“This is a direct voice from the past, from the period when the Jewish leadership salvaged the remaining fragments from the fall of the Temple, went into exile in Yavne, and set about re-establishing the Jewish people there.”
By United with Israel Staff
Israel Antiquities Authority excavations in the coastal city of Yavne are revealing evidence of the life—and death—of Yavne’s inhabitants at the time of the Sanhedrin, the ancient rabbinic supreme court, in the late first and second centuries CE.
The excavation, prompted by work on the city’s expansion initiated by the Israel Land Authority in cooperation with Yavne municipality, also uncovered a large cemetery dating from the same period.
The excavation area is located close to a massive Byzantine wine-production center unearthed in recent excavations.
“The discovery of finds from the time of the Sanhedrin is very exciting,” stated Pablo Betzer and Dr. Daniel Varga, directors of the Yavne excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority.
“This is a direct voice from the past, from the period when the Jewish leadership salvaged the remaining fragments from the fall of the Temple, went into exile in Yavne, and set about re-establishing the Jewish people there.”
For the first time ever in Yavne, an industrial building dating from the first–third centuries CE was uncovered. The floor contained several fragments of stoneware known as ‘measuring cups’, vessels that retain their ritual purity and are identified with the Jewish population in the late Second Temple period and second century CE.
Jews or Pagans?
An impressive cemetery was discovered only 70 meters away from the building. “We encountered dozens of carefully arranged tombs spaced out at set distances, which probably indicates the existence of a ‘burial society’—some official body that was responsible for burial,” said Betzer and Varga. “There are different types of tombs: some are coffins (sarcophagi), which are made mostly of stone with one lead coffin.”
The excavation directors add that “based on the cemetery’s location, it was probably established outside the boundaries of the city, in accordance with Jewish and Roman law.
“Were the interred individuals Jews or pagans? It is too early to say, since there are no ethnic symbols on the coffins. With all due caution, the historical records and archaeological finds raise the possibility that these are the tombs of the city’s Jewish community. If this hypothesis is correct, then at least some of the tombs, perhaps the most elaborate, may belong to the sages of Yavne, contemporaries of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, Rabbi Akiva and Rabban Gamliel.”
Another Surprising Find
The excavation uncovered another surprising find: over 150 glass phials placed on top of the tombs.
According to Dr. Yael Gorin-Rosen, head of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s glass department, “The phials were probably used to keep precious liquids such as fragrant oils. About half of them were locally produced and the other half were imported from Alexandria in Egypt. Phials of this type have been recovered in excavations at both Jewish and pagan burial sites from the first to the early third centuries CE.
“It is a mystery why the phials were placed outside the tombs in Yavne and not inside them, as was usual.”
In antiquity, Yavne was one of the most important towns in the southern coastal plain. During the Hasmonean period, it held a vital role in the struggle between the Maccabean forces and Seleucid (Greek) rule, and the town is mentioned multiple times in the writings of historiean Josephus.
Toward the end of the Second Temple period, Yavne’s mixed population had a majority of Jewish residents. According to the The Literature of the Sages, before the destruction of the Second Temple, Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai fled from the besieged city of Jerusalem and persuaded the Roman emperor Vespasian to allow him to reconstitute the Sanhedrin in Yavne. It was then that Rabban ben Zakkai uttered the famous statement: “Give me Yavne and its sages.”
In the intervening years between the Great Revolt and the Bar Kokhba Revolt, Yavne became the most important Jewish spiritual center in the country. It was in Yavne that Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, later followed by Rabban Gamliel, led the Sanhedrin and the patriarchate (nesiut), restored the Torah to the Land of Israel and established laws in keeping with the new reality, without the Temple. It can be said that the foundations of Judaism as we know it today were laid in Yavne.
According to Eli Eskozido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “It is exciting to see ancient accounts of the Sanhedrin translated into actual evidence in the field, with vessels, installations and buildings. Together with the project’s initiators at the Israel Land Authority and Yavne municipality, the Israel Antiquities Authority is examining the possibility of preserving some of these finds and presenting them to the general public.
“The recent finds join those of the massive wine-production industry from the Byzantine period, already slated for conservation and public viewing. The Israel Antiquities Authority is continuing its excavations, and we are sure that Yavne has not yet had the last say. Wherever archaeologists scrape the surface here, they encounter a find of national importance, with all that that entails.”
With Iran and other global powers meeting to discuss the possible removal of sanctions against the Islamic regime, all the eyes of the world are on Vienna. Three years after the Trump administration took the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal, it appears likely that President Joe Biden will rejoin the JCPOA – and what will that mean for Israel?
On Tuesday, Channel 13 News’ Arabic-affairs correspondent, Tzvi Yehezkeli, discussed the latest developments on Radio 103FM and accused Israel of being partially responsible for the current situation, for the simple reason that no decision has been made to attack Iran.
“The Syrians once had a nuclear program, just like the Iranians do,” he said, “and now look what happened, after we told the world what was going on without attacking. We didn’t necessarily have to wipe them out,” he noted.
“Today,” Yehezkeli continued, “the Iranians are just a short distance away from getting the bomb. That’s what they’re discussing now in the negotiations – the fact that the Iranians are closer to getting the bomb than ever before, and that’s what’s going to cause the rest of the world to capitulate,” he predicted.
In his opinion, Israel should recognize that the real issue here is that the negotiations that are currently ongoing “depend a lot on the Iranians themselves, who want to get the other countries to back down. They want money to be able to continue with their projects. Either that will happen, or they won’t get the money they want, they won’t go back to the deal, and instead they will frighten the rest of the world with the prospect of them getting the bomb.
“The solution at hand is for Biden to activate the second option which is the carrot-stick approach,” he added.
Yehezkeli noted that, “If it was up to me, I would demonstrate our capabilities, which is something that can impress the Iranians, if we do something that shows them just how wide our reach is, if we manage to hit something they didn’t think we could touch. A cyber attack, for instance – but not a high-intensity attack. How can we tolerate a situation in which a senior Iranian official states openly that their goal is to destroy the State of Israel? What I would do is turn up the volume of cyber attacks on Iran,” he stressed.
