June 24, 2002
Last Tuesday morning the bus exploded in Gilo. A hell of a way to start the day.
Late Wednesday a suicide bomber exploded at the bus stop on French Hill. A hell of a way to end the day.
Early Thursday evening I mentioned to someone how nice it was, no terrorist attacks today. I spoke to soon. At 9:15 a terrorist entered the Shabo home in Itamar, leaving five dead, including a mother and three of her children.
On the way to the funeral on Friday entering Jerusalem, we drove past a small mound of flowers at the bus stop in Gilo, and a few minutes later past another small mound of flowers at the bus stop in French Hill. Flowers, everywhere.
Thirteen year old Aviya Shabo described what happened, “Emma and I were watching television on the second floor, upstairs. Suddenly we heard shooting. I turned off the television and hid under my parent’s bed. Emma went downstairs. Suddenly I heard Emma screaming, and then it was quiet. Someone came into the room and I saw his legs. I thought it was my brother, but then he started speaking in Arabic and I understood that it was a terrorist. He started shooting in the other rooms and then sat down on the bed to change the magazine in his rifle. Suddenly someone shot and the lights in the house extinguished. I heard soldiers coming, they threw a hand grenade, but nothing happened. I was hurt in my stomach from the second hand grenade they threw. Then the terrorist left the room and went into the bathroom. The soldiers asked me if I could see him, I said no, and fled outside.”
Aviya’s brother, Asael, “My brother Avishai and I were watching television. The terrorist broke in and started shooting at us. The bullets hit Avishai and missed me. I hid under a pillow and was saved. Only when the soldiers arrived in the house did they find me.”
Actually the bullets didn’t miss Asael. He was critically wounded and doctors were forced to amputate one of his legs. His 15 year old brother Neria, one of those killed, had been shot at by a terrorist less than a month ago at the Itamar Yeshiva, where three of his friends were killed. He kept a reminder of the event at home: his bullet-pocked pillow.
During the funeral community Rabbi Natan Chai compared the initiators of Oslo to the Judenraat, Jews who turned fellow Jews over to the Nazis in the ghettos during World War Two in order to “gain time:” "Peres and Beilin and their band of wicked sages did not tremble when they gave them guns and bullets which they use to murder us," he said. "None of the Palestinians is free of guilt."
The hero was Yossi Twito, the Shabo’s next door neighbor, who headed the community’s emergency security squad. Rabbi Avi Rahnsky described Twito, a young teacher, as quiet but intensly interested in how best to offer protection to Itamar residents in the event of a terrorist attack. Following the deadly attack on the Itamar Yeshiva a few short weeks ago, an attack which left three young students dead, the emergency squad met to discuss defense. It was decided that, in the event of an attack, the goal would be to reach the terrorist as fast as possible, attempting to stop his murderous attack as soon as possible. That is exactly what Yossi Twito implemented. Thinking not of his own security, thinking not of his wife or children, hearing the gunshots and realizing what was happening, Yossi Twito ran from his house with a weapon and crashed into the Shabo home, finding himself face-to-face with the terrorist, a fatal confrontation.
The funeral, as are all funerals, was heartbreaking. Boaz Shabo, Rachel’s husband and father of Neria, Tvika and Avishai, stood next to his slain wife, looking as if unable to comprehend the scene, yet understanding it all too well. At the cemetery I stood next to a roughly dug pit, divided into four sections. A few meters over was the grave of the cemetery’s only occupant, Meir Lixenberg, who was murdered by Arab terrorists about a year ago. Next to Meir was another hole in the ground. I found myself standing next three young children, one of whom, a little boy, stood over the as of yet empty Shabo grave. He refused to move. An older man, standing behind him, held his hand and said, “come, don’t you want to go see Abba, your father.” The little boy looked at him and asked, “he isn’t here?” “No, he’s over there, next to Meir.” With that the little boy, with a brother, sister and his grandfather, walked over to ‘see Abba’ – the freshly filled grave of Yossi Twito.
According to this morning’s media reports, tonight President George W. Bush is going to announce his plan for Middle East peace, including a provisional Palestinian state. Last week I spoke about some of the reasons why a Palestinian state is an absurdity. This week I have a few more reasons. Just flip through last week’s newspapers headlines: Wednesday: 19 Killed in Jerusalem bus bombing – Thursday: 6 Killed, 50 wounded in French Hill bombing – Friday: 5 killed in attack on home in Itamar. That’s at least 30 more reasons.
Husbands and wives, grandmothers and grand daughters, mothers and children, brothers and sisters, all victims of Palestinian yearning and longing, yearning and longing to annihilate the State of Israel. Any concession to Arafat-terror culminating in a Palestinian state, is not only a prize for terror. Concessions will prove that terrorism pays off and should be continued. Arafat, Assad and Sadaam will not be the only ones who hear the message. So will bin-Laden.
So a state is out – provisional or otherwise. Unless of course Bush and Powell are willing to experiment a little closer to home, like, let’s say, setting up a Palestinian state in Texas?
With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder