By Angela Bertz
Most of us surely remember those cute but chilling childhood games played with toy pistols. Sometimes they were packed with nothing more harmful than water or a well-worn plastic bullet, chewed several times over by the family dog. The game always ended when a shrill, childish voice would call out â€œBang, bang, youâ€™re deadâ€ and the â€œvictimâ€ would fall to the ground faking death, before running in for lunch.
If only all the innocent Jewish men, women and children felled by Arab bullets could just get up off the ground and run in for lunch. But the Palestinians are playing the deadliest of games, with weapons that maim and kill, and it would do us well to at least occasionally dwell on the very real lives snuffed out by the very real bullets of our very real enemies.
In August 1929, Sarah Hamburger was five years old. She lived in Hebron. On the 23rd of that month Arabs carrying axes, knives, stones and clubs ransacked the town. With only one policeman on hand, the mobs were able to destroy Jewish homes at random. At the end of three days, 67 of the 800 Jews who lived in the town lay dead. Sarah Hamburger and her family survived. On January 22, 2002, almost three quarters of a century later, a Palestinian gunman opened fire on a busy Jerusalem street. One of the two women killed was Sarah. Forty-four other people were wounded.
On January 17, 2002, Ninia Kardashov was celebrating her bat mitzvah in a banquet hall in Hadera. It was to be a happy occasion, celebrating her coming of age. A Palestinian gunmen gained entrance and with an M-16 assault rifle opened fire, spraying the guest with bullets. Six were killed and 30 wounded.
On March 9, 2002, a Palestinian posing as an Israeli policeman entered a hotel lobby in Netanya together with an accomplice. The terrorists, armed with guns and grenades, left the floors stained with the blood of a nine-month-old baby and a 27-year-old man. In addition to the fatalities, fifty people were injured.
July 16, 2002, saw the death of Israel`s youngest victim of terrorism. His mother had been traveling on an armored bus near the West Bank community of Emmanuel. Palestinians detonated a roadside bomb and Palestinian gunmen then sprayed the fleeing survivors with bullets, killing nine and wounding 20. Yehdit Weinberg was seriously wounded by no less than seven bullets, one of them lodging in her groin. By the time she arrived at the hospital she was barely conscious. She mustered the last of her energy to tell the staff, “I have a baby in my belly. Please take care of it.” She never saw the little boy delivered by emergency Caesarean. Twelve hours later, he died.
On July 21, 2002, residents of Itamar surveyed the Shabo family home. It was a burnt-out shell, the walls riddled with bullets. The day before, Palestinian gunmen had burst into the home, killing Mrs. Shabo and three of her children as well as well as Yossi Twito, head of the community`s emergency response team. Thirteen-year-old Avia survived four bullets to her chest and required intensive surgery. Her eight-year-old brother would spend months in the hospital convalescing after losing his right leg.
Rabbi Elimelech Shapira was a talented musician who played and composed music on the flute. He was also head of an academy that prepared religious young men to serve in the army. On the morning of July 25, 2002, he was killed by Palestinian gunmen who opened fire and ambushed his car.
On July 29, 2002, 20-year-old Tzvi Yehuda Dickstein addressed more than 1,000 mourners at the funeral of his parents and nine-year-old brother: â€œFather, mother, my sweet Shuvel, how can I talk in the past tense of the people I most loved. Suddenly everything has stopped in the middle…” On July 27, the Dickstein family had been on their way to spend Shabbat with friends, when Palestinian gunmen opened fire on their car. One other person in another car was killed and four people were injured.
Kibbutz Metzer has for years been an example of peaceful coexistence between Jews and Arabs. Situated inside Israel`s green line, it lies at a point so narrowly within the borders that the kibbutz is surround by several Arab villages and is very close to the Palestinian town of Jenin. On November 10, 2002, Revital Ohayan was reading her two little boys of four and five a bedtime story when a Palestinian gunman fired two shots at the front door. Once inside he headed toward the bedroom. In a futile attempt to protect her children, Revital jumped in front of them. All three were killed. As the gunman left he shot and killed two more people.
The horrifying events of May 2, 2004 went unnoticed at the United Nations, but it is a day that will haunt David Hatuel forever. That afternoon two Palestinian gunmen from Gaza were waiting on the road from Gush Katif. Tali Hatuel, eight months pregnant with her first son, was traveling on that road with her four young daughters. The gunmen fired at her vehicle, forcing it off the road. They then killed Tali and her daughters at close range, shooting them repeatedly in the head. For good measure, they made sure to shoot Taliâ€™s visibly pregnant belly. The act was described by the Palestinian media as â€œheroic.â€
One week later, a large crowd attended a memorial service at the site of the attack on the Hatuels. Palestinian gunmen opened fire, shooting indiscriminately into the crowd. As soldiers and armed residents returned fire, terrified women and children crouched on the ground.
The carnage continues. A few weeks ago, Palestinian gunmen opened fire on yet another Israeli vehicle, taking the lives of Dov and Rachel Kol as they traveled near the Gaza border. Palestinian television applauded the murders. Dov and Rachelâ€™s three children barely had time to grieve for their murdered parents before the international community again began pressing Israel to supply Palestinian â€œsecurityâ€ personnel with yet more bullets.
Dozens of Israelis have been slain by Palestinian gunmen in the past few years. PA President Mahmoud Abbas is allowed to behave like a spoiled child. He has completely neglected to fulfill any of his responsibilities, yet continues to make unconditional and suicidal demands on Israel and its security.
Unbelievably, the world just coos and pats him on the back.
Angela Bertz, originally from England, made aliyah in the 1980`s. She has a background in Human Resources.