UPDATES: 7 pm Israel time Tuesday:
*Four mortars fired from Syria hit the Israeli Golan Heights this morning around 9 am.
*Residents in the Be’er Tuvia region reported alarms for incoming rockets from Gaza this afternoon at 3:13 pm.
*As was reported in israelstreet just after Obama’s visit to Israel in March, PM Netanyahu has agreed–quietly–to freeze all construction in Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. Yesterday, Army Radio reported that before he left on his junket to China, King Bibi met with Housing Minister Uri Ariel and ordered him to not include in the new budget any money for new housing. As a result, 3000 new housing units have been put on hold–including those in the E1 area near Maaleh Adumim.
According to the radio report, this freeze will supposedly last until mid-June, but King Bibi will undoubtedly extend it indefinitely (judging from his budget dictate) in deference to Obama and Kerry.
*Hundreds of Jews have been permitted by the Islamic Wakf and Jerusalem Police to climb up to the Temple Mount in advance of Jerusalem Day tomorrow. Much to King Bibi’s dismay, they were led by members of the Likud Beiteinu party, one of whom said his visit was to “demonstrate Jewish sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and remove the disgrace of abandoning Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount, the holiest site for the Jewish people.”
In a hilarious aside, the Police did prohibit one Likud MK from wearing a T-shirt with the picture of Moshe Feiglin on it. Feiglin, as you may remember, has been prohibited from going to the Temple Mount by decree from King Bibi.
*Under the direction of new Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the new budget includes increased taxes of 7,800 shekels per year for the average three-person middle class family. The budget would raise the amount paid by people in every tax bracket by 1.5% and the VAT tax by 1%. There are additional taxes on alcohol, tobacco, electricity and many other items.
More than this Lapid has announced massive cuts in all governmental ministries (the largest cut is is a dangerous 1 billion in the Defense Ministry), and the elimination of numerous programs including the income tax credit for students graduating with a degree, and the halting of the expansion of children’s dental care programs. The list goes on and on.
All of the Jewish communities in the hills surrounding Shechem (Nablus) were awakened last night by wild celebrations emanating from the city. Bursts of machine gun and rifle fire coupled fireworks lit up the night sky.
What was the source of such joy? Was it a happy couple getting married? Was it a decision to make peace with Israelis?
Of course not. The reason that hundreds of Palestinians danced in the street, passed out candy, and rejoiced was the absurd release of one of the worst Palestinian terrorists, Jamal Haj Tirawi from Israeli prison.
Think back to March 30, 2002. Here is a CNN news article from that day:
“TEL AVIV, Israel (CNN)
A suicide bombing rocked a Tel Aviv cafe Saturday . . . Saturday’s terror attack in a crowded shopping area in Tel Aviv injured 29 people — one critically and six seriously — Israeli police reported.
Witnesses described the blast in My Coffee Shop, about three blocks from the Mediterranean coast, as “huge.” Shards of glass littered the street and bloody bystanders were led away as ambulances raced to the scene.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades — the military wing of Arafat’s Fatah movement — claimed responsibility for the attack, as it has for a recent series of such bombings. The dead bomber was identified by Israeli television as a 23-year-old man from Nablus in the West Bank.
The bombing was the fourth Palestinian terror attack since the beginning of the Passover holiday Wednesday night. The attacks have killed 28 Israelis and wounded more than 100. In the most deadly attack, a suicide bombing in the Israeli coastal town of Netanya claimed 22 lives.”
The person that CNN identified as being critically wounded was Rachel Tcherkhi. She died five days later.
It took five years for Israel to track down the Palestinian terrorist who planned the My Coffee Shop bombing and killed Rachel Tcherkhi, but track him down Shin Bet did. That person was Jamal Haj Tirawi.
He was captured and arrested in 2007, and sentenced to an absurdly short 30 years in prison for Rachel Tcherkhi’s murder as well as the wounding of the other Israelis, as well as two other bombings.
But wait. It turned out that Israel had reached an agreement shortly before Tirawi’s arrest to offer an amnesty to 120 terrorists in return for a pledge from them not to engage in future terrorism. Palestinian security officials claimed that Tirawi was one of those 120. Nevertheless, a military court decided that even if he was, the heinousness of Tirawi’s crimes outweighed any amnesty offered by the state.
Enter noted leftist lawyer Avigdor Feldman who took up Tirawi’s case and filed an appeal. Yesterday, in a remarkable ruling that smacked of political correctness, a military court accepted Tirawi’s appeal and unbelievably released him. Feldman immediately called the ruling “courageous”.
For his part, the murderer Tirawi, offered this gem to the adoring media: “This ruling proves that Israelis and Palestinians were meant to live side by side in peace.”
Sure. Tell that to Rachel Tcherkhi’s family.