That Endless Tragedy
"Do you want me to say that I am sorry for what happened. This is a tragedy for all of us."
"He [his son Mourad, 15] did not come from that kind of family. He wasn't a violent boy. [He was] young and dumb; [he] must have flipped out [watching video clips aired over and over on news channels]."
"I saw him at the court two weeks ago, I told him, 'You have to forget about us. Don't worry about us. You have to face what is happening. Forget us, forget the house. You are inside, we are outside."
"I told my son, 'You will spend your life in prison. Prepare yourself."
Badir Adais, Palestinian West Bank village Beit Amra
"We moved here right after we were married. We stood outside looking at it [their house in the West Bank settlement of Otniel]. It was smaller then, almost a cabin."
"This was 19 years ago. She [his wife Dafna] said to me, 'This is the first time in my life I have a home."
Natan Meir, Otniel, West Bank
Masked Palestinians gather during clashes with Israeli police during the holy month of Ramadan near The Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem's Old City June 28, 2016. Photo: Ammar Awad, Reuters
Natan and his wife Dafna raised four children. Then they added to their family by adopting siblings, one a boy with special needs. When their mother Dafna was attacked by a young Palestinian in January who stabbed her to death, the adopted son with special needs was present and so was the family's 17-year-old daughter Renana. "I am trying to get used to a new life, learning how to build my life without my mother. I am learning to be by myself", said Renana.
Mourad Adais had been watching news channels that repeatedly aired clips of Israeli soldiers shooting young Palestinians who were in the possession of knives, determined to kill Jews, carrying their deadly weapons through checkpoints. Some of those videos were played in the West, showing young Palestinians armed with knives attacking unsuspecting people going about their business on the street, or lunging at soldiers at checkpoints.
Some were disarmed and taken to prison, some were wounded and taken to hospital and some were killed, refusing to heed orders to desist. The Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, have been indulging in incitements against Israelis, using the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary as a prop, claiming that the al-Aqsa mosque was in danger of being destroyed by the Jews. The result was that Palestinian youth began stoning Jews appearing on the Temple Mount. And that progressed to knife-attempts at killing Jews to achieve martyrdom.
Mourad Adais decided to stealthily enter Otniel from his village located less than two kilometres' distance. He has many relatives in nearby villages. Some Palestinians living nearby went to Otniel after the murder of Dafna Meir, to offer their sympathies. Some came and sat with Natan Meir, some cried in sympathy, one offered to kill the young Palestinian.
Vengeance against the Israeli occupation which occurred to put a stop to such attacks to begin with when no solution could be reached in negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian state, was one motivating factor according to those trying to understand where and what the deadly hatred stems from. They need go no further than the school curricula young Palestinians are exposed to, the television programs that lead young children to see Jews as their mortal enemies, where they are exhorted to groom themselves as future martyrs.
The Palestinian populations in the Wet Bank and Gaza are beset by hopelessness and frustrated nationalism. Their political elite have failed them, leaving them despondent; they are oppressed by their leaders and hemmed in by Israeli restrictions on their movement. Suspicion attends those with open minds toward Israelis as being complicit with the 'occupiers'. In Gaza, that's a death sentence.
In the West Bank those who attack Jews are celebrated, their families feted.
The house in Otniel that the Meir family lives in was built by Palestinian labourers, eager to find work in an failed atmosphere of high unemployment and wages superior in Israel to those in the West Bank and Gaza. Natan Meir speaks of his friendships with his Palestinian neighbours, of a distant relative of his wife's assailant who had come to apologize and tell him how shamed he was.
Mourad is now 16, and in prison. Today, another Palestinian youth of 17 entered yet another settlement, Kiryat Arba, entering a home and stabbing a sleeping 13-year-old girl to death. This assailant will not go to prison. He was killed by security personnel after trying to assault them as well. In this Palestinian youth's family there were others who also attacked Jews. Today's assailant aspired to martyrdom and achieved his goal.
|Scene of terror attack that killed 13-year-old Hillel Yaffe Ariel in her Kiryat Arba home on June 30, 2016. Photo: Zaka Rescue Services|