The synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem where five people were killed and six wounded
The scene of the terrorist attack at the synagogue in Har Nof in which five Israelis were killed and six wounded (Photo by Hillel Meir for Tazpit.org.il, November 18, 2014)
The two terrorists Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, who carried out the mass-murder attack at the synagogue (Facebook page of QudsN, November 18, 2014)
Jamal Abu Jaml (left) on his release from prison in Israel. There are PFLP flags hung in the background (Panet.co.il, January 4, 2014).
A sign with the pictures of the two terrorists. The Arabic reads, "Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, you are the pride of our nation".
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip hand out candy and cookies to celebrate the terrorist attack in Jerusalem (Facebook page of QudsN, November 18, 2014).
1. On the morning of November 18, 2014, two Palestinian terrorists armed with a gun and meat cleavers entered a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem. They used their weapons to attack early-morning worshippers at prayer, killing four. A policeman who arrived at the synagogue was fatally shot by one of the terrorists and died later. Six people were wounded. The terrorist attack at the synagogue was the peak so far in the recent wave of terrorism and violence in Jerusalem and to a lesser degree, Judea and Samaria. During the past month Palestinian terrorist attacks killed eleven Israelis, more than all those killed in terrorist attacks during the past two years.
2. Until recently the various terrorist attacks in Jerusalem were carried out according to what the Palestinians call the "popular resistance" [i.e., popular terrorism], a strategy receiving political and public support from the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah. Their main weapons were rocks and stones, Molotov cocktails, knives and cars (used for vehicular attacks). Firearms, however, were used in the current attack and in the attempted assassination of right-wing activist Yehuda Glick, and if their use continues, the violence on the ground in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria may escalate. Usually the attacks have been carried out by lone terrorists, although two carried out the most recent one. Some of the terrorists belonged to or were affiliated with terrorist organizations (Hamas, the PIJ, the PFLP), which were quick to claim responsibility for the attacks even if they had not directed or supported them.
Mass-Murder Terrorist Attack in the Har Nof Synagogue in Jerusalem
3. At 0700 hours on the morning of November 18, 2014, On November 18, 2014 at around 0700 hours, two Palestinian terrorist operatives entered the Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood of Jerusalem, armed with a gun and meat cleavers. They began attacking the early-morning worshippers. A short time later two policemen arrived and exchanged fire with the terrorists. A few minutes later additional security forces arrived on the scene and killed the two terrorists.
4. Five people were killed in the attack and six wounded, two of them critically. The victims among the worshippers were Rabbi Moshe Twersky, 59, head of the Torat Moshe yeshiva and father of six, who came to the synagogue to pray every morning; Arieh Kupinsky, 43; Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, 68, father of six; and Rabbi Kalman Levine, 50, father of nine and grandfather of five. A policeman was also killed during an exchange of fire with the terrorists. He was Zidan Seif, 30, from the Druze village of Yanuh-Jat. He was shot in an exchange of fire with the terrorists and later died of his wounds, leaving a wife and a four month-old daughter.
5. After the attack, riots broke out in Jabal Mukaber when Israeli police forces entered the neighborhood. Dozens of Palestinians threw rocks and various objects at the police. Some of the rock-throwers were detained. Rioting continued into November 19, 2014, and spread to other neighborhoods, among them the Shuafat and Silwan refugee camps.
Top row, left to right: Moshe Twersky, Kalman Levine, Avraham Shmuel Goldberg. Bottom row, left to right: Sgt. Maj. Zidan Seif, Arieh Kupinsky
The Terrorists and Their PFLP Affiliation
6. The terrorists who carried out the attack were Ghassan Abu Jaml, 27, and Uday Abu Jaml, 22, cousins who lived in the Jabal Mukaber neighborhood of east Jerusalem. They were related to the former prisoner Jamal Abu Jaml, who was released in one of the prisoner release deals and recently detained again. Jamal Abu Jaml is a PFLP operative from Jabal Mukaber. He was detained in 1994 and sentenced to 22 years in prison for the attempted stabbing of an IDF soldier in Jerusalem. Released on December 31, 2013, as part of the third phase of prisoner releases, he was detained again on November 6, 2014 (Wafa.ps, December 31, 2013; Pls48.net, November 7, 2014).