“We could be hitting far deeper at Iran’s nuclear programs,” he added, “because we’re already in an emergency situation. And soon enough, it will be a genuine emergency.”
The so-called “right” does not appear in resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) or in Israeli-Palestinian peace-process documentation.
The Fourth (Special Political Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly’s 76th Session voted on Nov. 9 to adopt a draft resolution titled “Assistance to Palestine refugees.”1
This resolution, adopted annually for more than 70 years, calls inter alia for continued assistance for Palestinian refugees and continued support for the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 160 in favor and 1 against (Israel), with nine abstentions (Cameroon, Canada, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, United States and Uruguay).
In this vote, the United States changed its traditional opposition to the draft resolution and abstained. In fact, the United States’s voting history regarding this resolution indicates that all previous administrations, apart from the Obama administration, have voted against this resolution. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories
In his explanation of the vote in the Fourth Committee of the U.N. General Assembly in 1999, the U.S. representative (representing the Clinton administration) stated, “his delegation could not support unbalanced resolutions which attempted to prejudge the outcome of negotiations; lasting peace would come from agreements reached among the parties themselves, not from any action taken by the Committee.”2
This position was reaffirmed in 2003 under the George W. Bush administration by the U.S. Fourth Committee representative, who stated that the United States “had not voted in favor of several resolutions on that subject (humanitarian assistance) because it judged that they (…) were drafted in terms that could have repercussions on the peace negotiations in the region.”3
Finally, the same position was taken recently—even more assertively—by Cherith Norman Chalet in the Fourth Committee in 2019, during the Trump administration, who stated: “ … such a one-sided approach damaged the prospects for peace by undermining trust between parties. It was disappointing that, despite the support for reform, member states continued to single out Israel.”4
A wrong interpretation
The international and Israeli media pounced on this change in the U.S. voting pattern, erroneously claiming that it signified “support by the Biden administration for a right of return for Palestinian refugees to sovereign Israel.”5
In fact, the U.S. vote-change signifies no such thing, and the resolution does not mention any right of return for Palestinian refugees. Therefore, the U.S. abstention implies no support for a right of return.
In light of this erroneous perception arising from flawed and inaccurate media reporting, there is a need to clarify the issue of whether any such right of return exists.
A brief overview
The issue of Palestinian refugees has been seen as a principal obstacle to a conflict-solution between Israel and the Palestinians for more than 70 years. The situation originated during the 1946-48 period when local Arab residents were displaced or chose to relinquish their homes during the course of armed conflict. In order to support those refugees, UNRWA was established in 1949 with a budget of $50 million.6
As of today, UNRWA supports some five million registered Palestinian refugees. However, the UNRWA definition of refugees is considerably broader than the internationally accepted definition of refugees according to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951),7 inasmuch as UNRWA includes descendants of refugees. Descendants are not included in the 1951 Refugees Convention.8
Does a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees exist in international law?
Several international legal and political documents try to tackle the difficult situation of return for refugees. But they do not appear to establish any right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Resolution 194 (III) is the first major U.N. General Assembly Resolution that refers to the Palestinian refugees. Even though the Arab states initially strongly opposed Resolution 194 (III), claims to a right of return are now mainly based on this text. The resolution was adopted on Dec. 11, 1948, by a vote of 35 (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and European states) in favor, 15 (six Arab League states—Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, together with the USSR and its satellite states) against, and eight abstaining.10 With this resolution, the General Assembly established a three-state Conciliation Commission for Palestine11 and instructed it to “take steps to assist the Governments and authorities concerned to achieve a final settlement of all questions outstanding between them.”12
Paragraph 11 of the Resolution addresses the situation of refugees. According to the paragraph, “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return.”
This paragraph neither establishes nor recognizes any right. In fact, no resolution of the General Assembly has the capacity to determine laws or establish rights. The resolution recommends that refugees “should” be “permitted” to return. The word “should” underlines that this is solely a recommendation. The element of permission is indicative of the fact that it is at Israel’s discretion to grant return. Secondly, it is subject to two conditions: that the refugees wish to return and that they wish to live at peace with their neighbors.
In light of the present situation in the area, and especially following the violence that erupted in May 2021, it is questionable whether such peaceful coexistence can be ensured.
Since the wording of Paragraph 11 does not establish a basis for a “right of return,” the resolution, therefore, cannot be interpreted as establishing a legal basis for such a right. The U.N. General Assembly is solely entitled by the U.N. Charter to make recommendations that do not contain binding obligations, and it cannot establish legal rights. The resolutions, therefore, do not carry a force of law, and a “right of return” cannot arise from them. Therefore, Resolution 194 (III) must be regarded as nothing more than a recommendation concerning those refugees wishing to return and live in peace.
II. Security Council resolutions
A “right of return” does not appear in resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, the only organ that has the authority to adopt obligatory resolutions. The issue of Palestinian displaced persons was addressed by the UNSC following the 1967 “Six Days War” in Resolution 237 (June 4, 1967). The resolution called upon the government of Israel to “facilitate the return of those inhabitants (…) who have fled the areas since the outbreak of the hostilities.” The resolution, adopted under Chapter VI of the U.N. Charter, dealing with the pacific settlement of disputes, was not an obligatory resolution and made no reference to a “right” of the refugees to return.13
Furthermore, in its famous Resolution 242 (Nov. 22, 1967), which serves as the basis for the Middle East peace process, the Security Council solely “affirms further the necessity for achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem.”14 If a right of return had been previously established by Resolution 194 (III) of 1948, then it would surely have figured here as the basis for settling the refugee problem.
Lastly, a right of return does not appear in other international refugee situations. During the Kosovo refugee crisis, for example, in its Resolution 1244 (1999), the UNSC did not refer to a right of return.15 If the Security Council accepted a right of return, it would have applied it to the situation in Kosovo.
III. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
A right of return for Palestinian refugees can further not derive from international law sources dealing with human rights, such as the ICCPR. Article 12 (4) of this Covenant generally refers to a right to enter one’s country: “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”
This Article is not applicable to the situation of Palestinian refugees. Firstly, it is questionable whether the term “to enter his own country” applies to Israel for Palestinian refugees. Secondly, it is disputed that the Palestinian refugees were arbitrarily deprived of entering Israel.
