by Ari Lieberman
Stabbings claim the life of one American student.
The brief lull in violence in Israel was shattered yesterday by Arab terror attacks in three cities across Israel that claimed the life of one American tourist and injured 13 others, some critically. The attacks coincided with a visit by Vice President Joe Biden, his first since 2010.
The first attack occurred in Petach Tikva. An Arab followed an Israeli into a store and began stabbing the civilian repeatedly in the upper part of his body. The civilian overcame his initial shock and in an amazing feat of courage and strength, pulled the knife out of his neck and succeeded in stabbing and killing his attacker.
The second attack occurred near the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem. An Arab terrorist on a motorcycle shot at an Israeli policeman, critically injuring him. Security forces then engaged the terrorist and killed him.
The third attack and by far the deadliest occurred in Jaffa. An Arab, identified as a 21-year-old male who was illegally in the country, went on a stabbing spree claiming the life of a 29-year-old American tourist, identified as Taylor Force, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University. The tourist’s wife is in critical condition fighting for her life. Eight others were also injured in the attack including an Israeli-Arab, a Palestinian Arab and a pregnant woman. The terrorist was neutralized near the beach promenade. The vice president was said to have been just fifteen minutes walking distance from the site where the terrorist was killed.
Since the wave of unrest that started in October 2015, 29 Israelis and 4 foreign nationals have been murdered by Arab terrorists using guns, knives, hatchets and motor vehicles. Over 170 Palestinian Arabs have been killed. Most while attempting to carry out terror attacks.
The Hamas terrorist organization, which rules the Gaza Strip, praised the attacks and termed them “heroic operations.” The Palestinian Authority, which governs the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), has yet to issue any form of condemnation.
The attacks come amid a diplomatic row sparked by the Obama administration. Prime Minister Netanyahu had been scheduled to attend the annual AIPAC conference which is slated to commence on March 20. It was hoped that he would also be able to meet Obama during that time to discuss regional issues and other matters of mutual concern. Obama however, had other plans and decided to skip the AIPAC conference entirely in favor of a meeting with the despotic Castro brothers.
Another date of March 18 was offered but scheduling problems prevented a meeting on that date. Netanyahu opted instead to nix his planned U.S. visit and address the AIPAC confab via video conference. One of the reasons cited was a desire not to interfere with U.S. elections. Some of the presidential hopefuls are slated to give speeches or otherwise attend the conference and while there, would undoubtedly seek an audience with Netanyahu. He therefore thought it best to avoid the appearance of interfering with the U.S. electoral process.
Administration officials claimed they only learned of Netanyahu’s cancellation through the press and expressed “surprise” at the Israeli prime minister’s spurning of Obama’s offer to meet with him. It should be noted, however, that last year while Obama was attempting to ram the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the so-called Iran Deal – down America’s throat, Netanyahu urgently sought a meeting with Obama, who promptly spurned the request claiming that the proximity of the meeting to Israel’s elections might influence the outcome of those elections.
That almost comical explanation didn’t hold water. Bill Clinton met with Shimon Peres just before Israel’s 1996 elections in a blatant attempt to skew the result in favor of Peres. Clearly, Obama had ulterior motives in spurning the meeting with the leader of an allied nation.
The diplomatic row is but one in a series of confrontations the two leaders have had over Obama’s two terms of office. Most of the blame for the discord rests squarely on the shoulders of Obama. In one notable incident, a senior administration official – possibly Ben Rhodes – referred to Netanyahu as “chicken sh*t.” No one was ever reprimanded by the administration for that diplomatic outrage. In another incident involving a meeting with French President Sarkozy and captured on a hot microphone, Obama implied that he viewed Netanyahu with disdain.
More ominous is the prospect that Obama may use his remaining time in office to inflict additional harm on Israel utilizing traditionally hostile bodies. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Obama is considering the option of employing the United Nations Security Council to impose dictates on Israel. His plan involves forcing Israel to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine” and a near-complete Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, territory essential for Israel’s security.
If the WSJ report is accurate, it demonstrates just how far Obama will go to harm bilateral ties. It is doubtful that Obama, in the twilight of his administration, can succeed in advancing his pernicious agenda. Regardless, most Israelis will breathe a sigh of relief when he finally vacates the White House.
Ari Lieberman is an attorney and former prosecutor who has authored numerous articles and publications on matters concerning the Middle East and is considered an authority on geo-political and military developments affecting the region.
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