Last week’s terrorist attack, in which two Palestinian men shot and killed four Israelis in a Tel Aviv food court, came after the country’s least violent month since May 2015.
Still, the brazen, almost cinematic nature of the attack — “They dressed in suits and ties and posed as customers at a restaurant, ordering a drink and a chocolate brownie before pulling out automatic weapons and opening fire, sending diners fleeing in panic,” AP reported — raises the fear that more attacks by both ordinary and trained terrorists are returning. And the fact that the attack was in the heart of cosmopolitan Israel, not in the contested West Bank or the capital of Jerusalem, will reinforce the convictions of those who fear, justifiably, that the Palestinians will never accept Israel’s existence.
But then came the reactions — the condemnations of the murders of civilians. The United States, the chief guarantor of Israel’s security, condemned the “horrific terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in the strongest possible terms.” The U.N. Security Council likewise condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”
We frequently hear complaints such as, “Where are the moderates?” or “Why don’t they condemn violence against Jews?” So consider Dahham al-Enazi, a member of the Saudi Journalists Association, who tweeted: “The Tel Aviv attack is terror and thuggery. Our solidarity and support for the Palestinian people does not mean that we accept the killing of innocents and civilians. We would like to extend our condolences to the families of the victims.”
Of course, one wonders what al-Enazi thinks of the scores of attacks that preceded the Tel Aviv shootings. Does he also consider Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, or the men, women and children stabbed in the streets of Jerusalem, to be innocents? If he doesn’t, then what transpired in Tel Aviv is unfortunately more of the same — symptomatic of a refusal of the Palestinians and their allies to bring the conflict to a close.
We would welcome a clear condemnation from the Saudi government, as well as from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Neither has been forthcoming. Instead, the Palestinian Authority issued a carefully worded statement condemning terror attacks against civilians, without mentioning the Tel Aviv shootings. That just isn’t good enough.
If we are ever to experience peace, Abbas and his allies are going to need to go at least as far as Shua Mansour Masarwa, the mayor of the Arab village of Taibe, who called “to every moderate person in the country and say to them that it’s important for us to denounce and to overcome extremism and hate to continue our lives in the best way and without violence.”
We couldn’t agree more.