It is further advocated in international legal literature that the right of return in Article 12 (4) ICCPR is meant as an individual right.16 It was not intended to deal with claims of masses of people being displaced as a by-product of war and, therefore, cannot be applicable vis-à-vis the situation of Palestinian refugees.
IV. Israeli-Palestinian peace-process documentation
Lastly, the issue of Palestinian refugees is tackled by prior-ranking binding bilateral agreements between Israel and its neighbors.
Article A (3), subparagraph 5 of the 1978 “Framework for Peace in the Middle East between Israel and Egypt,” negotiated at Camp David, established a “continuing committee to decide by agreement on the modalities of admission of persons displaced from the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.” In subparagraph 6 of this agreement, Egypt and Israel agreed to “work with each other and with other interested parties to establish agreed procedures for a prompt, just, and permanent implementation of the resolution of the refugee problem.”17
Both the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian “Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements” (commonly known as “Oslo 1”), as well as the 1995 “Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” (known as “Oslo 2”), referred to the issue of refugees as an issue to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations.18
In Article 8 of the Treaty of Peace between Israel and Jordan (1994), the parties agreed to seek to establish a quadripartite committee together with Egypt and the Palestinians to deal with displaced persons, as well as a multilateral working group to deal with refugees.19
The 2003 International Quartet’s “performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict” referred to the convening of an international conference to deal, inter alia, with the “revival of multilateral engagement on issues including regional water resources, environment, economic development, refugees, and arms control issues. “It also foresaw the final and comprehensive permanent status agreement ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict, with an agreement that would include “an agreed, just, fair and realistic solution to the refugee issue. “20
In summary, a “right of return” does not appear in resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) or in Israeli-Palestinian peace-process documentation.
Amb. Alan Baker is director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the head of the Global Law Forum. He participated in the negotiation and drafting of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians, as well as agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. He served as legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as Israel’s ambassador to Canada.
Lea Bilke is a law student at the Free University of Berlin in Germany, specializing in international and European law.
Israel National News – Arutz Sheva travelled to Southern Israel with Regavim to witness up close what many call “loss of governance in the Negev,” and to find out whether construction of the three communities the government is planning for the Bedouins will solve the problem or make it worse.
“We must understand that this is a national issue – there is an illegal community spread out over hundreds of thousands of dunams, and the State of Israel should be looking decades into the future, not only at the here and now,” says Avraham Binyamin, Head of Policy, Regavim.
Looking at the ground from an aerial view, there is a clear picture of the dispersed tents and the villages.
“You can see it’s a huge swath of land, everything you see is illegal,” says Evyatar David, Regavim Southern Region Field Coordinator. “There is a tremendous amount of squatters on a vast stretch of land. No planning, no regulation, and no solution from the government for this matter.”
Israel has tried to create a solution for the Bedouins in the past, and in the late 1960s, it established cities for the Bedouin population to provide an adequate response to their needs. But, according to Regavim, that didn’t really work.
“Between 1966 and 1970, the State established seven cities, in the Bedouin area – within the ‘Sayeg’ Triangle, and told the Bedouins, come live in the cities we’ve built for you,” David says. “The Bedouins refused to enter, because under Bedouin law and Bedouin practice, if the father, grandfather and son used a particular piece of land, that land belongs to them.”
Meir Deutsch, CEO, Regavim, explains that the urban construction plan created by the State of Israel for construction of residential units can house 35,000 residents.
“In actuality, there are 12,000 residents living in Lakiya today. Why? Because most of the land in Lakiya is under claim of ownership,” Deutsch says. “The only person who decides what happens in claimed land is the person claiming it. No one else can decide what happens with that land, not the court, not the police.”
He adds: “The only homes you do see are those of people claiming ownership. Either the person claiming ownership, or their children or someone they sold to.”
These claims are far beyond logistic or legal issues. The war over ownership can escalate into violence and murder.
“Almost half the Bedouin population still live in scattered clusters, and the government wants them to consolidate within the villages and cities,” Deutsch explains. “But the Bedouin says: I can’t come live here, I will be killed.”
David notes that nobody comes in to the seven cities established for the Bedouins “because there’s an ownership claim, from a clan claiming that this land belongs to it.”
“Anyone who comes here will be shot in the head. So the government provided a solution that is irrelevant and inapplicable,” he says.
The result is that land allocated by the government, and prepared for residential construction, is empty.
“We can see the spread, and the empty fields, which are actually pieces of land on which there are claims of ownership,” David says.
He points to a neighborhood built by the government for the Bedouin community – “but it too is under claim, so no one goes to live there.”
There is an entire neighborhood in Lakiya that was developed.
David explains: “There are plots ready for construction, pillars, electricity and water, but no one will come because there is a claim of ownership. A person or family or Bedouin clan who claim the land belongs to them, and nobody can live here. Because whenever it is their land, no matter what the government says and the State claims, or what the government develops, ultimately the rules of the south are what matter.”
Other than residential issues and the takeover of the land in the Negev, Regavim also warn of internal processes that are unfolding within the Bedouin population. They emphasize that the government is unaware of the situation on the ground, and there is no law or justice at the moment.
“There are two components of Palestinization that are gaining momentum within Bedouin society,” Binyamin says. “One is related to polygamy, with women who are imported, there is trafficking of women coming in from the Gaza strip and from Judea and Samaria, and in fact we have dozens of percentages of Palestinian women and their offspring in the Negev Bedouin society, and that inevitably affects the values that society absorbs. The security services also tell us that the majority of Bedouin citizens involved in terrorist attacks are those connected to Bedouins from Judea and Samaria or Gaza, through these second and third wives.”
He adds: “In addition, Bedouin society has also been infiltrated and influenced by the Islamic Movement, the southern stream, which is connected to Ra’am, as well as the Northern, with teachers coming from the northern stream, which has already been declared illegal, teaching and imbibing these values.”
Noting that Bedouin society used to be a society of nomads, Binyamin says that it is “becoming increasingly nationalistic and Palestinianized, and that is also manifest in the huge decline in enlistment numbers, which today are negligible, nearly nonexistent.”
