Photo Credit: Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
Police and security personnel are at the scene of a stabbing attack near Jerusalem, earlier this month.

A few days ago, Israeli police officers arrested two Palestinian Arab terrorists for throwing firebombs at Jewish homes in the mostly Arab Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Beit Hanina is not some remote area: it is just five miles from the Western Wall Plaza and less than three and a half miles from Hebrew University.

It’s alarming how quickly the public has become accustomed to such assaults. Imagine if two white supremacists tried to burn down the homes of African-Americans in Washington, DC. There would be an outpouring of angry condemnations – and rightly so – from political leaders, civil rights groups, and American Jewish organizations. But not a word is heard when Palestinian Arab attackers try to burn Jews alive in Jerusalem.


A seemingly small detail in the news reports about the incident caught my eye. The firebombs were “filled with nails,” a police spokesperson revealed. That was a new one for me, and I follow this kind of news rather closely.

A terrorist is carefully filling a bottle with gasoline. He is just about to stuff a rag into the top, which he will light when he is ready to turn it into a firebomb. But before adding the rag, he and his comrade pause. “Wait a minute,” one must say to the other. “In addition to setting Jews on fire, this could fire nails at high speed when it explodes. Let’s put a bunch of nails in the bottle, so the Jews will both catch on fire and be stabbed by sharp, high-velocity pieces of metal!”

It seems as if Palestinian Arab terrorists are constantly trying to invent new ways to inflict pain on Jews. Of course we saw unimaginably horrible new types of savagery on October 7. But before anybody thinks that such behavior is unique to Hamas, or to Gazans, let’s not forget that Palestinian Arab terrorists in Judea and Samaria, whether affiliated with Fatah, Hamas, or other organizations all use the same playbook.

Israelis driving down highways are not aggressing on anyone

There are Israeli victims of previous terrorist bombings who have screws or nails permanently embedded in their bodies, because the bombs were packed with those objects. Doctors considered it too dangerous to try to remove them, so they will have to spend the rest of their lives with nails or screws in their bodies.

There are Israeli motorists who were wounded when Arab terrorist rock-throwers spilled oil across a roadway in order to make the drivers skid and slow down, so the rocks could be aimed more precisely. Sometimes the wounds included losing vision in an eye, or hearing in an ear.

There are Israeli bus drivers and passengers who were injured when Arab terrorists splashed black paint across the front windshield of the bus, blinding the driver and forcing him to slow down so the passengers would be easy targets for the rock-throwers.

It may seem obvious, but it bears repeating that the Jewish homes in Beit Hanina are not “occupying” anybody. They were purchased peacefully and legally. Jews have just as much right to live in the neighborhood as Arabs. Anybody who says otherwise is no different than somebody who says African-Americans have no right to live in a mostly white neighborhood in DC.

Even if somebody takes the despicable position that people who look or pray differently should be barred from a neighborhood, what kind of depraved mind reaches the conclusion that if you don’t like the ethnicity or religion of your neighbor, you should try to burn him alive?

Jewish motorists or bus drivers who are driving down some random road are not “settlers.” They are not “oppressing” Arabs. They are innocent highway travelers. It should be a basic human right to be able to travel in peace and not be stoned to death.

But this is what the Jews of Israel are up against: enemies who will use any tactic, no matter how barbaric, in order to spill Jewish blood. They’ve been doing it for more than a hundred years, and they might very well be doing it for another hundred years. No Israeli concessions of territory will ever change that. October 7 proved that the absence of any Jews in Gaza made no difference to the Hamas terrorists: they attacked families living outside Gaza.


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Moshe Phillips ([email protected]) is a commentator on Jewish affairs and was first published in The Jewish Press in 2009. He was a U.S. delegate to the 38th World Zionist Congress in 2020 and a board member of the American Zionist Movement from 2018 until 2021. The views expressed are his own.