Written by Right Side News
The terrorist began his attempt to murder Jews on King David St. near the Yemin Moshe neighborhood, just down the street from the King David Hotel where Barak Obama was scheduled to arrive a few hours later.
He took a tractor from a construction site, and began plowing into vehicles along the street, hitting at least three cars - one of which he completely overturned - and a bus. One driver was able to escape from his car even though the tractor plowed it into a bus stop. When the terrorist reached the intersection of Keren HaYesod St., a citizen and Border Guard policeman shot and killed him.
His "weapon" was smaller than the bulldozer used in the last attack, but big enough to do some serious damage to a number of automobiles and a city bus.
"I was driving on the main road when suddenly the tractor hit me in the rear on the right hand side," said bus driver Avi Levy. At first Levy thought it was a traffic accident, but then the attacker struck the bus over and over, causing pandemonium as passengers shouted: "G-d save us" and "escape, escape."
"He made a U-turn and rammed the windows twice with the shovel. The third time he aimed for my head - he came up to my window and death was staring me in the eyes," Levy said.
"Fortunately I was able to swerve to the right [onto a small side street], otherwise I would have gone to meet my Maker," he said as he stood next to the badly damaged bus, whose left-side windows were completely blown out.
An eyewitness said the terrorist, later identified as 22 year old Ghassan Abu Tir, who lived in East Jerusalem, repeatedly slammed his vehicle into the side of the bus, before speeding into several cars. "He didn't shout anything, [as] he was completely occupied with finding people to attack," said Moshe Shimshi, 30, who was driving his motorcycle on King David Street during the attack.
In view of the increasing involvement of East Jerusalem Arabs in terrorism, there are serious questions being raised about hiring Arab laborerers to work on construction projects within Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. Abu Tir, who has a criminal record for drugs and theft, is a relative of imprisoned Hamas leader Muhammad Abu Tir.
By the end of the day, nearly all the moderately wounded victims of the attack - who included a mother and her nine-month-old baby, as well as French tourists and American Arab tourists from California - had been released from the city's four hospitals, while the most seriously wounded victim, a man whose leg was partially severed, remained in serious but stable condition, hospital officials said.
Obama in Jerusalem: "Israel Was Right"
In an interview with CBS News conducted shortly before he embarked on his trip to Israel, Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama reiterated Israel's right to defend itself and asserted that the IAF attack on an alleged nuclear facility in Syria in September of 2007 was "appropriate."
Obama, however, would not say whether he thought Israel would eventually launch an attack on Iran if diplomatic efforts failed to stall Teheran's nuclear program.
"Yes," Obama said. "I think that there was sufficient evidence that the [Syrians] were developing a site using a nuclear blueprint that was similar to the North Korean model."
Obama met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak over breakfast this morning , the first event in a day packed with meetings and travel across Israel and the Palestinian territories. Neither of them spoke to reporters as they posed for news cameras at the downtown King David Hotel. According to a statement released by the Defense Ministry the two held a "vigorous and intense discussion touching on all the basic issues and future challenges facing Israel and the free world in the region."
After the Barak meeting, Obama met with Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and was scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and meet President Shimon Peres.
This afternoon, he will make the short drive from Jerusalem to Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad.
After meeting the PA leaders, Obama will return to Jerusalem to meet Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, fly by helicopter to Sderot - the target of numerous Palestinian rocket attacks - then chopper back to Jerusalem to meet Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
He leaves tomorrow for Germany.
Livni Calls for National Unity Government
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has called for the establishment of a national unity government, saying it was the right thing to do for Israel at this troubled time.
Speaking at a Kadima meeting in Hadera, Livni said: "We're not in a simple situation, and a national unity is the best thing to do. I say that wholeheartedly. Anyone who's interested can join."
Livni said if she became Kadima leader, she would invite the Likud's Binyamin Netanyahu and Labor's Ehud Barak to join in a unity government.
Meanwhile, a day after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Livni a "backstabbing liar" and Livni indirectly called upon Olmert to resign, MKs and officials in Kadima accused both of them of harming the party.
New coalition chairman Yoel Hasson, who at 35 is the Knesset's second-youngest MK, played the role of kindergarten teacher, scolding both Olmert and Livni. While officials expressed interest in helping reconcile the two, sources close to both said it was not worth trying.
"The battle of words between Olmert and Livni adds no dignity to Kadima and certainly not to either one of them," Hasson said. "Such unnecessary mutual recriminations serve the other parties that don't want to see Kadima keep the political system stable."
Sources close to Livni's competition in the Kadima race expressed hope that the fighting between her and Olmert would harm her politically, but others said any criticism from Olmert could only help her.
"Getting attacked by this prime minister is a badge of pride," said Kadima MK Ze'ev Elkin. "As someone who has been attacked by the prime minister and his staff, I advise her to see it as a compliment."