Left: Jamal Abu Jaml (left) on his release from prison in Israel. There are PFLP flags hung in the background (Panet.co.il, January 4, 2014). Right: The two terrorists Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, who carried out the mass-murder attack at the synagogue (Facebook page of QudsN, November 18, 2014)
7. The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the PFLP's military-terrorist wing, issued a formal statement praising the attack in Jerusalem, stressing that the two terrorists belonged to its ranks (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, November 18, 2014). Note: On November 11, 2014, the PFLP posted a notice on its website calling for confrontations with Israel to be escalated (PFLP website, November 11, 2014).
Left: Notice posted by the PFLP calling for escalation in attacks against Israel (PFLP website, November 11, 2014). Right: Formal PFLP notice claiming responsibility for the terrorist attack (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, November 18, 2014)
8. Several hours after the notice was posted the PFLP's military-terrorist wing withdrew its claim of responsibility. Its spokesman Abu Jamal said that "the information about the details of the action was [reported in haste]." In the evening the military-terrorist wing's official website changed the wording of the notice, and instead of the original "heroic action carried out by PFLP heroes," it read, "the heroic action carried out by the shaheeds…" (Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades website, November 18, 2014).
9. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu assigned responsibility for the attack to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). He said the attack was the result of incitement from Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas, ignored by the international community. Israel, he said, "will respond decisively to the horrific murder of Jews who came to pray and were killed by despicable murderers" (Prime minister's website, November 18, 2014).
10. Netanyahu told a press conference that Israel was in the midst of terrorist assault focused on Jerusalem. He called it "the direct result of the incitement being led by Hamas and Abu Mazen, incitement which the international community is irresponsibly ignoring. We will respond with a heavy hand to the brutal murder of Jews who came to pray and were met by reprehensible murderers." He said, "The world sees this slaughter but…does not demand that the Palestinians stop the wild incitement against Israel that is the root of the conflict. I call on all heads of state in the civilized world …[for] a deep and uncompromising condemnation of these murders of Israelis, of Jews. Do not discriminate between blood and blood…This evening I ordered the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the massacre and the hastening of the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the earlier attacks. I ordered stepped-up enforcement against – and stiffer punishments for – those engaged in incitement, as well as the banning of organizations engaged in incitement, and increased security on the streets of Jerusalem…Citizens of Israel, I call on you to show maximum alert and to respect the law. As a state, we will settle accounts with all of the terrorists and those who dispatched them… [ITIC emphasis]" (Israeli prime minister's website, November 18, 2014).
The West and the UN
11. American President Barack Obama said, "I strongly condemn today’s terrorist attack on worshipers at a synagogue in Jerusalem, which killed four innocent people…There is and can be no justification for such attacks against innocent civilians… At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace" (White House website, November 18, 2014).
12. American Secretary of State John Kerry called the attack "an act of "pure terror…"This simply has no place in human behavior." He also called for Palestinian leaders to condemn the attack. In addition, he held a telephone conversation about the issue with Mahmoud Abbas (Haaretz.co.il, November 18, 2014).
13. The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, also strongly condemned the attack, saying in a statement that “There can be no justification whatsoever for these deliberate killings.” He reiterated the UN’s “urgent call on all sides to do everything they can possibly do to avoid further escalation in the already very tense situation in Jerusalem" (UN website, November 18 2014).
14. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the attack "reprehensible," adding that “The steadily worsening situation on the ground only reinforces the imperative…to make the difficult decisions that will promote stability and ensure long-term security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
15. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeiersaid he was “shocked to the depth of my soul” by the attack. He said the fact that a place of worship was turned into a scene of murder constituted the crossing of a “horrible red line in a situation that is already extremely tense.” He expressed condolences to the families of the victims and wished the wounded a speedy recovery (Jpost.com, and the German foreign minister website, November 18, 2014).
