Photo Credit: Israel Police
A Jordanian terrorist attacking an Israeli police officer in Jerusalem.

{Originally posted to the authors’ website, This Ongoing War}

Recent (and very recent) events have gotten us thinking about the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and its attitude to terror. One thing’s clear: there are aspects of this that ought to be much better known. We feel a duty to help that happen.

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First, the drama of today. There has been an early-afternoon Arab-on-Israeli knifing attack in Jerusalem’s Old City today (Saturday), close to what Israelis call Lions’ Gate. It’s also known as St. Stephen’s Gate or Sheep Gate and it’s one of the seven open Gates in Jerusalem’s Old City walls.

The Israeli victim is injured but alive and getting emergency treatment at Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek Medical Center for knife wounds to the neck and head. He was conscious and in stable condition when rushed to the hospital.

The attacker, said to be a visitor from Jordan who arrived in Israel (yes, indeed, Jordanians can do that) a couple of days ago, is dead.

What happened is, as usual, largely a matter of the prejudices and openness a person brings to the discussion.

According to the Israeli left-wing daily Haaretz, the knifer:

was shot dead after stabbing a police officer in Jerusalem on Saturday…  According to Israel Police, Skaji [there are different versions of his name – see below] stabbed a police officer in his late 30s Saturday afternoon in Jerusalem’s Old City near the Lions’ Gate. The officer, who was moderately wounded, managed to hold off Skaji and shoot him. A second man at the scene was lightly wounded in his arm. The police stated that Skaji had arrived as part of a tour group. Police are investigating whether the attack may have been driven by a personal grievance or a mental issue… [Haaretz]

Reuters has some additional details:

A Jordanian citizen stabbed and wounded an Israeli police officer who then shot him dead in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday, Israeli police said, the latest in a string of street attacks. Police spokeswoman Luba Simri said the officer was walking down a street when he was attacked by a 57-year-old Jordanian who had arrived in Israel for a visit a few days earlier. “The terrorist rushed toward him, whipped out a knife that he had in his possession, stormed him and began stabbing him. The police officer responded with determination and in a professional manner, managed to activate his weapon and neutralized him,” Simri said.
Ten seconds of security camera footage released by the police appeared to show a man, knife in hand, lunging toward a policeman falling backwards onto the ground, then jumping on him while wielding the knife and making stabbing motions.
Israel’s ambulance service Magen David Adom said the police officer was not severely wounded. [“Jordanian stabs Israeli police officer, shot dead: police”, Reuters, May 13, 2017]

The dramatic security camera video they mention is here. Here’s another video showing the aftermath.

Times of Israel names the attacker as Muhammad Abdullah Salim al-Kassji, 57 years old and a Jordanian. Ynet points out that he had not one knife but two and shows them [here]. It adds that

The commander of the Israel Police’s Jerusalem District, Deputy Commissioner Yoram Halevy, visited the 37-year-old police officer, who has only been identified as 1st Sgt. N., at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center… “We are very proud of you, proud of what you did and of how you reacted,” Halevy said. “In the end we save lives, save civilians. You knew to respond correctly, and you were in the right place…” [Ynet]

In typical fashion, starting with its headline [“Israeli forces shoot, kill Jordanian man in Jerusalem’s Old City over knife attack“] the Palestinian Arab source Ma’an News Agency adopts an attacker-centric tone, along with skepticism about the Israeli version of what happened, but then concedes

An eyewitness and local shop owner corroborated to Ma’an that he saw an assailant wearing a black coat stab the Israeli policeman multiple times in the neck and face. Surveillance camera footage later released by Israeli police showed the first moments of the attack, in which a man dressed in black can be seen throwing himself at a policeman while swinging a knife, tackling him to the ground. A passerby by in a white tank top and black jogging pants seems to make a brief attempt to intervene as other bystanders move away, with the footage cutting off while the policeman continues struggle to overcome the attacker.

Ma’an’s Arabic version, adopting its customary template, refers to the thwarted attacker as “shaheed” [“Jordan: Israel bears responsibility for the martyrdom of Alexja“]. Another Arabic report from Ma’an [here] also calls him “martyr”.

Now to the Hashemite Kingdom’s role in all this.