The East Jerusalem Connection
According the Israel's Shin Bet (security agency), masses of weapons and explosives are hidden in the Palestinian villages around Jerusalem, where three Palestinian terrorist networks are working together to coordinate attacks in the city. They decide whether the lone killers use firearms, explosives, knives or mechanical weapons, like the bulldozers which smashed through Jerusalem's main streets twice this month. With the massive amount of building going on in Jerusalem and many Arabs being employed at multiple building sites, police fear a future attack could be carried out by toppling a crane on a densely populated district.
Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin said Wednesday, just hours before the second bulldozer attack which injured 24 people, that going into Jerusalem's Shuafat (see map) is more dangerous than the Jenin refugee camp. "A security vacuum encircles Jerusalem," he said, "through which terrorists are free to enter the capital."
Meir Sheetrit, minister of interior, reported after research that the Palestinian family reunion program approved by Israel had been used to plant scores of active terrorists in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Israeli intelligence has uncovered close cooperation between Hamas and the fiercely radical Hizb al-Tahir, which is attracting increasing numbers of Palestinian terrorists to its ranks. Hizb al-Tahrir now controls the mosques on Temple Mount and its environs, having pushed out and replaced the Muslim Waqf sentry posts at the shrine and organized them along the lines of a terrorist militia.
Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah and pro-Jordanian elements, which once ruled Arab sectors of Jerusalem, have already lost out to the Islamic fundamentalists.
According to DEBKAfile's security sources, the Galilee Liberation Brigades - Imad Mughniyeh fighters, an offshoot of the Lebanese Hizballah among Israeli Arabs - works hand in glove with the Hizballah and Hamas.
Counter-terror experts are saying that Jerusalem needs young, vigorous police chiefs with special training in combating terror and organized crime - which often overlap - to replace the old school of police officers who still categorize every attack according to outdated criteria which place terrorism and crime in separate boxes. The former tactics do not work against the new brand of terrorist, the 'lone-wolf' killer.
Have Our Leaders Lost Their Minds?
by Newt Gingrich
I have two grandchildren, ages 5 and 7. If you're a parent or grandparent yourself, I challenge you not to think about a child you love when you read what I'm about to tell you.
I challenge you not to share my disgust with the barbarians who use the blood of innocents to further their political agendas.
And I challenge you not to share my contempt for the bureaucrats who think they can appease them. For the governments that think their actions don't have consequences.
For the politicians who think that something - anything - good can come from allowing the killers of children to walk free.
Smadar Haran, her husband Danny, and their two daughters, ages two and four, were at home in their apartment in northern Israel on the night of April 22, 1979. They were asleep in their beds around midnight when they awoke to gunfire and grenades exploding. Terrorists, sent by terrorist leader Abu Abbas to protest the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty at Camp David the year before, were breaking into their building.
Desperate to hide, Smadar carried her two-year-old into a crawl space above their bedroom. So terrified was she that her baby girl would cry out and alert the terrorists to their hiding place that Smadar held her hand tightly over the girl's mouth. Too tightly. By the time they were rescued hours later, the little girl was dead. Smadar had accidentally smothered her own child.
But the horror doesn't end there.
While Smadar and her child hid in the crawlspace, Danny and the four-year-old ran out of the apartment for the safety of an underground shelter. They didn't make it. The terrorists took Danny and the little girl down to the beach where one of them, Samir Kuntar, shot Danny in front of the girl. His goal, according to Smadar, was that the sight of her father being killed "would be the last sight she would ever see."
Then Kuntar smashed the little girl's skull against a rock until she was dead.
Last week, in a deal brokered by the Israeli government with the terrorist group Hezbollah, Samir Kuntar, a cowardly child killer, walked out of an Israeli prison.
The deal the Israeli government made with Hezbollah included the exchange of the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed by Hezbollah in return for five live terrorists in Israeli prisons, including Kuntar.
And Kuntar was no ordinary terrorist prisoner. Abu Abbas was so impressed with Kuntar's savage child-killing tactics that Abbas masterminded the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 - including the killing and dumping into the ocean of the defenseless, elderly, wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer - to secure Kuntar's release.
Israel didn't cave into terrorists in 1985, but it did last week. And the deal it struck with Hezbollah will have disastrous consequences for Israel and the world.
The concession, writes the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick "will cement Iran's control of Lebanon through Hizbullah. It also all but guarantees that any future Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hizbullah will be killed on the spot. Why care for hostages when you can murder them and expect to receive the same payoff you would get if you kept them alive?"