16. British Prime Minister David Cameronexpressed shock at the attack. British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond condemned the violence in Jerusalem and called on world leaders to condemn it as well (Twitter, November 19, 2014).
The Palestinian Authority
17. Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement that he strongly condemned the "event" [not "attack" or "terrorist attack"], adding that he was not prepared to accept a situation in which civilians were attacked at religious sites. At the same time he condemned Israel's so-called "aggression" against the Temple Mount and the holy sites, and the burning of mosques and churches. He called for complete calm and the end of such actions, making it possible for political action to be taken for the sake of peace in the Middle East (Wafa.ps, November 18, 2014).
18. The PA's presidential office issued a statement in the same spirit condemning the killing of civilians on both sides, the killing of Jewish worshippers and violence of every sort.The statement demanded that Israel stop Jews from going to the Temple Mount and stop the incitement by government ministers. The notice also stressed that the occupation should end because it was the reason for the tension and violence, and that calm should prevail (Maannews.net, November 18, 2014).
19. At the end of the Palestinian national consensus government's weekly meeting, the government called on the international community and the Arab states to keep Israel from exploiting the attack in Jerusalem to escalate its "aggression" against the Palestinian people (Wafa.ps, November 18, 2014).
20. The Palestinian terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip praised the terrorist attack. Masked Palestinians armed with axes in the Gaza Strip held celebrations. They handed out candy and cookies to passersby in the streets and waved signs with picture of the two terrorists inscribed "Ghassan and Uday Abu Jaml, you are the pride of our nation" (Facebook page of QudsN, November 18, 2014).
21. Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Zahar praised the attack, saying that calling Hamas responsible for it was an honor. He said the attack was the "natural reaction" to Israel's "crimes," and proved that the "human reserves resisting in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem" could be counted on. He also said there was no alternative but to resist and defend the holy sites, and to rise up through a holy war or death for the sake of Allah (Al-Quds TV, November 18, 2014).
22. Senior Hamas figure Musheir al-Masri praised the "high-quality attack," saying that those who had carried it out had revenged the Palestinian people for the crimes committed by Israel, especially its breaking into Al-Aqsa mosque and killing [Yussuf] al-Ramouni [the Palestinian bus driver who committed suicide]. He also criticized the condemnation issued by the PA, saying that the gap between the PA and the Palestinian people was growing from day to day and that the Palestinians were eager to start an intifada (Al-Quds TV, November 18, 2014).
23. Musa Abu Marzouq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, called the two terrorists "torches at the entrance." He said [the attack] was the first result of the "Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and settlements intifada." He said no one could keep the intifada from succeeding or stop it (Facebook page of Musa Abu Marzouq, November 18, 2014).
24. Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas' political bureau, said that "the heroic shaheeds" had left their mark on the already-ignited Jerusalem intifada and had begun to revenge the blood of the shaheeds and [would bring] victory to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa (Facebook page of Izzat al-Rishq, November 18, 2014).
Incitement to Terrorism
25. Despite Mahmoud Abbas' condemnation of the terrorist attack in Jerusalem, the atmosphere throughout Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria encourages attacks against Israel. The encouragement is disseminated primarily by the social networks affiliated with Hamas and the various Islamist organizations, but also on Fatah websites. The networks post inciting, emotional notices calling for terrorist attacks and the killing of Israelis. Every terrorist attack or attempted terrorist attack leaves in its wake a series of similar notices encouraging more attacks.
26. Incitement to terrorism focuses mainly on the use of cold weapons for attacks, whose use is supported by the PA and Fatah as part of the so-called "popular resistance" (i.e., popular terrorism), that is, stabbing and stone-throwing attacks, as well as the throwing of Molotov cocktails. Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip call for the attacks to be escalated and turned into a new intifada, the so-called "Jerusalem intifada." For example: