khouri. Khouri, a Christian police officer, was responsible for shooting the terrorist and bringing an end to his rampage, but not before sustaining wounds of his own. He died soon after at the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus. Authorities identified the Bnei Brak shooter as Dia Hamarsha, a resident of the West Bank who had been jailed at least once before for “dealing in illegal firearms and affiliation with a terrorist group.”
Tonight’s incident was only the most recent in seven days of terror. On Sunday, two gunmen wielding automatic weapons opened fire on civilians in the city of Hadera, wounding six and killing two Border Security officers. Shirel Aboukaret, from Natanya, and Yazan Fallah, from the Druze village of Kasra-Samia, were both just nineteen. On March 22, a terrorist car-ramming and stabbing attack in Beersheva left four dead and at least two critically injured. The murdered victims include Rabbi Moshe Krivitski, who with his wife and four children ran the city’s Colel Chabad’s soup kitchen.
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Leading Arab and Israeli diplomats gathered at the historic summit in the Israeli Negev responded to the attacks on civilians and the police officers defending them with condemnations of terror. Foreign ministers from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Egypt attended the “unprecedented gathering” alongside their Israeli counterpart and the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. Following the Hadera killings, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said, “I think our presence here today is the best response to such attacks.” Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s statements were more general.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced that the Negev Summit will become a “permanent forum” dedicated to “a new regional architecture based on progress, technology, religious tolerance, security and intelligence cooperation.” He identified their primary enemies as “Iran and its proxies.”
On its official website, one of those proxies responded to the Bnei Brak attack with praise:
“The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) blesses the heroic operation against the Zionist occupation soldiers in the so-called ‘Tel Aviv’ area, which led to the killing and wounding of a number of Zionist occupiers, and stresses that all the heroic operations carried out by our Palestinian people, in every inch of our occupied land, comes in the context of the natural and legitimate response to the terrorism of the occupation and its escalating crimes against our land, our people and our sanctities.”
Hamas is far from alone in its support for terrorists who target Israeli civilians. A recent study conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research indicates that most Palestinian Arabs support Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both internationally designated terror organizations committed to the destruction of the Jewish state. The findings should surprise no one with an eye on Palestinian Arab society.
Throughout the region, key Arab states — and crucially, their people — are taking significant strides toward normalization with Israel and true coexistence with Jews and other minorities. Yet for Palestinian Arab society and its leaders, genocidal Jew-hatred and incitement remain the norm.