But possibly even more disappointing than the Israeli government's willingness to make deals with terrorists is the reception that greeted the release of Samir Kuntar in parts of the Middle East last week. Columnist Mona Charen reports that Kuntar literally received a red carpet reception in Beirut. Charen writes:
The government closed all offices and declared a national day of celebration. Tens of thousands of Lebanese cheered, waved flags, threw confetti, and set off fireworks as Hezbollah staged a rally to celebrate their "victory" over Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas, the "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority, sent "blessings to Samir Kuntar's family." PA spokesman Ahmad Abdul Rahman sent "warm blessings to Hezbollah on the return of the heroes of freedom . . . headed by the great Samir Kuntar."
This barbaric display enrages me and it should enrage all Americans.
Both the Palestinian Authority and the Lebanese government are recipients of U.S. taxpayers' money through foreign assistance. Political leaders - and the people they lead - who cheer the release of despicable child murderers are unworthy recipients of our assistance.
Congress should insist that the Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority retract their support for Kuntar or it should cut off U.S. assistance to them.
As if the news from Israel weren't bad enough, the seemingly irresistible urge among some foreign policy elites to appease our worst enemies came home to America last week.
The State Department sent its third most senior official to sit in on nuclear "negotiations" with Iran, even as Iran continues its relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapon.
In the past, President Bush had a label for such a move. He called it "appeasement." Last week, his own State Department succeeded in taking the first steps in a futile attempt to appease a dictator who has called for the destruction of Israel and defeat of the West. His stated goal? A world without America.
And so I ask again: Have our leaders lost their minds?
As a historian, I look for clues for how to manage our present from how we've managed our past.
One thing history shows is that some elites have a dangerous and unexplainable desire to lie to themselves.
A case in point: In 1924, Adolph Hitler was released from a German prison after serving time for conspiracy to overthrow the German government.
Nine years before he took power and led Germany on an irrevocable course toward world war and a campaign of systematic genocide against Jews, Gypsies, Catholics and others, the headline in the New York Times was:
"Hitler Tamed By Prison"
Read closely. The article concludes on this deluded note: "[Hitler's] behavior during imprisonment convinced the authorities that [he], like his political organization, known as the Volkischer, was no longer to be feared. It is believed he will return to private life and return to Austria, the country of his birth."
As America looks ahead to the swearing in of a new president next January, we need now, more than ever, leaders who resist the temptation to delude themselves about the nature of our enemies.
As a young Senator with little foreign policy experience, Barack Obama faces a unique challenge. As I write this, Senator Obama is traveling abroad seeking to convince the American people that he has the leadership ability to be commander in chief.
Senator Obama has also repeatedly assured us that he, too, will negotiate with regimes like Iran. But the question we owe to ourselves is to ask Senator Obama and our current State Department:
When negotiations don't work, what are you prepared to do?
Talking isn't a policy, it's a process. And talking to people who have vowed your destruction is at best a futile and at worst a dangerous process.
Just ask the Israelis. After greeting Samir Kuntar with a hug and a kiss when he returned to Lebanon last week, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah declared, "The time of defeat is long gone. Today is the time of victory."
My thanks to a subscriber from California, for forwarding this article on to me.
Gillermans' Last Speech to the UN
Israel's outgoing Ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Gillerman, gave his last speech yesterday to the U.N. Security Council. Referring to the second tractor terror attack which had earlier the same day, he said that when the first tractor attack occurred, people said that the driver was "a madman." It now is clear, he added, that the problem was not a solitary madman but rather "a phenomenon."
Gillerman had prepared a written speech but told the ambassadors that he decided to "speak from his heart" instead.
"This is most probably my last appearance before you as the representative of the state of Israel," he said. "I would like to thank each and every one of you for the time you have spent on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our problems."
He later said, however, that "whatever happens, whatever you discuss, whatever transpires, Israel will prevail."
Gillerman extended an invitation to all those present to visit Israel. "You will see a country which is very different from the perception you get on TV, where you see a country torn by violence and bloodshed; you will discover a vibrant county, of great excellence and innovation, in making the desert bloom, in agriculture, science and medicine." he said. "You will see a country which is contributing each and every day to mankind and to humanity, not just to itself and to the Jewish people, and making the world a better place."
He asked his colleagues to "imagine, for one moment, what it is like to be an Israeli."
He asked them to picture "a grandfather like me who sometimes goes to the kindergarten to pick up my granddaughter and whose heart breaks when he sees an armed guard at the entrance to the kindergarten."
"Imagine what it is like," he said, "to board a bus and look to the side in fear, or to sit in a coffee shop in Jerusalem. Sitting in a coffee house in Paris, Moscow and New York, costs a few dollars. Sitting in a coffee house in Jerusalem could cost many lives," he said.
Gillerman asked those present to "imagine a bulldozer driving down Fifth Avenue or the Champs Elysees and crushing cars." He added: "I have been here for almost six years. Occasionally I have been accused of over-reaction and dramatization. If you visit Israel or just imagine what happens in it, you will understand. When you speak about the situation in the Middle East, you will think about what we deal with every single day."
Operation Issachar Moving Ahead
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