Photo Credit: Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow

Critics of Israel are always complaining that Israel’s security checkpoints are difficult or even humiliating for Palestinian Arabs. Last week, yet another bomb-carrying Palestinian trying to get through a checkpoint was caught before he could murder anyone.

I, for one, prefer inconvenienced Palestinians to dead Jews any day of the week.


The would-be murderer tried to get through the checkpoint near the village of Salem. Twenty-six of Israel’s twenty-seven checkpoints are at border crossings. Their purpose is to make sure that non-Israelis entering Israel aren’t carrying any bombs, guns, or other weapons with them. Every normal country in the world screens foreigners who are trying to enter.

In this case, the young Palestinian man in question was carrying two pipe bombs. Maybe he had to wait a long time on line. Maybe it was hot that day. Maybe he considered it “humiliating” to have to pass through a metal detector.

Well, wouldn’t you know it: the metal detector detected that he was carrying two pipe bombs.

If there had been no checkpoint, he would have been able to throw those bombs through the window of an Israeli kindergarten. Or plant them in a supermarket. Or set them off on a crowded downtown bus.

So I’m glad he was caught, even if it meant that some people had to wait on line to get through the checkpoint.

When a bomb-carrying Palestinian is caught before he can murder anyone, it doesn’t make much news. The latest incident barely received a mention, if even that, in most media outlets. In fact, the report of the arrest revealed a similar, previously unreported incident earlier this month, when another Palestinian at the same checkpoint was caught with a pipe bomb.

These near-misses are of no interest to reporters such as William Booth, Jerusalem bureau chief of the Washington Post. Two days before the arrest at the Salem checkpoints, Booth authored a long feature story for the Post about all the hardships of getting through the checkpoints and how the checkpoints make Palestinians feel “that life is desperate and ugly.”

I beg to differ. I think it’s Palestinian bomb throwing that makes things ugly.

Booth shared the byline on the article with a Palestinian Arab journalist named Sufian Taha. It doesn’t take much fishing around the Internet to discover that Taha is the kind of “reporter” who wears his opinions on his sleeve.

For example, I found a tweet he sent out when Israeli commandos raided a Palestinian hospital to capture a fugitive terrorist. “I can’t get over the seen [sic] of blood all over the room in the hospital,” Taha tweeted. Apparently he had no trouble “getting over” the fact that the hospital was sheltering a murderer.

But the most ironic thing I discovered about Sufian Taha was a blog entry by Michael J. Totten of the World Affairs Journal, describing the day he and Taha crossed through the Kalandiya checkpoint, near Jerusalem.

Totten asked Taha how long he thought it would take to get through. “Sometimes it takes minutes. Sometimes it takes hours. It depends on the security situation and how crowded it is,” Taha replied.

“This time the checkpoint took only minutes,” Totten reported. “My experience at the checkpoint was breezy and pleasant.”

Now Booth and Taha want readers of the Washington Post to believe it usually takes hours and is an awful experience. They want us to feel sorry for the Palestinian travelers.

I certainly don’t. If you want to enter somebody else’s country, don’t expect a red carpet and a mint on your pillow. Sometimes the experience might be “breezy and pleasant.” Sometimes it won’t be. Expect to be searched. Thoroughly.

Because keeping Israeli children alive is more important than your busy schedule.