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Murder at a Kibbutz

Murder at a Kibbutz

The massacre in Metzer was an attack not on the idea of peace, but on the idea of Israel.


November 14, 2002 -- His name, it turns out, is Sirhan Sirhan. Unlike his more famous namesake, who is serving a life sentence at Corcoran State Prison in California, this Sirhan Sirhan is reportedly a member of the Tanzim, the armed wing of al-Fatah, Yasser Arafat's faction of the PLO. On Sunday, he entered Kibbutz Metzer in northern Israel and murdered five people.

He began by shooting Tirtza Damari, 42, who was out for a walk with her boyfriend. Then he killed Yitzhak Drori, the head of the kibbutz secretariat, who had heard the gunshots and rushed over to help. Next he kicked in the door of the Ohayon home, where 34-year-old Revital Ohayon had been reading a bedtime story to her sons Noam, 4, and Matan, 5. He killed her first, riddling her body with bullets as she tried desperately to block the doorway to the children's bedroom. Then he fired at Noam and Matan, shooting them dead as they cowered in their beds. Matan died with the two pacifiers he liked to take to bed, one to suck on, one to hold. Sirhan escaped into the night.

Before security officials identified Sirhan and the Tanzim as the killers, another terror group took credit for the slaughter. "In response to the continued Zionist aggression against our people," the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade -- another al-Fatah subgroup -- said in a statement, "one of our martyrs raided the settlement of Metzer. Five Zionists were killed and several wounded by the bullets of the Brigades. We pledge that there will be more martyrdom attacks until the defeat of the occupation forces."

It was the usual Palestinian boilerplate, routinely trotted out by those who see heroism in the murder of children. Meanwhile, the official Voice of Palestine Radio aired a report hailing the "operation" in Kibbutz Metzer, which it described as "a colony north of Tulkarm," an Arab city on the West Bank.

But Metzer isn't a "colony" or a "settlement," and it isn't in the West Bank. Nor is it populated by hawkish Israeli hardliners. Founded nearly 50 years ago by left-wing immigrants from Argentina, Metzer is located inside Israel proper. It is as well known for its dovish politics as for its friendly ties with neighboring Arabs, many of whom streamed into the kibbutz on Monday to offer condolences. In recent months, Metzer residents had even lobbied against a proposed government security fence out of concern that it would cut through olive groves owned by the nearby Arab village of Qafin.

Some of Metzer's doves are trying to convince themselves that their kibbutz was targeted because of its politics. "It was a planned and deliberate attack on the idea of peace," said Dov Avital, a longtime resident, "because that is what Metzer stands for."

It might be comforting to think so. But the raw truth is that the massacre in Metzer was an attack not on the idea of peace, but on the idea of Israel.

The PLO's mission, then as now, was to "liberate" all of Israel, expel the Jews, and replace it with a new Arab state called Palestine.

It was no accident that the terrorists' statement identified Metzer as a "settlement." To Fatah and the Tanzim, to Arafat and Hamas, every Jewish community in Israel is a "settlement," not just those located in the territories Israel seized in self-defense during the 1967 Six Day War. When the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, it was not in order to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, which were then occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. The PLO's mission, then as now, was to "liberate" all of Israel, expel the Jews, and replace it with a new Arab state called Palestine.

It is one of the abiding myths of the Arab-Israel conflict that a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza is the key to peace. But if that were true, peace would have broken out in 2000, when former Prime Minster Ehud Barak proposed a sovereign Palestinian state comprising all of Gaza, virtually all of the West Bank, and half of Jerusalem. Arafat responded to Barak's offer by launching a new war of terrorism and bloodshed.

The only surprise is that anyone continues to be surprised. The al-Fatah constitution has long declared that "this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated." The Arabs have never made a secret of their aspiration.

A poll on one of the al-Fatah web sites, asks visitors whether they favor "martyrdom attacks" -- that is, terror attacks -- (a) within Israel proper, (b) within the 1967 territories only, (c) within both, or (d) not at all. As of midday Wednesday, 6.9 percent of respondents had chosen (a), 12.5 percent (b), and 69.1 percent (c). Only 11.6 percent favored an end to anti-Israel terrorism altogether. (Translation courtesy of the Israel Resource News Agency.)

It has never been about the 1967 territories. From the maps on its walls to the textbooks in its schools to the broadcasts on its airwaves, the Palestinian Authority, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, has always made clear that it craves much more. Arafat's war is not for a state in which Arabs can live beside their Jewish neighbors. It is for their Jewish neighbors' state. For all of it -- including Kibbutz Metzer.