As Israel National News – Arutz Sheva reported, the government approved the construction of three Bedouin villages. According to the decision, the villages will be built only if 70 percent of the scattered Bedouin communities commit to leaving the land on which they are squatting and moving into them.
Regavim supports this decision, but demands that past mistakes not be repeated.
“We can build the villages, that’s fine, it’s the right thing to build them, provided the land the squatters are on goes back to the government in the end,” Deutsch says.
The problem, according to Deutsch, is how to include this stipulation as a condition in the government’s decision.
“We have to identify the entire population that is supposed to relocate into each village. We have to clearly define the size of the new town, where it will be, how large. We have to get the agreement of the citizens in the scattered Bedouin communities. Before they are a licensed town, they have to sign, 70 percent of them have to sign on their commitment to relocate to the permanent village. Naturally, there will be a small percentage that won’t, and the state will have to force them to relocate, and clearly in such a situation where the majority, 80 or even 70 percent come willingly, the government can handle the remaining 30 percent.”
He explains that establishing the three villages is “not the ideal situation.”
“The ideal situation is a map of the Negev for fifty years from now, that defines where the international airport is and where the trains go, where there are highways and cities and agriculture, and open areas,” Deutsch says. “Once you have that, you can decide where the Bedouin villages will be 50 years from now, and based on that, determine where to establish new communities now.”
While he says that “I don’t trust this government simply because it’s hard to trust someone who’s broken a promise,” he is willing to wait and judge them by their results.
“This government has asked us to judge them by actions, not words, so we will be judging them on that,” he says.
Regavim is currently publishing a book called “Bedouistan.”
“It reflects what we’d like to share with every citizen of Israel: Right under our noses, there’s a state within a state growing in the Negev,” Binyamin says. “We also point out the major problematic incidents that have plagued the Negev, which we find out about sporadically. We illustrate the problems and flaws in national planning over the years, as the State attempted to solve the problems, and of course we present our vision for the future, because ultimately, without a vision, there is anarchy, and we try to address this larger need, in order to solve the problems of the Negev.”
Israel’s Ambassador to UN leads protest in response to UN pro-Palestinian conference.
Tags: UN Gilad Erdan Nitsan Keidar , Nov 30 , 2021 1:06 AM Share Ambassador Gilad Erdan Shahar Azran
A pro-Palestinian conference on “Solidarity with the Palestinian People” was held in the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. The conference, intended to strengthen support for the Palestinians “right of return,” was attended by the President of the GA, the President of the Security Council, the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN, and representatives of Palestinian civil society.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gilad Erdan, in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress, held a protest on Monday morning in response to the biased conference at the UN. Ambassador Erdan attacked the UN’s blatant disregard of the massacres and expulsions of Jews from Arab countries and Iran.
As part of the campaign led by Ambassador Erdan and the WJC, trucks carrying signs arrived at the UN headquarters and showed those entering the UN pictures of Jewish refugees being expelled from Arab countries and Iran, along with a demand to stop erasing Jewish history.
“On November 29th, exactly 74 years ago, the UN recognized the Jewish people’s right to a state. The Jews and Israel accepted this partition plan and the Palestinians and the Arab countries rejected it and tried to destroy us. The Palestinians and the Arab countries not only attacked Israel, the Jewish state, they also persecuted, massacred, and ultimately expelled the Jewish communities in their own countries,” said Erdan.
“Shockingly, this atrocity is completely, completely ignored by the UN. Instead, the UN has the audacity to hold a solidarity event for the Palestinians on the anniversary of the Palestinians own decision to choose violence. And on the day that the Palestinians chose violence, the UN also dares to advance, dares to advance, the outrageous, the false ‘demand of return,’ a demand that would lead to the total obliteration of the Jewish state,” he added.
“So, by advancing and amplifying on the one side the false and dangerous narrative of the Palestinians and by silencing, silencing the true stories, the tragic stories of the Jewish refugees who were expelled from the Arab countries and from Iran, the UN is erasing Jewish history and distorting the truth and we will never allow this to happen. We are here today to tell the UN and the international community that our story will never be silenced and our history never erased.”
On Iran, Ambassador Erdan said, “Today, the international community resumes negotiations with Iran, the world’s number one sponsor of terror, negotiations that might endanger the future of the Jewish state. Israel cannot accept a fundamentally flawed deal that only delays a nuclear Iran by kicking the can down the road. We believe that joining the old Iran deal is a grave mistake that would lead to a nuclear Iran.”
The trucks will continue to travel to major sites in New York City throughout the day on Monday. The campaign, led by the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN in cooperation with the WJC, will continue in the coming weeks.
Today, we speak of a largely forgotten ethnic cleansing largely unparalleled in the history of humanitarian abuses. Recall the coordinated international expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from Arab and Muslim lands, where they had lived peaceably for as long as 27 centuries. As some know, in 2014, the Israeli government set aside Nov. 30 as a commemoration of this mass atrocity.
It has had no real identity or name like “Kristallnacht.” But today, from this day forward, the day will be known as Yom HaGirush: “Expulsion Day.”
It has been a years-long road to identify and solidify this identity. It began the moment that Hitler came to power in 1933.
The international Pan-Arab community, coordinated out of Palestine and spanning four continents, formed a vibrant political and later military alliance with the Nazis. This partnership functioned in the rarefied corridors of governments, the riot-torn streets of many cities on all sides of the oceans and eventually the gun-powdered trenches and frontlines of war-strangled Europe. Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories
The overseer of this alliance was Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, but he led an eager coalition of Arab leaders organized into the Arab Higher Committee, along with popular supporters from the Arab street. They had fused with Nazi ideology and goals, which included the destruction of the Jews and the defeat of British influence.
After the Mufti fled criminal prosecution in Jewish Palestine in Oct. 1937, he relocated to Baghdad. Iraq became the new center of gravity for the Arab-Nazi collaboration. By the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Iraqi Arabs under the guidance of the Mufti had imported all sorts of Nazi ideology and confederation into Iraq. On June 1-2, 1941, as Germany was poised to attack Russia and needed Arab oil, Nazi Arabs in Iraq launched a bloody two-day pogrom against its Jewish community, which had dwelled there for 2,700 years—a 1,000 years before Muhammad.