In an official statement from the Jordanian government’s news site Petra, its official spokesperson, “State Minister for Media Affairs, the government’s spokesman, Mohammad Al-Momani” expresses fury at what happened.

Correction: Expresses fury… at what the Israelis did to the unfortunate Jordanian!

The Israeli government, as the occupying power, bears responsibility for the shooting and killing of a Jordanian citizen in the occupied East Jerusalem on Saturday, the government said… [T]he Ministry of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs is following-up, through the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv, on the killing of Jordanian citizen, Mohammad Abdullah Salim Al-Kasji, to find out the details and circumstances of the incident. The government condemned as “terrible” the crime committed against the Jordanian citizen and demanded Israel to reveal the full details of the crime. Al-Kasji has recently left the Kingdom through the Sheikh Hussein crossing, northern Jordan, via Israeli tourist visa and didn’t return with the tourist group that he traveled with. [“Jordan holds Israel responsible for killing Jordanian citizen“, Petra, May 13, 2017]

Only one crime is mentioned: the one committed against the stabber.

And the facts on which the Jordanians base themselves? None, because they are awaiting “the details and circumstances” from the Israelis. But the would-be killer “didn’t return with the tourist group that he traveled with“, which in Jordanian means the Israelis did something “terrible”.

Before we sink into despair at the absence of a Jordanian moral compass, we point out that they did in fact condemn the act of terror. Yes: in a separate report, the same Mr Al-Momani is quoted today in the same government news site, Petra, doing the right thing: not only condemning the terror but also urging everyone to gang up against the terrorists.

Problem is, the terror he manages to condemn… is in Saudi Arabia.

Here it is:

The FBI is notifying Arabic-speakers
that it wants Ahlam Tamimi removed from Jordan
and brought to the US to face justice. Is this
poster on display anywhere in Jordan?

Jordan condemns terror attack in Saudi Arabia | Amman, May 13 (Petra)– Jordan condemned the terrorist attack that occurred in Qatif, Saudi Arabia, where a number of terrorists attacked a development project, killing a toddler and a Pakistani expat and injuring 10 people, including six Saudis and four residents. Minister of State for Media Affairs, Mohammad Momani, expressed Jordan’s support and solidarity with Saudi Arabia in facing terrorism. Momani highlighted the need for collective efforts in the Middle East region and the whole world to confront terrorism wherever it existed. The minister offered the Jordanian government’s condolences to Saudi Arabia and wished the injured a speedy recovery. [Petra (Jordan’s official government online mouthpiece, today]

Don’t bother looking for Jordanian sympathies for the Israeli injured or Hashemite wishes for their speedy recovery. They don’t exist.
Mr Al-Momani’s call for “collective efforts” to “confront terrorism” wherever it exists is obviously quite selective. He doesn’t, for instance, mean to include our daughter’s murderer, Ahlam Tamimi, who has been given shelter in Jordan even though she is now on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.

He doesn’t mention that the FBI’s Arabic language poster announcing that they want to put Tamimi on trial for serious crimes is nowhere on display in Jordan, according to sources who have been keeping us updated on how Jordan is dealing with the Tamimi scandal. We will be writing to Mr Al-Momani to ask why.

Jordan has a 22 year-old extradition treaty with the United States, but has decided to repudiate it. We have been writing about the implications of this brazen strategy and would appreciate the help of our readers in giving these posts some wider exposure:

We are currently hard at work trying to ensure the greatest number of people in the United States, especially in the Congress, the White House and the news media, have a full and comprehensive awareness of what a bunch of hypocrites the people who run Jordan are.

 

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Frimet and Arnold Roth began writing and speaking publicly soon after the murder of their fifteen year-old daughter Malki Z"L in the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre, August 9, 2001 (Chaf Av, 5761). They have both been, and are, frequently interviewed for radio, television and the print media, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, and others. Their blog This Ongoing War deals with the under-appreciated price of living in a society afflicted by terrorism which, they contend, means the entire world. Frimet is a native of Queens, NY while her husband was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. They brought their family to settle in Jerusalem in 1988. They co-founded the Malki Foundation in 2001 and are deeply involved in its work as volunteers. They can be reached at thisoingoingwar@gmail.com .