UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Saturday, October 25 2014:
The death toll from terrorist attacks against Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Friday continues to increase. In the main car bomb attack near El-Arish, 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed and 29 more were wounded, many critically. In another smaller but deadly attack, terrorists also killed an Egyptian officer and wounded two soldiers at a checkpoint south of El-Arish.
President Sisi has wasted no time in figuring out who is to blame. The Rafah Crossing from Egypt into Hamas Gaza has been immediately closed, and a state of emergency has been declared in the northern and central Sinai. Anyone caught outside between 5 pm and 7 am is to be shot on sight. This state of emergency will remain in effect for three months.
In making these decisions, Sisi declared: “There will be measures on the border area with Gaza to deal with the root of this problem . . . The army and the police will take all necessary measures to tackle the dangers of terrorism and its financing, to preserve the security of the region and protect the lives of citizens.”
What does all of this mean? Expect the Cairo indirect talks between Hamas and Israel to go nowhere fast. Given the ferocity of the Egyptian response and closing of the border, one even wonders whether Hamas representatives will be permitted into Egypt.
The contrast could not be clearer or more damning to the U.S. State Department.
Yesterday, Orwah Hammad, a 14 year old Palestinian-American terrorist, was shot to death in the Palestinian settlement of Silwad north of Ramallah as he hurled a Molotov cocktail as Israeli soldiers.
Back in Washington, John Kerry spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued this statement from the podium of the U.S. State Department:
“The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad on October 24.” [We demand] a speedy and transparent investigation . . . [and] remain closely engaged with the local authorities, who have the lead on this investigation.
Note the immediate identification of Hammad as a U.S. citizen. Note the immediate identification of Hammad as a minor. Note the immediate attribution of blame. Note the lack of one word concerning why Hammad was shot. Note the demand that Israel conduct a speedy and transparent investigation. Note the interference of the U.S. in the investigation (“closely engaged”).
Two days ago, 3-month-old Chaya Braun was killed in Jerusalem when a car driven by an Arab terrorist rammed into her baby stroller at a light rail train stop.
Back Washington, John Kerry spokeswoman Jen Psaki issued this statement from the podium of the U.S. State Department:
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem. We express our deepest condolences to the family of the baby, reportedly an American citizen, who was killed in this despicable attack, and extend our prayers for a full recovery to those injured. We urge all sides to maintain calm and avoid escalating tensions in the wake of this incident.”
The same “deepest condolences to the family” as before, but . . .
Note the attribution of blame is a generic “terrorist attack”. There is no mention that the terrorist attack was carried out by an Arab. Note that there is no definite identification of Chaya as an American citizen . . . she was merely a “reportedly American citizen”. Note there is no demand that the Palestinians or any Arabs conduct any sort of investigation whatsoever. Note there is no suggestion that the investigation should be speedy and transparent. Note that there is no suggestion that the U.S. State Department will be involved in the investigation. Note that the call is for “all sides” to remain calm.
Why the difference between the two statements? That’s easy. Orwad Hammad was a Muslim Palestinian-American and Chaya Braun was an Jewish Israeli-American. Hammad was a terrorist. Chaya Braun was a victim.