The hyphenation of “Arab-Nazi” applies, not merely because these Arabs were fascist in mind and deed, but because they actually identified with Germany’s Nazi Party. Some rioters wore swastikas; many had actually marched in the Nuremberg torchlight parades. The Syrian Social Nationalist Party adopted a flag that spun off from Nazi Germany’s.
In that nightmare June 1-2 riot, Jews were hunted in the streets. When found, Jewish girls were raped in front of their parents; fathers were beheaded in front of their children; mothers were brutalized in public; babies were sliced in half and thrown into the Tigris River. The Baghdad mobs burned dozens of Jewish shops, invaded Jewish homes and looted them.
We will never know how many hundreds were murdered or mutilated because in the investigation that followed, many were afraid to come forward. But that bloody event became known as the Farhud, meaning violent dispossession. The Farhud spelled the beginning of the end of Iraqi Jewry—more than 140,000 souls.
Just before the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, the Arab League promised the world that it would execute a mass expulsion of all of it Jews. The Arab League actually coordinated forms and procedures among more than a dozen countries.
For example, in Iraq, Law 51 on criminality was modified to include “Zionist”—which could be defined as any Jew found with a Hebrew marking even from a prayer book. Law 1 on denaturalization was modified to deprive Jews of their long-held citizenship, and then Law 5 permitted confiscation of Jewish assets.
Similar disenfranchisements were repeated across the Arab and Muslim world. Guiding and assisting in these processes were some 2,000 Nazis—ex-concentration camp guards, Gestapo, SS officers and Wehrmacht commanders who had escaped Nuremberg trials to continue Hitler’s war against the Jews—but now in the Middle East.
At the same time, the Arab League promised to invade the new State of Israel. “This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres,” promised Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League.
For four months, the World Jewish Congress pleaded with the United Nations, then convening in Lake Success, New York, to stop the ethnic cleansing. Was this a secret? Hardly. The New York Times was then the newspaper of record in the United States. Its bold-type headline alarum declared “Jews in Grave Danger in All Moslem Lands.”
The article prominently listed the expelling countries and how many thousands of Jews would be ethnically cleansed. French Morocco: 190,000; Iraq: 130,000; Algeria: 120,000; and on, until the total touched the dark edge of 900,000.
In many countries, it was made clear to the Jews that if they resisted, they would be subjected to more Farhuds and then deported to Nazi-style concentration camps. After all, Arab regimes during WWII, led by the Mufti, made efforts to send Jews to Auschwitz.
The Mufti had been given guided tours of several camps, including the SS’s camp-system headquarters. During the war, local officials throughout the Arab-influenced world set up concentration camps as centers of slave labor and torture. Of the dozens of camps in Arab lands, names such as Im Fout in Morocco, Djelfa in Algeria and Giado in Libya have been lost to faded footnotes.
By the late 1940s, Farhud-invoking songs were popular, and numerous mini-Farhud pogroms had already burned through Jewish communities. So, community by community, the Jews were carted to remote locations where clandestine airlifts—often organized by the company that became Alaska Airlines—flew the Jews, packed in like human sardines, out to Israel.
The Arabs thought that they were creating a demographic bomb for the new State of Israel. But Israel’s refugee camps were quite temporary, and most of the hundreds of thousands were fully absorbed into the Jewish state.
This crime against humanity swelled Israel’s population almost by half, demographically converting the largely European population of newly independent Israel to one that was half Sephardic or Mizrahi—essentially derived from Arab states. This Arab-engineered expulsion gives the great lie to the smear that Israelis are a bunch of well-off Jews from London, Los Angeles and Lvov. And it re-focuses and balances the issue of Arab refugees from 1948.
In 1948, the newly formed and fabricated state of Jordan invaded and created the West Bank. In three official conferences in Ramallah, Jericho and Hebron, the Arabs voted to create no separate national identity, but rather become subjects of Jordan.
In 1964, as Israel proved that it could not be driven into the Sea, the Soviet KGB helped engineer the creation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. The Arabs then expropriated the name “Palestinians” from Zionists—basically committing identity theft.
No one can show me any identification of Arabs as Palestinians before 1964. On “The Edwin Black Show,” I have publicly asked for just one example. Yet the “Palestinian” cause has been championed—based on false history, fake facts, Jewish ignorance and the forgotten realities of 850,000 expelled Jews.
There have been many expulsions and forced migrations in history. The Spanish Inquisition broadly covers a single sphere of expulsion. The Trail of Tears covers one category of forced migrations, that of Native Americans. But never since the Roman Empire has the world seen some 15 countries openly coordinate the deprivation and expulsion of their citizens based solely on their religion.
Even though this grave act was always a flame burning in the families of the dispossessed, it was forgotten by the world. The “sha-sha” virus can infect an entire people proving there is both collective memory and collective amnesia.
But I stumbled upon the Farhud in researching my 2003 bookBanking on Baghdad. This rekindled the torch of awareness.
“The Farhud Recognition Project,” energized by Sephardim in the United States, only asked for the mass murder to be remembered. I dove further into the topic, resulting in my 2010 book, The Farhud—Roots of the Arab-Nazi Alliance in the Holocaust, which tracked the Arab-Nazi alliance, the awful pogroms and the post-war expulsion.
In June 2015, I and a group of committed communal leaders were able to do what many memory-seared families called the impossible: proclaim International Farhud Day at the United Nations in a historic event globally livestreamed by the U.N. itself.
But I always wanted to do more and give identity and homage to the mass expulsion. This month, with the support of my colleagues in many countries, on a special edition of “The Edwin Black Show,” I proclaimed Nov. 30 forever more to be a day of remembrance named “Yom HaGirush.”
That name, Yom HaGirush, marks when Jewish communities across many countries were once again dispossessed, but became repossessed in the free nation of Israel. The Jewish state now possesses these people and their descendants—and they in turn now possess their Jewish state. Possession is nine-tenths of survival. Israel has become the final stop for the Jews.
From Morocco to India, and from Yemen to Afghanistan, the lives and centuries of legacies were incinerated. It was done in broad daylight with barely a murmur from the world.
