Thursday, July 03, 2008

Op Ed - The Latest Attack in Jerusalem

See more photos here

Jake from Jerusalem has written an informative piece on the latest murderous attack in Yerushalayim. I think it is important for people to know the facts from regular Israeli citizens rather than just relying on press reports.
Today's attack on Yaffo Street in the center of town received lots of press coverage and you have probably seen / read about it. However, some inaccuracies have also been reported - some of them quite significant - so I have some clarifications.
The attack occurred on the stretch of Yaffo Street between Sarei Yisra'el and the Israel Broadcast Authority offices in the former Sha'arei Zedek hospital. I have walked by there many times. A number of foreign press organizations have offices across the street so that some of them actually witnessed this extraordinary attack. They were able to provide immediate coverage, both from their windows overlooking the street and from the street level.

I have no doubt that the attacker would have continued on to the Machane Yehuda market, just a 1 minute walk from where the attacker was finally stopped. My mother was shopping there at the time; her cellphone didn't respond for a while and we were concerned. She later told me that the Arabs working in the market heard of the attack and stood proud with the events. This behavior has repeated in previous attacks, as well.

Many reports claim that an Israeli policeman shot the attacker, but this is not quite correct. The construction vehicle involved is a monstrously large vehicle. The attacker started his rampage near the corner of Sarei Yisra'el and was shot at by a policewoman. He then repeatedly rammed a bus several times with the front-end loader shovel before picking the bus up with the shovel and overturning it. Along the way, he drove over and crushed several vehicles. At least one van was run over several times. The silver Toyota had it's roof pulled off by the shovel; I believe that the woman at the wheel was killed but her baby in the back seat is safe.

An armed civilian managed to climb up on the vehicle and struggled to wrest control of the still-moving vehicle. An off-duty IDF soldier, about 19 years old, jumped off his bicycle and also climbed onto the bulldozer. The off-duty soldier, in short pants and a blue t-shirt, took the pistol from the struggling civilian and shot the Arab attacker, I believe three times. Only then did the bulldozer come to a stop. A uniformed anti-terrorist policeman (you may have seen them in Jerusalem; they ride around in pairs on trail bikes, dressed in black) then climbed up and fired a few more shots, to ascertain that this attack had stopped. (Remember that the attacker had already been shot at before and managed to kill people since those earlier shots.)

In what the Jerusalem Post described as "a surreal coincidence", the young off-duty IDF soldier who jumped from his bike onto the bulldozer is a brother-in-law of the man who shot dead the previous attacker, at Merkaz HaRav, just a few months ago. I heard the young fellow on TV and he said that he took his brother-in-law as an example of proper behavior and knew to do the right thing. He heard the Arab attacker screaming "Allahu Akhbar" (Allah is greater, i.e. greater than any other god) before he was shot dead (perhaps demonstrating that Allah is not so Akhbar after all).

I watched some of the video clips during live TV coverage, some of them I probably saw a few dozen times. In the video which shows a man holding a pistol as the bulldozer moves away from the camera before coming to a stop (Beware: this contains some graphic images, AE), the bulldozer is seen to rock side to side before coming to rest. This is where it climbs onto and crushes another car, killing it's occupant immediately. This happened in the last two seconds of the attack. That person might be alive and well if the attacker had been shot dead just a few seconds earlier.

The wild claims of Leftist and "Palestinian" so-called "human rights" organizations have made Israeli police and soldiers very, very hesitant to fire upon terrorist suspects. The MainStreamMedia give the false impression that Israelis are trigger-happy, though this is the opposite of the truth. What if the attacker had been shot 4 or 5 seconds earlier? What if he had been shot dead 40 seconds earlier? Would we have been spared most of the dead and injured? Had the attacker continued into the crowded Machane Yehuda market, the dead and injured list would easily have risen ten-fold. (Last I heard, three people were killed besides the attacker, and about 70 were injured, at least one suffering an amputation.)

Comments on the web from the usual quarters try to justify this attack and also question the killing of the Arab attacker. Experience shows that the sooner such murderers are cut down, the fewer innocents are hurt.