November 16, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 7

(7) Anonymous, November 27, 2002 12:00 AM

yes,I AGREE but lets take this a step further

The article is very clear, the murderous attack was and is horrible. I saw the photo of the grieving father over the empty boys' bed in the newspaper and it is heartbreaking beyond words. how anyone can kill these sweet little boys and their mother is beyond my understanding. What I find disturbing is the silence of the U.N. who so quickly condamns Israel and as well the silence of the Jewish world. Where are the Jews all over the world demonstrating and putting pressure on the Arabs supporting these terrorists. lets rid the area of arafat!I am so tired of the comparisions between the "etzel" and "hagana" and the P.L.O. I mean what has actually changed in Arafat's views? a person who kills in order to take all should not get the noble peace prize. If a beauty queen is found out to be married or having had porno photos she is quickly forced to give up her title whereas a murderer of women and children in market places who has moved on and made "progress" into the heart of Israel remains with the title as the noble peace prize laureate! shame also on the Jews around the world who unlike the Moslems who demonstrate against the killing of their brothers do absolutely nothing. where are all the Israelis who live in New York? I heard there are tens of thousands if not more , why don't they go and demonstrate in front of the U.N. every time our children are murdered in cold blood?
I am sick of seeing Palestinians children and all dancing in the streets everytime a Jewish child is killed. Isn't it time that jewish children's blood stop being Hefker. I am so sick of Leftists Israelis making tours abroad, like the writer Grossman, condamning Sharon and the policies of the government. can he do better to make sure our children are safe? and when will we follow in truth the saying "kol Israel chaverim ze la ze"?It is not a time for petty arguments , it is a time to get together and show unity and protect our children who are the dearest , most precious matter we have. Like the woman said after the last bus attack, learn to love eachother, learn to love eachother.

(6) Sam Coriat, November 20, 2002 12:00 AM

It's time to move to Jordan

It's time to get a divorce and move out.
Where is the people's memory?, Palestine was already partitioned: 120,000 kilometres of Palestinian territory has been already divided among Arabs and Jews. Arabs called it Jordan (90,000 kms)and Jews Israel (less than 30,000). There is no room for a third country, especially when the only argument of the self appointed "Palestinians" is TERROR. If they wanted another state in Judea and Samaria, why didn't they established between 1948 and 1967?
The answer is clear, the ONLY thing they want is destruction of Israel.
They became masters of lies supported by millions of dollars in paid up propaganda everywhere in the world. They do not even care for the so-called "Palestinian people" whom they use as weapons against Israel.
If the Arab League were really concerned about their own people, there is plenty of space in Jordan, plenty of petro-dollars to support their relocation from Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, even from the Lebanese camps like Sabra and Chatilah.
It is time to move out, otherwise soon there will be no room to grow, nor develop for either country, nor Israel nor them; their children are "educated" to hate Jews, so the next generation will clearly continue endless "intifadas". Enough is enough, let's help them pack and move to their Palestinian State called JORDAN.
Let's not forget that Arafat is only following the blueprint of Mohammed in the Huddaibiya Agreement, very similar to most of the Agreements signed and violated by the PNA.
Sharon should only do what is good for Israel, pleasing public opinion is not his job while children at home are being killed, by their future neighbors?
Who wants killers as neighbors?
All agreements should be declared null and void, and a reasonable time to pack and leave the Land of Israel, NOW.
Arafat's criminal trial is long over due, it is time the world sends a message to terrorist-to-be: TERROR does not pay.

(5) tamara, November 19, 2002 12:00 AM

metzer tragedy

shooting 2 todders in bed is not the idea of a holy war and moreover a political expression to me.It's inhuman!

(4) eli feldman, November 19, 2002 12:00 AM

The State of (APPEASEMENT)Israel

After this week's massacre at Metzer and the 'Meoras Hamachpelah' Sharon needs to do alot more than destroying

a couple of homes.

We lost 12 of our brothers in one fell swoop on Shabbos night, and all we do is play 'footsy' with the

scum of the earth.

What can we do you ask, well let me tell you, when our lives are threatened, and our innocents are

killed and maimed, on an ongoing basis, for more than two years now, then we need to go alot farther

then we do currently.

Does anyone for one moment doubt that if the events of the last two years were to be played out in the

USA or Europe (Russia specifically) or especially in the Arab world, that this (intifada) would be history,

by now, yes history. Any other country would have flexed all their might and power to destroy their enemy.

No, but not Israel, G-d forbid we appease the whole world, including our enemies.

We, the Israeli government play nice till every last one of us has been slaughtered, till

every last drop of blood has been spilled, and then some.

No (normal) government anywhere anytime (in history) would stand for anything close to what we have

experienced over the last two years.

And it 'aint over yet.

May G-d have mercy on us.

(3) Dustin, November 18, 2002 12:00 AM

The Future

Let us suppose that these maniacs actually get their own state and self-rule. If they are willing to cross the line of morality where killing children is considered a legitimate form of political expression, what moral systems will they govern with? This has to be taken into serious consideration.

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