It happened not even five years after the world learned that six million Jews had been exterminated and millions more made refugees. Mark it down on a piece of paper: Yom HaGirush. YomHaGirush.com is now in embryonic form, but soon will be a vibrant worldwide resource and a warning to the world that when we say, “Never again,” we mean it.
Edwin Black is the author of “The Farhud” and many other books. In 2015, he originated International Farhud Day. In 2021, he originated Yom HaGirush.
I would like to introduce a notorious Nazi SS general, a leading Muslim cleric and the father of a nation – all in one.
This person is Haj Amin al Husseini.
Husseini was the powerful patriarch of the leading Arab clan in Palestine in the first half of the twentieth century. He used his political power and religious influence for his life’s motif – the murder of Jews.
In an attempt to “mainstream” the Mufti of Jerusalem ” the British appointed him to an official position of power and responsibility.It did not work. It only gave him the platform and prestige to pursue his passion of killing Jews.
This he accomplished on numerous occasions, most notably by instigating the barbaric Hebron massacre of dozens of Jewish families in 1929. (Note: in 1929, there was no Zionist “apartheid occupation”, no “occupied territories” nor “settlers”; just Jews of all ages living in Hebron and horriblly killed by their neighbors)
A Nazi sympathizer, he fled British controlled Palestine during the war. He led a Nazi coup in Irag where he instigated the bloody “Farhud” pogrom against the Jewish community of Iraq.
He then fled to Germany where he was made an honorary SS general by Himmler and proceeded to do all he could in helping the Hitler regime kill Jews. He addressed the Arab world by radio from Berlin winning huge support for the Nazis. He raised divisions of Muslim that fought in the Nazi army. One of their tasks was to guard so that Jews do not escape the trains to death camps.
Husseini intervened in a deal that would have saved a train load of Jewish children for a bribe. Husseini would not allow one Jewish child to escape the gas chambers.
Together with Himmler he visited the death camps and drew plans to build a “facility” in the Dotan valley in Samaria where the half million Jews of Palestine would be gassed as soon as Rommel defeated the British. Eichmann was quoted as saying: “I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more.”
After the war, SS general Husseini found refuge in Syria from war crimes judgment. Wherever he appeared in the Arab world he was received as a hero and mentor. His Nazi credentials together with his clerical position were the calling card that opened every door in the Arab world.
Yasar Arafat called him “the father of the Palestinian people”. PA authority president Abbas repeated this accolade.
Yad Vashem, the world’s foremost Holocaust Museum and memorial had a large photo of Husseini with Hitler on one wall. Opposite was a photo of Jewish soldiers from Palestine volunteering in the British army in the “Jewish Brigade” The contrast was clear.
I say had, because when Yad Vashem was refurbished and expanded in 2005, the Hitler – Husseini photo did not make it into the new museum.
As a tour guide since 1980, I have visited the old museum numerous times and remember clearly how my tourists were shocked by the duo in the photo.
In the new museum, instead of the Husseini – Hitler photo there is a far smaller one of Husseini and Himmler, in a dark corner that no one sees. I finally located it.
When I wrote to Yad Vashem and asked why they removed the photo from the new museum, I was told that the new museum “concentrates on the victims and less on the perpetrators”. However just a few feet from the small Husseini – Himmler photo is an entire wall of perpetrators – the architects of the “Wannsee Conference” that drew up the plans for the Holocaust.
I asked a number of local official Yad Vashem guides about the photo. They either did not know of it or said it was political and they did not discuss it with visitors. They were uncomfortable with my inquiry.
I wondered if associating Palestinian Arabs with Nazis was no longer politically correct since the Oslo accords with Arafat in 1993.
All this happened a few years ago. I felt then like I was fighting windmills by myself and so I put my efforts on pause.
Today there is a new chairman of Yad Vashem,
Mr. Dani Dayan came to the position with “right wing ” credentials, so I renewed my efforts.I wrote to him asking that he return the photo and asked for a meeting with him about the subject. I was refused a meeting and told that there will be no changes made.
I then encouraged people to write to Yad Vashem and request that the photo be returned. The letter writers were made to understand that there never was such a photo. Emails began bouncing back to the senders. I inquired with Yad Vashem and was told that they changed the email address. I was told the new one and the letter campaign resumed.
In mid-November 2021, Mr. Dayan addressed a well-known and affluent synagogue in Westhampton, NY. My brother, a member of the community, approached Mr. Dayan and told him of my concern. He said he was aware of it and assured him It is not political. My brother asked if he would meet me. He agreed and so I received a call from his office for a meeting.
At the meeting Dayan told me he did not meet with me earlier because he did not like the tone of the letters written to him. He told me that “no one will lecture him on Zionism and love of Israel. His credentials speak for themselves.” That is true, which is why I had expectations.
He claimed that I was interested not in historical record but the politics of the Jewish – Arab conflict. I said it was both, which he did not accept. He added that Yad Vashem is not a museum of the Arab – Jewish conflict, that Husseini played only a tiny part in the Holocaust and did not warrant more space than he has in the museum.
He told me that he is in charge and won’t bring the photo back, if there ever was one. His advisor chimed in: “There was never such a photo.” She asked me if I had photographic proof and I reminded her that it is forbidden to bring cameras into the museum. I asked her if the many signed testimonies of veteran guides that I have gathered is proof enough and she said it was a possibility.
Mr. Dayan was frustrated that I continued to hold firm to my position. I told him that there are growing numbers of people, Jews and non-Jews, who want the truth not be hidden at Yad Vashem and the photo returned. He asked that I leave his office.
I intend to continue my efforts to bring the full truth back to Yad Vashem. Political correctness will not stop me. “Jews, Israelis and Arabs” is my new book that sheds light on the current state of affairs in Israel and at places like “Yad Vashem”
Shalom Pollack is a veteran tour guide, who says: “I have the oppportunity to observe many sides of our beloved country. As a Jew who has come home, I am passionate about sharing my observations and thoughts.” He can be reached email@example.com
(JNS) A fascinating BBC TV series has explored the way in which Britain’s former Labour prime ministers, Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown, revolutionized their party to create the election-winning machine of “New Labour.”
In a moment of painful clarity, Blair reflects on the devastating mistakes that were made in the 2003 war against Iraq, which he helped lead alongside U.S. President George W. Bush to topple Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Saddam’s removal ushered in years of sectarian carnage in Iraq. On the program, Blair says that the biggest mistake was the failure to realize that toppling Iraq’s strongman would remove the one thing preventing warring tribes from trying to obliterate each other.
Far too late, Blair had come to understand that, while for the West ruthless power is anathema, in the Middle East it may be holding back something far worse.
From Baghdad to Jerusalem to Beijing and elsewhere, the West gets it wrong again and again.
Over Iran, the United States is making a lethal mistake. As the West’s most dangerous terrorist foe sprints ever faster towards achieving nuclear-weapons breakout capability, America appears not only unwilling to stop it but to be going out of its way to empower it.
From Baghdad to Jerusalem to Beijing and elsewhere, the West gets it wrong again and again. Although sanctions against Iran are still formally in place, the Biden administration has stopped enforcing them and even provided billions of dollars in direct sanctions relief. Instead of being weakened, Iran is now well placed to wring further concessions out of a supine United States at the nuclear talks restarting next week in Vienna.
The Biden administration is positively gagging for any kind of deal. Yet whatever form this may take, it will inescapably revive former President Barack Obama’s disastrous policy of funding a regime that has been waging war against the West for more than four decades most dangerous terrorist state while it proceeds inescapably towards getting the bomb.
The principal reason for these catastrophic errors of judgment is the inability of the West to understand cultures other than its own. In the words of Dan Schueftan, chairman of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, the West in general and America in particular have consistently failed to understand radicalism.
They assume that such extremism amounts merely to empty slogans and that fundamentally “rational” leaders will act “pragmatically” when they will “have something to lose.” This, he says, is also how they also misunderstood Adolf Hitler, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Syrian President Bashar Assad and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to name but a few.
“A similar ‘cultural blindness,’ ” he writes, “has consistently failed Americans when they tried to bring democracy to Iraq, pluralism to Libya, acceptance to the Muslim Brotherhood, women’s equality to Afghanistan and peace to Palestinians.”
One reason for this failure is the West’s monumental arrogance. Believing it is the center of the universe, it is unable to grasp that other cultures may have a totally different mindset from its own. It assumes instead that every other culture is also governed by rationality and self-interest. It assumes that there is no conflict that can’t be resolved by compromise, for which the parties must have their heads cracked together by the superior intellects of the West until they achieve it.
This attitude has governed the West’s lamentable interference in the Arab war against Israel. America, Britain and Europe implacably believe in the “two-state solution” of a Palestine state alongside Israel.
Yet this is a solution to the wrong problem. For the issue in this century-old war is not, as the West tells itself, the equitable distribution of land between two sides with a reasonable claim to that land. It is instead about the aim by the “Palestinian” side, which has no legal, historical or moral claim to the land, to destroy the claim by the Jewish people that is the only one grounded in legality and history.
The West continues to get this wrong because it cannot understand that at the core of Palestinian Arab rejectionism lie anti-Semitism and Islamic extremism.
And the reason for that is the West’s inability to grasp that anti-Semitism isn’t just a form of racism but a psychotic derangement; and as an increasingly secular culture, the West doesn’t understand the grip that religious zealotry can have on the mind.
Britain, where the security service is all but overwhelmed by thousands of radicalized British Muslims, remains mystified by Islamist extremism. While vainly trying to “de-radicalize” such extremists, it persists in downplaying or explaining away the Islamist factor.
It doesn’t realize the key point—that those Muslims who turn themselves into human bombs believe they are doing God’s work and are therefore wholly resistant to reason.
In Britain at least, many support the Palestinian narrative of lies simply because they haven’t the faintest idea of the truth. And that’s because Israel doesn’t provide it for them. In a similar vein, Western liberals fail to acknowledge that the Iranian regime is dominated by religious fanatics who are eager to provoke an apocalypse that they believe will bring the Shia messiah to earth.
Yet Israel, the country that could do so much to awaken the West to these errors, remains remarkably unwilling to do so even to help itself. Its enemies have succeeded in framing it as demonic in order to delegitimize and destroy it. They have done this through a six-decade strategy of seeding public discourse with lies and blood libels.
This has not only falsely reframed the Palestinian Arab war of extermination against Israel as the oppression by Israel of the Palestinians; it has also toxified anyone who supports Israel as tainted by association.
In light of this, it is absolutely astounding that Israel still has no centralized communications strategy. Instead, different agencies feud with each other to put out largely uncoordinated responses to the propaganda onslaught that has hijacked language and all but rewritten the Jews out of their own historic story.
Israel needs to develop a strategy that shapes the narrative rather than—as at present—trying to defend itself on ground chosen by its enemies. Rather than merely responding to the onslaught, it should be constantly placing essential but rarely stated truths into the public domain.
It should be pointing out, for example, that there is nothing illegal about its “settlements” that are underpinned by international law. It should be calling out Western governments for misrepresenting the Geneva conventions in the false claim of “illegal occupation.”
It should constantly be driving home the fact that that the Jews are the only extant indigenous people of the land. It should be publicizing the Palestinian Authority’s Nazi-style portrayal of the Jewish people as bloodsuckers controlling the world—and pointing out that this vile agenda is actively supported and promoted by supposed “anti-racists” in the West. And so on.
Yet Israel has no such proactive strategy.
Understandably, it is preoccupied with the need to fight off the immediate threats to Israeli lives from its genocidal enemies bristling with weapons on its borders and on its streets. It’s also frightened of not playing by the diplomatic rules and thus upsetting its friends in the west, however false they may be.
More fundamentally, it believes that trying to influence Britain or Europe, with their terrible histories of endemic anti-Semitism, is a useless endeavor.
This is a bad mistake. In Britain at least, many support the Palestinian narrative of lies simply because they haven’t the faintest idea of the truth. And that’s because Israel doesn’t provide it for them.
America and the West ignore the reality about Iran or the Palestinian Arabs or the Muslim Brotherhood because they take refuge in the fantasy that the world is shaped in their own image.
Israel is in the unique position of being both of the West and at the same time of the Middle East. It is therefore uniquely equipped to educate the West out of this dangerous fantasy. That it chooses not to do so is a tragic mistake, both for Israel itself and for the world.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for “The Times of London,” her personal and political memoir, “Guardian Angel,” has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, “The Legacy.” Go to melaniephillips.substack.com to access her work.
The coin – 14 grams of pure silver – carries an inscription that according to the experts refers to the High Priest headquarters.
By ROSSELLA TERCATIN Published: NOVEMBER 23, 2021 11:28 Updated: NOVEMBER 23, 2021 20:35
The girl who found the coin, Liel Krutokop. (photo credit: Yaniv Berman, City of David and the Israel Antiquities Authority)
A rare silver coin from the first century was found by an 11-year-old girl volunteering in an archaeological project, the Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced on Tuesday.
The coin was likely minted by a priest who joined the Jewish rebels against the Romans, which would make it one of the very few remains coming directly from the Temple.“
This is a rare find, since out of many thousands of coins discovered to date in archaeological excavations, only about 30 are coins made of silver from the period of the Great Revolt,” said Dr. Robert Kool, head of the Coin Department at the IAA.
The coin, made of pure silver, weighs 14 grams. On one side it features a cup and the inscription: “Israeli shekel” and “second year,” referring to the second year of the revolt (67-68 CE).
On the other side, another inscription reads “Holy Jerusalem” in ancient Hebrew script, accompanied by another word that according to the experts refers to the headquarters of the High Priest in the Temple.
The coin was found by a participant in the Emek Tzurim Sifting Project, in which volunteers sift through the dirt excavated from the Pilgrimage Road.The silver coin with a cup with the caption: ”Israel Shekel” and the letters: Shin and Bet (second year of the Great Revolt). (credit: ELIYAHU YANAI/CITY OF DAVID)
Liel Krutokop came with her family from Petah Tikva to do archaeological sifting at the City of David.“
When I got to Emek Tzurim I thought there must be simple coins in the buckets, but I did not think I would find a coin myself, and certainly not such a rare coin from pure silver,” said the 11-year-old.
“I was lucky to find it, but I also want to say thank you to my sister for choosing the bucket we sifted. If she had not chosen this particular bucket, I probably would not have found the coin.
”In the first century, coins were considered an important expression of sovereignty, and this was especially true for silver coins, much more valuable than bronze ones. A bronze coin would allow the purchase of a couple of loaves of bread, whereas a silver coin could be used for much more expensive items, including military equipment.
“A currency is a sign of sovereignty,” Kool said. “If you go into rebellion, you use one of the most obvious symbols of independence, and you mint coins. The inscription on the coin clearly expresses the rebels’ aspirations.
The choice to use ancient Hebrew script, which was no longer in use at the time, is not accidental. The use of this script came to express the longing of the people of the period for the days of David and Solomon and the days of a united Jewish kingdom – days when the people of Israel had full independence in the land.
”Huge reserves of silver were kept in the Temple, and Kool believes that the silver used to mint the coin likely came from those reserves, in light of its quality.“
If so, we can cautiously say that this coin is apparently one of the only items we can hold today that originated on the Temple itself,” he said.
Archaeologist Ari Levy, who leads the excavation on behalf of the IAA, said the street where it was found, “which connected the Shiloah Pool in the south of the City of David to the Temple Mount in the north, was Jerusalem’s main street during the Second Temple period, where thousands of pilgrims marched on their way to the Temple.
There is no doubt that there would have been extensive trading here. This is evidenced by the many weights and bronze coins we have found here. But to find a rebel coin made of pure silver is definitely very special and exciting.”
Ze’evi Katzelnelbogen hospitalized following the terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City (Photo: Hadassah Medical Center)
The bullet fragment only hurt him lightly as it hit the black box on his upper arm that contains verses from the Torah.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
One of the victims of Sunday’s terror attack in Jerusalem’s Old City was saved by his tefillin (phylacteries) that he was still wearing on his way home from morning services at the Western Wall, Walla News reported Sunday.
“I live in the Old City, in the Jewish Quarter,” said Ze’evi Katzelnelbogen. “As I turned left towards my home on Shalshelet Street, I hear gunshots, loud confusion, I don’t exactly understand what’s going on though I know it’s something. Suddenly I felt a strong pain in my arm, exactly at the spot where my tefillin is.”
Tefillin consist of one small box strapped on a man’s forehead and another to his upper left arm, near the heart, both holding various verses from the Torah on small pieces of parchment.
He ran back towards the Western Wall plaza with a bullet fragment in his arm, finding a safe place to stay before being taken to the hospital.
“Thank God, I understand the great miracle…that God did for me, that in a second I could have lost my life and I got it back as a gift,” said the 46-year-old father of eight. “It’s written that the tefillin are linked to the heart…. You feel protected, and thank God, it was an extremely powerful experience.”
Katzenelbogen wished a speedy recovery to the others who were injured in the attack, and had another hope as well.
“I also want to wish that all of us, our nation, can walk safely beneath our house… that we shouldn’t know these kinds of crazy things anymore,” he said.
“There’s no room for such people under our house,” he repeated, clearly referring to the Temple Mount. “Anyone who wants to kill us should pay the price…and we should live in our land in happiness.”
In the attack, which occurred close to the exit of the Arab market whose narrow street leads down to the Western Wall plaza, Hamas terrorist Fahdi Abu Shkhaydam from eastern Jerusalem used a Beretta M12 submachine gun to kill one person and injure four others besides Katzelnelbogen.
Two of those injured were police officers, who were lightly hurt in the shootout with the terrorist. Two civilians were brought to Hadassah Hospital and Shaare Zedek respectively, with moderate to severe injuries.
The terrorist was shot and killed within half a minute by police officers who rushed immediately to the scene. A knife was also discovered on his body afterwards.
According to Public Security Ministert Omer Barlev, the incident could have ended much more tragically.
“[The gunman] moved through the alleys and fired quite a bit,” he said at the scene. “Luckily, the alley was mostly empty because otherwise — heaven forbid — there would have been more casualties. The entire incident lasted 32 or 36 seconds. The actions of the female officers was — operationally — at the highest possible level.”